Southern Baptists will be asked again this year to consider removing their children from the public schools.
Author and attorney Bruce Shortt and Baptist evangelist Dr. Voddie Baucham Jr. have presented a proposal to the Southern Baptist Convention to be considered by the resolutions committee at the denomination’s June 21 Annual Meeting.
The proposal asks Baptist parents to investigate whether their local school district “has either one or more homosexual clubs or curricula or programs … that present homosexuality as an acceptable ‘lifestyle’”; and if so, to inform their churches and other parents of the fact “and encourage them to remove their children from the school district’s schools immediately.” (For the full text of the proposed resolution, see www.exodusmandate.org.)
Shortt went to the SBC Annual Meeting last year with a much broader proposal, asking Southern Baptist parents to pull their children out of “anti-Christian government schools.” The committee declined to release that proposal for a vote.
“Our approach is different this time,” Shortt said. “We’re focusing on one problem — the homosexual agenda in the schools — that’s becoming progressively more acute.”
What’s at Stake?
“I don’t know what will happen this year, but I think we’ve broken through,” said E. Ray Moore, whose Exodus Mandate strongly supports the proposal. “I think this is the beginning of possibly a decade-long debate.”
With more than 43,000 churches and 16.2 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the largest denominations in the country. The future of the public school system may depend on the actions of the SBC, Moore said.
“In some southern states,” he said, “the Southern Baptists are the school system. If they pull their kids out, it might mean the end for a lot of those school districts.”
Moore estimated some 2 million children are currently schooled at home. The U.S. Department of Education estimates slightly more than 1 million.
“The figure is hard to track,” Moore said. “Between homeschooling, religious schools, and other private schools, we think the public schools have lost 15% of their student population, nationally.
“If we can get a third of the children out of those schools, the system will be in danger of collapsing.”
In addition to local property taxes, funding for the public schools relies on state and federal aid, which is usually based on the number of students enrolled. As enrollment decreases, financial aid is reduced. In several states, some public school officials have already sounded the alarm (see Chalcedon, April 16, 2005, “Government Schools Facing Economic Collapse?” http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/0504/050416-1duigon.php).
The schools’ ongoing campaign to legitimize the homosexual “lifestyle,” Moore said, is only the latest development in a 40-year pattern of godlessness in public education.
“I don’t expect at all that these schools can ever be reformed,” he said. “Public education is an officially godless system, by design and practice. Our mission is to save Christian children — just get them out of there. If that causes the system to collapse, so be it.”
Enabling the Activists
Bruce Shortt cited current news stories to support his proposal.
“I wish the resolutions committee would actually look at some of the curriculum material that teachers are handing out to kids in public schools,” he said.
Parents in Montgomery County, Maryland — often described as the single most liberal county in America — went to court this spring to block a “sex education” curriculum in their schools that went too far even for Montgomery County. The judge agreed with them and ordered the curriculum put on hold until December, and perhaps indefinitely. The curriculum featured teaching that church denominations that condone homosexuality, such as the Episcopal Church USA, are “good,” while churches that view homosexual behavior as sinful, like the Southern Baptist Convention, are “hateful.” This, ruled the judge, was indeed going too far.
In Massachusetts last month, a father was jailed for a night for protesting when the local school tried to teach his six-year-old son that homosexual activity is morally acceptable.
An even hotter controversy has developed in Boston over allegations that middle and high school students were given an explicitly pornographic Little Black Book to instruct them in sodomy (see Chalcedon May 19, 2005, “Educators Use ‘Little Black Book’ to Push Gay Sex,” http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=8).
“The committee members need to see this stuff,” Shortt said. “And I would say to them, ‘You’re either for my resolution or you’re for the Little Black Book. If they won’t let our resolution have a floor vote, they’re enabling the homosexual activists in the schools.”
John Revell, Office of Convention Relations, SBC Executive Committee, said there would be no discussion of any proposals submitted to the resolutions committee until one week before the Annual Meeting.
“Every proposal receives a fair and unprejudiced review,” Revell said. “The committee asks of every proposal, is it timely, relevant, and appropriate? Does it reflect the consensus of the majority of Southern Baptists?”
Dr. Bobby Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, was unavailable for comment.
“This year it’ll be a new resolutions committee with a new chairman,” Shortt said. “My resolution has been submitted and received.”
Shortt said he hopes the situation in the schools will speak for itself.
“Teacher training programs and the popular culture have worked very hard to destigmatize homosexual behavior — despite the health risks involved, which are worse than the risks associated with smoking,” he said. “It’s an extraordinarily dangerous lifestyle.
“The government schools have transformed themselves into an institution whose primary purposes are the disbursement of some $600 billion a year, and the dissemination of a leftist political agenda. For Christians, it should be a matter of profound concern.”