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The Fence Through Friendship Park

March 13, 2012 | By LeDayne McLeese Polaski BPFNA Program Coordinator From the Associated Baptist Press I had worked to prepare myself for what we would see here, but nothing made me ready to stand here and gaze back at my own country through holes in a fence. I felt exactly as I did when, as a college student in 1989, I stood behind a wall looking over into West Berlin, except that this time Iím seeing ìmy tax dollars at work.î Evidently, I am not the only one -- one piece of graffiti on the wall reads, 'Berlin, Palestina, Mexico'..." "...One thing that everyone agrees on is that the wall has not stopped illegal crossings. Crossing is now more difficult, more dangerous and more costly; people are more dependent on human smugglers and less likely to leave once theyíve gotten in; but no one claims that people without papers have stopped coming." Read more »

Update on the Conflict Situation in Kachin State: Statement from the Kachin Baptist Convention

March 8, 2012 | The following statement was given to Julie Warner by one of the Kachin Baptist pastors in Mandalay during the Friendship Tour to Burma.On behalf of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and the Lower Kachin Baptist Association (located in Mandalay), I would like to present this report on the conflict presently occurring in Kachin State, with emphasis on its impact on Kachin Christian Society.I am happy to be in the presence of Baptist Leaders from around the globe and to present this report from the General Secretary of KBC.The year 2011 is historic for the KBC. On June 9, 2011, the ceasefire agreement between the Burmese government and the Kachin People was broken, and fighting erupted between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). A ceasefire, under the Pinlone Agreement, was originally established in 1947 between the Burmese government under General Aung San and leaders of the Kachin, Shan, and Chin peoples. From 1961 to 1994, civil war persisted in Kachin State. Another ceasefire was established in 1994 and lasted until 2011. Read more »

Former BPFNA Board Member to Receive Baptist World Alliance Human Rights Award

March 7, 2012 | Adapted from the Baptist World Alliance. Washington (BWA)--Former BPFNA board member, Edgar Palacios, is the 2012 recipient of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award. Palacios is cofounder of the Lutheran University of El Salvador and former coordinator and executive director of the Permanent Committee of the National Debate for Peace in El Salvador (CPDN). The announcement of the award was made during the BWA Executive Committee meeting in Falls Church, Virginia, in the United States. Palacios is being recognized for his role in helping to negotiate peace in El Salvador during the civil war of 1980-92. During the struggle for peace, Palacios' life, along with those of other pastors and church leaders, was at great risk. In 1989, he took refuge in the German Embassy and a United Nations safe house in San Salvador, the country's capital, after being informed that he and several other clergy members and social leaders were on a government hit list. Six Jesuit priests were assassinated during the government's repressive campaign. Read more »

NC Baptists Against Amendment One Panelists Interviews

February 28, 2012 | Watch interviews with panelists from the February 25 event NC Baptists Against Amendment One. Interviews completed by the RACE TO THE BALLOT team. Ken Godwin, Professor of Public Policy, UNC Charlotte Chaz Seale, Vice Chairman, Rev. Dr. Stephen Shoemaker, Senior Minister, Myers Park Baptist Church Rev. Dr. Ricky Woods, Senior Minister, First Baptist Church-West Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber, Pastor for Preaching Justice & Worship, Wake Forest University Baptist Church Read more »

Debate over N.C. Vote on Marriage Arrives in Charlotte

February 27, 2012 | From the Charlotte Observer Sunday, February 26, 2012 By Michael Gordon As debate builds around a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at limiting same-sex marriage in North Carolina, the campaigns on both sides of the vote have come to Charlotte to make their cases. On Saturday, speakers at a statewide rally at Myers Park Baptist Church, a liberal congregation, called on voters to keep discrimination out of "the foundational legal document of our state," said the Rev. Steve Shoemaker, the church's pastor. And while the amendment is designed to restrict same-sex marriage, they said, its passage has implications for all unmarried couples, heterosexuals included. Read more »

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