...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, June 14, 2004
      ( 5:57 PM )

The Southern Baptist Convention meets this week. On the agenda, the main issue will be discussing whether they want to quit the Baptist World Alliance - a worldwide body of Baptists that the Southern Baptists feel is too "liberal." The Baptist World Alliance actually considers that the Bible might be a collection of writings of faithful followers of God, but that it is open to intepretation. The Baptist World Alliance also thinks that women might be just as good pastors as men. Shocking, I know.

A December report from an SBC [Southern Baptist Convention] task force complained that some alliance participants had questioned ``the truthfulness of Holy Scripture,'' refused to affirm the necessity of conscious faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and promoted ``women as preachers and pastors.''

I am actually not all that concerned with the internal fights between Baptists. What I was concerned about was that the SBC is considering putting forth the proposition that all its members pull their children out of public schools.

One text, submitted to the committee by two prominent hard-liners, would encourage Southern Baptists to remove their children from ``officially Godless'' public schools in favor of Christian day schools or home schooling.

While I'm not all that concerned that public schools are officially Godless - I'm a firm believer in the separation of schools from church, I am bothered by just one more thing the conservatives are doing to undermine public education.

First, this will probably be another kick for pro-voucher folks. And once more, we will see more public tax money drained from truly helping education in this country and directed into the hands of Christian schools. This practice is gaining popularity and the power that the Christian right now wields makes it almost impossible for the truth about how vouchers degrade public education and opportunities to get out.

Second, it may be disconcerting to some fundamentalists that public schools do not discriminate against homosexuals or intimate to their students that those with gay parents are somehow despicable specimens of a Godless culture. It may also be disconcerting to them that public schools actually teach science and proven facts regarding evolution. And while all of these folks may indeed want to teach their children in their homes and keep them shielded from the openness and diversity of the real world, eventually those children will grow up and face that world. And once again, the cycle will continue: a new generation of adults undermining and condemning a free society, working to separate and segregate, trying to force others under the thumb of a dogmatic belief that belongs to only a few.

But maybe some of them will escape. And maybe some of them will be my students one day. And maybe they'll see life is just a little bit more fun when it's a squiggly line, rather than when it's a rigid square.

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