Skip to comments.Who am I to tell Christians to stop supporting government education?
Posted on 07/28/2002 3:29:38 PM PDT by ppaul
My recent RazorMouth article on the Pledge of Allegiance was republished in two other venues, and I received a lot of angry email. One Christian mother from Florida wrote to tell me that, because her sister home-schooled her children, she had prayerfully re-evaluated whether she should do the same. Both she and her husband felt that God was clearly leading them to leave their children in the government schools. In her words:
one of the paragraphs in your article really angered and offended me. You stated, "and those Christian parents who insist on deluding themselves about the wonders of public education will remain where they are." Mr. Babka, if I am being "deluded" about the education of my children, then it is God who is doing the deluding, because it is His voice to which we are listening. She shuddered to think of what our public school system, and the children in it, would be if ALL Christian parents pulled their children out. She went on to point out the wonderful impact Christian kids have in government schools. Then she asked me, How can my children be salt and light if they are doing their studies at the dining room table and not in a classroom full of kids who may have never heard the gospel?
I understand her point, and appreciate her feeling that God is leading her, but we must remember that other parents likewise feel that God is also leading them to abandon the government schools. I would urge her to more prayer, because there are other issues to consider, and more than one way to provide salt and light to the world.
Young children are impressionable. They lack the experience for discernment. And it's a well-established fact that you only get back what you put in. The state has her children for more waking hours than she does. She cant control whom they associate with, or what they hear, see, and read. Perhaps, because her children are teenagers, theyre already prepared to prosper in an atmosphere antagonistic to her values. But it seems risky to expect the same from an elementary school child.
More importantly, we must consider what would happen if all Christian parents removed their children from the government schools. I believe the system would fold for lack of business. Would this increase or decrease the salt and light we provide to the world? And what would be the state of our nations children?
Education would still continue, but now it would thriveas it did before public schools were created 120 years ago (when having an 8th grade education meant that someone was ready for college). It would also cost far less and teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and other social ills would almost certainly plummet. I believe this would add a great deal of salt and light to the world.
We also need to remember that schools teach according to their own institutional interests.
Catholic schools teach that the Pope, bishops, and priests, and their moral teachings, hold the answers, and that a sacramental life is pretty important.
Evangelical Christian schools teach that the Bible holds the answers, and that personal salvation and godly behavior are necessary.
Prep schools teach that the elites of science, business, and government hold the answers, and that hard work and academic success are necessary to join that elite.
So, what should we expect government schools to teach?
My thoughtful correspondent from Florida believes she is able to control what goes on at her local government school, because she is heavily involved in it. But she is just one person, and the stories of school districts thumbing their nose at parents are legion. Just because it's never happened to her doesn't mean it wont. And given the power of teachers unions, does she believe she could force the school board to change its mind (especially in a major city)?
Now I'm not disputing that her children can be a godly example in their government school, but I do believe that the costs and the benefits dont add up to a net increase for salt and light in the world. Quite simply, I dont believe children are qualified to be missionaries, and they are therefore more likely to be corrupted by the godless environment of the government schools than to effectively change that environment.
Missionaries must meet certain qualifications before they're sent into a mission field. Children do not meet those qualifications. I would like my Florida correspondent, and other concerned parents like her, to seriously consider whether their children will be able to detect when theyre being brainwashed by environmentalism, drug-war propaganda, relative value systems, sex-ed, and diversity training.
Government schools naturally teach children to trust government, and learning to trust government means learning to question parental authority, worship Mother Earth, worship the state (hence the Pledge of Allegiance), and accept as normal that Heather Has Two Mommies.
It seems clear to me that home-schooled and Christian-schooled children can provide more salt and light to the world than government-schooled Christian kids for the simple reason that they are being trained all day, every day, to do exactly that.
Finally, we need to recognize that government schools are based on compulsion. They confiscate the wealth of people without children, and even worse, those who have kids but who are not using the system. In other words, Christian parents who feel God is leading them to teach their children elsewhere are forced to pay twice! The compulsion and confiscation of the government schools violates everything we Christians are supposed to believe in.
How can we end this immoral system?
If all Christian parents would remove their children then the system would collapse, and the money confiscated by the government schools would instead flow toward private, and godlier alternatives. This sea-change would be a sign that Christians have truly accepted their calling to be salt and light, and that God has jurisdiction over both the rearing of our children and our pocketbooks.
Link to article HERE.
No flames here. Your argument is spot on. Parents who send their children to fight their battles on the front lines sound more palestinian than Christian.
Very similar articles by Joseph Farah this week on World Net Daily site.
Cal Thomas said the same thing many years ago.
I've got 3 sisters, 3 of us homeschool. We're working on the 4th sister. I'll send her this article. Thanks.
In Germany, so I'm told, parents can choose whether their children in public schools will be instructed in the Catholic or Lutheran faiths, or left without religion. [In a few locales, where other religions exist enough to have a school, those too are available.]
This would be an improvement over what we have now.
My family attended a church for a while until the pastor, from the pulpit, proclaimed that it was a Christian parent's obligation to send their chillun to public schools to be "salt and light". He didn't own up to the fact that he loved the PS's athletic programs which his kids were deeply involved in. About once a month his 8th grade daughter missed church because of girl's soccer, of all things.
Quite simply, I dont believe children are qualified to be missionaries, and they are therefore more likely to be corrupted by the godless environment of the government schools than to effectively change that environment.
Yep. And amen.
No flaming here either, but honest and Spirit led disagreement.
My husband and I both spent much time in prayer about where to send our children to school. We have a very good Christian school nearby, and were in a good public school district.
We both felt strongly that God was leading us to send our kids to public schools, in which we would become involved, and would pull them out if it seemed that they were being taught questionable material, or being led astray, or if what we were teaching them at home were being contradicted in school. We never felt that God was leading us to remove them.
Three of our four children have graduated, one has now graduated from a fine Christian college, one is a junior, and one is witnessing to the love of Jesus Christ at basic training in the Army reserves right now.
They have all said that being in public schools has strengthened their faith and made them better Christians (we are evangelicals). They have all been involved in World Mission trips, and have a heart for the lost.
It is not the right choice for every child, and in some public schools, we would definitely have made another choice. But it is dangerous to make blanket statements, and I agree that it would be a tragedy to remove all Christians from public schools.
Flame away. (Just don't anyone accuse us of child abuse, as some have done before.)
She'll probably rot in hell!
Your kids are being "taught questionable material" every time they pick up a popular magazine, turn on the television, go to the mall and look at the latest fashions in the clothing stores, hang out with friends engaging in typical adolescent talk, go to a movie rated anything above "G", and a host of other activities.
To me, there is no THREAT to being exposed to ideas that aren't compatible with your family's spiritual values. To me, the THREAT is not equipping kids with the reasoning skills and ability to think critically so that when they encounter the larger world--where they're INEVITABLY going to be exposed to "questionable material"--they can put it in perspective. They will always have reference to the "baseline" of their core values.
IMO, I don't give a flip if my daughter is "taught" evolution, because we talk about it, and why evolution as a theory for the development of man from lower animals runs counter to revealed truth in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Judaic tradition from which it sprang. And then she thinks to herself "I know my Savior and my Heavenly Father, and they are real and true. I will accept that truth and reject the false."
Then it becomes a trivial thing, that someone might possibly confront her with things that aren't in harmony with her religious faith.
It's one thing if kids are being exposed to stupid, senseless "information" like the proper procedure for putting on a condom, or creative ways to engage in gay sex--just so I'm not being misunderstood here. Those things must be objected to strenuously, and if they persist then that school is not the place for your kids.
But it's another simply to have them exposed to alternate ways of looking at the world, even if those ways are wrong. If your children are prepared to think critically about these things in light of what they know, they will never be threatened by them.
Is this the best you can do? Why don't you try to debate sometime instead of posting inane comments? Your hatred for all things religious is getting a little old.
BTW, good luck over there in socialist land.
Respectfully disagreeing here. (But the palestinian crack deserves no respect.)If God wanted us all to act, do, and speak the same he wouldn't have given us free will and brains to think. Kudos to those who have their children in private schools or that homeschool them. But I take another route.
My children and I discuss what they learn in school, and when it is something that I disagree with we discuss it and i give them my views on it. Once when I was considering homeschooling a girl spoke up and said, "They have to enter the real world at some point and time." That's a true statement and I'd just as soon they learn to deal with it now...with my world view interjected as a balance, of course.
Exactly. My 'oversimplification' was due to the fact that I didn't want my post to read like a book.
I agree with you 100%. Our kids were taught critical thinking at home, they were well grounded in their faith both at home and at church, we talked freely and often about what they were learning, and they were able to counter any teachings contrary to truth (such as evolution) with facts and with reason, and were respected by their teachers (who were occasionally humbled that a student would be more well acquainted with scientific fact than they).
All four of them have become stronger in their faith because they defended it.
Now you see, it's people like you, who make irrational, nasty comments like this that destroy healthy discourse on this subject.
Do you have a clue as to how many Godly, dedicated, praying parents you are utterly condemning with this absurd statement?
Fears and weaknesses? Would you care to explain that to my husband and me, who after prayer and thought understood God's leading to send our kids to public school, where they received a fine education, witnessed daily of the love of Jesus Christ to their classmates, had a positive impact on kids and teachers alike, and emerged stronger for being there?
How exactly were we being weak by following the will of our loving God, and watching our children grow in faith and strength of conviction over the course of their 13 years in public schools?
How is that the result of fear, when all four of our children are bold and strong, and seeking to serve God in missions and service to the same God that had us send them to public schools?
There is something very dangerous about the kind of condemnation you have expressed, which IMO, is the result of your myopic view of people and situations you don't understand at all.
As for me and my house...we'll homeschool.
I think the first time I ever realized I had a testimony of my faith was when I was confronted by a woman handing out pamphlets at the front of my high school (whis would have been about 1973 or so). She challenged me to renounce my own faith and join hers. It was the first time I'd ever really had to defend my beliefs, and I realized then how much I REALLY DID believe.
Sounds like your kids are in good hands. Hope I didn't come off as critical, I was just using your post to kind of sound off on some things I've thought about for awhile.
A bribe blinds the eyes of the wise. The operative word in your assertion is "felt." The Bible specifies that education is a church/family responsibility. The Bible nowhere specifies a legitimate role for the State in the area of education. Those are the facts.
Feelings are very pursuasive, however, when money is involved.
In the real world, I've never worked in an office where all the writers were 32 years old. In the real world, I've never had to ask permission to use the bathroom. In the real world, I've never dreaded probable physical assault when going to work. In the real world, I've never been able to stay in place by lazily treading water.
Be careful of blanket statements base only on your own personal opinion. There is no way you can know what God called us to do. We know it absolutely.
Especially when the dice are loaded 4-1 in favor of "the house," and you're shooting craps with the eternal destinies of your children. (Barna surveys indicate that 80% of kids from "evangelical" homes are no longer attending church 5 years after graduating from high school. Hard core calvinists, who catechetize their children and see to their getting a Christian education, have a 90% average retention rate.)
Sure it [putting Christian children in Christian schools] would take money from the public schools in the form of their FTE (Full Time Equivalent) allotment.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, so sadddddddddddddddddd.
It seems that others' minds don't include the entire spectrum of circumstance, or God's calling as does yours. Thanks for your support.
We did not base our decision on feelings whatsoever. We based it on an assessment of our particular children and home (strong), our particular school, our particular Christian worldview, and our (intellectual and spiritual) understanding of Scripture.
There are a whole host of things which are not specified in Scripture, and you are not qualified in any way to make a decision as to what God led us to do with regard to our children's education.
And what in the world does money have to do with anything I've said? It was totally irrelevant to our decision, as were our "feelings".
btw, our two oldest kids are both 5 point Calvinists 5 and 3 years after High School, which is interesting, because we are not. (I have trouble with the 'L').
Obviously you were doing something right! Assuming they continue to grow intellectually in the faith, it is highly unlikely that they'll send their kids to public school ...
And as an additional point, our third child, a son, is right now in Army boot camp, boldly sharing the Gospel with others there. Part of the reason he is so strong is because of his public school experience.
God doesn't lead everyone the same direction in every circumstance, even when it comes to what education is best for your kids. We respect others' choices, based on what God leads them to do. It would be nice if others (who claim to be Christians) would do the same for us.
How courageous of this woman to send her children into the pits of slime, filth, degeneration, paganism, and downright evil, to carry some vague message to hostile non-recipients. Turning your children over to government schools would be comparable to sending your Jewish grandmother on vacation to the Rhine in 1942.
Children are mostly good people before government mis-education turns them into monsters.
If you have ever talked with one of the (many) Christian teachers in public schools, you know what a joy it is for them to have Christians students who will support them in classroom discussions, and elevate the attitude and behavior of the other kids.
It is not that children are being forced to be 'missionaries,' it is the LOVE and POWER of God, through Jesus Christ that makes the difference, and it would be tragic should that influence be removed.
Read your Bible, instead of whatever nasty propaganda you've been reading.
We are all born in sin. There's only been one good child ever born, and it is only through HIS blood and HIS sacrifice that any of us are redeemed.
That said, without supplementation, I don't know that any person can come out of a public school with more that socialist brainwashing and that doesn't fit anyone for their highest purpose in life.
And even with supplementation, they still are subject to all the subtle brainwashing and the artificial regimentation that is part of the "program" in government schooling.
I *never* argue with a successful parent. :-)
No argument that there are serious problems with most public schools, but your key word is "supplementation." Give the kids a strong foundation before they start school. Talk about what they're learning every day. Be actively involved in the schools, and get to know the teachers and administrators.
Our school system has a large number of strong Christian teachers, and an overall attitude of support of Christian thought. Our health teachers use Dobson abstinence films, and stress sexual purity. Some of the science teachers believe in creation, and the ones who lean towards evolution allow healthy discussion on the subject. No condoms. No brainwashing. There are schools like that out here. Just not many.