A member of the Southern Baptist Convention resolutions committee says he believes the convention ought to consider a resolution calling for an exit strategy from public schools.
According to Agape Press, Darrell Orman, pastor of First Baptist Church in Stuart, Fla., said he believes evangelical Christians underestimate the influence of public schools to silence religious speech.
“I think the public school system has moved so far [to the] left, part of it with the influence of the teachers union and the left leanings of the teachers union across the nation,” he said. “And then you’ve got the ACLU and others, the separation of church and state people, who are trying to inoculate the public system from Christianity, pretty much.”
Two laymen, Bruce Shortt of Texas and Roger Moran of Missouri, have introduced a resolution they hope will be considered at next month’s SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C. It calls on Southern Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the public schools, while giving particular attention to needs of the disadvantaged, orphans and single parents.
Earlier, the chairman of the resolutions committee, T.C. French, the pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., declined to predict whether the committee will bring Shortt and Moran’s resolution to the floor for a vote.
French was on last year’s resolutions committee, which brought forth a resolution urging parents and churches to investigate their local schools for unchristian influences, particularly homosexuality. He told Agape Press this year’s committee would look at the proposed resolution to see if it merely duplicates last year’s statement or has additional merit.
Support for the resolution, which is endorsed by Southern Baptist leaders including Rick Scarborough and Al Mohler, continues to grow. On Friday the Southern Baptist Church and Home Education Association announced two more speakers who have committed to speak at a Kingdom Education Summit in conjunction with the SBC meeting in Greensboro.
The SBCHEA endorses the resolution and is labeling this year’s summit, the second, with the theme, “Exit Strategy: From the World to the Home, From the Home to the World.”
Joining the program are Scott Woodruff, an attorney for Home School Legal Defense Association, which also has endorsed the resolution, and Emir Caner, dean of The College at Southwestern at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a summit sponsor.
Caner is best known for a 2002 book he co-wrote with his brother Ergun, dean of Liberty Theological Seminary, titled Unveiling Islam. Former SBC president Jerry Vines said the book was the source for his 2002 comment at the SBC Pastors Conference calling Muhammad a “demon-possessed pedophile.”
The Caners’ latest book, Christian Jihad, looks at the crusades from the perspective of former Muslims who are now born-again Christians.
Members of the resolutions committee will begin meeting June 7, a week before the June 13-14 annual meeting in Greensboro.
SBC president Bobby Welch, who in 2004 opposed a failed SBC resolution advocating a mass exodus from public schools, said in an interview in the current Florida Baptist Witness he believes churches ought to be engaged in education and cannot do “enough to try to impact education from the Christian perspective.”
“I frankly think that despite all of our best efforts for salvaging the morality of public school, that the brightest days of the private school have not yet arrived and I pray that when that day comes that there will be an overwhelming majority of them as Christian private schools,” said Welch, who completes his second and final one-year term as president in Greensboro
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.