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On Off-campus Biblical Instruction

WHEREAS, There are some forty-nine million children in America’s public schools; and

WHEREAS, Today’s school children face a remarkable absence of biblical instruction and of our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage in their curricula; and

WHEREAS, The Bible was a primary text alongside other biblically-based textbooks, such as the New England Primer and Webster’s Blue-Backed Speller, in colonial and early American education; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson authored the plan of education for the District of Columbia’s public schools, which included these two text books: The Bible and Isaac Watts’ Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs; and

WHEREAS, With parental consent, through voluntary participation and no government involvement, school children nationally may enroll in off-campus programs of biblical instruction; and

WHEREAS, In Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306 (1952), the United States Supreme Court held that a statute that provided for the release of public school students from school attendance to attend religious classes is constitutional; and

WHEREAS, Some states and school districts do not recognize and accommodate those parents who desire their children to participate in off-campus biblical instruction; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists are concerned that all children be afforded the opportunity to receive biblical and moral training as part of their education; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, call upon all boards of education in all school districts to recognize and accommodate those parents, churches, and faith-based organizations that wish to provide off-campus biblical education during the school day.