Christianity and the Politics of Education
In a prior posting we discussed the divisions in the Christian faith. We then followed this up with a look at the consequences of these divisions that pertain to the abortion practice in this country. Today we extend this discussion to the politics of education in America.
The educational policies deployed in America have resulted in both religious discrimination and repression. Prayer and religious education have been banned in public schools creating a situation in which religious families are taxed but can not have representation in changing the public school curriculum to one of their choosing.
This taxation without representation can be overcome by the affluent who can pay the tuition to send their children to parochial schools. On the other hand, it leaves the poor and disenfranchised without an alternative. So on the one hand we have the affluent that must pay double for their children’s education (once for school taxes and again for tuition,) and on the other hand we have the poor who are often forced into morally bankrupt environments that seldom offer hope of escaping poverty.
Quite frankly, it is the poor, the underprivileged and the disenfranchised that are the greatest concern. I believe that it is fairly well established that a status quo position will only continue the generational cycle of poverty and crime to continue. These children are the future of America and a potential future generation of Christians it we can take action now. Action that will give these families the choice of a faith based education that can break the cycle of generational poverty. Enabling this choice will strengthen America. A focus on God will help to break the cycle of prostitution, drugs, abortion and crime. The truth is that our current condition has been fostered under the public school system and therefore, there is no reason to believe that these sad outcomes will be different in the future. To the contrary, religious schools seem to be able to overcome these situations (see the Time Magazine story on the University of Detroit High School) when funding can be obtained.
Like it or not our schools are the battle fields for the minds, hearts and souls of our Children. It is in the class rooms that the issues of good and evil are presented. Never before has there been a larger gap in moral teaching and values between the public and religious schools.
One of the greatest differences in moral teaching between public and religious schools is in sexuality. Public schools teach safe sex and in doing so inadvertently encourage promiscuity, while religious schools teach chastity and the avoidance of sinful activity. Public schools teach children to be accepting of the practice of homosexuality, while religious schools proclaim it to be an abomination to God and a sin. Finally, the public schools encourage “family planning,” which is code word used to encourage young pregnant girls to go to the abortion clinic to eliminate their problem. Of course, religious schools teach that abortion is the murder of the most innocent of all of God’s children. These are stark differences indeed and reason enough for all Christians to seek religious schools for their children even when public schools have high academic standings.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the moral values taught in these schools has to do with basic belief systems. Fundamentally, since public schools can not teach about God their major focus must be on instilling a belief in self reliance. After all, without God there is little sense in charitable service or even team play unless there is something in it for me. Of course in the religious schools they learn to focus on God and that we work in the community of believers and have the favor of God for the service of others. So the basic difference is a fundamental focus on self, or a God focused service of others.
These are critical moral issues that are forming the culture of our children’s future. Unfortunately there is no alternative for many Americans. Many poor and middle class people can not afford the cost of private schools. Are they not worth fighting for? How many poor neighborhoods loose their children to lives of prostitution, drugs, murder, or crime? Are they not worth fighting for? Do we think that they can work their way out of this cycle without God? Or can we keep things the same and break the cycle? Certainly, all of this has a dramatic impact on the future of America.
It also has a dramatic impact of the future of Christianity as well. Is Christianity going to shrink such that only the rich believe? Is this what Jesus taught us? Are we not to ministers to the poor and the widows? Are we not to help the disenfranchised, the sick and the hungry? Well, effective change starts with education and that education is not available because we as Christians do not unite and take the action necessary to change the system. My belief is that we must do all that we can to secure public funding for school choice, such that parents can choose the schools that their children attend.
So, what is it that we need to do? We need to come together to in sufficient numbers, such that we can change the balance of power in our state and county governments, to enable the allocation of educational money for all children in support of the education of their choice.
Many people believe that such a change is impossible because of the constitutional separation of Church and state. While it is true that governments can not provide funding to religious organizations like religious schools, it is no longer an issue because of relatively recent Supreme Court decisions. Notably, the Zelman decision makes it legal to distribute finances in support of a child’s education at the school of choice. The key difference here being the support of child education rather than a religious school.
May God bless you and your family
Papa Joe Gordon