Despite an unsuccessful effort to have the Southern Baptist Convention pass a national resolution urging members to remove their children from government schools, advocates of private and home-school education carried the resolutions to at least 10 of the upcoming state Baptist conventions.
The national resolution was written by Baptist activists Bruce N. Shortt and T.C. Pinckney. Six resolutions on education were considered by the Resolutions Committee at the Southern Baptist Convention in June and the panel offered a measure warning against "the cultural drift in our nation toward secularism."
Shortt commented about the result and told WND, "They didn't want to touch this [government schools] issue; it's radioactive."
The Resolutions Committee did not move any of resolutions out to be the floor of the convention, but the reticence of the national body did not deter Baptist from bringing up the issue on the state level.
According to Shortt, resolutions will be introduced at 10 state Baptist conventions including, Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Tennessee, California, South Carolina, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina and the Baptist Convention of New England, which covers Connecticut, Vermont, Maine Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
"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," Roger Moran, who is spearheading the effort in Missouri, said in a statement.
He added, "As the educational philosophy of public schools increasingly mirrors the anti-Christian philosophy of our activist judges, the time has come to proclaim with absolute clarity that 'render unto Caesar' was never intended to include the hearts and minds of our children."
Like the national resolution, the state measures cite several reasons for Baptists to remove their kids from public education.
Shortt said the reasons include "research results showing the negative effects of public schooling on the attitudes and beliefs of Christian children, the 2002 finding by the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life that 88 percent of the children raised in evangelical homes leave church after the age of 18, and the fact that nearly 3,000 public middle and high schools have homosexual clubs, and public schools are rapidly adopting curricula and policies teaching that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable."
The earlier resolution, which made national headlines and received the support of the Home School Legal Defense Association, stated: "Government schools are by their own confession humanistic and secular in their instruction, [and] the education offered by the government schools is officially Godless."
"The millions of children in government schools spend seven hours a day, 180 days a year being taught that God is irrelevant to every area of life," the resolution said, "Many Christian children in government schools are converted to an anti-Christian worldview rather than evangelizing their schoolmates."
Wiley Drake, well-known Baptist pastor in Southern California, characterized the issue as a rescue effort.
"As Christians, we must rescue our children from public schools," Drake said. "They are being coerced and persecuted there. Frankly, speaking as a pastor who has observed the deterioration of public schools for many years, I would say that Christian parents who are putting their children in public schools today are endangering their children spiritually, emotionally, physically and educationally. This debate is important because parents need to know how toxic public schools have become."