The Simple Life
One further thing on a different topic

Those Stupid Southern Baptists

Ray and I are thinking alike. His article for our church newsletter is on the same subject I was planning on writing about next. So, I'm going to go ahead anyway.

The Texas Freedom Network (always linked on the left over there), sends out regular e-mails about issues of the fundamentalists trying to take over public education. Here in Texas the textbooks for the entire state are approved at the state level by the state Board of Education. In Oklahoma and Arkansas we didn't do such things. But here that gives the state board significant influence on textbooks for students anywhere in the country, because if a textbook can't be sold in Texas it isn't economically viable for the publishing company. So, students in Vermont and Hawaii are affected by the decisions of the state Board of Education of Texas.

The fundamentalists figured that out and have had a concerted effort for years to gain control of the board. The Texas Freedom Network was partially created to oppose this effort. Last year we battled over science textbooks. I signed a clergy petition supporting the teaching of evolution, for instance. We won last year's battle! It was quite exciting. The creationists were unable to change the textbooks. This year is health books! Seems they even want to change teaching of math and other basic subjects to remove critical thinking skills. Scary!!!!

Anyway, back to the stupid SBC. Here's info on one of the resolutions that will be proposed at the meeting of the convention this summer:

The resolution urges all officers and members of the Southern Baptist Convention "to remove their children from the government schools and see to it that they receive a thoroughly Christian education."

It encourages churches to "counsel parents regarding
their obligation to provide their children with a Christian
education" and to "provide all of their children with
Christian alternatives to government school education,
either through home schooling or thoroughly Christian
private schools."

The resolution's co-sponsor, Bruce Shortt, an attorney and home-schooling father, told the conservative Web site that many Christian parents are in denial about the dangers of government schools. He said the time has come "to focus on rescuing our children from Pharaoh's schools."
James Dobson of Focus on the Family, a frequent guest speaker at SBC annual meetings, urged on his radio program in 2002 that parents in California pull their youngsters out of public schools. Dobson and Pinckney are among leaders to endorse The Exodus Mandate, a movement started in 1997 with the mantra, "Every church a school, every parent a teacher."
"Just as it would be foolish for the warrior to give his arrows to his enemies, it is foolish for Christians to give their children to be trained in schools run by the enemies of God."

My objections are not simply religious/theological. I have a serious objection as an American. I think that if the fundies succeed in their efforts to destroy public education (of course this resolution might fail to pass at the SBC, but they are assaulting schools on various fronts), at least to destroy it in certain parts of the country, then they will have succeeded in decreeing the end of the American experiment.

You see, Jefferson was the first to emphasize that democracy was impossible without public education. Our effort at creating a secular, civil, democratic society rests on a common public education. One of those quotes I memorized in school as a kid that sticks with you is this by Adlai Stevenson, "The most American thing about America is the free, common, public, school system."

Who knew that when we moderates in the SBC lost the battles of the 1980's that that meant that 20 years later we'd be fighting for control of the administration, schools, and the whole culture with the same folk?

In the article about the resolution, the most interesting excerpt is this:

The resolution says the Bible gives parents the responsibility for educating their children, yet Christian children in public schools "are converted to an anti-Christian worldview rather than evangelizing their schoolmates."

That is one factor, the resolution claims, behind the
statistic that 88 percent of children raised in evangelical
homes leave church by age 18, never to return.

Do kids (I guess I'm one of those stats) leave these churches because it is the fault of the schools or is it because it is the fault of the churches for being so wrong about so many things? I'm encouraged that 88% are leaving. I just wish that instead of wondering outside the church that they knew of all the religious options open to them. We'd take them at Royal Lane! :)


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Great post, Scott. Two points: if fundies do, indeed, support this measure, they are likely upper-middle class or wealthy. That kind of thinking only comes from short-sighted rich people. If they want increase the number of local, private Baptist schools, they'll have to make it affordable to their constituents. Which will be impossible on the whole.

Second point - SBC Prez Jack Graham already doomed this motion by saying that it would be "highly unlikely to pass" in this years upcoming Convention meeting. I, for one, believe him. As much as I vehemently disagree with the SBC and fundies, alike, I find Dr. Graham mostly reasonable and rational. That's too bad.

Jacob Zimmer

Excellent post. Your closing paragraph hit the nail on the head.


This one hits close to home. Let me first say, at that I went to a large public high school. Waco High School was a nightmare, and I still have shudders when I think about it to long. I would have given anything to have been able to attend Waco Christian, however, we couldn't afford it and I'd turned down the cheerleading scholorship I'd been offered in jr. high. If I'd had any clue what WHS would be like I'd have made a different decision. I regret that decision to this day. Two reasons, number one, because I could have gone to high school and not worried about whether or not I was going to see a drive by shooting from my english class window, or see someone get stabbed in front of the school, or have been grabbed and manhandled every game day. None of that would have been tolerated at WCHS, I know personally that they were at WHS. Number two because I think I would have recieved a much better education. Now having said that, let me say that I think we need to be more concerned with improving our public education system than starting small Baptist private schools. We need to pay teachers better salaries, we need to get educated, responsible, caring adults in there and then give them the support they need as a community to do the best job they can to educate our youth. In addition, I left church because while all of this living hell was going on a Waco High, my youth group and youth leader were absolutely convinced that if the three of us who went to WHS were living our lifes in the manner they thought we should, we wouldn't be having the problems we did. Never mind that every other member of our youth group at that time attended Midway, which may as well have been Waco Christian at that time. All three of us left the youth group, and my brother never even started. I am the only one of the four of us who still attends church, and if it weren't for Royal Lane, I might not be. We have a responsibility both as a church, parents, and a community to our youth. We need to make sure that we create a public education system that is worth having, and create a church environment that it supportive what ever the situation.

Garland Hamic

I can't WAIT to see if this passes!

If you want to read the full resolution:

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