Southern Baptists stop short of school pull-out

The Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday stopped short of supporting a resolution calling for an “exit strategy” for kids in the public school system, according to an Associated Press article published by News.

Meeting here in Greensboro, SBC leaders have instead supported another resolution urging Southern Baptists to exert “godly influence” on school systems, including running for election to local school boards.

Southern Baptists have been debating the direction of the public school system for some time now, especially in regard to how the public schools are handling such topics as LGBT issues and “intelligent design.”

According to the article:

The proposal, offered by Roger Moran of Troy, Mo., and Texas author Bruce Shortt, came as many of the nation’s 16.2 million Southern Baptists are concerned about how classrooms are handling subjects such as homosexuality and “intelligent design.”

Instead of putting the exit strategy before delegates to the SBC’s annual meeting, the denomination’s resolutions committee called on members to “engage the culture of our public school systems” by exerting “godly influence,” including standing for election to local school boards.

Those ideas were part of a more moderate resolution titled “On Engaging the Direction of the Public School System” scheduled for debate Wednesday evening at the final session of the denomination’s annual meeting.

The public schools issue has been simmering for several years. A resolution similar to the one offered by Moran and Shortt failed to pass two years ago. Delegates at last year’s annual meeting approved a resolution urging parents and churches to “to exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks, and programs in our community schools.”

Ok.. I have a question. Since when did it become okay for one religious group to try to push their beliefs on an entire public institution such as the public schools?

Gosh… I guess the SBC doesn’t get the picture: The public school system is not supposed to be a place for religious indoctrination. It really is a simple concept. All people, no matter what faith or belief structure, are allowed into the public school system. You can’t just go about trying to push what you think is “godly influence” on other people.

If the SBC wants schools to teach their own religious viewpoints or have “godly influence” on children and youth, then they need to put their kids in private schools where private money can pay for it.

4 Responses to “Southern Baptists stop short of school pull-out”
  1. Here’s the thing about this Resolution concerning an Exit Strategy…

    Messengers have introduced similar resolutions for years now. They continue to fail miserably.

    The SBC is a middle to upper-middle class denomination. Ever wondered how many Southern Baptist women teach in the public school systems? What is the most popular profession for a Preacher’s Wife in the SBC? My guess is public school teacher.

    On a whole, Southern Baptists are not RICH folks who can afford to send their kids to private schools.

    These exit strategy resolutions are just plain silly. The minority of Christians who try to smear the public school are merely afraid of Sex Education and Tolerance Education.

    The Southern Baptist Churches in my hometown of Vidalia/Lyons Georgia are very committed to their public school system. Public School Athletics is the pride and joy of hundreds of thousands of Southern Baptists throughout the South. While this homeschooling crowd is growing – they don’t represent the average SBCer (i.e. the folks not voting in Greensboro).

    On another note, do you remember the last time a large group of predominantly White Protestants made an Exodus from the Public School System??? The Late 60’s – after integration was enforced. That Exodus wasn’t permanent. They came back.

  2. Natasha Sell says:

    what makes southern baptists so special! (sorry Matt-no offense.) Do they think they’re the only denomination allowed to influence public schools? Last I checked there were Methodists, United Methodists, Presbyterians, Free Will Baptists, Baptists, Non-Denomenational, Episcopalian, Lutheran, wow, the list goes on and on. Could you imagine what would happen if all these denominations tried to force themselves into public schools? Instead of focusing on religion in school they might want to focus on teacher shortages, low pay, and extracurriculars being cut.

  3. Sophia says:

    Would it be overly snarky of me to say I’d be happy if they left?

    I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to hold the line on church state separation in schools. This issue makes me crazy. Public schools must stay secular.

    Just for the record, I say this as a progressive Christian who is training for the Episcopal priesthood. I know the statistics well enough to know that if people like me don’t help oppose religious influence in the public school, the religion that gets in will look nothing like the one I practice.

  4. Matt says:

    I don’t think it is snarky at all. I think it is a heartfelt opinion rooted in your strong belief that schools shouldn’t be places for preaching or converting.

    As Weave pointed out, these SBC’ers aren’t going to take their kids out of the public schools. It probably just won’t happen.

    What we have to make sure doesn’t happen right now, however, is any attempts from people to push religious views or beliefs into curriculum, policy or practice of the public school systems.

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