Ron Strom is commentary editor of WND, a post he took after serving as a news editor since 2000. Prior to coming on board with WND, Strom worked in politics in California. Married and the father of two homeschool graduates, he has served in leadership positions in his church, local nonprofit boards and in county government.More ↓Less ↑
An unsuccessful effort to have the Southern Baptist Convention pass a resolution urging members to remove their children from government schools has a new life as activists in ten states plan to introduce similar measures at state conventions this fall.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the national resolution, written by Baptist activists Bruce N. Shortt and T.C. Pinckney, called on the millions of members of the denomination to take their kids out of public schools and either homeschool them or send them to Christian schools.
There were six resolutions on education the Resolutions Committee considered at the Southern Baptist Convention in June, and rather than referring any out to the floor of the convention, the panel offered a measure warning against “the cultural drift in our nation toward secularism.”
Shortt told WND at the time: “They didn’t want to touch this [government schools] issue; it’s radioactive.”
The reticence of the national body, however, hasn’t deterred Baptists from bringing up the issue on the state level. According to Shortt, resolutions will be introduced at 10 state Baptist conventions in October and November.
Those states are 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.
Roger Moran is spearheading the effort in Missouri.
“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,” Moran said in a statement. “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.”
Larry Reagan, a pastor from Tennessee, is leading the effort in his state. He calls the matter “a very hot issue among Baptists and other evangelical Christians.”
Reagan said, “As pastors we need to step up to the challenge by making sure Christian children receive a Christian education 24/7.”
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.”
Noting that “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 is a well-known Baptist pastor in Southern California who characterizes the issue as a rescue effort.
“As Christians, we must rescue our children from public schools,” Drake stated. “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.”