Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do the Christian Anti-homeschoolers have a leg to stand on?

I received these letters through an email list I am on. I am sure the author of the second letter would not object to me posting his letter and I have deleted all personal information from the first letter. It could have been written by any Christian public school teacher.

(Written in response to an article written by the second man)
Dear ________,

Public education has some very serious problems. One that is common in many areas of our fair land is the decreasing enrollment at city schools, largely because of the popular exodus to the suburbs.

To provide examples of city systems' unfortunate attempts to lure students back, and characterize these as representative of all government schools is patently wrong! Our suburban [Big City, USA] school district is "NOT" controlled by the teachers' union. [Our State] is an "open shop" state, which means that "teachers may choose" NOT to join. My guess is that about half are not members. I do know, also that half of the teachers in the Science department (where I teach) are practicing Christians. We cannot espouse Christianity, obviously, but we DO teach the many fallacies of the Theory of Evolution in the required process of explaining it to students.

Our school has a very active Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization, and a strong representation of Christian students in the halls, as well as many committed Christian parents in the PTA and on the school board. If you would look for more such school systems, I am certain that you could find many. I can't believe that we are unique in America!

This is why I am dismayed that you continue to advocate abandoning our public schools to build more Christian schools, or home school all Christian children. Many fine Christian parents cannot afford to home school, or pay tuition for Christian school. To label them sinners is to ignore James' requirement to show no favoritism to the wealthy. "And yet you insult the poor man!" James 2:6.

You need to take your nose out of the newspaper, and begin reading God's Word! There is nothing new under the Sun. In Psalms 11 and 12 David says, "I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, 'Fly to the mountains for safety!?'...the Lord still rules from heaven. Those who do right will see His face. Therefore, Lord, we know that you will protect the oppressed, preserving them from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land."

"What is our pastor is teaching us about the deplorable conditions in America, today, in politics, entertainment, and education?" He is teaching us from God's Word not from the newspapers! The reason that our nation has fallen so far from being a Christian nation is because God's people are content to withdraw from society, and point their fingers at how bad everyone is out there!

Our responsibility as Christ's witnesses is to befriend the unsaved, lead them to Him, and to do the best we can to bring light to the darkness around us. We cannot do that, if we expend all of our efforts complaining. Satan is quite pleased when he can cause Christians to promote strife within the Church. He is even more emboldened when he causes us to abandon a whole mission field! This is what your rhetoric is doing!

And, yes, our children can be part of the positive influence in this sinful world, IF Christian parents and churches do their job in preparing them, daily, to meet the challenge. "Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!"

I will share one example of Christian students providing positive input, and even personal testimonies, in class. (They CAN do this. Teachers are prohibited from professing Christ.) Yet, your divisive dictum would remove these students from all public schools!

Since I am high school chemistry teacher, most of my students have already endured over ten years of public education, including the full complement of Darwinism, atheism, and "gender-neutralism". Nevertheless, student responses to my research paper on cosmology run four to one in favor of an intelligently designed universe. Many students included personal testimonies of their faith in their position. One student wrote: "There has never been a doubt in my mind that the world we live in was formed by the Holy Spirit Himself. I do not deny that many tangible things can be explained using scientific law and numbers, but what about the intangible things? Emotions, coincidences, thoughts, and dreams, these things cannot be explained using equations.

"I believe that God created the earth we live on as the Bible tells us. I don't believe He controls every step we take in this life: He gave us minds to think independently. But, I do believe that His presence is evident in every sunrise and sunset and that we all possess some kind of connection to Him."

I was moved by the depth of this young lady's faith, aware as I was of her recent tragic loss of a close friend to suicide! Is it "sinful" to expose her unbelieving classmates to her testimony? I think not! Her parents, and those of students with similar testimonies, obviously take their Christian parenting responsibilities seriously!

Does scripture provide any examples of parents teaching their young children God's way and then releasing them in God's hands to a worldly education? Moses and Daniel are first to come to mind, two of the most celebrated men of God in the Old Testament. Oh, but they were "chosen of God" for His specific purposes, right? Well, Revelation 17:14, Ephesians 1:11, and 1 Corinthians 1:27 (LOOK THEM UP!) tell us very plainly that WE are His chosen. So, why don't we act like it? In the conclusion of his depressing tome, "Slouching Towards Gomorrah; Modern Liberalism and American Decline", Robert H. Bork places the responsibility for saving our nation's Judeo-Christian culture directly in the lap of the conservative Church. "Because it is a grass roots movement, the new religious conservatism can alter the culture both by electing local officials and school boards (which have greater effects on culture than do national politicians), and by setting a moral tone in opposition to today's liberal relativism. We have allowed [America's intellectual and moral] capital to be severely damaged, but perhaps not beyond repair. As we approach its desolate and sordid precincts, the pessimism of the intellect tells us that Gomorrah is our probable destination. What is left to us is a determination not to accept that fate and the courage to resist it - the optimism of the will."

If a secular historian can see that we need to step up and be a light to our land, how much more readily should we see the need and be willing to fulfill our responsibility! Stop all of this nay-saying such as Joshua and Caleb faced at the entrance to the promised land, and TRUST IN CHRIST to provide the victory! May Christ be proclaimed throughout the land!

Dear Mr. ---------,

This is the second time you have sent me what is essentially the same email message. I also see that you have emailed an additional response to someone in the form of an attachment, although I have not had the time to read it.

In any event, thank you for writing. I assume that you are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, as a friend of mine once pointed out, when you put good people in a bad institution, the institution usually wins.

Although some years ago I used to receive letters making some of the arguments contained in your note, these arguments have by now taken on something of a museum quality, and I seldom see them seriously advanced any more.

You, nevertheless, believe that they have merit. Consequently, I will respond briefly.

The presupposition that underlies you entire argument is that Christian parents have no obligation as Christians not to place their children under false teaching. This proposition only needs to be stated to be recognized as obviously false.

While there are a great many verses from the Bible that make it clear that the education of children must be based on God's Word rather than the tenets of some pagan faith, the outline of what the Bible has to say can be limned quite easily.

First, the Bible enjoins us as parents to train our children up in the Word, not just in the bits and snatches of time left to us by anti-Christian educational institutions, but all of the time. [see, e.g. Ephesians 6:4 and Deut. 6:6-9].

Why? The Bible is clear about this, too. As Proverbs 23:7 points out, how we think will determine who we are. [See, also, Proverbs 22:6]. Christ Himself explicitly connects how we are trained up and how we think in Luke 6:40, where He tells us that a student is not above his teacher and that when he is fully trained a student will be like his teacher.

Occasionally one still hears Christian parents and pastors who are trying to justify our government school habit claim that government schools are somehow "neutral". This is a myth. Education is never "neutral". All education is based upon and inculcates a worldview and a metaphysics, which is to say that all education is religious. Christ, of course, points out explicitly there is no neutrality with respect to Him: we are either for Him or against Him; we either gather with Him or we scatter.[see Matt. 12:30]

To your credit, you admit that you and your Christian colleagues cannot proclaim the lordship of Christ in your suburban school in [Our State]. This is the case in every government school, whether it is urban, suburban, or rural, and has been the case for over two generations as a result of rulings by the United States Supreme Court that have been enforced with a vengeance through legislation and regulation.

Ironically, unlike a majority of today's Christians, secular humanists, New Agers, and others clearly understand that a government school education is not neutral. Joe R. Burnet, for example, an editor of the Humanist Magazine, has written that "Public education is the parochial education for scientific humanism." Similarly, Charles F. Potter, a signer of the first Humanist Manifesto, wrote in 1930 "...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?"

In the last 25 years New Agers have also been very successful in bring their religious views into the classroom using curricula and programs such as "Pumsy", which alone has been used in 40% of the nation's elementary schools.The fact that in many parts of the country - including suburban and rural areas - many teachers and other school employees, parents, and school board members claim to be Christians doesn't change the fact that government schools in their curricula, policies, and programs are opposed to Christ and the truths of the Bible. In effect, even in "good" suburban schools", the schools as institutions deny Christ and treat Christianity as if it were some sort of South Seas cargo cult.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Bible makes clear that we are not to willingly place our children under false teaching - and there is no support at all in the Bible for deliberately delegating the education of our children to pagan institutions - most parents, pastors, and Christian government school employees oddly claim that doing so makes no difference in the spiritual or moral lives of children.

As already pointed out, however, secular humanists and others would view such claims by pastors, parents, and school employees not only as patently ridiculous, but also as profoundly helpful to the cause of secular humanism.

So, in addition to the disagreement between the two of us, we also have a disagreement between Christians who render their children to government schools and the secular humanists and others who control the government schools as an institution regarding the influence of government schools .

Interesting though this may be, the practical questions for the Body of Christ are these: Will God bless the disobedience of parents in the education of their children? Will God bless His church if it condones such practices?

Now, I note that it discomfits you that I "have my nose in the newspapers", as you put it. In point of fact, in addition to the Bible, I "have my nose" in scholarly journals, studies, books, magazines, and other forms of media that report on what government schools are doing and how they affect children. I also speak with many current and former government school employees. I do this because God reveals himself not only through special revelation, but also through general revelation. Christ is Lord of all creation, not merely of the Bible and the real estate within the walls of our church buildings.

Indeed, Christ explicitly commands us to be empirical. As He tells us in Luke 6:43-44, for example, good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit - and we will know a tree by its fruit. So, I am, in what spare time I have, simply a humble fruit inspector because we all have an obligation to examine the fruit of our actions and beliefs in all areas of our lives.

So, what is the fruit of our government school habit? Disobedience by Christian parents in the education of their children is now a multigenerational problem. It is quite clear that spiritually and morally government schools have been incrementally destroying our children and our culture generation by generation. We have now reached the point that various ministries and Christian organizations report that within two years or so of leaving high school between 50% and 88% of children who profess to be Christian cease attending church. Overall church attendance and the percentage of people who profess Christianity have been declining. Once orthodox denominations are now utterly apostate.

But we have far more direct evidence of the effect on our children of disobedience in their education. In 2006, Barna Research did a study and found that fully 61% of 20-somethings who had been part of church life in their teens were now "spiritually disengaged": that is; they are not attending church; they are not reading the Bible; and, they are not praying. This gives the lie to those who try to claim that the fall off in church attendance by teens and young adults is just a reflection of having failed to find a "suitable" church. What this shows, instead, is that they are going in the way they have been trained up in government schools. But this data merely begins to reveal the depth of the consequences of our government school habit. Barna has also repeatedly surveyed teens who profess evangelical Christianity regarding what they actually believe. After all, we all know that some non-Christians attend church and some people who are Christians do not always attend church. Not surprisingly, Barna's results also make it clear that God does not bless disobedience in the education of children.

Barna found in a 2000 survey that, for example: (1) while 86% of teens claimed to be Christian only 33% said that they were "absolutely committed" to Christianity, (2) 53% believe that Christ sinned while on earth, and (3) 60% believed that salvation can be earned through works. In 2001 Barna reported that only about 9% of evangelical teenagers believe that there is any such thing as absolute moral truth, even though the percentage of adults in their parents' and grandparents' generations that believe in absolute moral truth was many times higher.

There is a great deal more evidence and analysis that could be provided, but I would suggest that if someone thinks Christ was a sinner, that salvation is by works, and that there is no absolute moral truth, then he is not a Christian. In fact, I would argue that denying the existence of absolute moral truth alone would make it impossible for someone to be a Christian. This, in turn, would mean that most teens who profess to be Christians really aren't, no matter whether they wear "WWJD" bracelets or not, whether they pray around flagpoles at school or not, or whether they attend a youth group or not. Interestingly, a secular academic study, the National Study of Youth and Religion ("NSYR"), came exactly to this conclusion. The research was lead by a sociologist, Dr. Christian Smith, and is the largest study ever done on the religious beliefs of American teens. The results of the study have been published in book form by Oxford University press under the title Soul Searching.What did the NSYR find? Among other things, Dr. Smith noted to his surprise that not only did teens who professed Christianity have virtually no grasp of the fundamental tenets of Christianity, the teens were actually adherents of a new religion that the researchers characterized as "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism." In this worldview, God exists as something of a cosmic butler who is there to get you out of trouble, but who otherwise stays out of the way. Rather than 10 Commandments, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism has one fundamental commandment: "Be nice."

What the findings of NSYR, Barna Research, the Nehemiah Institute, the SBC, and others reflect more than anything else is the theological influence of the government school system upon multiple generations. When for at least several generations Christian parents have been rendering their children to a pagan institution that inculcates moral relativism masquerading as "tolerance", sexual promiscuity masquerading as "safe sex", the values of the sodomite lifestyle masquerading as "anti-bullying"and "diversity" training, metaphysical materialism masquerading as "science", and various forms of statism masquerading as "social justice", it is not surprising that the systematic data indicate that today's children (and undoubtedly many of their parents) who profess to be Christian really are not. Moreover, it is also not surprising that children institutionalized in government schools overwhelmingly support sodomite "marriage" and adoption, as well as other aspects of the homosexual agenda, by the time they reach 18. I could continue discussing the moral and spiritual pathologies fostered by government education, but those can easily be found by anyone interested in the facts.

Of course, the exit through which many defenders of government education attempt to flee when confronted with what is really going on in the government school system is the now risible claim that "our school is different." In a trivial sense every school is "different", but the serious question is whether the school is different in any sense relevant to a Christian.

By law no government school can be for Christ. Those laws are vigorously enforced today even to the point of renaming Christmas and Easter vacations, banning Christmas pageants, and eliminating virtually every other form of recognition of Christianity. As you well know, teachers and other school employees are also threatened with discipline and job loss if they proclaim the name of Jesus. At best, Christianity in government schools is treated as the Romans treated the gods of subjugated peoples - they got a place in the Pantheon along with all the other foreign gods, but this was all contingent on the subject people's paying homage to the "real god" - the Roman state.

But why does the "our schools are different" claim have superficial plausibility? You allude to it in your brief mention of "city schools". In fact, suburban and urban schools have a codependent relationship. The suburban school districts point to the higher visible levels of crime in inner-city schools and their lower levels of academic achievement as a means of persuading suburban parents that their schools are good.

There are two key problems with these claims. First, while inner-city schools suffer more crime of the sort that is often hard to conceal (e.g. assaults), virtually all school districts actively try to deceive the public about levels of crime and disciplinary problems in their schools.

Repeated surveys of "school resource officers", which is a euphemism for school police, have reported that roughly 90% of school districts under-report crime and disciplinary problems. Audits of required reporting by school districts on these matters have uniformly shown that the level of under-reporting is massive. Moreover, when you talk to "resource officers" off-the-record they will tell you that the under-reporting is greatest at the "good" schools. Why? Because district officials need to maintain the political support of middle and upper-middle class parents. To be sure, in the "good" schools the under-reported crimes are not so much things like brawls in lunch rooms; rather, they tend to be drug offenses, property crimes, and sexual offenses of varying kinds. In fact, the "school resource officers" will tell you that it is the relative affluence of the children in the "better" schools that makes the drug problem more serious in the "better" schools than in the stereotypical inner-city school.

On the academic side, there is no question that children in suburban schools like yours do better academically than children in inner-city schools. There are various reasons for this, but the question that is ignored is this: why are inner-city schools the relevant benchmark for assessing a school's academic performance? A little reflection and research would indicate that comparisons with inner-city schools are used intentionally as distractions to direct attention away from far more relevant comparisons, much as a sleight of hand artist uses irrelevant hand and body motions to direct attention away from what is really happening.

Every international comparison of math and science performance of US students with students in other industrialized countries shows the same thing: the longer a student is in government school the worse he does in relation to his international peers. By the time our students are in the 12th grade they are at or near the bottom in achievement.The public education lobby attempts to soften this blow by taking advantage of parents', school employees', and others' credulity and unfamiliarity with statistics and test design by making ridiculous claims such as "but we try to educate everyone" (as if the British and Germans, for example, don't) or "we have minorities in our schools" (which plays to ignorance about the demographics in Europe today).

Never mentioned is the fact that when our "advanced" science and math students, who are typically from suburban schools, are compared with their peers in other industrialized countries they do even worse than our students taken as a whole.

If the systematic data seems a bit lifeless to you, I suggest that you go to YouTube and watch the segments posted there of Two Million Minutes. This is a documentary produced by a Tennessee technology entrepreneur that follows six high school students from good schools, two each from the US, India, and China, to illustrate why even our best students in prestigious public schools are being left behind academically.

Your claim that your schools are not "controlled" by the NEA because [Our State] is an open shop state and only about 50% of the teachers in the state belong to the NEA misses what matters.

Local control of schools in any meaningful sense has been dead for a very long time. School boards today have very little autonomy. To illustrate: the official theology of the schools was federalized through the Everson decision in 1947; school discipline was federalized beginning in the 1970's; innumerable policies regarding allocation of school resources are made at the state and federal level; testing is mandated at the state and federal levels (and, of course, that means that the same bureaucrats in state agencies and the DOE that design the tests effectively control the scope and sequence of what gets taught in local districts); and, textbooks are designed by the educrats in the universities for publishers whose main focus is qualifying their books for sale in California and Texas (I assume you know that smaller states have almost no input in textbook design).

Local "control" today means little more than being able to choose textbooks from an approved list compiled by a state agency, choosing the color of new "environmentally sustainable" carpets, and, what really matters, being able to direct the massive school district cashflows to various constituencies in the government education coalition of special interests.

By the way, the teachers' unions have more field operatives than the two major political parties combined. If roughly half of the teachers in [Our State] belong to these organizations, the local clout of the unions is enormous, your open shop law notwithstanding.

Having cleared away in a preliminary manner a few misconceptions, let us turn to your central complaint regarding me - that I want to remove the "salt and light" from government schools and that by advocating Christian education I am favoring the wealthy.

First, we do not advocate that all Christians leave the government school system. For fully discipled adults who have the courage to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ the government schools can be an appropriate mission field. For children, however, the evidence is clearly that government schools are a spiritual, moral, and intellectual killing field. This is not surprising because, as previously noted, when we place children under false teaching we are being disobedient to God's Word, and the fruit of that sin is exactly what one would expect.

Moreover, to suggest that Christian children should be sent to government schools to do the work of evangelization that adults are afraid to do is profoundly wrong. There could be no starker contrast in conviction than that between the courage of Peter and John in Acts 4 when they refused to bow to the demand of the authorities that they stop teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus and the attitude of most Christian government school employees who deny Christ by conforming to the demands of the government schools not to teach and preach in the name of Jesus.

Please don't think I am being critical of all government school employees. Many government school employees across the country homeschool or have their children in Christian schools. Theirs is an excellent witness to parents in their churches and to the parents whose children are in their schools. I know a Christian superintendent who counseled parents to remove their children from his own district's schools, not because they weren't "better" than [Certain Big city] or [Another Big City] schools, but because they were, like every government school, Christ dishonoring. Many other Christian teachers show their faith by evangelizing in the schools and refusing to participate in the defilement of children involved in teaching the degenerate curricula that pass for "sex education", "safe sex" programs, etc.

But worse than expecting 9 year-olds to do the evangelism that adults are afraid to do, there is no surer way to lead children into sin that by placing them under false teaching. If we educate, or advocate educating, Christian children in a God dishonoring pagan institution how can we possibly think we will not be held accountable? Christ makes it absolutely clear that anyone leading children into sin will pay a horrible price, see Matthew 18:6.

Apart from these considerations, why should we assume that government schools are normative? In fact, the sort of government school system that we have today is a relatively recent historical development. During the colonial and the antebellum periods, Christian education was the norm. In fact, Alexis de Toqueville commented in a footnote in his "Democracy in America" that education in America was everywhere in the hands of the Protestant clergy. But more to the point, if all parents who profess to be Christian removed their children from government schools tomorrow to provide them with a Christian education, Christian education would again become the norm.

As for your assertion regarding my favoring the "rich," you're presenting a mare's nest of confusion. What is "rich"? Do we have an obligation to be obedient when it might be difficult? What is the true financial cost of education? What is the spiritual cost? Education is not a function of money. Americans in the early American Republic were better educated on average than they are today. Visitors from Europe commented on this, and even liberal academics such as Henry Steele Commager have written about it. If you doubt it, read the Second McGuffey's Reader in the 1836 edition or The Federalist Papers. Very few first second or third grade students would be able to decode McGuffey, and very few adults would be able to get through The Federalist Papers, even though they were just newspaper articles.Nothing used by the government schools today has spiritual or moral content, let alone intellectual content, comparable to McGuffey.

Yet, ironically, the children for whom that was a standard textbook lived in what today would be considered unimaginable material "poverty". In those days, even children from well-to-do families lived in homes without electric lights, indoor plumbing, or central air or heat, and certainly had medical care that in most instances was probably no better than - or even worse than - no care at all. Most Christians today have sufficient resources to provide their children with a Christian education if they are willing to reorder their priorities. Of course, they might have to drive older cars, live in smaller houses, take fewer vacations, do less shopping, watch less TV, and spend more time with their children.

In my urban area, tuition at Christian schools runs from about $3,500 to $6,000. Distance learning programs are even less. If our churches were to begin to assume their proper role in education, the costs could be even less.

While these schools and programs are affordable for many, they would certainly be much more so if the government school special interests weren't systematically picking the pockets of parents in order to finance their grossly wasteful pagan institutions. Indeed, no misconception better illustrates how our understanding of education has been distorted by the absurd propaganda constantly spread by the government school special interests than the now common belief that equates quality education with expenditures or ability to pay high tuition.

I am sure you know that many Christian parents with relatively low incomes in the United States sacrifice so that they can afford the modest tuition charged at many Christian private schools. Unfortunately, most Christians, especially the comfortable suburban ones, "know" that such schools must be somehow inferior to the brick palaces in which they institutionalize their children. Academic achievement data don't support these beliefs, but no one is much concerned with facts when the government school establishment regularly tells middle and upper-middleclass parents what they want to hear.

But looked at from a worldwide perspective, these parents whom we consider to be "sacrificing" are almost inconceivable wealthy by the economic standards of developing countries, and the education their children receive is quite expensive. Unknown to virtually all Americans and others in the developed world, many poor parents in the developing world, the genuinely poor - unlike the overweight, air-conditioned, plasma TV-watching so-called "poor" of America - are paying tuition to rescue their children from public schools. This story is chronicled in "The Beautiful Tree," a book written by James Tooley, a World Bank researcher. Assigned to research private schools in India, Tooley by chance wandered into the slums of Hyderabad's Old City. To his astonishment, he found a flourishing network of private schools - "a private school on almost every street corner, just as in the richer parts of the city" - serving the children of day laborers and rickshaw pullers.

Moreover, these schools were supported by tuition, not charity. In time this led Tooley to discover that such schools could be found all over the developing world - from China to African shanty towns. Parents living in shelters with corrugated tin roofs who could send their children to free government schools were choosing to pay tuition so that their children could get a better education.

A better education? Yes, a better education. An analysis of testing of 24,000 children in 5 countries found that even after adjusting for background achievement among these private school students "...were significantly higher, in every country studied and on every measure used, than in public schools." In many cases these results were being achieved on a total tuition cost of between $10 and $20 per year.

Similarly, contrary to your claim, homeschooling is inexpensive and is practiced by families of all incomes, as well as by single parents and families where both parents work. Homeschool families are generally families of median income, with "minoritiy families" constituting the fastest growing demographic and representing about 15% of the total number of homeschool families. Although the average homeschooling family spends about $500 per year per student on curriculum and related materials, because of the internet, ebook readers, and the wide availability of inexpensive homeschool curriculum, homeschooling can be done for next to nothing. It can certainly be done for less out-of-pocket expense than the out-of-pocket expenses in the form of fees, transportation, and other expenses often involved in attending government schools.

Of course, it does require a parent who is willing to give his children a few hours a week during the day or in the evening, but that, again, is almost always a question of spiritual priorities.

Interestingly, despite the low cost of homeschooling, no study has ever shown that government schools promote literacy as well as homeschooling - and this is true even when the performance of low income homeschool families and low educational attainment homeschool families is examined.

But more important is the fact that all of the available data show that Christian homeschooled children retain their faith at exceptionally high rates. This should not be surprising if one believes that God blesses obedience.

To the extent that a family has genuine difficulty providing a Christian education, our churches need to reprioritize so that they can help. No one can deny that our churches have space that sits empty nearly all of the time or claim that we lack people in our congregations who can tutor and teach. If a pastor thinks that Christian education is "divisive" or unnecessary, he should find another line of work.

You began your first email to me by comparing me and others like me to Chicken Little. If a comparison with the beasts of the earth or the fowls of the air is called for, I would suggest that it would be more apt to compare parents (and their enablers) who willing offer up their children to the Moloch of government schools with the ostrich in Job 39:13-16:The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork's? For she leaves her eggs on the ground, and warms them in the dust; She forgets that a foot may crush them, Or that a wild beast may break them. She treats her young harshly as though they were not hers.

I began by saying I would respond briefly. And, indeed, this note is brief if you consider that I have published hundreds of pages on this topic and that misconceptions, no matter how innocently held, require some effort to sort through.

We cannot claim to be doers of the word rather than mere hearers if we are unwilling to be obedient concerning the education of our children - God's heritage to us.

Martin Luther, a better theologian than either of us, understood the peril of unequally yoking Christian children with Godless schools. As Luther put it, "I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth." America, along with the rest of what once was called "Christendom", seems "hell bent" on proving Luther right.

Let me finish on this note. I come from a family of public school teachers, attended public schools, have taught school teachers during "in-service" programs, know and correspond with many current and former government school employees, and have even done a little lecturing in government schools.

I know that more than a few teachers and administrators are beside themselves over what government school have become and are becoming. I have met others who, though well-meaning, simply haven't found the time or had the inclination to think seriously about these matters. Plainly, it can be difficult for all of us who were raised in government schools to see the institution clearly. But, as Christians, we have an absolute obligation to measure all things by Scripture and to regulate our conduct accordingly. For all of us this takes time and is a process that never ends, but we have a duty to make the effort.

God's peace be with you,
Dr. Bruce N. Shortt

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