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Baptist activist defends public education in Florida

Jeff Brumley of Baptist News Global writes that Baptist minister and retired Arkansas judge Wendell Griffen held a political against public education laws recently passed or proposed by the Florida legislature and its Governor Ron DeSantis. Recently, the Governor made national headlines with his stance against what he has called “wokeness” in public life.

Griffen has also criticized the use of school vouchers for private schools, denouncing the use of taxpayer money for private institutions.

Brumley continues:

Wendell Griffen stood before an audience of faith leaders and education advocates in Tallahassee, Fla., March 9, pointed to his lapel and dared Gov. Ron DeSantis to have him apprehended for being politically and racially aware.

Griffen, a BNG columnist and pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock, urged the in-person and virtual interfaith and multiracial audience to be equally defiant of Florida’s political leaders. “Be a community of prophets but teach as one and correct, confront, organize, interact, defy, dissent, disrupt.”

The anti-education measures in both states, along with those proposed by some in the U.S. Congress, represent “Confederate States of America thinking,” Griffen said.

“Every voucher demand … is a Confederate States of America raid on the truth about history, science, sociology and economics,” he declared.

“If parents want to educate their children at home or in private schools, be they sectarian or secular, they are free to do so,” the retired circuit court judge said. “If parents want their children to be ignorant about the rich cultural diversity of our society and about the mistakes and the wrongs we have committed against people because of their differences, they are free to do so. If parents want to raise ignorant children, they are free to do so. But they do not have a right in Florida, in Arkansas or anywhere else to demand a subsidy from the public education system. No parent has a right to demand that we dismantle the education system because they do not like their children knowing science, knowing history and knowing about the experience of other people in society.”

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