Theocrat of the Week
Last year Page called on Baptists to set up a parallel school system -- kindergarten through high school, and to make it available even to people who cannot afford it. This call went out after he had declined to endorse a controversial resolution (proposing an "exit strategy" from the public schools) at the SBC meeting that elected him president. So he got to have it both ways: gain the presidency in part by dodging the contoversy, and then using the bully pulpit of his office to encourage and empower the advcoates of the defeated resolution to go forward in his name. Smart.
Ethics Daily reports:
SBC president Frank Page shortly after his election last summer in Greensboro, N.C. Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., told Agape Press he is disturbed that many teenagers leave the church after graduating from high school and he hoped that more churches would begin offering Christian schools.
According to an article at the theocratic movement news site, World Net Daily a resolution will be offered at the SBC's annual meeting in San Antonio next month by
Voddie Baucham, a pastor with a national teaching ministry and the author of "The Ever Loving Truth," and Bruce Shortt, a board member for Exodus Mandate and author of "The Harsh Truth About Public Schools," endorses Page's suggestions, and calls for more.
In past years, similar national resolutions have been defeated, but have been percolating in a number of state conventions.
It should go without saying that Wiley Drake, a previous Theocrat of the Week honoree, has been in the forefront of these efforts:
As Christians, we must rescue our children from public schools," Drake stated. "They are being coerced and persecuted there. Frankly, speaking as a pastor who has observed the deterioration of public schools for many years, I would say that Christian parents who are putting their children in public schools today are endangering their children spiritually, emotionally, physically and educationally. This debate is important because parents need to know how toxic public schools have become."
WND also reported that the earlier resolution, which made national news stated "
the millions of children in government schools spend seven hours a day, 180 days a year being taught that God is irrelevant to every area of life," the resolution said, "Many Christian children in government schools are converted to an anti-Christian worldview rather than evangelizing their schoolmates."That resolution was heartily endorsed by the Home School Legal Defense Association, which declared:
Government schools are by their own confession humanistic and secular in their instruction, [and] the education offered by the government schools is officially Godless.
Yes, one of the characteristics of a good theocratic leader operating in a non-theocratic environment, is to give permission to lesser theocrats to show the way to a more theocratic future without diminishing his own power and influence. There will always be other theocratic ininiatives, and each one is an experiment. Hence the brilliance of Frank Page. Elected as an ostensibly moderate reformer in a denomination said to have been taken over by rightwing fundamentalists, whatever Page did, naturally would never be seen as such: if he was careful. So when Page said he thinks SBC churches should establish more schools why it must be OK because after all, he is not one of them. But fortunately, he has men like Wiley Drake, Bruce Shortt, and allies at the conservative Presbyterian dominated WND to agitate and get people used to the most extreme and off-putting variants on the scheme, so whatever he and his people ultimately propose, looks moderate by comparison.
Here is more from World Net Daily:
If you like sexually transmitted diseases, shootings and high teen pregnancy rates, by all means, send your children to public schools. That's the word from a leader in the fast-growing movement within the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention for parents to pull their children from those schools in favor of homeschooling.
As shrill and alarming as all this may sound to some, it is unsurprising. For a generation, leading Christian Reconstuctionists, begining with R.J.Rushdoony himself have declared that the public schools are a major obstacle for the theocratic movement. Indeed, the public schools are intended to help children become citizens in a consttitutional democracy, organized on principles of religious pluralism. In 1994, I wrote a series of articles for The Public Eye magazine, detailing the Reconstructionist movement and its influence on the Christian Right. Here is an excerpt about education:
...it is in the next generation that most Reconstructionists hope to seize the future. "All long-term social change," declares [Reconstructionist theorist] Gary North, "comes from the successful efforts of one or another struggling organizations to capture the minds of a hard core of future leaders, as well as the respect of a wider population." The key to this, they believe, lies with the Christian school and the home schooling movement, both deeply influenced by Reconstructionism.
A few weeks ago here at Talk to Action, Mainstream Baptist connected the dots when he reported:
Those who still doubt there are links between Southern Baptists and theocratic Christian Reconstructionists should look inside the front cover of the December 2004 issue of the Chalcedon Report. There the chief publishing house for Reconstructionist thought, Chalcedon, [founded by R.J. Rushdoony] announces that it has published Bruce Shortt's book, The Harsh Truth About Public Schools. Bruce Shortt, along with T.C. Pinckney, leads the movement against public schools within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Televangelist and Christian right leader D. James Kennedy blurbed the book this way:
This book presents an idea whose time has come. Modern public education in America has too often degenerated into indoctrination in secular humanism. This books presents the solution to the problem.
In a press release issued by [the apparently one-man organization], Exodus Mandate, which serves as a resource center for the sponsors of the resolution, Chaplain E. Ray Moore, points out,
The Southern Baptists are setting the pace in debating this critical issue. Other denominations such as the Presbyterian Church in America are also having this debate. It is our prayer and hope that this debate will take place in all Bible based denominations over the next few years and that both Christian parents and the institutional church will come to understand clearly the urgency of rescuing our children from the government schools.
When Frank Page speaks, the theocratic movement listens, acts and invokes his name and his office. And that is why Frank Page is our Theocrat of the Week.
Theocrat of the Week | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
Theocrat of the Week | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)