Franklin Graham’s outrage over government-school coaches being forbidden to pray on school property and at school functions reveals the deep inner conflict that has inflicted the greatest damage upon conservative Evangelicals in America.
Graham posted Friday blasting a decision by the Ninth Circuit to uphold a government school district’s suspension of a coach for praying at the 50-yard line after every game. He says,
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that coaches can’t pray or make religious gestures on the field after a game. These progressive activist judges have gone too far.
He calls for action:
At next Friday night’s game, on Sept. 1, I think it would be great if football coaches across the country went out on the field wherever they are and prayed. And those there to watch the game stand in prayer with them.
Perhaps nothing gets conservative evangelicals as riled up as messing with “our” schools. Whether school prayer, religious symbols on clothing, Bible reading, or the homosexual agenda, Christians today routinely express their feeling that they are “under attack” in government schools.
Christians less often, however, see the underlying problem. When the government owns the building, property, buses, teaching contracts, administration, books, and virtually everything else about the system, and also taxes local property owners to pay for the system, we have a phrase for that: government ownership of the means of production. We also have a single word for that: Socialism.
Stick with me, now.
The deep inner contradiction among conservatives and evangelicals today is that in so many areas of life, they are the foremost opponents of socialism; yet when it comes to education, we are totally blind to it.
Franklin Graham’s career over the past couple of decades or so exemplifies this conflict. Graham has been among the most vehement critics of “socialism.” Just last fall during the election season he decried the “forces of evil” and their “irresponsible socialism.”
About the same time, he rightfully condemned socialized health care, saying “socialists and atheists are scared to death of the church.” He criticized “Democratic socialists” for wanting government-run programs in health care and welfare where private individuals and the church ought to provide solutions.
Earlier last year, he blasted socialism on Fox News: “Socialism is godless,” he said.
That being the case, why would any Christian desire to hand their children over to it? Who would want their children raised, trained, and educated by a system fully rooted in that which is “irresponsible,” “evil,” “godless,” and “scared to death of the church”?
Yet when it comes to the government education system, Graham is its foremost defender. Just a couple years ago, Graham decried the teaching of “gender fluidity” in government schools. His solution was for Christians to run for school board. While it may sound good to put righteous people in leadership, that will not work if the system is what is corrupt to begin with. This does nothing but legitimize the system the left invented. Baptized socialism is still socialism.
As far back as 2004, Graham spoke on a proposition at the Southern Baptist Convention to pull children out of the socialistic school system. He opposed the move, saying, “I hope Christians will not surrender the public schools. Instead, let’s take them back. Let’s consider them a mission field.”
There was no acknowledgment of the “godless” socialism inherent in that system.
Graham probably has not realized that his argument is exactly how the socialist “Christians” around the world, and on the left in America, defend every other socialist program. Imagine how you (or Graham) would react if you heard a liberal saying:
I hope Christians will not surrender public health care. Instead, let’s take it back. Let’s consider it a mission field.
I hope Christians will not surrender on raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. Instead, let’s take it back. Let’s consider it a mission field.
I hope Christians will not surrender food stamps. Instead, let’s take them back. Let’s consider them a mission field.
I hope Christians will not surrender the public housing subsidies. Instead, let’s take them back. Let’s consider them a mission field.
On down the list of socialist welfare programs we could go. Granted, all of these areas—poverty, housing, health care—are mission fields, but we don’t want the government in them! They are not the government’s job! And neither is education.
Now Graham is speaking out because a federal court has inched the bar of “godless” socialism one step further and forbidden a coach from exhibitions of public prayer. He calls for Christian coaches everywhere to defy this ruling and pray.
On the one hand, it’s wonderful that a Christian leader is willing to call for civil disobedience. Bravo! We should ignore, criticize, resist, demonstrate, nullify, and in some cases even fight against unjust laws. So few Christians today believe it’s acceptable to resist unjust laws in general. It’s refreshing to hear one, even if only for such a small thing.
But that’s just it. This really is a “safe” thing to speak up about, isn’t it?
Because on the other hand, the real problem is godless socialism itself: the redistribution of wealth and state control of the educational system in general, and Graham (and millions of other evangelicals and evangelical leaders) not only won’t speak up about that, he defends it.
There is no greater expression of socialism in our culture that the government-run school systems. There is hardly an area in which government ownership and control of the means of production is more entrenched than in education.
Christians like Graham also don’t realize that the moment the try to defend government schooling, that very moment they legitimize every other socialist welfare program that exists, and many others than leftists would like to exist. If it works for education, and Christians defend it, it’s only a matter of time before it will “work” for health care, housing, jobs, transportation, industry, agriculture, and everything else, too. Why not? The Christians already told us they’d defend it once it’s in place.
Leaving your kids in government schools is such a powerful endorsement to socialism in all other areas of life, it far outweighs a direct vote for Bernie Sanders any day. Bernie, Hillary, and Karl Marx have all been laughing for decades as we prove them “right,” not by speaking socialism, but by practicing it.
Christians, you have good options, and the more we pull out of government schools, the better the free market reacts and makes those options even better: home school, private schools, private tutors, online schools.
The only way to defeat socialism is to delegitimize it. This means, we must get out of the system while we can, while we are free to do so, and replace it with that which we truly believe and preach: private, free market solutions.
Socialism is theft. Don’t be a thief. Let him that stole, steal no more (Eph. 4:28).
If you’d like to learn more about a more biblical view of Christian education, download my FREE report, Restoring Education in America.