by Bob Nigh
Managing Editor
The Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma unanimously passed a resolution May 18 praising Oklahoma legislators who voted in favor of significant pro-life legislation this year.
Meeting at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City, the Board approved a resolution which reads: “We, the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, representing 1,800 congregations, go on record applauding the actions and support of the Oklahoma State Senate and House of Representatives in the passage in 2010 of significant pro-life legislation, protecting both the woman and the unborn child. We commend the efforts of those legislators who responded to the desire of Oklahomans to protect life, beginning at conception and ending at natural death, and withstood pressure upholding the sanctity of human life.”
BGCO Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee consultant Heidi Wilburn, who maintains a presence for the Convention at the State Capitol and monitors legislation, provided a list of 2010 pro-life legislation the ERLC focused on.
• SB 1890: prohibiting abortions that are done for the purpose of sex-selection:
Gov. Brad Henry Signed this bill into law.
• HB 3284: reporting abortions performed in Oklahoma, the reasons abortions are sought and the complications that result:
At press time this was still on the governor’s desk; he had until midnight, May 22 to act on it.
• HB 2780: providing a woman an ultrasound of her unborn child which she may view prior to undergoing an abortion:
Henry vetoed this bill, but the veto was overridden. It had an emergency clause and immediately became law.
• SB 1902: regulating the use of the dangerous chemical abortion pill RU-486, which kills an unborn child who is about two months old:
Henry signed this into law.
• HB 2656: fostering respect for babies with disabilities by disallowing wrongful-life lawsuits that claim a baby would have been better off being aborted.
Henry vetoed this bill, but the veto was overridden. It had an emergency clause and immediately became law.
• HB 3075: ensuring that a mother’s consent to an abortion is truly voluntary and safeguarding against coerced abortions:
Henry signed this into law.
• SB 1891: protecting health care professionals’ freedom of conscience by affirming their right to refuse to participate in the taking of a human life:
Henry signed this into law.
• HB 3290: prohibits health-insurance plans in Oklahoma established under the new federal health-care law from including coverage for elective abortions:
This has passed in the House, and at press time was awaiting Senate approval.
BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan said a letter will be sent to those legislators to whom the resolution applies under his signature and the signature of BGCO President Emerson Falls.
“You know, we often condemn those who don’t do the right thing; we ought to applaud those who do,” he said. “Many of our legislators stood very tall (this year) and have. Over the last few years, we have seen some significant steps forward in pro-life legislation, something we hadn’t seen in a long time.
In his report to the Board, Jordan said he “rejoices in the generosity of Oklahoma Baptists. I don’t want to ever take for granted the faithfulness of our churches and the people who sit in the pews of those churches; their faithfulness in giving.
“Our finance committee heard this morning that we are about five percent behind in our $26 million budget, but at the same time, we have underspent that budget by seven percent, so we are in good shape, moving forward and are going to continue to do the work God has called us to do.”
Jordan also touched briefly on vision in his remarks.
“Oklahoma Baptists have been a people who were able to see beyond where they were and look into the future that God had set before us. And that is true today. Our Mission Advance Team has met for the first time . . . and one of the most significant things that we have as Oklahoma Baptists is that we are unified. We don’t find ourselves constantly in turmoil, so we get to sit down at a table with the Mission Advance Team and think about the future and what it could be like as we work cooperatively together. We are able to work from our strengths, rather than from our weaknesses.”
But, Jordan said, vision always must boil down to mission.
“Our focus must always be on how do we get the Gospel into the communities in which we live all across our state, our nation and ultimately to the ends of the Earth. That challenge has never been greater than is has been today.”
In other items, the Board:
• Approved a $1 per person, per day registration fee increase for Falls Creek, effective January 2011.
• Approved two Corporate Authorization Resolutions necessary to update the signature cards with First United Bank and Trust Co. The resolutions authorize additional signatures for the depository and petty cash accounts due to new personnel and (Finance) team supervision. Approved a Corporate Resolution for Cash Management Services, which authorizes First United Bank as the credit card depository for Falls Creek credit card transactions.
• Approved the election of Terry Tolbert, pastor of Ardmore, Trinity, to complete the two-year unexpired term of Tommy Clark, and Sherry Wall, lay member of Midwest City, First, to complete the unexpired two-year term of Gail Pearson, both on the Board of Directors of the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma.
• Authorized a change in wording of a $6 million line of credit the BFO has with the Bank of Oklahoma; specifically noting that the “term of the loan is not to exceed one year,” and that “advances made under this loan shall be repaid within 30 days from the date the funds were advanced.”
• Gave Jordan the authority to enter negotiations with the City of Davis for the provision of water to Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center.
• Approved BGCO President Emerson Falls, pastor of Oklahoma City, Glorieta, appointing a Constitution and Bylaws Review Committee to report and make recommendations to the Board in September. Falls named BGCO Parliamentarian Tyson Wynn, member of Welch, First, to chair the three-person committee, and named Board members Kelly Chronister, pastor of Skiatook, First, and Bob Green, pastor of Broken Arrow, Arrow Heights, as members.
BGCO affiliate presidents also brought reports during the meeting.
Highlights included:
Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma: Robert Kellogg reported positive growth in almost every statistical category in the first four months of 2010. Estate stewardship promotion is at an all-time high.

Baptist Village Communities: Bill Pierce reported that The Neighborhoods in Broken Arrow is nearing completion, and the LINC ministry is growing.

Oklahoma Baptist University: David Whitlock reported fall enrollment up, and he rejoiced in the “national championship-type year” the university is having, both athletically and in the hiring of new faculty.

Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children: Tony Kennedy reported minimal damage on the campuses in Oklahoma City from the tornadoes and hail storm and called for prayer that God would call men to serve as mentors to young men at the Hope Pregnancy Centers.

The Board’s next meeting will be Sept. 21 at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center.