Posts Tagged ‘Textbooks’
This is one of many reasons why we homeschool, but homeschooling is not for everyone. Parents have a God-given right and responsibility to choose the best education for their children. They should NOT be forced into a government monopoly that deliberately undermines the values they are trying to instill in the next generation.
When discussing the school choice issue with other Christians, I often here responses like “How are we supposed to be salt and light in the schools if we pull our kids out?” and “We can counter-act the bad stuff they learn in school by teaching them about God at home and in church.”
These are valid concerns, but the truth is that our children are not being salt and light; rather, they are being corrupted by the very system they are trying to influence. A recent study by the Barna Group found that approximately 70% of kids who grew up in a Christian church were no longer faithful to the church by their 20s. According to Barna, this is a fairly recent phenomenon. During the first half of the 20th century, young adults pretty much stayed faithful to the Christian faith. But this trend changed during the 1960s, when we saw the Bible and prayer taken out of government-run schools while at the same time witnessing the birth of the Sexual Revolution.
For decades, the anti-Christian crowd has been using government-run schools to undermine and attack Christianity. And that strategy continues today. Just last week, the Southern Education Foundation issued a paper claiming that Georgia’s school choice program (where individuals and corporations can receive tax credits for contributing to charitable funds that award scholarships to enable underprivileged kids to attend private schools) is supporting Christian schools with “anti-gay” policies. SEF claims that any private, Christian school that expects it teachers and students to adhere to Biblical standards of conduct—including those that prohibit pre-marital sex, adultery, and homosexual behavior—is “anti-gay” and that those schools should not be allowed to participate in the scholarship program.
If a private school teaching Biblical morality is “anti-gay,” then wouldn’t parents and churches that teach these same ideas also be “anti-gay.” And this is the message that is being taught 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to our kids attending government-run schools. They are taught that Biblical values and beliefs are bigoted, ignorant, and unacceptable. So we if think that 2 hours a week (if that) at church can counter-act 40 hours a week of teaching that Christianity is wrong, we are fooling ourselves.
If you take seriously the Biblical command that you, as a parent, are to train up a child in the way he or she should go, then you realize that the command means more than just taking them to church once or twice a week. It means making sure that every aspect of their education affirms, not mocks, Biblical principles and values.
This is a MUST SEE for every Christian parent!
Colin Gunn, a feisty Scottish filmmaker, and Joaquin Fernandez, an American cinematographer, have produced a powerful and highly provocative film calledIndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America. Having become aware of the horrors that go on in our pagan government schools, these two film makers, who also happen to be Christian homeschooling Dads, decided to make a hard-hitting documentary film that would wake up the Christian parents of America and show them what is happening to their children in the public schools. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to these pagan schools, and after twelve years of indoctrination in the philosophy of secular humanism, 88 percent of those Christian children come out no longer believing in the religion of their parents.
But the problem for the film makers was how best to bring this issue to the public. It was Colin’s brilliant idea to purchase a yellow school bus and tour the country in search of the truth about what was going on in America’s anti-Christian public schools. He packed his wife and seven children in the bus, which became their home during the several months of the saga, and set off on a journey that brought him in contact with some of America’s great Christian leaders and educators.
Indeed, I was among those who Colin interviewed. He had read my book, Is Public Education Necessary? and put a good deal of it in the film. I had written how early in our history anti-Christians saw a government education system as a way of weaning Americans away from their Christian faith. Colin even traveled to New Harmony, Indiana, where fellow Scotsman Robert Owen had set up his atheist communist colony in 1826 in order to convince Americans that religion was evil and that they should adopt a communist way of life. But when his communist experiment failed, he attributed it to the fact that people educated under the old individualistic system could not adapt themselves to communism as a way of life. His son and followers then embarked on a campaign to create government schools in which children, separated from their parents, could be indoctrinated to become atheist communists.
Of course, it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that John Dewey and his colleagues, all socialists, were able to implement their plan to turn American public schools into institutions where students could be indoctrinated in godless socialism.
Gunn embarked on this journey across America so that he could visit with and interview as many of the notable critics of public education as possible. They included yours truly, John Taylor Gatto, Ken Ham of the Creationist Museum in Cincinnati, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Col. John Eidsmoe, Doug Phillips, Howard Phillips, Bruce Shortt, Kevin Swanson, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, and others, including several Christian teachers and a principal who had had to struggle with the godlessness of their schools and finally quit. One teacher told Gunn, “If I talk about my faith as I want to, I’d lose my job.”
Gunn filmed a session at the Southern Baptist Convention where a very lively debate took place on the issue of Christian parents sending their children to the public schools. E. Ray Moore, president of the Exodus Mandate movement to get Christian children out of the public schools argued passionately in favor of an exodus of Christians from those pagan schools. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, argued that there should be at least one Christian missionary in every public school bearing salt and light so that the schools could be taken back from the godless. What he did not know is that the Christians never did own the government schools to begin with. The schools were, from the very beginning, planned to become the chief instrument of the unbelievers in transforming America into an atheist, socialist nation.
And that’s what Gunn discovered in his extraordinary journey: the masterful design by the Owenite socialists, Behavioral psychologists, and Harvard Unitarians to replace God’s direction in how to train up the next generation with a humanistic, man-centered program that fragmented the family and undermined the influence of the Church and its Great Commission.
Gunn describes the film as “part documentary, part testimonial — a confessional and a rebuke. This film is above all a challenge and an encouragement to millions of Christians who need to know what history, experience, and the Scriptures have to say about what is perhaps the pivotal issue of our time: the discipleship and training of the next generation.”
No group of voters or parents has the right to dictate to another group what their kids must be taught. In a free education market, parents could choose whatever schools supported their values without being forced to pay for a government-run monopoly that teaches only politically correct, government-approved material and attacks every traditional value and religious belief Americans hold dear.
This is a principle that even Darwinists who don’t believe in Creation, like David Harsanyi, can still recognize:
So every now and then, liberals are treated to a big self-righteous laugh at the expense of some backwoods Christian conservative candidate who “ignores science” by doubting evolution or global warming — or, gasp, both.
Much, for instance, has been made of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent suggestion that evolution is a “theory that’s out there” with “gaps in it.” He even insinuated that evolution and creationism should both be taught in schools — because folks are “smart enough to figure out which one is right.”Sanctimony to red alert!
Now, I have no interest in watching my kids waste their time with creationism, but unlike progressives, I have no interest in dictating what other kids should learn. Remember that these folks, bothered by the very thought of their offspring’s hearing a God-infused concept in school, have no problem forcing millions of parents to accept bureaucrat-written curricula at government-run school monopolies. They oppose home schooling. They oppose school choice. They oppose parents choosing a religious education with their tax dollars.
As a voter, like me, you may find Perry’s view on creationism disconcerting and a sign of an unsophisticated candidate. But the fact is that the progressives’ faith-based devotion to government is far more consequential than Perry’s faith-based position on evolution.
Despite the rare political dispute, in the real world, science — real science — is rarely controversial. It’s politicized science that is prickly. And science is easy to politicize. Maybe if schools began teaching students that “life” begins at conception and that each zygote, embryo and fetus is a unique human being in some early stage of development just waiting to be born, liberals would see the point.
No, my kids haven’t been chewing over Charles Darwin text or the Holy Bible in elementary school. There’s simply no time. Not with global warming out there.
Perry, not surprisingly, was also recently asked about “global warming.” He responded that “the issue has been politicized” and that pouring billions of dollars into “a scientific theory that has not been proven and … is more and more being put into question” is not worthwhile.
It is interesting watching the nation’s defenders of reason, empirical evidence and science fail to display a hint of skepticism over the transparently political “science” of global warming. Rarely are scientists so certain in predicting the future. Yet this is a special case. It is also curious that these supposed champions of Darwin don’t believe that human beings — or nature — have the ability to adapt to changing climate.
Like 99 percent of pundits and politicians, though, I have no business chiming in on the science of climate change — though my kids’ teachers sure are experts. Needless to say, there is a spectacular array of viewpoints on this issue. The answers are far from settled. There are debates over how much humans contribute. There are debates over how much warming we’re seeing. There are debates over many things.
But even if one believed the most terrifying projections of global warming alarmist “science,” it certainly doesn’t mean one has to support the anti-capitalist technocracy to fix it. And try as some may to conflate the two, global warming policy is not “science.” The left sees civilization’s salvation in a massive Luddite undertaking that inhibits technological growth by turning back the clock, undoing footprints, forcing technology that doesn’t exist, banning products that do and badgering consumers who have not adhered to the plan through all kinds of punishment. Yet there is no real science that has shown that any of it makes a whit of difference.
So no doubt, it is reasonable for voters to query presidential candidates about their views on faith, religion, God, Darwin and science. It matters. Sometimes, though, it matters less than they’d like you to think it does.
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
I don’t know much about Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, though I appreciate his resisting federal bribery in education. I can, though, say that the dustup over his remarks yesterday concerning the age of the Earth, and whether some Texas schools teach creationism alongside evolution, is not a sad commentary on him. It’s a damning commentary on public schooling.
First, let’s get the facts straight: No, it wouldn’t be constitutional to advocate creationism in public schools, though it might be acceptable toteach the religious basis for it without declaring it the truth. Even without possible legal finessing, however, it is very likely that teachers are discussing creationism in Lone Star science classes, and just about every other state’s. As a groundbreaking survey of high school biology teachers recently found, about 13 percent of surveyed teachers explicitly teach creationism or intelligent design in their classes, and about 60 percent dance around evolution, sometimes by teaching numerous views on the subject.
How could this be happening?
About 40 percent of Americans believe that roughly 10,000 years ago God created human beings as we currently exist, and they aren’t going to just let the schools for which they have to pay taxes ignore that. Nor should they: ours is a nation built on individual liberty, and government attacks that at its core when it compels people to support schools that either teach things they find abhorrent or fails to teach things they feel essential. Of course, those who oppose the teaching of creationism are equally justified in standing up for their convictions — hence the creationist black market and constant public-schooling conflict.
The solution: Let parents choose educational options consistent with their norms and beliefs, especially through tax credit programs that allow individuals or corporations to choose what kinds of schools they’ll support. And yes, many people will select options others will dislike, but that’s both a part of freedom and the key to getting coherent and transparent curricula for all.
As a side — but hugely important — note, it is very dangerous to let government declare scientific “winners.” Reality — while very hard to truly know — is not determined by “consensus,” or who can convince the most politicians of something. It simply is. As a result, letting something become officially approved thought is to be assiduously avoided. But don’t take my word for it: Just read up on John Scopes and the huge challenges he faced trying to teach kids about offically forbidden evolution.
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
When was the last time you saw this kind of chaos swirling around a PRIVATE school? You haven’t.
Why not? Because private schools, their teachers and administrators answer to their customers – the parents and students – not politicians, not unions, not social engineers and experimenters, not the hundreds of special interests whose children don’t even attend that school!
Putting the education of our children under the control of government bureaucrats and the lobbyists who pull their strings is one of the BIGGEST mistakes our country has ever made, and nothing less than the future of our nation is at stake.
The protests in Wisconsin reveal the true colors of those who have REALLY been in control of the education industry for the past century, and how far they are willing to go when their strangehold on the next generation (and the taxpayer money that follows them) is threatened. It also reveals a deeper problem: what happens when a nation abdicates its God-given responsibilities to the state.
We have allowed the state to take God out of our children’s schools and fill their minds with the world’s “alternative” truth claims of moral relativism, socialism and secular humanism, cleverly woven into lessons on history, language arts, and science. Many Christian parents cannot even discern this because they themselves were educated this way, and have not taken the time, effort and discipline to re-educate themselves in these areas according to God’s worldview (and the church has been lacking in instructing them). We have allowed entire generations of Americans to believe they were educated and intelligent, when the Bible tells us that “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1-3), and “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 1:7).
Our Founders well understood this:
“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.” ~ Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence
“We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.” ~ Benjamin Rush
“Public utility pleads most forcibly for the general distribution of the Holy Scriptures. The doctrine they preach, the obligations they impose, the punishment they threaten, the rewards they promise, the stamp and image of divinity they bear, which produces a conviction of their truths, can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses, and at the same time enjoy quiet conscience.” ~ James McHenry, signer of the Constitution
“The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools, in teaching natural philosophy as an accomplishment only, has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism. Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator himself, they stop short, and employ the knowledge they acquire to create doubts of his existence. They labour with studied ingenuity to ascribe every thing they behold to innate properties of matter, and jump over all the rest by saying, that matter is eternal.” ~ Thomas Paine
““I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them…we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this Divine Book, above all others, constitutes the soul of republicanism.” “By withholding the knowledge of [the Scriptures] from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds.” ~ Benjamin Rush
“”To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.” ~ Jedediah Morse
“What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.” ~ George Washington
“Education is useless without the Bible.” ~ Noah Webster
Is it any wonder that our culture has become ever more corrupt and immoral, when we have ignored the wisdom of our fathers and handed each subsequent generation over to fools who deny these truths?
Where is the church in this crucial hour? Why are they silent in the face of this evil? This is not just a political battle, it’s a spiritual one – a battle to decide who is REALLY in charge of shaping the minds of the next generation of citizens and voters. The Enemy will not give up his captives without a fight.
Will the church finally stand up and speak the truth? God has delegated the education of children to parents. THEY must decide when, where and how their children will be educated, and by whom, and with what worldview – and they must answer to God for those choices.
Our nation has sinned against God by turning that responsibility over to government, which leads to the corruption, lies and power struggles we are now facing.
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
The Left has all the tools in place to shape the narrative before anyone else even knows what’s going on. Whoever shapes the narrative controls the debate. We can’t afford to keep playing defense. We need to be deliberate and strategic about anticipating these attacks and shaping the narrative before they do.
On the radio this morning, Bill Bennett and I had a discussion about the Arizona massacre, and the political use of it made by the Left in this country. A few observations.
In a way, they have won. “They”? I mean, the Krugmans, the Sullivans, the Olbermanns: “They.” They’ve won because we are on their turf, where they have dragged us, or enticed us.
The shooting in Arizona has nothing to do with politics. Nothing to do with Republicans, nothing to do with conservatism. It has nothing to do with the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, you, or me. From what we know, a young psychotic got it into his psychotic head that he would shoot the local congressman, who happened to have a “D.” after her name, rather than an “R.” But the goons and ghouls have pretended that the Republicans spurred this.
And here we are, talking about the massacre and the Republicans, the massacre and national politics, as though there were any connection between these things.
A psychotic described by his classmates as a left-wing pothead shoots a bunch of people. And in the dock is that famous left-wing pothead Sarah Palin. Great, just great. May I pose a question? If the wounded congressman were a Republican instead of a Democrat — I believe the dead judge was a Republican — would we be having a discussion about the massacre and national politics? Would anchormen be running to the scene of the crime?
Jeff Danziger has drawn another odious cartoon, the kind he has long specialized in: Out of a steaming teapot arises an assassin. Get it? The Tea Party. Cool! That’s the way the likes of Danziger want it to be, and practically need it to be. That’s the way they wish it were — no matter what the reality.
I am speaking of the following attitude: A right-winger, instead of a Communist, should have shot Kennedy. A right-winger, instead of a Palestinian immigrant, should have shot Bobby. A right-winger — a Tea Partier! — instead of a young, untreated schizo, should have shot Giffords and those others. I believe that is the attitude on display in that cartoon, and elsewhere.
To say it once more, the Left has kind of won: because we are having a discussion about the Arizona shooting and Republicanism, the Arizona shooting and Sarah Palin, which is not much different from having a discussion about the Arizona shooting and, oh, I don’t know: the price of eggs in Dakar.
Chances are, the Arizona massacre will hurt the Republican party and the Tea Party, stopping or slowing their momentum. Because the Left, “respectable” and not, has, I believe, succeeded in associating the massacre in the public mind with the “Right.” A “veteran Democratic operative” told Politico that President Obama and his team “need to deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers.” Oh, I’m not sure they have to be so deft about it. The Danziger-Krugman way will probably work just fine.
What the irresponsible Left has done in this instance — in its exploitation of a massacre — is so low, so foul, so disgusting, I barely have the words. I mean, turn Paul Wellstone’s funeral into a political rally if you want to. But this? As I said on the Bennett radio show, I’m not a blushing violet, and I know that politics is rough. But to pretend that a murder spree by a psychotic has something to do with those of us who oppose the Democrats’ health legislation and other measures — this is beyond the pale, way beyond it.
I’ve said it before: There are angels and demons on both the right and the left. Neither side has a monopoly on virtue, or its opposite. I’ve made some people chuckle by saying, “Most of the worst people I have known have been on the right. Why? Because I have known so many people on the right! My jobs have seen to that.” I know a lot of angels and demons — of different political stripes.
But the Left’s reaction to this Arizona massacre — “Mission Accomplished, Sarah Palin,” and all that? Very, very hard to take. It is indeed hard to share a conversation, a political culture, a society, with such people.
Discover The Networks explains how “Political Correctness” is actually a calculated effort towards Cultural Marxism:
America today is dominated by a system of beliefs, attitudes and values that we have come to know as “Political Correctness.” For many it is an annoyance and a self parodying joke. But Political Correctness is deadly serious in its aims, seeking to impose a uniformity of thought and behavior on all Americans. It is therefore totalitarian in nature. Its roots lie in a version of Marxism which sees culture, rather than the economy, as the site of class struggle.
Under Marxist economic theory, the oppressed workers were supposed to be the beneficiaries of a social revolution that would place them on top of the power structure. When these revolutionary opportunities presented themselves, however, the workers did not respond. The Marxist revolutionaries did not blame their theory for these failures; instead they blamed the “ruling class,” which had bought off the workers by giving them “rights,” and had blinded them with a “false consciousness” that led them to support national governments and liberal democracy.
One group of Marxist intellectuals resolved this apparent contradiction of Marxist theory by an analysis that focused on society’s cultural “superstructure” rather than on the economic “base” as Marx did. The Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci and Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukacs contributed the most to this new cultural Marxism.
Among Marxists, Gramsci is noted for his theory that cultural hegemony is the means to class dominance. In his view, a new “Communist man” had to be created through a changed culture before any political revolution was possible. This led to a focus on the efforts of intellectuals in the fields of education and media.
Georg Lukacs believed that for a new Marxist culture to emerge, the existing culture must be destroyed. He said, “I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution to the cultural contradictions of the epoch…. Such a worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.”
In 1923, Lukacs and other Marxist intellectuals associated with the Communist Party of Germany founded the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University in Frankfurt, Germany. The Institute, which became known as the Frankfurt School, was modeled after the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. In 1933, when Nazis came to power in Germany, the members of the Frankfurt School fled. Most came to the United States and many became influential in American universities. The Frankfurt School’s studies combined Marxist analysis with Freudian psychoanalysis to form the basis of what became known as “Critical Theory.”
Critical Theory was essentially destructive criticism of the main elements of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, convention and conservatism.
Critical Theorists recognized that traditional beliefs and the existing social structure would have to be destroyed and then replaced with a “new thinking” that would become as much a part of elementary consciousness as the old one had been. Their theories took hold in the tumultuous 1960s, when the Vietnam War opened a Pandora’s Box of reevaluaton and revolution. The student radicals of the era were strongly influenced by revolutionary ideas, among them those of Herbert Marcuse, a member of the Frankfurt School who preach the “Great Refusal,” a rejection of all basic Western concepts and an embrace of sexual liberation, and the merits of feminist and black revolutions. His primary thesis was that university students, ghetto blacks, the alienated, the asocial, and the Third World could take the place of the proletariat in the coming Communist revolution.
Marcuse may be the most important member of the Frankfurt School in terms of the origins of Political Correctness, because he was the critical link to the counterculture of the 1960s. His objective was clear: “One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution, since the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including morality of existing society.”
When addressing the general public, contemporary advocates of Political Correctness – or Cultural Marxism, as it might just as easily be called – present their beliefs with appealing simplicity as merely a commitment to being “sensitive” to other people and embracing values such as “tolerance” and “diversity.”
The reality is different. Political Correctness is the use of culture as a sharp weapon to enforce new norms and to stigmatize those who dissent from the new dispensation; to stigmatize those who insist on values that will impede the new “PC” regime: free speech and free and objective intellectual inquiry.
When it comes to government money, there’s no such thing as “no strings attached”.
Christianity Today (CT) has posted an article about increasing government intrusion into higher education. The Federal Department of Education aims to impose new regulations that, as CT says, “could provide a back-door threat to the ability of Christian colleges to control curriculum, admissions, and hiring standards.” In other words, the government will force Christian Colleges and relevant seminaries to teach what the government wants, admit whom the government wants, and hire as professors whom the government says.
Imagine at Christian College being sued and required to hire a lesbian sociology professor to teach tolerance of homosexuality, and forced to allow homosexuals, feminists, and atheists to their Christian Education programs.
Of course, there is a way to prevent ALL of this from happening in ANY Christian school, even if the new regulations do go into effect. How?
Simple: quit accepting government aid for student loans, grants, etc. Why Christians schools ever bought into this trap to begin with defies everything holy to begin with. The State should not be involved in education; and when we foolishly accept the State’s dollar, don’t be surprised when the State starts running the show. He who pays the piper….
Sadly, nowhere in it’s two page article does CT even address this part of the topic. To them, the State is merely overstepping its bounds. But they don’t even mention the State-funding angle: Caesar image is on the tuition payment; he is merely coming to claim what is his.
It’s one reason the influence of Christianity has so waned in society: the liberals and statists designed the “land grant” State University system consciously as a secular competition to Christian education. Then they designed a “hook” by which to snag control of Christian colleges and seminaries: federal loan and federal aid programs.
In order to “qualify” for federal aid, schools have to meet federal regulations, and receive “third party” accreditation. Of course, they never discuss the question, “Who accredits the accreditors?” Accreditation has been from day one an avenue by which to exercise control over school curricula and professors. But, if you want your students to be able to use federal loans and federal aid in order to pay tuition at your school, you MUST have accreditation by the accrediting goons.
Listen to the exchange in context:
View on YouTube
In a separate clip, Coons made a very revealing statement regarding how he thinks the constitution should be interpreted: “It is important for us, in modern times, to interpret the constitution, in my view, as it exists today, and as it’s been interpreted by our justices.”
THIS is the crux of the issue. The REAL battle is between those who believe in Constitutional Originalism – interpreting the constitution as it was originally written and meant by its authors – and those who espouse using the Case Law Method to re-interpret it as a “living document” that changes with the times.
Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell asked her opponent during their debate Tuesday to prove that the separation of church and state is in the U.S. Constitution.
“Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked Chris Coons.
Democrat Chris Coons quickly criticized her and pointed to the First Amendment as the audience reportedly laughed.
O’Donnell followed up by arguing that the actual phrase is not in the First Amendment.
“The First Amendment does? So you’re telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase ‘separation of church and state,’ is in the First Amendment?”
Both candidates suggested that the exchange showed the other didn’t understand the Constitution.
The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The phrase “separation of church and state” is usually traced to President Thomas Jefferson. In a letter in 1802, he referred to the First Amendment and said that it built “a wall of separation between Church & State.”
O’Donnell’s campaign issued a statement later saying O’Donnell “was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.”
The media is in an absolute frenzy over this, decrying O’Donnell’s supposed “ignorance”. But the fact is, she’s right. The concept of “Separation of Church and State” as we know it today was actually introduced in 1947 – almost two centuries AFTER the Constitution was originally ratified – in a case called Everson v. Board of Education. Radical justices have been building the “wall” higher to erode religious liberty ever since.
The average American’s ignorance of this fact is a testament to the effectiveness of “progressive” revisionism in public schools, which is why the audience – most of whom were educated indoctrinated in government schools – gasped in disbelief that she would question such an “obvious” claim.
Observe these quotes from Supreme Court decisions from 1799 to 1945:
• Maryland Supreme Court, 1799: “Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.”
• In 1811 the New York state court upheld an indictment for blasphemous utterances against Christ, and in its ruling, given by Chief Justice Kent, the court said, “We are Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of other religions. In people whose manners are refined, and whose morals have been elevated and inspired with a more enlarged benevolence, it is by means of the Christian religion.”
• In 1861 this same court said that “Christianity may be conceded to be the established religion.”
• Vidal v. Girad’s Executors, 1844. “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] — its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? . . .Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? — Unanimous Decision Commending and Encouraging the use of the Bible in Government-Run Schools.
• Commonwealth v. Nesbitt, 1859: The court listed representative actions into which, if perpetrated in the name of religion, the government had legitimate reason to intrude: human sacrifice concubinage, incest, injury to children, advocation and promotion of immorality, etc. In all other orthodox religious practices where the public prayer, the use of the scriptures or whatever, the government was not to interfere. The clearly understood of the intent of Jefferson’s letter and the way his phrase was applied for nearly a century and a half.
• Reynolds v. United States, 1878: The Court presented Jefferson’s full letter, not just the eight words, “A wall of Separation between Church and State” and summed the intent of his phrase “Congress was deprived of all legislative powers over mere [religious] opinions but was left free to reach [only those religious] actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” [The rightful purpose of civil government regarding religion was] to interfere [with religion only] when [religious] principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In this is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the state.”
• In the case of Holy Trinity v. United States in 1892, after thoroughly researching volumes of founder’s documents and citing an amazing 89 precedents, declared: “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”
• As justice Douglas wrote for the majority of the Supreme Court in the United States v. Ballard case in 1944: The First Amendment has a dual aspect. It not only “forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship” but also “safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion.”
As the American Spectator observes:
The American founding fathers wanted to prevent the “establishment” of a state religion. However, they did not wish to erect a solid and impenetrable wall between church and state or church and the public square.
Why, even Thomas Jefferson, who penned the phrase, “wall of separation…” “endorsed the use of federal funds to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians,” the Heritage Foundation reports.
So O’Donnell made a slight error because she was focused on an issue Coons had dodged and gotten wrong. Nonetheless, she got the underlying principle of religious freedom right; and that’s what really matters.
What, after all, is the benefit of having the Constitution memorized if you don’t understand its underlying principles?
“Throughout American history,’’ writes Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute, “public schooling has produced political disputes, animosity, and sometimes even bloodshed between diverse people.’’ Political fighting is neither rare nor anomalous: In the course of just one school year, 2005-06, McCluskey tallied almost 150 reported cases of public-school conflicts.
There were bitter battles that year over Darwinism-vs.-intelligent-design in Pennsylvania and Kansas, heated fights over books about Cuba in Florida, and an emotional dispute in California over the portrayal of Hindus in history texts. In Lexington, Mass., a teacher’s decision to read a story celebrating gay marriage to her second-grade class without first notifying parents triggered a fight that ultimately wound up in federal court.
Again and again, Americans find themselves at war with each other over public schooling. Yet furious conflict over religion in this country is almost unheard-of. Why? Why don’t American Catholics and Protestants angrily attack each other’s views of clerical celibacy or papal infallibility? Why is there no bitter struggle between Orthodox and Reform Jews to control the content of the Sabbath liturgy? Why don’t American atheists clash with American believers over whether children should be taught to pray before going to sleep?
Americans presumably feel as strongly about religion as they do about education. So why does the endless variety of religious life in the United States lead to so little strife, while the strife over public schooling never seems to end?
The answer is no mystery. America is a land of religious freedom, in which people decide for themselves what to believe and how to worship. No religion is funded by government. Elected officials have no say in the doctrine of any faith or the content of any religious service. Religion flourishes in America because church and state are separate. And it flourishes so peacefully because no one is forced to support anyone else’s faith, or to attend a church he isn’t happy with, or to bring up children according to the religious views of whichever faction has the most votes.
Religion is peaceful because it is government-free. Liberate the schools, and they too would be at peace. Taxpayer-funded, one-curriculum-fits-all schooling makes conflict inevitable. There would be far less animosity if parents were as free to choose how and where their children learn as they are to choose how and where they worship. Separation of church and state has made America an exemplar of religious pluralism and tolerance. Imagine what separation of school and state could do for education.
Learn more about Freedom of Education
Learn more about the Separation of School and State
Should the nation’s colleges and universities be subjugated by federal and state government? That’s what is going to happen if the U.S. Department of Education goes ahead with its proposal to turn both private and public schools into “authorized” institutions.
The plan, scheduled to go into effect in November, entails a heavy cost in time and money. But what is more ominous is the whole idea of political supervision of higher education.
As a practical matter, the department’s power grab carries with it an implicit invitation for various pressure groups to seek legal mandates requiring colleges and universities to implement their pet theories about curriculum, degree requirements, faculty qualifications, teaching methods, textbooks, evolution, phonics, ROTC, climate change, family policy, abortion, race, sexual orientation, economic theory, etc.
If adopted, regional accreditation will be denied to any institution that has not first been given “substantive” state “authorization.”
Virtually all colleges and universities are already licensed or registered by one or more states. Many are already registered to do business in all 50 states, which means they are subject to state fraud and consumer-protection laws, have a registered agent within the state, and can be sued by students, vendors, employees or others who have a complaint against them.
But this is not what the Department of Education has in mind. Although details are sketchy, the department’s proposal calls for “substantive” oversight, not “merely of the type required to do business in the state.” Moreover, this legal authorization must be “subject to adverse action by the state,” and the state must have “a process to review and appropriately act on complaints . . . and to enforce applicable state laws.”
In other words, the state will be required to set standards, establish guidelines, and enact rules and regulations by which each college and university will be judged.
This assault on academic freedom and institutional autonomy is a slap in the face to regional accreditation agencies whose peer reviews have been bulwarks of integrity and academic quality for decades. Loss of accreditation is literally a death sentence.
The department’s new regulatory scheme doesn’t do away with regional accreditation; it adds another approval layer, state “authorization.” Some states will undoubtedly exercise this power with restraint, at least at the outset. But who can doubt that various interest groups will soon begin to clamor for ideas to be mandated by law as requirements for college classrooms?
Moreover, do we want the nation’s colleges subjected to political supervision by federal and state government? Our nation is well-served by public colleges and universities, many of which have managed to remain somewhat free of explicit political control, wrestling with important ideas, competing for students, faculty, staff and philanthropy.
Education Department officials also plan to subject private institutions to the same kind of state supervision as public colleges and universities. If such control of these schools is not unconstitutional, it ought to be.
For-profit colleges and universities are cheating students, government officials allege, lying to them about job opportunities for graduates and falsifying loan applications. These are serious charges, and if true, deserve swift punishment. But these actions, even if true, are already criminal acts under existing law. If the Department has knowledge of wrong-doing, they should call for prosecution. There is no demonstrated need to put all schools, public and private, religious and secular, nonprofit and for-profit, on the government leash.
Legislators must start sniffing around this mess, ask questions, and demand justification. If that happens, this plan is doomed. Write your congressman and senator, today.
Howard Zinn was teaching a class, but he wasn’t yet a professor and his classroom wasn’t at a university. It was late 1951, and the students who gathered for Zinn’s lessons in Brooklyn were his fellow members of the Communist Party USA.
One of Zinn’s comrades described him as “a person with some authority” within the local CPUSA section and said that Zinn’s class was on “basic Marxism,” the theme being “that the basic teachings of Marx and Lenin were sound and should be adhered to by those present.”
That description, furnished to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by a former Communist in 1957, is included in more than 400 pages of Zinn’s FBI file made public last week.
The FBI files demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that Zinn — author of A People’s History of the United States, widely used as a textbook or supplement in many of our nation’s high schools and universities — was a card-carrying Communist at a time when the Soviet Union was America’s most dreaded enemy.
Texas schoolchildren will be required to learn that the words “separation of church and state” aren’t in the Constitution and evaluate whether the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty under new social studies curriculum.
In final votes late Friday, conservatives on the State Board of Education strengthened requirements on teaching the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers and required that the U.S. government be referred to as a “constitutional republic” rather than “democratic.” (See earlier story)
The board approved the new standards with two 9-5 votes along party lines after months of ideological haggling and debate that drew attention beyond Texas.
The guidelines will be used to teach some 4.8 million students for the next 10 years. They also will be used by textbook publishers who often develop materials for other states based on those approved in Texas, though Texas teachers have latitude in deciding how to teach the material.
Another example of why government needs to get out of the education industry. Why should religious and secularist parents be arguing about which one-size-fits-all curriculum to use for ALL their kids? They should each be free to choose schools that fit their kids’ needs in the free market!
The REAL battle should be to get government out of education completely! It’s a HUGE conflict of interest for government to be shaping the minds of future voters and citizens. Do you see entire states arguing over what foods should be offered in grocery stores? Of course not, because the free market works well in the food industry. Competitors offer options to entice customers, and customers make their own choices according to their needs! We desperately need the same free market forces at work in the education industry. Socialism DOESN’T WORK!
The debate over Texas social studies is out of control again. The liberal left is up to its usual political games, trying to distort the truth and silence the voices of thousands of Texans, including numerous teachers and parents, who have called, e-mailed and testified before their State Board of Education (SBOE) members. One newspaper editorial even compared the majority of the SBOE members to the Taliban. Left-leaning voices have also weighed in from California and New York, as they know when it comes to education and textbooks, what happens in Texas doesn’t just stay in Texas.
Why? It’s all about politics. The Board is made up of 10 Republicans and five Democrats who are elected by the citizens of Texas. That is a problem for the liberal left, which sees the public school system as the best way to radically change the course of our nation by changing the worldview of the next generation and distorting our history. Finally, after four public hearings and more than 14 months of review and discussion, they have confessed their true motivation: to control what our kids are taught in school by keeping some teachers, parents and the democratic process out!
Here’s proof: The national American Civil Liberties Union has now jumped into the fray, trying to force their left-wing version of Texas social studies and supporting gubernatorial candidate Bill White’s demands that the Board delay its final vote on the standards, currently scheduled for next month. The ACLU and White want the Board to wait until January 2011, after the November elections, to take a final vote on social studies curriculum standards, hoping there will be more liberal representation on the Board. What’s more political than that?
It is incredibly dangerous for ANY government to have influence or control over what future voters and citizens are taught. It’s a HUGE conflict of interest! Thank goodness Texans are taking back the right to direct the education of their own children. Let’s hope other states have the courage to follow suit!
It’s a pleasure these Obamaton days to highlight the advancement of Liberty. As government spirals out of control, the assault on Freedom clouds life, but on Friday a bit of sunshine broke through. The Texas Board of Education voted overwhelmingly to change what children read, adding balance to curriculum-guiding text-books. Among the changes (amendments):
–the replacing of “capitalism” with “free-enterprise system”
–the inclusion of Milton Friedman and Friedrich Von Hayek among economic luminaries
–the addition of Black Panther agitation in the era of Civil Rights
–the inclusion of congressional vote-tallies on Civil Rights legislation
–the balancing of Darwinian theory with Creationism
–the teaching of the importance of personal responsibility
It’s okay to smile. Texas influences the rest of the country, as states share standards. It’s also okay to celebrate victory and the responsible sharing of historical truth.