While president of the Southern Baptist Convention expressed doubts on passing the resolution that calls for Baptists to remove their children from public schools, pro-family advocates are remaining optimistic about the proposal.
Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Focus on the Family, stands for endorsing the resolution especially in some liberal states such as California and Massachusetts that promote homosexual marriage, where Judeo-Christian values get often times undermined by educational systems.
The pro-family leader also strongly disagrees with people who believe youth should remain in public schools so they can be salt and light in an environment of values contrary to their faith.
"We're not talking about adults here," he pointed out, "going into the world and trying to minister to those who are wicked. We're talking about putting our kids under the leadership of people who disagree with everything you believe and stand for, and are working to undermine your belief system. And we're going to let our kids be the ones that are going to try to change that?"
Dobson urged parents to monitor everything being taught to their children because the public education system as a whole is antithetical to Christianity and doesn’t fully provide correct academic and moral values.
"We're going to send our kids into Sodom and Gomorrah and hope that they'll change the system, minister to the system?” Dobson pondered, “ I think that's our job as adults, not a child's job, especially when they're very vulnerable -- junior high and high school. You get your kids into Sodom and Gomorrah, you just might not be able to get them out."
In many cases, Dobson said the best way for Christians to influence the public schools is to pull their children out of them. He added that if schools knew they could not keep children in the public education system while insulting the Christian faith and forcing students to read perverse literature, then everyone would see a dramatic change in America's classrooms.
Bruce Short, a Texan attorney and father of three home-schooled children who co-authored the resolution against public schools with T.C. Pinckney, held similar viewpoints as Dr. Dobson. He strongly supports the resolution believing that what children need is an environment where they could receive Christian education.
He also disagrees with those who believe children can be “salt and light” in today’s public schools and looking at the 2002 statistics by the SBC’s Council of Family Life, which shows nearly 88 percent evangelical children are leaving the church shortly after they graduate from high school, he believes such problem will not be solved unless children are removed from “anti-Christian” government schools.
"Many parents, many people in the lay community, are beginning to see how deeply troubled these schools are and the damage they're doing to our children," Short said, "and as a result there has been a tremendous up-swell of interest and support." Because of this, he adds, "I believe the outcome in Indianapolis is now very much in play."
Dr. Jack Graham, president of the SBC, on the other hand said he supports creation of more Christian schools but can’t support the resolution as it now stands. He pointed out that the proposed resolution’s present wording raise questions regarding passing the proposal. Referring to a sentence in the proposal which reads “families that send their children to public schools are acting in a sinful manner,” he said, “Those kinds of words would not be a part of a [successful] resolution of the Southern Baptists."
"While we support Christian education -- we have a Christian school here at our church, and I've been banging the drum to start Southern Baptist kingdom education kinds of schools all across America -- I personally would not favor resolving in any way to remove our children from public schools," Graham noted.
Graham more emphasized the significance of Christians positively influencing public education. "We have many public school teachers and coaches and administrators who are very active in our churches," Graham said, "We're training our young people to be salt and light in our communities, and many of these will be teaching in the public schools."