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General Association of Baptists in Kentucky Speak - Operation Good Friday!

Thanks to Moderator Dr. Michael Rice and the Moderator’s Team Of The General Association Of Baptists In Kentucky For Outstanding Leadership In “OPERATION GOOD FRIDAY,” And A Special Thank You To GABKY’s 1st Vice Moderator Dr. Nathl Moore, For Delivering Our Statement With Power And Conviction. The Statement Is Worth The Read!!!


General Association of Baptists in Kentucky Speak

The General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, a representation of over 500 African American churches and 175,000 constituents, stands united in addressing the following principles and activities. Our agenda is based upon insights from Jeremiah 22:1-3 which declares, “GOD's orders: "Go to the royal palace and deliver this Message. Say, 'Listen to what GOD says, O King of Judah, you who sit on David's throne— you and your officials and all the people who go in and out of these palace gates. This is GOD's Message: Attend to matters of justice. Set things right between people. Rescue victims from their exploiters. Don't take advantage of the homeless, the orphans, the widows. Stop the murdering!” (MSG)

We gratefully and proudly acknowledge the legacy of civil rights involvement of generations of African American Christians and the black church’s response to injustices against our people and other communities affected by injustice. It’s in the vein of that prophetic tradition that we converge here in our state’s capital on this Good Friday. The members of our GABKY churches love Kentucky and work to improve the quality of life and opportunity for all. So, we are compelled to speak prophetically in opposition to practices, policies, or laws that may hurt, hinder, and/or isolate groups of people and/or counties all across the state. In speaking of the events Jesus would endure as part of His crucifixion experience, the NIV version of the Bible in Isaiah 53:8 states, “By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?” Unfortunately there was no protest held on His account then, but we stand in protest on His behalf today. We stand in protest of several bills circulating through our state legislative body that we firmly believe would be detrimental to many across the Commonwealth of KY and thus unjustly have a crucifying effect on our communities.

We stand in protest today of House Bill #5. We stand in protest of any bill that would in any way, shape, form, or fashion criminalize homelessness. Your “unlawful camping” offense victimizes some of the most vulnerable persons in our society. Instead of enacting bills that will further exacerbate their situation, those within the walls of government should be striving to implement solutions that could radically alter the plight of the homeless. Another grave concern we have is the horrific effect the “unlawful camping” offense will have on those who are homeless due to mental illness. The greatest need for those struggling with mental illness, particularly if they are homeless, is their access to safe and affordable housing. They do not need a bill penalizing them and thus pushing them further from the stability housing provides as part of addressing their mental health condition. Our faith teaches us in the words of Jesus, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you have also done unto me.” Consider this: if Jesus were to conduct His earthly ministry in Kentucky you’re proposing to create, He would be subject to being fined and arrested according to the particulars of House Bill #5.

We stand in protest of Senate Bill 6 as amended by House Bill 9. We stand in protest of any bill that will attempt to discourage the fostering of diversity, equity, and inclusion in any post-secondary or secondary institution of education. Erasing history, forgetting history, redacting history, or restricting history from being taught is intuitively counter to our faith practice. The Apostle Paul instructed the church of Ephesus in Ephesians 2:11-18 to remember their history. In so remembering their history they would be empowered to become the new humanity Jesus has now made possible through the cross. The very same cross-event, millions of Christians around the world are commemorating on this Good Friday. Furthermore, the great writer-philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Echoing the same sentiments, the renowned British statesman Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” How can one learn what they are not taught? We actually empower today’s students to create a better tomorrow by responsibly

equipping them with the facts of history. Given today’s socio-political and polemic environment, perhaps now more than ever, teaching the whole truth about the history and struggle of all people groups that grace this nation is needed to foster an atmosphere of even greater mutual respect, appreciation, and love.

As we stand in protest, we also stand in alliance with Governor Beshear, Senator Neal, and all others who have concern over these and other bills mentioned and not mentioned in our Operation Good Friday protest. It is our sincere desire and prayer that those within our state legislature take in consideration our consternation over the grave negative effect these bills will have on many across the Commonwealth of KY. May God continue to bless, guide, and keep us all.

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