Resolutions drawing attention to homosexual influences in public schools are expected to be introduced in at least 28 Baptist state conventions this fall, nearly double the number of resolutions critical of public education proposed last year.
A sponsor of a Southern Baptist Convention resolution urging parents and churches to investigate whether their community schools promote homosexuality said it represents a “sea change” in how Baptists view government schools.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
“For years the public schools have been the ‘golden calf’ of American evangelicals,” said <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Bruce Shortt, a Houston attorney and sponsor of an anti-public school resolution at this year’s SBC annual meeting.
“Many leaders and pastors have been afraid to speak out about the ways in which public schools are destroying our children because of the influence within their congregations of public school teachers, administrators, and parents,” Shortt said. “Today, however, it is almost impossible to conceal the virulent pathologies of the government schools.”
Two Baptist state conventions have already adopted resolutions inspired by the June SBC resolution warning that “homosexual activists and their allies are devoting substantial resources and using political power to promote the acceptance among schoolchildren of homosexuality as a morally legitimate lifestyle.”
The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, which met Oct. 24-25, adopted a resolution using the exact same language, while urging parents and churches “to research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children” and to “demand discontinuation of offensive material and programs.”
The Texas resolution called on Christian parents “to embrace fully their responsibility to make prayerful and informed decisions regarding where and how they educate their children, whether they choose public, private, or home schooling, to ensure their physical, moral, emotional, and spiritual well-being, with a goal of raising godly men and women who are thoroughly equipped to live as fully devoted, well-informed and responsible followers of Christ.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention, held Oct. 24-26, passed a resolution warning that “many negative influences are attempting to transform the moral foundation of the culture by reshaping the core values of our children.”
It called on parents to investigate school programs and curricula, hold schools accountable for what is taught and to “fully embrace” their responsibility to educate their children.
“One of the great tragedies of American Christianity has been the near universal failure of its leaders to boldly proclaim the inherent dangers lurking within America’s government-owned and controlled schools,” said Roger Moran, a Missouri representative on the SBC Executive Committee.
“But now, in the context of Southern Baptist life, that is beginning to change,” Moran said. “We are beginning to understand with increased clarity that the worldview into which our children are being educated in the public schools matters supremely. The secular worldview taught in our public schools has not only laid the foundation for a ‘new morality,’ but with the aid of liberal activist judges has cleared the way for pro-homosexuality activists in their massive effort to recruit America’s young people to the homosexual lifestyle.”
Shortt said he expects several more state Baptist groups to adopt similar statements. “It is clear the tide is turning” on the school issue, he said. The clearest evidence is a statement by Southern Seminary President Al Mohler that responsible Baptists should begin developing “an exit strategy” from public schools.
“Dr. Mohler is absolutely right and should be commended for his leadership and courage,” said Shortt, author of a book titled The Harsh Truth About Public Schools,
Earlier this year, Shortt and evangelist Voddie Baucham jointly submitted a resolution claiming that under a guise of promoting tolerance, safety, diversity and multiculturalism, a growing number of pubic schools are influencing children to regard homosexuality as morally acceptable.
Shortt and Baucham urged every Southern Baptist church to investigate whether is local school district had a homosexual club or program legitimizing homosexuality and, if so, to “inform parents of this fact and encourage them to remove their children from the district’s schools immediately.”
Baucham, who is African-American (Shortt is white), said children from low-income or single-parent families are “often most vulnerable to the lies of homosexual activists.” He said churches “need to intervene to provide those children with a Christian education.”
“The mission field is not just overseas; it is right here,” Baucham said. “And this mission effort requires a more serious commitment than just handing out tracts or sharing a testimony. No passage in the Bible suggests that God is concerned about our churches having large sanctuaries or elaborately produced music. He will, however, hold us accountable for our stewardship of our children.”
Like the Baucham-Shortt resolution, the state Christian education resolutions typically point out the dangers inherent in the homosexual lifestyle, note the ways in which school districts are collaborating with homosexual activists, call for parents and churches to investigate their local school districts, and set forth standards that parents should observe in choosing how their children will be educated.
The SBC state conventions have their meetings in late October and early November, and the sponsors of the state Christian education resolutions plan to have their resolutions debated at their state conventions.
“Christian parents are increasingly concluding that the profound decline in moral standards in many public schools make them unfit places for Christian children,” said Mark Cole, a home-schooling father and conservative activist from Texas. “The betrayal of our children by school districts that allow homosexuality to be portrayed as an acceptable lifestyle is just the latest manifestation of this. Public schools should strive to provide children with an excellent basic education without undermining traditional morality.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.
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Southern Baptists Call for Investigation of Public Schools