Christians Growing Increasingly Dissatisfied With Amoral Public Education System
Charlton Heston, portraying Moses in Cecil B DeMille’s classic movie “The Ten Commandments” declared to the Egyptians, “Let my people go!” Today, a similar rallying cry is being heard across the country as a growing number of southern Baptists are declaring: “Let our children go!”
That’s what many Southern Baptists are saying to a public school system that they regard as an unsalvageable humanist experiment that is failing to teach kids reading and other academic essentials and, far worse, is fostering an amoral atmosphere that is turning their kids away from God.
Many Baptists and some people in other Christian denominations are having a difficult time reconciling their belief that they should raise godly offspring with their failure to educate their kids outside of the public school system.
This week, AFP interviewed Roger Moran who, along with two colleagues, represents the state of Missouri on the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
According to Moran, there are around 16.3 million Southern Baptists in the United States. However, there are divisions among them on what to do regarding what they see as the corrosive influence of public schools.
Moran told AFP that while some Southern Baptists will “stay engaged” in the public schools and, in most cases, keep sending their children to them, many others are fed up with the school system. He blamed the growing dissatisfaction on the fact that the public schools exclusively promote the religion of secular humanism—a man-centered belief system that sees the creation of the universe and life as chance occurrences with no universal moral code.
Moran concedes that there are many Baptists who would pull their kids out of state-run schools if their financial status and other circumstances were less restrictive. But the trend is shifting toward those, like Moran and a number of other like-minded Baptists, who are calling for an exodus from the government schools.
It’s going to be a long, hard fight, Moran said, admitting that this won’t happen overnight.
“The point is to start the process of debate and to get people thinking about their worldview,” Moran told AFP.
He asked, how can Baptists continue to send their kids to public schools if they truly believe that one of their central tasks as Christians is to make sure their children are “to be trained up and profess the name of Christ.”?
A non-binding resolution passed on April 24 of this year is titled:
“Resolution on developing an exit strategy from the public schools that would give particular attention to the needs of orphans, single parents, and the disadvantaged.”
Submitted by Moran and colleague Dr. Bruce N. Shortt, the resolution’s opening statement is as follows:
Whereas, in June 2005 Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called for responsible Southern Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the government schools, stating further that there is no reason to believe that each year will not bring even more urgent concerns related to public education. . . .
In other words the mere passage of time is not expected to bring public school changes that will cast the school system in a favorable light.
The resolution makes 18 more assertions, criticizing the public schools for portraying homosexuality as acceptable and teaching “dogmatic Darwinism.” It then resolves, in part, “that the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention encourages each church associated with the Southern Baptist Convention to heed Dr. Mohler’s call to develop an exit strategy from the government’s schools.”
It also urges that “agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention assist churches in the development of exit strategies from the government schools and help coordinate efforts, including partnerships with churches in low income areas, to provide a Christian educational alternative to orphans, single parents, and the disadvantaged.”
Moran told AFP: “We’ve got people—many of whom are Baptists elected by their church to be messengers—who are going to submit this resolution in every state convention.”
Those conventions begin in late October and run through November. Many states have their own conventions while other states are grouped into regions.
Moran cited the section in the resolution stating that 88% of children raised in evangelical homes leave the church at age 18 and never return. This relevant portion was among passages mentioned in an Oct. 18 press release from the Christian Newswire, which reported:
“The call for an ‘exodus’ from the public schools continues to build momentum within the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC]. Although elements of the SBC leadership prevented the messengers at this year’s SBC Annual Meeting from having the opportunity to vote on the Moran/Shortt “Exit Strategy” resolution, the same resolution has been submitted in every SBC state and regional convention in the continental United States, a significant increase over the number of states in which education resolutions were introduced in 2004 (conventions covering 15 states) and 2005 (conventions covering approximately 25 states).”
Mohler is president of the SBC’s flagship seminary, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and is also considered one of the SBC’s leading theologians. His call for this exodus is based on his view that the public schools foster spiritual, moral and academic decay. Other Baptist activists point out that the result is an unsafe environment, among other issues.
Moran, speaking with AFP, is incensed that students in public schools cannot be given a true assessment of America’s Founding Fathers—particularly that most of them were Christian and built the nation’s founding documents on a basic Christian worldview.
“None of this stuff is being passed on to the next generation,” he said. “These kids are oblivious to what made this nation great.”
And, speaking of Christians who “talk the talk” but rarely “walk the walk,” he added, “We’ve got things that we say we would die for. We just won’t live for them. What good are 16 million Baptists if we don’t live like Christians?”
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