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A Major Win for Religious Liberty

A Major Win for Religious Liberty

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Legislator Amends Concerning Bill After Southern Evangelical Seminary President and Evangelical Leader Dr. Richard Land Joins 140 Other Influential Voices on Multi-Faith Statement on CA Measure

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Earlier this week, more than 140 Evangelical leaders, including Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES,www.ses.edu), signed a statement released by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention in direct response to a proposed measure in California that would have compromised religious higher education.

ERLC President Russell Moore updated the signatories yesterday that, one day after the rollout of the unified statement, the state legislator who proposed the bill has amended it, dropping the language that would remove the exemption for religious schools.

“To be sure,” Moore wrote in an email, “we still oppose this bill, but this is a major win for those of us who are advocates for religious liberty. Were this bill to have passed in its earlier form, dozens of institutions’ very existence would have been jeopardized, thousands of students would have been harmed, and a dangerous precedent would have been set that would have imperiled religious liberty across the country.”

Said Land, “Indeed, our statement was a concerted attempt to protect religious liberties and freedom of conscience from the totalitarian tactics of the state legislature in California—and these Evangelical leaders’ voices were heard! I enthusiastically signed on with other leaders, from multiple faiths, to maintain the religious freedom that faculty and students currently hold at faith-based institutions. When the government gets involved in how we protect our beliefs in education, the workplace or society in general, we will experience an irretrievable loss of freedom in even more areas than our faith.”

According to Townhall.com, “California Senate Bill 1146 threatens to upend Christian colleges across the state. Under current guidelines, religious schools are exempted from an anti-discrimination law that requires them to offer a ‘safe space’ for LGBT students. Yet, Bill 1146, which is working through the state legislature, would remove that exemption and allow students to sue schools they believe are not inclusionary.”

In addition to Dr. Land, other signers to the statement included: Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family; Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Jerry A. Johnson, President and CEO, National Religious Broadcasters; Jonathan Keller, President, California Family Council; Jennifer Marshall, Vice President, Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity, The Heritage Foundation; R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; David Nammo, Executive Director and CEO, Christian Legal Society; Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, WORLD; Ramesh Ponnuru, Senior Editor, National Review; Alan E. Sears, President, CEO, General Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom; Richard Stearns, President, World Vision U.S.; John Stonestreet, President, Colson Center for Christian Worldview; Tony Suarez, Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; and Kristen K. Waggoner, Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Advocacy, Alliance Defending Freedom; among others.

Before assuming the presidency of SES, Dr. Land previously served as president of the ERLC from 1988 to 2013.

Issues such as religious liberty will be a central focus of SES’s 23rd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 14-15, approximately three weeks before the presidential election. The seminary will welcome such top name speakers as Norman Geisler, Richard Howe, Richard Land, Josh and Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Jay Sekulow, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others. The theme of the 2016 conference, “The Defense Never Rests,” focuses on the ongoing charge to Christians to defend their beliefs rationally, intelligently and lovingly. For registration information, visit conference.ses.edu.

SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.

SES explores ethical issues through its “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program; for more information, visit www.ethics.ses.edu. Southern Evangelical Seminary also recently unveiled a new apologetics blog atwww.WhyDoYouBelieve.org, where Land and other SES voices address the most pressing issues of the day.

Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on almost 400 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.

Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”

Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.

Original post can be read here: http://www.highlandnews.net/news/political/a-major-win-for-religious-liberty/article_c8aff4cc-600a-11e6-a79b-e38d18d23840.html