Christianity and the Academy (4)

Education must be Independent

Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the best convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist. Such a tyranny … used as the instrument of destroying human souls, is certainly far more dangerous than the crude tyrannies of the past.[1]

I have found that one of the hardest things to do, is to convince Christians that the State will only harm their children’s education. It is a matter that most Christians are reluctant to consider, and find even more difficult to accept. Why? It is linked to the fact that we have all grown up with State controlled education. It has been part of our culture for about 150 years, and thus is considered to have de facto legitimacy. It is one of those things that, because of the compromise of the church in the nineteenth century, has come about with the passing of time, and seems to be here to stay.

But it is essential that Christian people submit to the Word of God, and allow it to direct them in all things. In the case of education, there is no Biblical warrant to permit the State to have any responsibility, as education is a parental responsibility (Deut.6; Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4).

Where responsibility rests, authority lies. To permit the State’s participation in the task of education, immediately leads to a shift in authority from parents to the State. The State then immediately requires taxation to carry out its responsibility, and it has to set up a massive bureaucracy, purchase land and buildings, employ staff, etc. But this is just the beginning of the problems.[2]

The Bible speaks very firmly to people who undertake a task, independent of the Word of God: “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation” (Isa.30:1-3).

The question can be asked, “What happens when the State controls education?” Putting aside for the moment the obvious issues of inefficiency and huge expense in all State systems, there is an even more important issue: indoctrination. A child spends some 14,000 hours over 12 years, being indoctrinated in a hostile world-view which is communicated through the curriculum, through teachers and by other children. This has been admitted by humanists for a long, long time. Charles Potter, a signatory of the Humanist Manifesto in 1930, wrote that

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday School, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings? [3]

Education departments and their schools are not religiously neutral, benevolent institutions. They are always involved (implicitly or explicitly) in the process of indoctrination. Because all education is founded on a religious foundation, this will be humanistic, because the premise of State controlled education is itself humanistic. Christians who think they will be able to “reform the system,” are deluded. The “system” only exists because of the negligence and disobedience of Christians, and fiercely resists real reform. Parents should take responsibility for everything. They may home educate their child, or delegate the task of education to others, but pay themselves for whatever they choose.

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education. This justification has always been a lie, from Horace Mann’s public schools in Massachusetts in the 1830’s until today. From the late nineteenth century until today, leading American educators have been forthright in their public pronouncements of their agenda. This agenda is deeply religious. John Dewey, the “father” of progressive education, dedicated humanist, and philosopher stated his position plainly: “Our schools, in bringing together those of different nationalities, languages, traditions, and creeds, in assimilating them together upon the basis of what is common and public in endeavour and achievement, are performing an infinitely significant religious work.” [4]

The humanists know exactly what they are doing, while Christians are confused about what they really want. Christians would like to inherit the promises of God in relation to their children, but unlike Joshua and Caleb of old, they are ill-prepared to face the conflict that is therefore inevitable, and so they procrastinate or excuse themselves. This has been an indictment on the leadership of the church for over a century. We have been procrastinating and excusing ourselves on this matter, ever since State education was established in Australia in the 1850’s, and our situation has only got steadily worse.

In the early years of the 20th century, the Fabian Society of England came out strongly in favour of state aid to independent Christian schools. When a board member resigned in protest, George Bernard Shaw rebuked him strongly. Nothing, Shaw held, would more quickly destroy these schools than state aid; their freedom and independence would soon be compromised, and, before long, their faith. Events soon Shaw to be right.[5]

What has been evident for generations, is that State accreditation for education, along with funding by the State, leads to control by the State. “He that takes the king’s shilling, does the kings bidding.”

 

This unconscionable compromise by Christians must end, if Christians hope to have any substantial influence in their society.

Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family…The best way to improve education is to return control to the parents who know best what their children need.[6]

 

[1] J. Gresham Macham,“Christianity and Liberalism,” 1923.

[2] An excellent resource on this, is Bruce Shortt’s “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools,” 2004.

[3] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools,” 2004, p.54.

[4] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.28.

[5] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.446.

[6] Dr Ron Paul, U.S. Senator, (www.lewrockwell.com), 2007.

 

 

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