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Southern Baptists Told To Quit 'Gay Friendly' Public School


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Southern Baptists Told To Quit 'Gay Friendly' Public School

by Rose French, Associated Press

April 26, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Nashville, Tennessee) A group of activists in the Southern Baptist Convention are again calling on the denomination to remove its children from public schools, two years after a similar action was rejected.

The resolution to urge Baptists to develop an "exit strategy" from public schools is co-sponsored by Texas lawyer Bruce Shortt and Roger Moran, a Missouri businessman and member of the convention's influential executive committee.

Shortt and Moran said they plan to submit the proposal for a possible vote by the convention at its annual meeting in North Carolina in June.

The resolution's release yesterday comes as 56 Baptist pastors and organizational leaders urged denomination members last week in a letter to "speak positively about public education" in response to the movement to pull Baptist children out of public schools.

They also said that it's wrong for church leaders to urge their congregations to abandon public schools for either home-schooling or private Christian academies.

The Shortt-Moran resolution says recent federal court rulings have favored public schools "indoctrinating children with dogmatic Darwinism" and have limited the rights of parents in dictating what schools can teach, including matters on sexuality.

The resolution also says public schools "continue to adopt and implement curricula and policies teaching that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable" and that Christian alternatives to public schools are "desperately needed immediately by orphans, children of single parents and the disadvantaged."

Kenyn Cureton, a spokesman with the Southern Baptist Convention, said yesterday in a released statement that the convention had not received the proposed resolution. He noted that just because a potential resolution is submitted does not mean it will make it to the convention floor for a vote.

The convention rejected a resolution made by Shortt in 2004 calling for parents to remove their children from public schools. However, the following year it adopted a version of another resolution from Shortt that asked churches to investigate if schools were promoting the acceptance of homosexuality.

"In the 2005 resolution, the messengers (Southern Baptist members) acknowledged that there are valid concerns," Cureton said.

"But instead of advising Southern Baptists to exit the public schools, they encouraged our people to engage the public schools." With more than 16 million members, the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Nancy Ammerman, a professor of the sociology of religion at Boston University who has written widely on Southern Baptists, said the distrust of public schools has been growing among the denomination and other evangelicals.

"Twenty-five years ago, most Southern Baptists lived in communities they thought of as religious friendly. People like them were in charge, on the school board, in leadership positions. So they had no reason to distrust public schools," she said.

"What's happened over that time are those local communities have gotten more diverse so they can't assume people like them are in charge. The SBC itself has become more intentionally politically conservative. So they (Southern Baptists) get messages from their churches that encourage them to think about alternatives to public schools and to worry about what's going on in them."

©365Gay.com 2006


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