Education is Kryptonite to Fundamentalists

I mentioned that at the end of my post on Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, so I'm glad to have recent proof of that statement.

Southern Baptist group seeks exit strategy from public schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Some activists in the Southern Baptist Convention are again calling on the denomination to remove its children from public schools.

The effort announced today comes 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 lawyer Bruce Shortt of Houston and the Reverend Roger Moran of Missouri.

The two plan to submit the proposal for a possible vote by the convention at its annual meeting in North Carolina in June.

The resolution says recent court rulings have favored public schools "indoctrinating children with dogmatic Darwinism" and have limited the rights of parents in dictating what schools can teach.

I imagine that the people behind this resolution really believe that the Biblical account of creation is accurate, that the teaching of evolution is a sign of the end times, and that the only way for them to protect their kids is to remove them from the secular evil that is public schools. But in the end, the real problem for these people is that once kids get a taste of science--accurately taught science--the kids are torn, and they doubt, and once they doubt the church and parental authority, it's over. They're gone from the church. It happened to me.

I feel like I've been harping on this a bit lately, perhaps because of the recent letter I wrote to my mother. For the last eleven years, since I left the church, our contact has been sporadic at best, and the majority of it consisted of letters from her trying to convince me to come back combined with new literature from the Witnesses. A few weeks ago, I sent the latest letter, along with the CD and the Memorial invitation she'd included back to her with a letter of my own. I told her that I was never going to be a Witness again, and that any literature she sent me from now on would be sent back to her. I said that I wanted a relationship with her, but she had to respect my religious decisions. I carried that letter around, stamped and sealed, for a week before I put it in the mailbox.

My case was extreme--the Southern Baptists, as far as I know, don't engage in the practice of shunning wayward family members--but the potential for disruptions in the family and the church, well, it's more than potential. My guess is that the people in this group pushing for this resolution see their kids pulling away from church and instead of re-examining their own beliefs (becoming born again, one might say), decide that the only course of action is to "protect" their kids by removing them from the temptations of secular higher learning.

Along those lines, there has also been a recent rise, a boom, one might say, in Bible colleges, which purport to give "christian" students a college degree while not actually teaching them anything outside of their particular dogma. That might be okay for certain professions--you don't need to understand evolution to be a good accountant, for instance--but when it comes to anything involving biology or the medical field, it's horrendous. But it's also a danger for disciplines like history (Michael can deal with this more effectively than I can, I'm sure), when you have groups tied to the idea that the only true history of the US, for instance, is the one that makes us a "christian nation."

That's dangerous, because it confers an air of legitimacy on willful ignorance, and we've got enough general ignorance around to be dangerous, without piling on the willful stuff.

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