Russell and Duenes

Stop Trying to Christianize the Public Schools through the Supreme Court

with 3 comments

I was listening to a bit of Christian radio today, and it was one of those Saturday programs that is political in nature, and the show was taking calls from people about the problems with the public schools and how public schools were favoring non-Christian religions in what they teach and convey. One call in particular stood out because the caller was arguing, correctly, that teaching secular humanism, as the public schools do, is itself a religion. The host agreed and said that there was a particular Supreme Court case where, in a footnote, the Court noted that secular humanism is, in fact, a religion. But then these two men on the radio went on to imply that we need to fight in the courts to force public schools to avoid endorsing any religion.

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: The host argues that secularism is a religion, but then says that the way forward is to have courts enforce religious neutrality in the public schools. Did I miss something?

Neither the government nor the Supreme Court nor a school board nor any human institution can ever act with religious neutrality. This is a simple concept, yet Christians seem to stumble over it or just plainly miss it. Schools are going to pick a God. They have to. That’s the way the universe works. And you can be sure that no matter what the Supreme Court does, the God the public schools are going to choose is not going to be the Lord Jesus Christ. Given this reality, it is an utter fool’s errand to keep advocating measures designed to somehow “bring the government schools around.”

The proper Christian response is a wholesale abandonment of the public schools, en masse, so that the public schools suffer total economic collapse and can no longer function. But really, it’s not the public schools that are at issue. The issue is: Should Christians educate their children explicitly under the Lord Jesus and His teachings? The answer is “yes.”

As I’ve said before, the public schools cannot be abandoned overnight. So I’m in no way condemning Christian parents who put their children in public schools right now because they simply cannot afford to pay taxes for government schools AND pay for private Christian education. What I am opposing is the notion that, given a real choice, Christians ought to keep their children in public schools, as though most of these children are equipped to be “missionaries” there. The Christian children are the ones being converted.

Yet we have to start somewhere. And I think we start by making the issues clear. We have not made them clear, as evidenced by this talk show today, and so Christian continue to suffer from a kind of schizophrenia, wanting to have their children grow up with love and respect for Jesus, with a mature Christian mind, in obedience to Jesus’ teachings, while fighting the secular, Christ-denying culture and teachings of the public schools to which they are exposing their children year after year. This is a losing battle, and the more we make the case against it and in favor of large-scale Christian support for Christian education, the more progress we’ll make in the right direction.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

April 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

3 Responses

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  1. It’s time for Christians to form a new country, just as the Pilgrims and the Puritans fled England and Europe for Massachusetts, etc. [If that darn Roger Williams — a vicious sheep in wolf’s clothing if there ever was one — had not gone on his “Separation of church and state trip — we would still be a Christian nation as Jesus intended (instead of an almost Mormon nation, as we will be once Romney sneaks in). So the only solution is to follow Gingrich’s solution and form a colony on the moon. With Gingrich there, leading us in sexual morality by demonstration. Instead of walking on water, this time Jesus can walk on the moon without a suit or a helmet.

    modestypress

    April 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

  2. Modesty has almost paraphrased the end of I Corinthians 5, “9 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world [MOON COLONY]. 11 But [f]actually, I wrote to you not to associate [g]with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person [GINGRICH], or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God [h]judges.”

    What is our goal/responsibility as parents? That is one issue to clarify. Something like lead them toward the narrow gate equipped to deal with what’s beyond. My oldest being 11, I can’t imagine.

    What is the nature of the threat to those goals we face with public schools? is another. Spent some time thinking about this this week, but I think what I came out with was nuance that doesn’t help much. So briefly, I think I agree on your kids-as-missionary point and it being silly to try to Christianize/neutralize the schools, but I might disagree on the magnitude of the threat from public school. I think it depends on the school and even on your kid’s teacher(s); there is far more variation out there than critics allow for. But you’re still right that even in the best case, it’s not what you’d call a Christ-honoring education/culture, so if it’s working against my goals it would make the most sense to change course if possible, all things considered.

    Andy M

    April 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    • A.L. – I agree with your analysis. There are public schools in parts of the country that would be unrecognizable to parents in some of the more liberal parts of CA, for example. And I also have said that the public schools are the only option for many Christian families, and if I myself don’t have the financial resources to send my own kids to a private school, and if my wife is unable to homeschool them, then we are going to be sending them to public schools. I wish that were not the option, but it’s simply not feasible for many Christian families to pay taxes for the public schools and to pay for a private education on top of it. This is why I write these kinds of things, because the first step, I think, is to make the church aware of the issue, so that she will begin to think of strategies for ultimately abandoning government schools and their civil religion. Churches have to play a role, whether it means starting their own schools and having the congregation pay for them (they pay for huge sanctuaries, which are infinitely less important), or financially helping their people afford Christian education. If the church truly cared about this, they’d find a way.

      -D

      russell and duenes

      April 22, 2012 at 5:43 am


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