A short video clip of me putting my finger on one of the main reasons America is in spiritual, moral, educational, and political decline is that more than 90 percent of Christian parents send their children to government-regulated, State-run schools.
I’ve been asked by a few people to comment on objections that are often raised against abandoning the government school system in America. The no-public-education view isn’t popular with the majority of Christians. Speaking out against public (government) education in America is for some akin to blaspheming all that’s deemed holy. What would communities do without their high school sports teams and their “free” education?
In order to justify the continued support of government education, the following arguments are often made:
“We can’t afford to send our children to private schools.”
It’s hard for me to believe that 90 percent of families that send their children to government schools do so because they can’t afford the biblical alternative. I know better. Non-government education does not have to be expensive. You don’t even need an accredited school to get into college. Your church is vacant most of the time. Why can’t it be used as a school? Homeschooling is always an option. Educational co-ops and internet educational curricula are available for most subjects. There are homeschooling companies that will mail you an entire curriculum. All you have to do is teach it.
There’s the issue of the money being used to fund government schools. Where does the money come from? It’s taken from property owners, many of whom do not have children in government schools. Is this morally justified? Why should I be paying for the education of somebody else’s children?
If Christians pulled their children out of government schools, voted down every tax increase having to do with education, repealed the education portion of the property tax, and supported candidates who would cut every dollar from education funding, then most families could afford the costs involved.
The money spent on trying to “save” public schools would go a long way to establish scholarship funds for families who cannot afford a private-school education. Yes, it may even take some sacrificing on the part of some. Drive a fourteen-year-old car like I did while my wife and I sent our children to non-government schools. Live in a smaller house. Don’t eat out as much. There are many ways to cut spending to fund the real necessities of life. When your children get older, have them work to share the financial load for the younger children.
“Only a few things need to be fixed to make Government Schools Better.”
There still government schools paid for by confiscated money from people who don’t use the government schools. In addition, the entire government school paradigm is warped.
Laura Mallory is a concerned mother of three. She wanted the Harry Potter books removed from the library of J. C. Magill Elementary School in the Gwinnett County, Georgia, public school system where her children attended because she said the books, which have world-wide sales of more than 500 million, glorify witchcraft. Mallory first took her complaint to the county school board in September 2005. In May of 2006, the board decided that the books should remain in the library. Malloy then took her concerns to the state board where a decision would be made.
Here is an indication of her naïveté, believing that if Harry Potter is banished all will be right in the public schools and that the schools and all the teachers will have the best interest of the children at heart. She says:
“When my children are at school, I’m trusting them to the teachers and that school. They are my most precious things in the entire world to me. I surely don’t want them indoctrinated into a religion whose practices are evil.”1
Why would anyone trust their children to an educational system that is diametrically opposed to a Christian worldview and using stolen money to pay for it?
She has embarked on a fool’s errand. I’m always amazed when I read stories about well intentioned parents who want this book removed or that course dropped as if these minor changes will result in an educational reformation. It’s not going to happen. The sooner parents learn this, the sooner they will save their children from things worse than witchcraft — like the belief that public education is a neutral endeavor designed to equip young people to be objective learners.
Based on what the courts have decided over the years, the public schools are “religious (Christian)-free zones.” In a word, they are officially atheistic. You would think that most Christian parents would be concerned about this. They’re not. They continue to believe that public education can be saved. It can’t. It’s not meant to be.
Mrs. Mallory is spitting in the wind when she doesn’t have to. Her children are being co-opted everyday by a more subtle type of witchcraft, the “philosopher’s stone” of the magic-laden and irrational worldview of materialism. Her children are being taught that they’ve descended from animals, that they are animals. “When it comes to DNA,” the people at Time magazine tell us, “a human is closer to a chimp than a mouse is to a rat.”2 This is first-rate paganism. Gone is the belief that we are endowed by our “Creator with certain inalienable rights.” This concerned mother is more concerned what sits on the library shelves than what is actually being taught in the classroom.
Public schools have become the new worldview battleground. Christians are fighting on the enemy’s turf when they should be building their own educational kingdom. Harry Potter is a symptom of a larger crisis that is easily fixed if parents take the responsibility of educating their own children and refuse to turn them over to the State for secular propagandizing.
“It’s not the church’s job to educate.”
I’ve heard this one a lot. Christian school critics balk at turning over the church’s facilities for educational purposes because the tithe is designed to support the church’s work, not the education of children. “That’s why we pay taxes,” I’ve been told. The church building is vacant six days a week. Sunday school classrooms are used for forty-five minutes a week! What a waste of God’s money.
Our church supports numerous missionaries. Many of the missionaries we support build schools. Why is it OK to build schools in Africa with our tithe money but not in our own backyard? Would we want these new Christian converts to be taught by the secularists from whom they were redeemed? It makes sense in pagan lands to build and fund alternative schools, but not in the United States.
So we send our children to public schools where they are indoctrinated for thirty hours of classroom instruction each week for ten months each year for at least twelve years in the latest non-Christian propaganda. To combat secularized education, Christian school critics develop “youth programs” for Wednesday and Sunday evenings. These kids are getting at most two hours of weekly second-rate religious instruction, while a child in a Christian school receives thirty hours of training from a biblical perspective. There’s no comparison. Most church “youth programs” are entertainment gatherings with a “devotional” to give them religious legitimacy. With all generalizations, there are exceptions.
When I attended Catholic school, there was no Sunday school instruction for students who attended. The assumption was that religious instruction was woven into the curriculum. When my parents sent me to public school in the sixth grade, I had to attend religious instruction on Saturday morning to make up the deficiency. There is no way that the 45-minute instruction period could compensate for what I was and was not receiving at the local government school.
“My child is a witness for Christ in the public schools.”
He or she may be. But I wonder how much witnessing actually takes place in public schools. Most of the time children are sitting at their desks listening to a teacher lecturing on a secularized curriculum. From the time I entered public school in the sixth grade, no one ever presented the gospel to me. It’s the friendships that are developed after school that lead to witnessing opportunities. Witnessing can take place anywhere. Jesus met people at work and in their homes. He even went into the temple. If you want to follow Jesus’ example then go witness to Jews in their local houses of worship. Jesus never witnessed in a school. What do you think Jesus would have said if Jewish parents were sending their children to the local Roman schools?
“Our school is different.”
I heard this one from the head of a prominent Christian ministry. I told him that it’s a common response. In fact, as much as I hear it, it seems that no one’s school is bad. It’s always some other community’s school system that’s in need of reform. My guess is that most parents have no idea what’s going on in their child’s school. If they don’t hear any bad news, they assume that all is well. Keep in mind that public school children are not comparing their education with the public school education that was prominent forty years ago. And it wasn’t that great back then. The education students are receiving right now is normal for them. It’s the only standard they know, and it’s not a very good one. Anyway, a school that does not teach from a Christian perspective is at best third-rate and dangerous.
I’m also aware that not all private Christian schools are perfect, but at least you have a choice, and homeschooling is always an option.
“I want my children exposed to the ‘real’ world so they will be ‘socialized.’”
Who defines what constitutes the “real world”? The real world is where Christ dwells and where His Word is taught. Christianity is not unreal. If it is, then why not worship with pagans since their domain is the “real world.” Remember, Adam and Eve “fell” from what was normal, that is, from a world where they were in intimate fellowship with their Creator. A world without Christ is an insane and irrational world as we see all around us. The Christian school is a place of re-creation, a redemptive attempt to get back to the original design. Christians should be setting the agenda for what’s real, honest, and good so as to be a light for those who are in darkness.
The socialization argument is another red herring. Home schooled kids are probably more socialized than government educated kids. Homeschoolers are around children and adults. They learn how to deal with competition among children of various ages. Their interaction with adults gives them confidence. Consider the following from an interview with Jeremiah Lorrig, spokesman for the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA):
“’Homeschoolers have one benefit everyone acknowledges is a benefit,’ Lorrig says. ‘It’s that parents who are involved in their kids’ lives enable and empower them to be all they can be. Having parents involved in their kids’ lives helps them to succeed both academically and socially, so that they can become people who will ultimately help to shape our culture and our future.’”
“As an illustration of how homeschoolers are already impacting the nation, Lorrig points to current Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), considered to be one of the ‘rising stars’ of the Republican Party, elected in 2010. Beutler is also the first homeschooled member of Congress in recent history.
“Lorrig challenges the myth that homeschooled children are not ‘socialized.’”
“The numbers indicate the opposite,” he states. “Homeschoolers are more likely to be involved in communities, churches, scouts, and politics. They tend to outperform public school children, even after school is officially over, when they are out living their lives.”
The Supreme Court as Balaam’s Donkey
I believe God has been giving us a very clear message through the modern-day equivalent of Balaam’s donkey: The United States Supreme Court and nearly every lower court. Balaam was called on by Balak, the king of Moab, to prophesy against Israel. God had warned Balaam to stay away from Moab. Balaam refused. The Angel of the Lord met Balaam on the road as he was going down to meet Balak. Balaam’s donkey refused to confront the Angel of the LORD. Balaam struck his donkey three times to force him ahead. Finally, Balaam realized that it was the Lord who was directing him to turn around.
Repeatedly the Supreme Court has ruled against Christians and their attempts to bring Christianity back to the classroom. Like Balaam, a majority of Christians refuse to heed the message that God is giving through the Court: Seek a different route.
Saying prayers at sporting events, reciting “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, praying around a flag pole once a year, and having the right to “a moment of silence” do not constitute a Christian education. The entire curriculum must be Christ-centered. God is speaking to us through the Court. Do we have the sense to listen to what God is telling us?