NASHVILLE (Christian Examiner) – As thousands of Southern Baptists converge in Nashville, Tennessee for a missions conference today where the 15.5 million member denomination is headquartered, Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of the denomination, issued a call for Americans to "Stand Up With Moral Courage and Address the Planned Parenthood Debacle."
Senate Republicans are expected to bring legislation to the floor today in Congress to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the focus of a series of graphic undercover videos released by The Center for Medical Progress.
The videos feature medical and administrative personnel discussing how fetal tissue is procured and used for medical research, and what compensation is expected for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in America.
President Barack Obama has said he will veto any bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.
Writing in a blog post dated Aug. 3, Floyd said that "Now is the time for moral courage in America," explaining the definition as, "Moral courage is the courage to take action for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse actions."
Planned Parenthood must be held accountable for its actions, Floyd said, citing FOX news analyst Brit Hume on how the "stomach-turning" sight of watching doctors discuss "the market for fetal body parts in between bites of salad and sips of wine," cannot be justified or rationalized.
"The reported actions by Planned Parenthood should result in an immediate outcry. Unquestionably, if Planned Parenthood does not decry what has been exposed as immoral, brutal, and barbaric, then it is time that the mighty Planned Parenthood should fall," Floyd wrote.
"Congress needs to exert moral courage now," Floyd wrote, adding that the House and Senate should "demand" termination of what he said is a reported $500 million in funding for Planned Parenthood.
Floyd also called on President Obama and the White House to call for an immediate inquiry into the Planned Parenthood situation. "This is not about polls and parties, but about what is right morally," Floyd said.
Others who Floyd said need to "exert moral courage now" are aspiring politicians, business leaders, the media – and pastors, churches and denominations.
Floyd noted since 1973, 57 million abortions have occurred in America and compared that to "taking the lives of the entire populations of California and New York."
"Without a doubt, we need national leaders who exert strong moral courage," Floyd said, noting also a need for business leaders who "would never contribute to the brutality of the unborn child."
Calling out the media, Floyd said the story about "Cecil the Lion" in Zimbabwe received 30 minutes of coverage, according to the Media Research Center, while the Planned Parenthood story got 11 minutes in the major networks, ABC, NBC and CBS.
"Yes, even the media needs to exert moral courage at this time," Floyd said.
To pastors, Floyd said, "this is not being political, but prophetic."
"God did not call you to sit this one out," said Floyd. "He has called you to stand on God's Word. Refuse to buy into any type of pseudo-spirituality that says silence is your calling." Floyd noted in his blog that the Southern Baptists' recent June meeting in Columbus passed a resolution affirming the Sanctity of Human Life.
"What will history say one day about all of us who lived while abortion existed in our nation?" Floyd urged. "Will it say when the curtain was finally pulled back about the brutality of abortion that Americans stood up with moral courage? Or will history record that we were cowards?"
Floyd is one of the leaders at Send 2015, a historic conference in Nashville hosted by the SBC's North American Mission Board and International Mission Board that hopes to align the vision of the boards and inspire a movement of God's people to reach their neighborhoods and their nations.
SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore will host Republican presidential candidates former Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio in a civil forum at the conference Aug. 4 about their vision for the future. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton also received an invitation, but declined, according to Moore.