Thinking Out Loud - Ms. Green

Commentaries from a female, conservative Christian worldview. Intermittent observations on human behavior and current events. Occasional bursts of personal tirades,confessions, and discoveries. Frequent discussions about my "Narrow-Minded Faith".

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Should Christians pull their Children out of Public Schools?

There is a movement calling for Christian parents to pull their children out of public schools. The movement is called “Call to Dunkirk” and is being promoted by a ministry called Exodus Mandate.

Voddie Baucham, author of “Family Driven Faith”, says “If you control the schools, you control the future.”

There’s no arguing that public schools nationwide have generally kicked Jesus Christ out. God is allowed only if defined as vague, all-accepting, non-judgmental, ecumenical and universal in nature.

I agree that Christians should consider taking their children out of public schools if those schools are undermining the Christian faith and promoting secular humanism, homosexuality and promiscuity.

On the other hand, I’m extremely thankful to live in the south, and in particular, the area I live in at present. I seriously considered sending my newest son (he’s my #4 son – my sister, who died a little over a year ago, left him in my husband and my hands to raise) to a Christian school rather than the public school because of all that I’ve been reading about what is going on in that arena.

I’ve been extremely pleased and surprised to find that there are still public school systems that have not abandoned Christianity. My son’s teachers frequently pray with their students, mention their faith in emails to me, and yes, they had “Christmas” parties the week before school let out for the “Christmas” break. Last year, on a “movie day”, one teacher allowed the class to watch “The Ten Commandments”. The superintendant of the system is also a self-professing Christian, and recently I was allowed to read an email he sent out to all the teachers within the system. He and his wife lost a child years ago to SIDS, and he recalls the heartache they went through. He then closes with his thoughts on Christmas.

The following is an excerpt from his email. I will not publish the entire letter, but wanted you to be encouraged that there is still hope for public schools…at least in some parts of this country.


I hope that you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. I know that we all have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. I am thankful that I live in the greatest country in the world and that I work in such an amazing school system with wonderful, caring employees. I have visited every location this year and throughout the district one thing is apparent---we have teachers and support workers who take pride in their jobs and care deeply about our children, our schools, and our community. Thanks for all that you do to make our system the best in the state!

As the holiday season approaches, I know that Christmas means many things for all of us. I hope that you all have as many wonderful memories of Christmas as I do. If you have a little time I would like to tell you what Christmas means to me, …
\
.. the answer is easy. It means that because a baby was born in a manger over 2,000 years ago, my wife … and I … will see our precious angel, … again. I will once … hear the sound of her laughter. It means that because God loved me so much, He gave His son for me. That's what Christmas is all about for me.

I hope that you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. God bless you all
.


And I pray God blesses this man for professing his faith publicly without fear, and for having a positive impact on the kids in our community. It is because of his stand, and the stand of so many Christian educators and students, that the ACLU has been distressed due to the graduation ceremonies in the community. For years now, the ACLU has threatened to sue and stop any mention of Jesus Christ in the ceremonies, and each year, the student led prayer has stood in defiance of the ACLU and declared as a group their faith in Him and their appreciation for His influence in their lives. And the ACLU has been helpless, because the students have the right to decide their graduation class's position on publicly praying.

For clarification, I will say that if the school system abandons its present stance and succombs to the politically correct notion that Christianity has no place in the public venue, and begins to undermine the faith in which we are bringing up our son, we will pull him out of the system and either homeschool or consider private school options. I pray it won't come to that here. Seeing what is happening in the rest of the country, I'm not overly optimistic.

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10 Comments:

At 11:20 AM, OpenID 4simpsons said...

Our oldest is about to graduate and has done well in public schools. Though if we had to do it over again we'd keep her off the school buses.

Our youngest is going to switch to online courses for her last two years. She has really wanted this and we think it will work out well.

The district we are in is fairly conservative but is growing too big and getting worse.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

The district we are in is fairly conservative but is growing too big and getting worse.

Like I, you live in a fairly conservative state - and from what I know of the school systems there, they are overall conservative and Christian-friendly - but I agree - they're getting bigger, which means more bureaucracy and more chance of liberal influence.

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Herm said...

Ms.Green, How encouraging to hear that there are still areas where Godly teachers and administrators and Godly parents are not afraid to keep Jesus relevant in our education system. You and Neil are fortunate to still have that. Its not the norm by any means. Both my daughters home schooled, and I am very proud of them for doing so. It requires a lot of determination, time, patience, and sacrifice on parents. The results can be so rewarding, but are dependent on the above mentioned requirements. Its not easy, but, for some parents, if you want to save your children from this Godless system, you should consider the option. God Bless, Herm

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Naumadd said...

Public schools do not "promote secular humanism" primarily. As institutions of government of the people, for the people, by the people, they are primarily tasked with promoting unity. This necessarily means that no one set of beliefs and practices - no one religion - can be either shown preference or denigration. If the majority of Americans are Christian - and there is statistical reason to believe so, although they can be christians primarily, the government cannot because it is restricted by the word and spirit of the U.S. Constitution. Yes, schools promote secular humanism but not PRIMARILY. Schools must promote all "religions" to express unity of the american people, or it must not promote any which, at least in my opinion, is a failure to perform its function of education.

Unity implies balance of a diverse population around a single set of values, those being respect of inalienable individual rights and the liberty to exercise mutually guaranteed self-determination. Those values happen to be explicit in secular humanism, however, they aren't secular humanist values only - they are the values of rational human beings ... no matter what they call themselves.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

Ricky,

American schools used to have one primary textbook, and that was the Bible. The imaginary separation of church and state has been used to push Christianity out of schools, not keep it from coming in.

If schools did nothing to promote any religion, but stuck to reading, writing and math etc., I don't think Christians would be as cynical about public education as we are. But repeatedly, public schools are found to be socially indocrinating our children with anti-Christian thinking and sentiments. Therein lies the problem.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts. Have a great new year.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger memphisto said...

>American schools used to have one primary textbook, and that was the Bible. The imaginary separation of church and state has been used to push Christianity out of schools, not keep it from coming in.

The separation of church and state isn’t imaginary, it’s the first thing in the first amendment- “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The government can neither sanction a particular religion nor interfere with you practicing it. In 1925 the Supreme Court established that the 14th amendment provided that the rights granted in the constitution could not be abridged or superseded by state or local governments.

You are right in saying that Protestant religious education was part of the curriculum in early public schools. That’s why Catholics and Jews started forming their own schools. They thought the educational system was slanted against them. And they were right. Protestantism was thought to be good for “national unity”. But for the government to give any religion preference is a violation of the First Amendment.

>If schools did nothing to promote any religion, but stuck to reading, writing and math etc., I don't think Christians would be as cynical about public education as we are. But repeatedly, public schools are found to be socially indocrinating our children with anti-Christian thinking and sentiments. Therein lies the problem.

Is it really anti-Christian indoctrination? Or is it simply that schools are teaching things that SOME Christians would rather their children not know? Like evolution. Or that gay people deserve the same respect as anyone else in spite of whether or not you agree with their lifestyle? I agree that schools should back off on the social engineering, but I also realize that school is where most children get a lot of their socialization for living in the larger community. If Johnny has two mothers, teaching kids about it may be overstepping the bounds of public education, but it isn’t expressly anti-Christian.

Personally, I don’t think that forcing other people’s children to pray to your god in school, or teaching religious beliefs as science is part of freedom of religion or the mandate of a public education system in a pluralistic society. For anybody, not just Christians. The problems with violating this rule are becoming apparent in the UK right now.

http://sinsofmemphisto.blogspot.com/2008/10/religion-be-careful-what-you-ask-for.html

To first say that Christians have a right to indoctrinate other people’s children in the public schools and then decry the fact that children are being indoctrinated with ideas that don’t jibe with your religious views is a little ironic, isn’t it?

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Ms.Green said...

"...prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Christianity is being prohibited in many public schools and the attempt to prohibit it in others is ongoing.

Early writings and actions of our founding fathers overwhelmingly support the notion that this country was founded on the principles of Christianity. The first Ivy League schools were founded to promote Christianity. The first public schools used their Bible as their primary textbook. One of the first acts of Congress was to print Bibles for missionaries.

I'm not in favor of stifling others' ability to worship or not worship their god or gods or their humanity. What I am against is the removal of any reference to Christianity in the public schools when in fact, they were founded upon and relied on the faith of Christians. There is no violation of the First Amendment here. Congress is the entity prohibited from interfering. Individuals, school systems, and communities are not mentioned in the First Amendment as being prohibited from anything.

"Is it really anti-Christian indoctrination?

Of course it is. My nephew, while living in New Mexico several years ago, when asked what he was going to do during the "Holiday Season", shared with the class that he was going to celebrate the birth of Jesus by being in a play at his church. The teacher immediately pulled him out in the hallway and reprimanded him, saying he was not allowed to talk about such things in class, as though he'd done something wrong.

Don't tell me that's not indoctrination - and events like this are repeated daily throughout the United States.

Like evolution.

Which is still unproven and lacks empirical evidence.

Or that gay people deserve the same respect as anyone else in spite of whether or not you agree with their lifestyle?

Respect is one thing. Condonement or promotion is another.

If Johnny has two mothers, teaching kids about it may be overstepping the bounds of public education, but it isn’t expressly anti-Christian.

It is if it is taught as being normal or socially acceptable.

Personally, I don’t think that forcing other people’s children to pray to your god in school...

I don't know of any instance where anyone in public school has been "forced" to pray to God. If there's been an instance like this, is is rare. God doesn't even condone forced worship.

teaching religious beliefs as science

If there is scientific evidence for it, there's nothing wrong with teaching it as an alternate to evolution.

To first say that Christians have a right to indoctrinate other people’s children in the public schools and then decry the fact that children are being indoctrinated with ideas that don’t jibe with your religious views is a little ironic, isn’t it?

Since public schools were founded on and relied on Christianity as part of the education process, and made no secret of it, that can't be construed as indoctrination. If I attend a private school run by the Catholic church, I expect to hear things from a Catholic point of view.

Sorry to repeat myself, but I must. If schools did nothing to promote any religion, but stuck to reading, writing and math etc., I don't think Christians would be as cynical about public education as we are. But repeatedly, public schools are found to be socially indocrinating our children with anti-Christian thinking and sentiments. Therein lies the problem.

If you are going to kick Christianity out of public school, at least stick to reading, writing, math, science, etc. and leave the rest to parents. If you are going to favor a worldview, stick with the one that public education was founded on.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger memphisto said...

>Christianity is being prohibited in many public schools and the attempt to prohibit it in others is ongoing.

Being Christian isn’t, having a worship service in school is. There is a time and place for everything. It is no more prohibiting your beliefs to say that school is for something other than religious instruction than it is to stop your from going to the front of a theater and trying to have a prayer meeting while the movie is playing. You had the right idea. If you want your children to have religious instruction in school, send them to a religious school.

>Early writings and actions of our founding fathers overwhelmingly support the notion that this country was founded on the principles of Christianity.

And yet nowhere in the constitution did they establish this as a “Christian nation”. In fact, they expressly prevented Congress from ever doing so. There is nothing wrong with saying the country was founded on the principles of Christianity (although saying it was founded on the principles of Greek and Roman democracy would be right too). It’s using the government to favor Christianity above other religions that goes against the precepts of the constitution.

>Individuals, school systems, and communities are not mentioned in the First Amendment as being prohibited from anything.

Government school systems and government employees in the pursuance of their civil duties are (14th amendment, remember?). You are welcome to form private communities or schools that promote religion. Christian bias was removed from pubic schools because they are supposed to be for everyone.

>Don't tell me that's not indoctrination - and events like this are repeated daily throughout the United States.

What happened to your nephew was wrong. But teaching children of other religions your (or my) religion in public school would be just as wrong. And not much different.

>> Like evolution.

>Which is still unproven and lacks empirical evidence.

Most scientists don’t agree with you.

>Respect is one thing. Condonement or promotion is another…It is if it is taught as being normal or socially acceptable.

It’s normal in that it occurs in every human society and at about the same frequency. And it’s socially acceptable in that we believe people should be able to make their own decisions regarding who they love free of government interference.

>I don't know of any instance where anyone in public school has been "forced" to pray to God. If there's been an instance like this, is is rare. God doesn't even condone forced worship.

So you are against school prayer? Me too (see my previous link).

>teaching religious beliefs as science

>If there is scientific evidence for it, there's nothing wrong with teaching it as an alternate to evolution.

You say evolution has no empirical evidence to support it. ID purports a creator. Where’s the empirical evidence for one?

>Since public schools were founded on and relied on Christianity as part of the education process, and made no secret of it, that can't be construed as indoctrination.

Of course it can. The idea that we once did something makes it all right to do forever is a specious argument. Would you like it if it was any religion other than Christianity? How do you think the non-Christian parents feel?

> If I attend a private school run by the Catholic church, I expect to hear things from a Catholic point of view.

Yeah, but public schools aren’t Christian schools, they are for everybody.

>If you are going to kick Christianity out of public school, at least stick to reading, writing, math, science, etc. and leave the rest to parents.

OK, that’s a deal.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger memphisto said...

Sorry, I notice my previous link didn't survive. Here it is again if you're interested.

http://sinsofmemphisto.blogspot.com/2008/10/
religion-be-careful-what-you-ask-for.html

Please paste the halves together to make it work.

 
At 3:40 AM, Blogger Marshall Art said...

There has been no call here for the teaching of religion in public schools. Moments of silence, to be used for whatever, including prayer, is seen as threatening by some, but is quite benign. The outcry against it, however, shows a distinct attitude against religion. How students use the moment of silence, however, is not mandated.

The problem is with the overall prevention of anything religious being mentioned by anyone. It is one thing to insist that schools or the teachers within them refrain from religious indoctrination, but to prevent their expression of religious belief isn't indoctrination if no mandate is placed upon non-believers. The story of Ms. Green's is extremely common in this country. (It could be said that there are those who don't quite understand the law, but there really is no excuse for them not to except for an ambivalence about religion by educational leaders.) Children have been silenced when references to their faith have been attempted in valedictory speeches, pre-game invocations (student driven), essays and themes, and other activities.

Meanwhile, there have been outrageous defense for the use of adult materials on student reading lists. I live in Chicago's NW suburbs. A year ago there was a great stink over a reading list at a local high school. One of the books on the list, "Angels in America" is about as pornographic and pro-homosexual as a book can be. There is simply no justification for such books, even those that aren't overtly pro-homosex, to be on any high school reading list. To say public schools don't promote a secular and humanist worldview is not accurate at all, even with exceptions in some pockets of the country.

So indeed, even though one could argue that schools shouldn't promote a specific religion, it is not an all-inclusive policy if the religion of secular humanism is being promoted at the same time.

I encourage everyon to call their elected representatives and insist on a push for school vouchers, or, a tax break for those who choose against using public schools.

 

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