A memo put out by the Orange County [CA] Board of Education has made its rounds on social media, alarming Christians and conservatives with a mandate that children be subjected to “instruction” in “gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation” with no allowance for being excused. While homeschoolers obviously find further reason for our stance in such nonsense, many Christians are displaying confusion in their anger over the new demands.
In this memo, parents are informed that while parents have the right to excuse their children from certain aspects of sexual health instruction, they are not allowed by law to excuse them from instruction on gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation.
The memo goes on in the most condescending fashion to state, “However, parents are free to advise their children that they disagree with some or all of the information presented in the instructional program and express their views on these subjects to their children.”
Broader exposure of this memo was met by Christians and conservatives with dismay and shock. Commonly expressed sentiments included condemnation of the mandate to begin with, and a righteous indignation at the nanny-state tone of granting parents the freedom to express their views to their children. Oh, gee thank you Lord and Master! Thank you for telling us we are free to express our views to our own children!
This righteous indignation, however, overlooks something already deeply built into the government school system: the doctrine of in loco parentis. This, and this alone, should be enough to drive every Christian to get their children out of humanistic education systems altogether. This doctrine, “In place of a parent,” means that the school has parental authority over the child the moment that child steps on the school bus or steps out of the car onto school property. At that point, the state takes over, and the school can and will teach the child whatever the state mandates, and will make sure nothing—not even the natural parents—prevents the instruction of the child in what the state mandates.
Why do the natural parents have so little power here? Simple: because they abdicated it. They surrendered that authority to the school system when they sent their kids into the government school system.
This does not mean there may not be some pushback within the system, but those who live by Caesar eventually die by Caesar. The state has no business being in charge of education. But Americans have been under the delusion of state-run educations for generations now, and unfortunately even most Christians assume it to be the way things ought to be.
Americans have been operating under a nation-wide general assumption of state-run education mentioned at least as early as Brown v. Board of Education, that “education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. . . . It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment.”
Well, if the school’s job includes “awakening the child to cultural values,” what happens when those cultural values start to change? (It doesn’t matter how they change or who changes them, just that they change or start to.) The answer is obvious. It will not matter if the natural parent’s values differ from those of the state, the state’s values will be the ones to which the child is awakened.
The fact that this huge tyranny planted the roots of its modern success in the hatred of blacks is all the more a huge testimony against many Christians. Instead of free and voluntary loving of our neighbor, we have allowed ourselves to become conditioned to accept the state as the major player in education, and the reigning dictator of it. With this, we have blindly adopted the assumption that the state is a legitimate parent.
There’s a worldview conviction beneath this, too. Where you abdicate your freedoms, you are implicitly admitting the legitimacy of that to which you surrender it. Those who surrender their parenthood over their children, to whatever degree they do so, thereby surrender their own judgment in that area, too. You have no real moral ground on which to be shocked when that power condescends to tell you what you are free to do or not do within that sphere. You’ve already legitimized it.
Here we see the state education bureaucrats parenting the parents. It will teach its children sexual orientation fun, and the parents cannot prevent this while the children are submitted to that system. That system will also legitimately inform those child-surrendering parents that they may, if they like, speak otherwise. Or, it may not inform them of such, and just leave them to their normality.
Why not? If parents are going to appeal to the state to be parents in their place, why would the state not naturally assume it knows more about parenting than those who give it their children? Why would it not see, as part of its natural in loco parenting function, the need to instruct its subjects on their proper boundaries?
What shall such parents tell their children? The majority won’t care. But what about the Christian parents? Most of them will rationalize or downplay the issue. They’ll hold on to that thread of freedom and assure themselves they’ll tell their children the truth of what the Bible teaches. Or, if they fail, Sunday School will certainly pick up that slack.
The very suggestion reminds me of the famous quotation from humanist author Charles Francis Potter, “Education is the most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday Schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching.”1
And what of the children stuck in this system by their parents? What do we expect them to think, to feel, and to believe when their Christian parents abdicate them daily to such an authority? What shall such a child think when Mom or Dad says, “No dear, we don’t really believe that gender fluidity stuff. We believe boys and girls are created that way, etc. . . .”
Well, gee, Mom and Dad, you say you disagree with this, that it’s wrong and it’s sin, and that the teachers and administrators are teaching immoral, perverted evil, but you keep sending me to those same people thirty-five hours a week for my instruction. You don’t spend much time on it at all, and the Sunday School does little more than keep saying, “Jesus loves you” for an hour a week. I’m beginning to think that you think it’s not that bad after all.
This is, of course, all in addition to the point that public education is socialism: founded on theft and threats of violence. That is bad enough. But what says that we are such ignorant and compliant secularized sheep as to cry about what Caesar says to do when we have already, up front, agreed to let Caesar be the parent in our place?
Stop complaining. Complaining is not a solution. Neither is taking back control, or reasserting local control, over a system that is not just teaching sexual perversion, but founded upon perversion of God’s laws to begin with! The only solution is to reassert your right directly over the education of your child. Every Christian should pull their children out of public schools. For parents that cannot afford this, and for single parents, local Christians, charities, and church groups ought to be organizing to pick up the slack with charitable Christian schools.
You can’t fix socialistic evil. You can only overcome it with good. Replace it with free, voluntary systems of Christian living.
We speak of God’s glory and works of mercy and grace; we condemn socialism. Why can’t we put these simple ideas together and create a system of private education for our children? Christian children need Christian education. Above all, Christians need to be out of the coercive arm of the state in every area of life. Too many don’t even try. Too many willingly give up their rights and powers. Then they complain when the humanists exercise dominion back upon them.