A resolution being proposed at next month’s Southern Baptist Convention asking churches to investigate homosexual influences in public schools has picked up endorsements from conservative organizations.
Mission America, a pro-family ministry that tracks gay activism in youth culture, is urging public support for the resolution encouraging churches to find out whether their local schools have homosexual clubs or use curriculum or programs that present homosexuality as acceptable.
“Hopefully, the SBC resolutions committee will seriously consider the vast evidence about this takeover of common sense in our taxpayer-funded schools,” Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, wrote on WorldNetDaily.com. “Please use the tremendous influence you have, SBC, regardless of the heat you will take, and do the right thing to protect children from the evil in local public schools.”
(Mission America is a different organization from the Mission America Coalition, an evangelistic organization with staff members including Larry Lewis, former president of the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board.)
The resolution is also supported by Concerned Women for America.
Robert Knight, director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute, is quoted in a press release announcing the proposed resolution. “Under the rubric of ‘diversity,’ ‘tolerance,’ ‘safe schools’ and AIDS education, homosexual activists are selling a pansexual agenda right under parents’ noses,” Knight said.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Houston attorney Bruce Shortt, who last year unsuccessfully called for a mass exodus from “government” schools, and Voddie Baucham, an African-American evangelist and author from Spring, Texas.
It recommends than any church finding itself in a school district supporting homosexuality “inform the parents of this fact and encourage them to remove their children from the school district’s schools immediately.”
Shortt told EthicsDaily.com he expects other organizations to endorse the resolution, which must clear a committee before coming to a vote at the SBC annual meeting, scheduled June 21-22 in Nashville, Tenn.
Without mentioning Shortt and Baucham’s resolution by name, World Magazine warned that even though conservatives control Southern Baptist seminaries and colleges, they still risk losing their next generation due to their reliance on public schools.
“The fact is that most evangelical Christians continue to leave the primary task of teaching their children not to their churches but to the secularist state,” the article said.
Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology at Grove City College, wrote a column called “The Return of the Parents,” mentioning the proposed resolution among a number of recent headlines involving controversy over sexual orientation.
“What baffles me is how groups like the NEA and PTA can miss the significance of these parental uprisings,” Throckmorton said. “In states blue and red, mainstream parents are becoming organized in unprecedented ways to express frustration over how homosexuality is being taught to children from kindergarten to high school.”
Baptist Press carried Throckmorton’s column as a “First Person” commentary, but edited out this paragraph: “At this year’s annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention will be considering a resolution proposing that churches investigate whether the schools in their town promote homosexual advocacy. If schools do and will not listen, parents will be encouraged to find other educational options.”
Agape Press, affiliated with the American Family Association, changed a story, reportedly after an SBC employee complained about a technicality.
As of Friday, May 26, however, Baptist Press had not published a story on the resolution, prompting Shortt to question whether SBC officials, many of whom opposed his resolution last year, were trying to suppress the story.
“It’s really quite outrageous that a Baptist organization is trying to manipulate information that should be going to the grassroots,” he told EthicsDaily.com.
LifeWay Christian Resources, the SBC’s publishing arm, also recently decided not to carry Shortt’s book, The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, on its store shelves, but were making it available through special ordering and their online store.
“We believe Bruce Short’s book is well-written and gives accurate, documented examples of the serious problems in American public schools today,” said LifeWay spokesman Rob Phillips.
“However, we made the decision not to carry it on our store shelves due to the hard line we feel the book takes against public schools,” Phillips said. “There are millions of Christian families who have no alternative to public schools, and one of our responsibilities at LifeWay is to provide help for those who must assume responsibility for the education of their children within that alternative.”
Shortt views the argument that not all parents can afford a private Christian school or have the time to teach their children at home as “poverty of imagination.”
“With the technology that currently exists it really doesn’t take very much time to set up an adequate alternative,” he said, to what he has termed “our government-school habit.”
“Social Security is said to be the third rail of American politics,” Shortt said. “I would have to say the public schools have become the third rail of American evangelicals, and our convention is no exception to that.”
Shortt said his resolution is “just calling upon the convention and our churches and our parents to be faithful stewards of our children.”
An example of the kind of activity that he believes parents ought to monitor, he said, is described in an article by the anti-gay Web site Article 8 Alliance reporting on the distribution of a sexually explicit booklet at conference on gay and lesbian issues at Brookline High School in Boston.
Organizers said the placement of about 10 copies of the “Little Black Book,” described by Article 8 as “pornographic” and a “how-to” booklet for performing homosexual acts, was a mistake at an event attended by high school, and some middle school, students.
According to the Boston Globe, the book is produced by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts and is targeted at gay men 18 and older.
After news reports, the superintendent of the Public Schools of Brookline apologized for the fact the book was made available at the high school.