SBC Resolution on Educating Children

This week I’ve been posting the resolutions passed by the Southern Baptist Convention last week in its annual meeting. I meant to post my thoughts on each one, but failed to allot the time to do so. I wanted to mention at least a brief word about this one.

In the days leading up to the SBC annual meeting the media focused almost all of its attention on one particular proposal concerning homosexuality in the public schools. The resolution urged Southern Baptists to remove all their children from any public school that promoted homosexual tolerance. The authors of the resolution tried to propose a more audacious resolution in 2004 which called Southern Baptists to pull all their children from all public schools across the board. That proposal didn’t make it to the floor and so this year’s effort focused more on an issue that they knew Southern Baptist would get riled up about – homosexuality. The proposal even had Al Mohler talking about an “Exit Strategy.”

Resolution On Homosexuality In Public Schools

Whereas, many adult members of our congregations work and witness in government schools, this resolution should not be construed to discourage adult Christians who labor as missionaries to unbelieving colleagues and students;

Whereas, the Bible clearly teaches that homosexual behavior is sin (Leviticus 18:22, 1 Timothy 1:8-10, Romans 1:24-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11);

Whereas, homosexual activists are aggressively working to transform the moral foundation of our culture by promoting homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle and advocating legalization of “homosexual marriage”;

Whereas, homosexual activists have attempted to hijack the language of the civil rights movement by falsely claiming that disapproval of homosexual behavior is the equivalent of racial prejudice;

Whereas, homosexual activists are devoting substantial resources and are using their political influence to shape the curricula and institutional rules of public schools to promote acceptance of homosexuality among schoolchildren as a morally legitimate lifestyle because, as one pro-homosexual author has written, “Whoever captures the kids owns the future”1;

Whereas, thousands of public middle and high schools have officially sanctioned homosexual clubs;

Whereas, homosexual activists and their allies, such as the National Education Association and its affiliates, are pressuring state legislatures and bureaucrats to transform public school sex education curricula to promote acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle in grades k-12;

Whereas, many public schools are promoting acceptance of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle through programs that use such deceptive labels as “Safe Sex,” “Diversity Training”, “Multicultural Education” , “Anti-Bullying”, and “Safe Schools”;

Whereas, there is evidence that the homosexual lifestyle reduces life expectancy more than smoking;

Whereas, homosexual behavior is associated with a drastically increased risk of contracting various cancers, venereal diseases, and other diseases and physical afflictions;

Whereas, studies have shown that homosexual identity is associated with increased risk of self-destructive behaviors such as illegal drug use, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and “domestic” violence;

Whereas, any school district that recognizes homosexual clubs or treats homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle is a clear and present danger to all of its children and is violating the community’s trust;

Whereas, Christian parents should not place their children under false teaching and must remember the warnings of Scripture that “a student is not above his teacher, but when he is fully trained, he will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40 NIV);

Whereas, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution in 1996 urging Baptists to boycott Disney because of an employment policy that “accepts and embraces homosexual relationships”, the promotion of a book “aimed at teenage homosexuals”, and its promotion of “Gay Days”;

Whereas, the promotion of homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle in the public schools constitutes a far greater risk to far more children than the “Gay Days” and other pro-homosexual practices of the Disney Company;

Whereas, the Baptist General Association of Virginiarecently severed its ties to Averett Universityover a “gay pride week” held at that school;

Whereas, the Baptist General Association of Virginia also severed its ties to the University of Richmond in 1999 over that university’s giving tacit approval to homosexual behavior by extending its “anti-discrimination” policy to “sexual orientation;”

Whereas, just as Baptists cannot support institutions that promote acceptance of homosexual behavior as a legitimate lifestyleto 18 to 22 year-olds, Baptists cannot countenance educating children in k-12 schools that promote acceptance of homosexual behavior;

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention commends the Christian teachers, administrators, and other school employees that work and witness in the public schools;

Resolved, Further, that the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention urges Baptists to pray for the salvation of homosexuals and their deliverance from their same-sex attraction;

Resolved, Further, that the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention rebukes homosexual activists for slandering minorities by claiming that homosexual behavior has any authentic connection with the civil rights movement;

Resolved, Further, that the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention encourages every Baptist church to investigate diligently whether the school district in which the church is located has either one or more homosexual clubs or curricula or programs in any of their schools that present homosexuality as an acceptable “lifestyle”;

Resolved, Further, that the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention recommends that every Baptist church located in a school district with either (1) curricula or programs that treat homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle or (2) one or more homosexual clubs inform the parents of this fact and encourage them to remove their children from the school district’s schools immediately;

Resolved, Further, that the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention encourages all churches to work vigorously, both individually and in collaboration with other churches, to provide or generously support (1) Christian schools, (2) homeschooling, and (3) alternative models for providing Christian education such as University Model Schools and Christian One Room Schoolhouses, giving particular regard to the needs of children from low income and single parent families.

1 Patricia Nell Warren, “Future Shock”, The Advocate, October 3, 1995, p.80, as quoted by Paul E. Rondeau, “Selling Homosexuality to America”, Regent University Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, Spring 2002, at p. 470.

The above proposal stirred a great deal of controversy. I should have book marked all the blogs that I noticed commenting on the issue. The PCA discussed a similar proposal and the Jolly Blogger has dedicated three thoughtful posts on the subject of Christians and Public Schooling. (part I, part II, part III)

When the convention finally met in session, the document coming out of the SBC resolutions committee bore little resemblance to the one being discussed in the media and blogosphere. The following resolution passed.

Resolution on Educating Children

WHEREAS, Children have been entrusted to parents by the Lord and represent our nation’s future and our spiritual legacy; and

WHEREAS, God has given parents the responsibility for the upbringing and education of our children (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-7); and

WHEREAS, Many negative influences are attempting to transform the moral foundation of the culture by reshaping the core values of our children, undermining historical truth, and promoting promiscuity, violence, and other immoral behaviors; and

WHEREAS, Children are vulnerable to marketing and entertainment campaigns that redefine truth, morality, and family relationships; and

WHEREAS, Homosexual activists and their allies are devoting substantial resources and using political power to promote the acceptance among schoolchildren of homosexuality as a morally legitimate lifestyle; and

WHEREAS, Educational institutions are often an effective gateway to children’s hearts and minds; and

WHEREAS, Parents have access to textbooks, curricula, special programs, teachers, and other school personnel, giving them tremendous power to effect change in schools; and

WHEREAS, All citizens have the right and responsibility to participate in local, state, and national elections and to use their influence to effect change; and

WHEREAS, Involved parents are the ultimate influence in the lives of their children; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21-22, 2005, urge parents and churches to research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge parents and churches to exercise their rights to investigate diligently the curricula, textbooks, and programs in our community schools and to demand discontinuation of offensive material and programs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge our churches to assist and support parents as they investigate community schools and as they train and disciple their own children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend godly teachers and students who feel called by God to take a stand for Christ in secular schools as a light shining in the darkness; and be it further

RESOLVED, That as citizen Christians we commit to hold accountable schools, institutions, and industries for their moral influence on our children; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge Christian parents to fully embrace their responsibility to make prayerful and informed decisions regarding where and how they educate their children, whether they choose public, private, or home schooling, to ensure their physical, moral, emotional, and spiritual well-being, with a goal of raising godly men and women who are thoroughly equipped to live as fully devoted followers of Christ.