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US Southern Baptists reaffirm prohibition against alcohol

The Southern Baptist Convention, the biggest Protestant denomination in the United States, has said no one who drinks "alcoholic beverages" should belong to any denominational trustee board.

"The use of alcohol as a beverage can and does impede our testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ," said Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, at the denomination’s 13-14 June annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.

An amendment successfully moved by Richards at the Greensboro meeting urged the exclusion of Southern Baptists who drink from election to the convention’s boards and committees. The resolution is not binding on the 16.2-million-member denomination.

Supporters of the action contended it was necessary because some Christians wrongly believed that Scripture allowed them to drink, the Baptist Press news service reported.

But the Rev. Tom Ascol, opposing the action, referred to a New Testament account of Jesus at a wedding. "Christ turned water into wine," he said.

Delegates also approved a resolution that urged church members not to abandon US public schools. The denomination has been critical for many years of the curriculum of public schools as being too liberal. But the measure that was approved called on members to try to be a "godly influence" on the schools.

(c) Ecumenical News International