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Resolution On Religious Liberty And Education

1. WHEREAS our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ has led us to place strong emphasis on (a) the voluntary quality of religious faith and participation, (b) the importance of freedom for the church, (c) the rights of all men to be free from the coercion of law in matters of religious practice and support;

2. WHEREAS the instructions which aim at the person’s ultimate commitment are properly the responsibility of the family and the church agencies;

3. WHEREAS we have consistently sought the development of communities which are abundant in free facilities for unbiased and unhampered growth through learning the cultural, scientific, and technological skills of society;

4. WHEREAS we are persuaded that the goals of human well-being, productivity, and freedom have been and are well served by a strong program of public instruction which is administered by elected community leaders and supported by the government’s power of taxation;

5. WHEREAS our modern age, having become scientific and technological in an unprecedented manner, requires new and higher levels of personal competence of all people which can be attained only by the enlargement of the share of the nation’s productive effort which is given to the education of the next generation;

6. WHEREAS a communist pattern has developed in the world which by imposing a state monopoly on education denies the churches the freedom which they need for the proper spiritual nurture of the children.

7. WHEREAS the Roman Catholic leadership in our own country is currently in an aggressive campaign to press our Federal Government into a program of tax support for church operated schools; and

8. WHEREAS strong propaganda movements have developed in our country which endanger our free way of life by attacking our public schools and the free institutions of democracy;

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, By the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, assembled in St. Louis, Missouri, May 25, 1961, that:

1. We will exercise a diligent stewardship of influence in behalf of a good program of public instruction, therefore and accordingly

(1) We urge our people to give sacrificial support to the agencies of public instruction by (a) assisting in such legislation as may be needed for adequate financial strength, (b) by making their services available as teachers and administrators, as board members and civic supporters, and as parental friends and champions of the cause of free learning, doing these things with conscious stewardship of their influence under God;

(2) In this same stewardship we urge upon all who either lead or support the cause of public instruction to give due care to the transmission of the noblest moral and spiritual values of our society without equating those with religion nor with divine imperatives;

(3) And we urge all our people to communicate with public leaders from the President of the United States to the local school board our Baptist concern that every effort shall be made to keep church and state separate in their respective educational programs, in recognition of the distinctions which must be made between the objectives, the sources of support, the kind of administrative organization and control, and the legal requirements which are possible and appropriate to the two sets of institutions.

2. We recognize our distinctive obligation for the religious training of our own people and will work to strengthen the religious instructional programs of our churches and church-related institutions.

3. We encourage voluntary cooperation between our churches and the public schools to the end that separation of the two types of instructional programs not produce needless conflict, confusion, or competition.

4. We do, in light of the foregoing principles and aspirations,
(1) Commend President John F. Kennedy for his insistence that the Constitution of the United States be followed in the matter of not giving federal aid to church schools;
(2) Voice vigorous opposition to the use of tax money for grants or other direct aid to church schools on all educational levels;
(3) Urge that, wherever possible, Baptists voice publicly our historical position on the separation of church and state and that we adhere scrupulously to this principle in our own policies and practices.


That we, the messengers to the 104th session of the Southern Baptist Convention, express our appreciation and commendation to members of Congress, of both parties, in the Senate and House of Representatives, who are standing fast in support of the cherished principle of separation of church and state in the consideration and passage of legislation, and urge that they continue to do so; especially in the vital matter of refusing to violate the Constitution by appropriating funds for the support of private and parochial schools–and all other agencies operated by religious groups; and we urge members of the churches of this Convention to communicate with their senators and congressmen and let them know of our appreciation and support in this matter.