Virginia Voice 11.26.18
Released: Sunday, December 02, 2018
VAIB | Virginia Voice
Volume 11 | November 26, 2018
Next ONE Voice for Liberties Conference will be September 26-27, 2019!
Future conference dates: Sep. 24-25, 2020 Sep. 23-24, 2021 Sep. 29-30, 2022
As mentioned in my last newsletter, the 2019 General Assembly begins at noon on January 9 and ends on February 23. So I want to focus on what lies ahead. Several issues recently in the news will be addressed by legislators:
- SOGI: Bills seeking special protections for sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) have been introduced. We agree people should not be discriminated against regarding housing and employment so long as it does not infringe on our religious liberties in the process.
- Gambling expansion: We have fought this battle for many years, but it appears most legislators view gambling as acceptable and that Virginia should reap the benefits. Casinos are likely to be approved along with betting on sports. VAIB believes this will cause more harm than the expected financial good.
- ERA: There has been a renewed push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in Virginia to help reach the thirty-eight-state total needed to amend the Constitution. Our opposition stems from results in several states that passed their own versions of equal rights for women. Judges in those states have ruled that abortion is a medical right, granted protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, invalidated sex-segregated sports and bathrooms/locker rooms, and more. Even though the 1982 deadline is passed, who knows what judge might decide to overturn that as well. VAIB firmly stands for recognizing and protecting women equally under the law.
- Religious-exempt day cares: Several of our churches contacted me about their religious-exempt day cares having unannounced inspections. Fortunately, all reported good results and no major issues. Just remember that independent Baptist day cares are a small subset of this group. If these inspections produce evidence of substandard conditions, there are those who will seek to eliminate this exemption.
These are just a few issues I will be watching this upcoming session. I expect to review over three thousand bills. Of these, about two hundred have the potential to impact areas of concern to VAIB. Like many of you, I will be hard at work by 6:30 a.m. and home around 7:00 p.m., but it is well worth it. Pray I will reach the hearts and minds of legislators with our concerns and that they will vote with us. And pray God will give me the needed stamina and strength as I do this important work.
Our Focus: Protect Churches & Religious Liberties
There are probably over five hundred independent Baptist churches in the commonwealth. When I speak on issues at the General Assembly, it is often stated that churches and religious liberties are adequately protected under Virginia law. This is probably true to a degree, and lawyers I have spoken with at the General Assembly seem to think we are fine. But you and I know this is true only until a judge decides otherwise. VAIB has done its best to help defeat harmful legislation and pass helpful legislation by working with legislators. But laws don’t change the hearts of men.
Pastor, I believe your work in reaching souls is critical to addressing the problems of society. I hope your church is known not only for communicating the gospel but also for living it out in ways that help the hurting. Does your town see I John 4:7 in your church? “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” Pray for me as I speak on your behalf at the General Assembly that I would show the love of God to others. As Matthew 5:46 says, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?”
As I close, I want to thank those who pray for and financially support VAIB, especially those who have recently taken us on for support. If your church does not yet support us, may I ask that you consider taking us on financially? Perhaps you could take a special offering once a year? And be sure to encourage your folks to sign up for emails on our website (www.vaib.org) and respond to CapitolAlert emails when there is an issue.
Your voice for Christian liberties!