Christian schools must recruit families with similar beliefs if they are to maintain their mission without being tempted or pressured to conform to the culture, says seminary president Albert Mohler.
Addressing the subject on his podcast The Briefing, Mohler read a Wall Street Journal column that was written by a father who sent his daughter to a Portland, Ore., all-girls Catholic school, St. Mary's Academy, and was shocked by what she was taught.
"We are Episcopalian and were grateful to have our daughter educated in a faith community that emphasized God's presence in all places and striving for the good in every endeavor," the father wrote.
Yet because the school was located in Portland, the father wrote, "many students come from radical left-wing families with avowedly anti-Catholic views who forced the school to compromise on the ideal of a nonpolitical education."
"St. Mary's was pressured during the past decade to get woke with equity teams, affinity groups, Black Lives Matter movements, Native American land acknowledgments, transgender affirmations, climate-change hysteria and all the rest. I found myself counting the days until my daughter was out," the father wrote.
Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said the father's experience should serve as a warning to other faith-based schools.
"There's a message here for schools: Don't fool yourself," Mohler said. "If a school claims to be a religious school, a Catholic school, a Protestant school, an evangelical school, and it recruits students from families that are left-wing and not committed to those doctrinal beliefs, then shame on you – you will lose your school, and there will be no question that you will lose it. You will bear responsibility for losing it. The losing is your fault because you claimed at one and the same time to try to gain the advantage of a religious identity – or specifically a Christian identity – when you are basically undercutting your own message by selling your product and recruiting students from families that are avowedly opposed to your theology and morality. Who's fooling whom here?"
There is an "inherent conflict" in modern society, Mohler added, between "wanting our children to have an elite education" and "wanting them to remain conservative and Christian."
"Christian parents had better recognize [that] between those two, they're actually going to have to make a choice," Mohler said.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.