Russell and Duenes

Secularism is a Religion, but Christians Give It a Pass When It Comes to Education

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The more Supreme Court cases I read on the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, the more certain I am that secularism is a religion in every way that Presbyterianism and Wahabism and Hinduism and Buddhism and Judaism are religions. Secularism is as totalizing a worldview as any named “religion.” It has creeds. It has high priests. It has ceremonies. It has magistrates that enforce its orthodoxies. It has punishments for dissenters. And it has evangelists, yea, fundamentalists. I could go on for dozens of pages about how this is so, and do it based solely on statements from Supreme Court justices over the last 50 years.

But what I don’t get, what I simply cannot get my mind around anymore, is why we in the church, particularly when it comes to the education of our children, are willing to give it a pass and, for all practical purposes, concede its claim to “neutrality.” We may claim that we are putting our children in public schools to be “salt and light,” but I’m just not sure what this means. It would be tantamount to the Israelites having said that they would let the Canaanites remain in the land so that the Israelites could be “salt and light” for them. I think we’ve seen how that went down. I think many Christians also imagine that, if we abandoned secular schools, we would just ghetto-ize ourselves and become totally irrelevant spiritually. I think a passing observation of where Christians stand in our culture today should pretty well answer that one.

I just don’t get it. But one thing I do get: Because Christian children are being educated in public schools, they don’t have to interact for one second with the kind of ideological force contained in the literature I’m reading. They don’t have to devote one brain cell to thinking about whether government-administered education can be spiritually neutral. And from the looks of things, most Christians in law schools don’t have to grapple with it either, because you can count the number of explicitly Christian law schools on one hand.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

November 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm

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