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Resolution On Parental Choice In Education

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have always affirmed the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their religious convictions, without governmental obstruction or interference; and

WHEREAS, More and more Southern Baptist parents are concerned that their public school systems are increasingly hostile to Christian convictions; and

WHEREAS, Many of these parents have felt the need to choose other avenues of instruction for their children, including private schools, Christian schools, and home instruction; and

WHEREAS, Choice in education, with appropriate tax considerations, is being promoted by the President and many legislators in order to give parents the right and opportunity to choose their children’s school or means of education; and

WHEREAS, Economically disadvantaged children are the greatest victims of the lack of choice in education; and

WHEREAS, Choice in education provides real hope that all children can receive excellent instruction, which also honors the values of their parents; and

WHEREAS, Many educators and observers are convinced that empowering all parents to choose the educational alternative which is in the best interest of their children, will require accountability, encourage competition, and result in improved education; and

WHEREAS, Some educational choice programs provide an opportunity for parents to exercise their First Amendment rights to religious liberty without violating constitutional sanctions against the establishment of religion; and

WHEREAS, Some educational choice proposals constitute direct aid to churches; and

WHEREAS, Baptists have historically opposed direct aid to churches, recognizing that with government funds come government intrusion and interference; Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, June 4-6, 1991 reaffirm the right of parents to educate their children according to their religious convictions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage choice in education initiatives which include proper tax incentives for families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That these initiatives be fully in keeping with First Amendment protections of religious liberty and prohibitions against any governmental establishment of religion.