INDIANAPOLIS — Southern Baptist messengers at the 2004 Southern Baptist Convention rejected a resolution calling for removal of children from public schools, June 16.
The proposal against public schools was originally made by T.C. Pinckney and Bruce Shortt in hope to encourage Southern Baptists to give their children a “thoroughly Christian education,” while criticizing secularization of culture.
To Pinckney, a former SBC second vice president, “through Christian education” means “home schooling, truly Christian private schools or some other innovative model of private Christian education.”
Pickney and Shortt denouced public schools as "officially godless" and accused them of promoting homosexuality.
In defense of his amendment, Pinckney pointed out that there is an abundance of evidence that "government schools are becoming more and more anti-Christian," though he acknowledged "many differences from one public school to another” and commended Christians teaching and working in public schools.
On Wednesday, the last day of the national meeting, the convention's resolutions committee made no recommendation on home schooling, but when one of the resolution's sponsors attempted attaching it to another resolution, the amendment drew criticism and ultimately was ultimately declined by the committee.
Both supporters and opponents addressed Pinckney's amendment from the floor. One of the strong opponents of the proposal was Calvin Wittman, Resolutions Committee chairman.
Wittman told messengers the issue does not need to be readdressed since the convention had already passed 11 resolutions on education in the last 19 years in support of public, private and home schoolding.
Wittman said the committee believes "this is a responsibility that God has given to the parents of each individual child, and we encourage parents to exercise that God-given responsibility over their children."
He added, "We must be careful as a denomination not to usurp the authority that God has placed firmly in the home," Wittman added as he was explaining that the committee’s opposition to the resolution was “by no way” opposition to home schooling.
SBC President Jack Graham also commented on the issue: "Southern Baptists are concerned about the direction of some public schools," Graham said, "But on the other hand many of our best people -- administrators, teachers, coaches -- are Southern Baptists working within the public school system all around America."
Wittman later said to reporters, "The real issue here is not whether we are for Christian education or against public education. The real issue is, 'Where does the responsibility lie?'"