The Root Of The Problem
No matter how we educate children, the topic of religion is inescapable; government-run education does not and cannot avoid it. Why? Ravi Zacharias (an expert in Christian apologetics) says there are Four Questions To Answer In Life.
- Origin – Where do we come from?
- Meaning – Why are we here?
- Morality – What’s right and what’s wrong?
- Destiny – What happens to a human being when I die?
These are religious questions. We are practically born wanting to know the answers. Therefore, no educational system can avoid these questions. Even a supposedly secular education (such as that provided by our public school system) must address each of these questions either directly or indirectly.
At best, what a secular education does is try to render the issue of God irrelevant. Therefore, because government-run schools are “secular” institutions, many Atheists promote public education as a way of undermining the Christian faith.
Consider this satirical cartoon as an example. When I argued that no education is complete without religious instruction (here), tildeb (apparently a militant Atheist) threw up the cartoon (here). At first, I thought the cartoon simply absurd. Then I realized the cartoonist was trying to satirize religious education as indoctrination into senseless superstitions.
What Are The Problems With Government-Run Education?
Talk to different people, and you will get different ideas about who needs an education and what kind of education is needed. In America, we generally think every child has the “right” to a basic education (whatever that is). Therefore, we have put our government in charge of the education our children.
Unfortunately, there are three big problems with the American approach to education.
- An education is not a right. Parents have a responsibility for educating their children, but government has no business forcing anyone to pay for the education somebody else’s child, not even a needy child. That is form of stealing, and it is wrong.
- We cannot trust politicians, and we don’t trust politicians. Nevertheless, various special interest groups have guilted the rest of us into funding public education. Over the years what these people have demonstrated is their desire for money and power, not a good education for children. That’s why our education system is costly, ineffective, and riddled with politics. That’s why we have huge bureaucracies filled with cushy jobs for adults instead of a first rate school system.
- Supposedly, the public education system excludes religious content. In IS MULTICULTURALISM A RELIGION?, we debunked that myth.
Who Are The Advocates For Government-Run Education?
Three basic groups promote government-run education.
- Those seeking power.
- Those seeking financial gain.
- Those with philosophical objections to parental school choice.
Because it gives them considerable power, politicians seek to control how our money is spent on education. Power-hungry men and women want to control who teaches children, what children are taught, how children are taught, and where children go to school.
Because a government-run educational monopoly makes it easier for them them to unionize and demand exorbitant salaries and benefits, teachers unions oppose school choice. Various other special interests who make money off government-run education also oppose school choice.
At least three groups insist upon government-run schools for ostensibly philosophical reasons.
- Socialists want government-run schools for the sake of equality. Unless government runs the schools, these supposedly fear the poor will not be properly educated.
- Because Secularists equate religion with superstition, they favor a secular education. Thus, they have used public education as a backdoor method for imposing their godless worldview on our children.
- Because politicians will sell access to our children, some groups see the public education system as a method for obtaining access to the other people’s children. These different groups use the public school system to indoctrinate children in various politically correct causes including: Socialism, Environmentalism, Moral Relativism, Sexual Liberation, Multiculturalism, feminism, immigration “reform” and so forth.
So What Is The Fix?
Matthew: January 4, 2015 at 12:55 am
Everything is a religion. Prove to me that I am wrong. Your comment itself is religious.
Contrary to what politicians would have us believe, we cannot compartmentalize our lives. We cannot call one part Christian and another part secular. God created everything. He created us, the world in which we live, and each moment in which live and breathe. He created us for His glory, not to be secular beings.
All that may sound to some like fanaticism, but consider a secular idiom, to find yourself. The Christian version of finding yourself is seeking God’s purpose for your life.
Psalm 37:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
We are God’s children. He wants what is best for us. He wants us to love Him and each other. When we love God and each other, when we do what God has called us to do, we are happiest, knowing true fulfillment. Thus, secularizing the education of our children just increases the risk they will waste their lives.
If we believe in God and the life to come, then we must believe every decision we make has eternal significance. We must believe each decision we make, what we choose to learn, how we choose to spend our time, and how we choose to live, is a religious choice. When we make decisions for our children, that too must be a religious choice.
Consider what we have enshrined in the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Various state constitutions also protect the right to freedom of religion. Yet time and sophistry has confused our understanding. Even so the founders clearly did not want a busybody government. They wanted the right to run their lives and exercise the freedom of their own consciences.
Because of poor instruction, we have forgotten what the Bible teaches.
Ephesians 6:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Our Creator gave parents the responsibility for the upbringing of the children they bring into this world. When parents pass that responsibility onto politicians, people no one in their right minds would trust with more power than necessary, they risk being disobedient to what the Bible teaches. When we allow our children to grow up without fully realizing their lives are a gift from our Creator, that their owe Him their worship, that they should seek to spend each moment in communion with Jesus, we fail in our duty as parents.
That means parents need to choose who teaches their children, what their children are taught, how their children are taught, and where their children go to school. That’s means we need school choice.