Written by Adam Rondeau, Emory Thompson, Jr. and Angel Parrish.
A Response Required
Recently the Huffington Post ran an article that was extremely hostile to Christian education here in the United States. The overall implication of the article was that the January 6 rioting at the Capitol building was directly tied to the government allowing and possibly funding conservative Christian education in the US Specific curricula were cited and quoted (specifically, A-Beka, Bob Jones and Accelerated Christian Education) and blame was explicitly and carelessly lobbied at these schools and curriculum.
“Their religion-centered, anti-Democrat, anti-science, anti-multicultural message mirrors the Christian nationalism seen at the U.S. Capitol riot.”
Such brash and unfair bias cannot go unanswered. The overwhelming majority of schools using these curricula are highly civic-minded American patriots. They love God and their country and deplore violence of any kind. Painting an entire demographic with a wide brush based on hear-say alone is slanderous. It is also disingenuous. The year 2020 was filled with leftist progressives rioting and looting all over the country in response to their own perceived inequities, yet none of that is alluded to in the Huffington Post article. If the author was seeking to be equitable, would she not have to acknowledge the possibility that government schools and their curriculum might bear some blame for those riots? Indeed the article concludes with just the opposite reaction.
The following statement from the article claims to have intellectual authority but is severely lacking in credulity.
“Scholars say textbooks like these, with their alternate versions of history and emphasis on Christian national identity, represent one small part of the conditions that lead to events like last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, an episode that was permeated with the symbols of Christian nationalism.”
Exactly who are these scholars that the author is referring to? There are no footnotes or cited sources for this particular example, and of the three “scholars” quoted within this article, only one implies this thought process. Therefore, the reader’s only recourse is to give full trust to the statements of the author or practice intellectual independence and question the statements and opinions as presented. We choose the latter.
Linking terrorism to Christian education and its biblical worldview being communicated is grossly misleading. Consider Franklin Graham and the work of Samaritan’s Purse which has helped countless suffering and needy people in the US and abroad. It is the same worldview that these schools and curricula seek to advance. American students using the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum annually donate to the BLESS outreach which sponsors literacy programs in third-world countries, giving thousands of children the opportunity for advancement through education. Consider a very large Florida Christian school which utilizes A Beka and Bob Jones curricula and funnels all the profit from that school and a thrift shop to help to fund a completely free medical clinic, two homeless shelters, and a food pantry. These are only a few examples. Conservative Christians and their churches and schools are not promoting or involved in riotous activity, but rather in activities that fulfill the Greatest Commandment to love God and neighbour. Students are taught to be contributing members of society who work for the common good of the nation around them. This is an accurate representation of conservative Christian education in America.
A Clash of Worldviews
At its core this article is about a clash of worldviews. The author is a committed progressive and is defending her ideology. She feels that conservative Christian schools are seeking to undermine evolution and far-left progressive policies and therefore attempts to expose them as such. And this we have in common with her because Christians feel the same exact way. Why? Because it is true. This is the clash of worldviews that the apostle Paul so brilliantly contrasts in 1 Corinthians 2:14.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Conservative Christians can and most certainly have gone through the curriculum of the government schools and point out all the issues that we have with the worldview being presented. Whether it be evolutionary history, radical revisions of history (i.e., the 1619 Project), sex-education curriclum developed by Planned Parenthood, transgender and homosexual ideology, etc., etc., etc. But that would be a relatively futile tit-for-tat approach.
The most fundamental issue at stake is that progressives are now openly contending that one worldview is dangerous and are laying a foundation for the ostracization of the religious freedoms of anyone who disagrees.
Freedom of Speech First Requires Freedom of Thought
Those Christians that believe they have a responsibility to educate their child with a biblical worldview cannot consider public education a valid option. The courts have been clear over the years that there is no freedom of religion in a public school, nor is there freedom of speech for students or teachers regarding content that contradicts their sincerely held religious beliefs. Here are just some examples from the past 30 years.
- 1990 Webster v. New Lennox School District (7th Circuit Court of Appeals). School districts may prohibit a teacher from teaching creation science. It further states that this is not a violation of a teacher’s freedom of speech.
- 2000 – Minnesota State Court rules that there is no right for a teacher to present evidence both for and against the theory of evolution. This means that teachers are not allowed to question evolution in their own classroom.
- 2005 – US District Court refused to allow a school district to put disclaimer labels on textbooks regarding evolution being a “theory” and that other theories existed, including intelligent design and creation . It was appealed. The appeal resulted in the schools agreeing not to denigrate evolution either orally or in written form.
- 2005 – US Court ruled that schools could not maintain an Intelligent Design policy. Judge stated that Intelligent Design “is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community.”
It is of great concern that the Huffington Post (and they are not alone in this sentiment) considers the worldview of conservative Christians as dangerous and worthy of suppression. The tone of the article is clear that Christian education in the United States is a danger to our democracy. For example, a previous student of a Christian school was interviewed and the following summation was offered:
Last week’s insurrectionists could have been her classmates, her teachers, her pastors. She felt a wave of recognition as she watched the pictures on social media.
One of the grossest misrepresentations is embodied in this quote:
“That whole belief system revolves around the idea that you want the rest of the world to think like you,” said Garman, who is now a social worker. “It’s a ‘the ends justify the means’ type of thing.”
But isn’t the whole point of the article that the author takes issue with the way conservative Christian educators think? That their worldview is inferior and dangerous? Doesn’t she intimate that allowing this thinking to continue is dangerous to our society? It’s the same old progressive logical fallacy–tolerance is only extended to those that agree with them.
Perhaps the greatest danger to our first amendment right of free speech are the intellectual chains that are being forged around minds. If there is not freedom of thought then there cannot really be any freedom of speech. Consider these words from Richard Dawkins, arguably one of the secularist’s most staunch apologists:
“How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents? It’s one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children? Is there something to be said for society stepping in? What about bringing up children to believe manifest falsehoods? Isn’t it always a form of child abuse to label children as possessors of beliefs that they are too young to have thought out?”Cited by Ken Ham and Greg Hall, Already Compromised, Master Books, June 2011; Richard Dawkins, The God Delusions (Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin, 2006, 2008), p. 315
Do Christian parents still have freedom of thought and speech to impart those beliefs to their children? So long as America is a free nation they do, but it is quite clear that the secular, progressive worldview would like to eliminate those freedoms.
The Real Threat
Christian education is not a threat to the safety and well-being of our democracy nor is it a driver of terrorist threats. The real threat of Christian education is that it provides a viable alternative to the progressive worldview, and that terrifies the left. Their philosophies, which are built upon the sand of humanism, are so fragile that they cannot allow anyone to counter them.
So how should Christian education respond? In faith–that which overcomes the world. Hebrews 11 reminds us that we can obtain a good testimony in this world through faith. The examples presented in Scripture are the basis of our worldview and must set the example for our response. We continue in the course set before us, teaching what we know to be right. We continue to set the example that we believe in a Sovereign God to preserve our thoughts and belief, regardless of opposition. We continue to teach by example our love for fellow man, kindness for those around us, compassion for the hurting. We respond with the faith that brought us to this place, believing that God can do the work we cannot. We continue to believe that the Bible is not just a book, but the very Word of God. We can’t fight the powers of progressivism through words and legislation; they are not our weapons. We have the same power of prayer and faith that we started with. Opposition is not new. Christian education must stay faithful to the mission of communicating a Biblical worldview to the next generation. Because if the real threat to humanism is the Truth we believe in, it is all we have.