GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - As concerns persist about how classrooms are handling subjects such as homosexuality and 'intelligent design,' some members of the nation's largest Protestant denomination want the Southern Baptist Convention to consider creating an exit strategy from public schools.
A committee at the Southern Baptists' annual gathering was scheduled to report Wednesday on a resolution that would urge the denomination to form a strategy for removing Southern Baptist children from public schools in favor of home schooling or education at private schools.
The group takes up the issue a day after it elected a new president, Frank Page. The 53-year-old pastor at First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., was supported primarily by younger pastors and others who felt marginalized by an older generation that led a conservative takeover of the church in the 1970s and 1980s.
Delegates at last year's annual meeting passed a resolution urging parents and churches to "to exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks, and programs in our community schools."
"We are commanded biblically to train our children in the nurture of the Lord," said Roger Moran of Troy, Mo., who sits on the executive committee and offered the proposal with Texas author Bruce Shortt. "The public schools are no longer allowed ... to even acknowledge the God of the Bible."
Moran, who owns a company that makes construction supplies, is a father of nine children, ages 18 months to 18 years. All have been home-schooled or attended Christian schools, he said.
"Everything that I believe as a Bible-believing Christian is not allowed to be taught in the public schools," he said.
The proposal from Moran and Shortt, author of "The Harsh Truth About Public Schools," complains that curricula teaching that "the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable" are being implemented in public schools. It also criticizes a federal court ruling last year that banned the teaching of "intelligent design" — the notion that life is so complex it must have been created by a higher intelligence — in a Pennsylvania school system.
"Things aren't getting any better in the public schools," Moran said. "They're getting worse."
A similar resolution offered two years ago at the annual meeting did not pass. Past resolutions have affirmed support for home schooling and Christian schools, but the convention has never formally renounced resolutions affirming public education that were passed before the conservative takeover of the denomination.
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