Moran on Fox offers idea to exit from public schools
By Allen Palmeri
ST. LOUIS – Roger Moran took his case for education reform within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to the Fox News “DaySide” program June 22, arguing that it is time for Southern Baptists to heed the call of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. to develop an exit strategy from public schools.
Moran, a member of the SBC Executive Committee from Winfield, and a member of First Baptist Church, Troy, appeared via satellite in St. Louis in a five-minute segment with two interviewers from the show and a live studio audience in New York City.
The interview began with references to homosexual clubs in the public school system and degenerated into a cross examination session by a school teacher in the audience who clearly opposed Moran. In a phone interview afterward, Moran compared it to an ambush, but he did feel good about making one crucial point in the midst of answering her sharp inquiries.
“What the Southern Baptist Council on the Family cited in 2002 is that the vast majority of children from evangelical churches are leaving the church as they enter into adulthood,” Moran told the teacher.
The exodus has created a situation where it is now time to aid and assist “a growing number of Southern Baptists” so that they can exit the public schools, Moran said.
“The leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention can only lead as far and as fast as what the people are willing to follow,” he said in the phone interview. “Our job is to build a groundswell of support for what should be blatantly obvious – that we are in serious trouble in evangelical Christianity.”
On June 13 at the SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., Moran made a motion that LifeWay Christian Resources investigate and report their findings and recommendations to the 2007 SBC annual meeting regarding “the growing body of research” identifying various forms of danger concerning cultural forces of influence. Messengers voted to refer the motion to LifeWay.
Advancing the idea of education reform within Southern Baptist circles over the last three years has been anything but easy for Moran. Resistance has been forceful and ongoing. T.C. French, chairman of the SBC Resolution Committee and pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., in a news conference June 14 at the Greensboro Coliseum, expressed the other side of the debate that is now going on within the denomination.
“When we came together as a committee, we realized that we simply cannot abandon the public schools,” French said. “For instance, there are single mothers there who cannot afford schooling other than the public school system. We have parents who both work that cannot do homeschooling. And then another thing is that we need to realize that we cannot withdraw from the world. And so we encourage people not to withdraw, but rather to engage the schools, to go back and seek places of election on boards so that we can influence the schools. In fact, a messenger is going to go back home and he is going to run for the school board.”
Moran said he is friends with French and will continue to try to persuade him and others about the need to fully implement the exit strategy.
“They’re still trying to say that we can salvage the schools, but the fact is that we all know that we can’t,” Moran said. “Even if we could, we will lose another generation before it’s corrected.”
In the “DaySide” interview, Moran pointed out that the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) had 700 Gay-Straight Alliances, or clubs, in public schools in 2001. Now there are more than 3,000, Moran said. GLSEN Spokesman Daryl Presgraves confirmed there are now more than 3,000 clubs registered with GLSEN. The GLSEN website proclaims that GLSEN strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
“The concern we have is the ongoing and continual promotion and advocacy of the homosexual lifestyle within the public school system,” Moran said.
As he reflected on what was said during the Fox News exchange, Moran said he must do a better job of talking about the educational philosophy and the overall approach to academics within public schools.
“The worldview taught in the public schools is not the worldview that we advocate from our pulpits,” he said. “They are diametrically opposed.”