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A Stray Cow Bellowing in the Woods

What’s that old expression? “Here we go again!”

I’m routinely amused and sometimes saddened by the antics of some of my fellow Southern Baptists. With every Southern Baptist Convention, I think that the absurdities and embarrassments have about run their course when someone goes back to the drawing board and invents a new one.

And so comes the prominent T.C. Pinckney, who is encouraging the convention to pass a resolution for all Southern Baptists to pull their children out of public schools.

Not only is his position totally wacko, it’s also not pragmatic in a denomination where independence and autonomy have long prevailed.

Pinckney says our public schools are “Godless” and he encourages home-schooling.

Certainly there is a lot of head shaking and snickering going on about now. No, that’s not an indictment of home schooling. Home schooling is a parent’s choice. And if they have the resources, skills and economic independence to do such, they may even provide an advantage.

Pinckney’s call is little more than a stray cow bellowing in the deep woods. He’s the epitome of the hardshell preacher pounding his fists on the podium and challenging Satan to meet him out back in the alley right after church services. The cow can find its way back to the barn when it gets hungry enough and the preacher knows Satan ain’t gonna show up.

Pinckey says the collapse of our public schools would be “the finest thing that could happen in the United States.”

Well, in further assessment of this man, I could pose a clinical reaction and perhaps find some verbiage that describes him as a theological anomaly. But to save time and space, just let me say this, “He’s an idiot.” I think the Book of Ecclesiastes will back me by an extension of its advice that there’s a time to be polite and there is a time to just call things what they are.

Our public schools are not perfect. Nor are our churches, as we can well attest. Most institutions and organizations have some warts. But our public schools have served us long and well. They were never meant to instill religion in our children. They were meant to instill arithmetic, social studies, history, science, etc.

Meanwhile, our public schools are a composite of everything we are in our nation. A portion of every good thing, every bad thing and all of that in between will in some way manifest itself on our campuses and in our classrooms while dedicated teachers and administrators seek to convey knowledge to our youngsters amid all the sociological flak and shrapnel that also comes their way. And in all of this, students who desire to learn can achieve that very ideal.

In the echo of Pinckney’s remarks, I would offer an apology to our many dedicated professionals (many of whom are people of strong faith with high moral character that speaks for itself) who convey knowledge to our youngsters in public school venue. But being the bright people they are, I don’t feel such is necessary. They can spell “absurd” and “ridiculous.” And even though they’ve probably got a few students they wish their mammas and daddies indeed would come and get, they are not derailed from the course of great challenges because someone read the story of “Chicken Little” and thought it was gospel.

Even to dignify Pinckney’s position with a response is a threat to most people’s valuable time. But sometimes we must re-establish the notion that throwing the baby out with the wash is not a viable alternative to continue changing its diapers.

I will also offer this thought to those who manufacture bumper stickers, “Teach your child how to pray, and then the question of where he prays becomes a moot point.”

Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer and a member of TrinityBaptistChurch in Moultrie, Ga. This column is used with permission.