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A homeschool advocacy organization with a paid membership in the tens of thousands on Tuesday endorsed a resolution calling for Southern Baptist churches to develop an exit strategy from the nation’s public schools.

The Home School Legal Defense Association, a non-profit membership organization based in Purcellville, Va., about 40 miles from Washington, D.C., welcomed debate in the Southern Baptist Convention about whether Christians should “continue to risk the public system or take responsibility for the education of their own children and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

The group endorsed a resolution proposed to this year’s SBC Resolutions Committee by Roger Moran, a member of the SBC Executive Committee, and homeschooling father and Houston attorney Bruce Shortt–posting the full text of the resolution on its Web site.

“We hope that the members of the convention will adopt this important resolution,” the group said in a news release.

Established to defend legal and constitutional rights of homeschool parents, the HSLDA offers legal advice and lobbies members of Congress. Several members of the House and Senate recently participated in a legislative briefing sponsored by the group, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.

Moran and Shortt’s resolution, which must clear a committee in order to come to a vote at the upcoming SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., urges Southern Baptists to heed advice offered last year in a column by Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, when he wrote, “I believe that now is the time for responsible Southern Baptists to develop an exit strategy from the public schools.”

The resolution asks SBC agencies to “assist churches in the development of exit strategies from the government schools,” giving special attention “to the needs of orphans, single parents, and the disadvantaged.”

Last year the SBC passed a resolution calling on Christian parents to take responsibility for taking steps necessary to protect their children from indoctrination by “homosexual activists” in public schools, without calling for an outright withdrawal from public education in every case.

In 2004 the Resolutions Committee refused to report a resolution proposed by Shortt and Virginia conservative leader T.C. Pinckney that labeled “government” schools as “anti-Christian” and “officially Godless,” urging Christian parents to remove their children from public schools and either send them to Christian schools or educate them at home.

“As Dr. Mohler predicted, the dangers and the failures of the government’s schools are becoming more apparent with the passing of time,” Shortt told EthicsDaily.com. “This is why many pro-family groups and organizations such as HSLDA realize that every church should be developing an exit strategy from the public schools.”

Shortt said: “SBC churches now have an opportunity to lead in their communities by developing plans for offering a Christian education alternative to the public that specifically takes into account the needs of the disadvantaged, single parents, and orphans. Not only would this be the right thing to do theologically and the right thing to do for our communities, it represents an effective missional outreach alternative to bus tour evangelism.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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