Dr. Paul J. Dean Christian Blog and Commentary

Government Education is Not Looking Too Good


Culbertson Elementary School in Philadelphia is being sued over its alleged discrimination against a Christian mother, Donna Busch, and her kindergartenson. According to Agape Press, as part of "Me Week," the Busch boy was the featured student of the week. As such, he was allowed to choose his favorite book and have his mother read a portion of it to the class. However, his favorite book happened to be the Bible and his mother was kept from reading her excerpt from Psalm 118 because of its religious content. Thomas Cook, the Principal, told Busch that because reading from the Bible violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment and the "separation of church and state," doing so was against the law.


Further, according to John Whitehead, the Busch's attorney, the boy later came home and told his mother that his teacher told him that it was "bad" to read the Bible. Whitehead, an attorney with the Rutherford Institute, now alleges "that the mother and son's free-speech and equal-protection rights were violated...[and that it's] a case of blatant discrimination since the school officials, while silencing Busch, allowed other forms of religious expression to take place."


Christians should understand the full extent of the culture war in which they find themselves. Not only does the war rage in terms of discrimination against Christians in regard to free speech, but the entire public education system is grounded in a worldview that is diametrically opposed to the Christian worldview. For one thing, public education is by nature government education. Clearly, the government is in charge of curriculum and ideology.


Far more is at stake than the issue of origins. For example, on an evolutionary worldview, if death occurred millions of years before human sin, then human sin is not the cause of death. If human sin is not the cause of death, then not only is the Bible not true, but human beings have no need of a Savior. If there is no need for a Savior, then there is no need for Christ and Christianity falls to the ground.


Because the government is in charge of education and that government has been secularized, the curriculum in public education will reflect that secularization. Roe v. Wade must be upheld as Constitutional (even though it directly contradicts the peoples' right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). As such, abortion must be taught as right. Condoms are distributed, homosexuality is affirmed as legitimate, parents are not informed when their teenage daughters are pregnant, and the parental consent laws regarding abortion will soon be removed.


History is revised under the government education system. The concepts of limited government and religious freedom are suppressed. Centralized government with its bent toward behavior modification and restriction of freedom is seen by most as normal and right. Welfare is seen as good rather than the evil that it is (taking money from one group by force and giving it to another group). Never mind that community ministry is far more effective than government prowess in inefficiency. The Native American travesty is covered over while the War Between the States is distorted beyond recognition.


And now, among a myriad of other dynamics that could be mentioned, this Philadelphia  school has "Me Week." The psychology of self-esteem and the religion of self-focus are alive and well in the government school system. Again, the Scriptures teach that Christians are to deny themselves, consider others better than themselves, put down pride, and live to the glory of God, not the glory of self.


Is it really surprising then that Christians have trouble in such an environment? During the religion of self and its celebration of "Me Week," a competing religion, Christianity, was banned. The fact that the ban was built upon a lie makes no difference, for the government system is grounded in the postmodern worldview, which says truth, is relative. Consider the blatant contradiction of telling a student the Bible is "bad" but not allowing the student to express his religious conviction. Does anyone disagree that saying the Bible is "bad" is a religious statement and conviction? The hypocrisy stands out like a cat at a dog show.


Let's get this straight as well. Christians, like anyone else, have a right to free speech and freedom of religion. It is not illegal for Christians to talk about Christ in the public square, including the public school system. It is not illegal for Christians to read the Bible. It is not illegal for Muslims to read from the Koran either. To say that a student or his mother reading a Bible passage during "Me Week" is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment is to misunderstand the Amendment. A state religion shall not be established. That prohibition is the thrust of the law. Our founding fathers never had in mind that religion or religious speech or thought would be banned form the public square. On the contrary, the right to free speech guarantees religious speech in the public arena.


In the same regard, the whole concept of "separation of church and state" has been twisted and redefined. Aside from the fact that the phrase is not part of the country's documents (it was a private quote from President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association concerning their suffering of religious persecution in Connecticut), while the government shall not establish religion, neither shall it prohibit the free exercise there of. Moreover, the concept of "separation of church and state" was to guarantee religious freedom, not hinder it. The concept even welcomes religious influence in the public square.


The government today espouses freedom from religion. That concept is far different from that to which the fathers held and is destructive to the cause of liberty. When Christians, or any group for that matter, are banned from the public square, we all suffer. Freedom takes a back seat to tyranny, social injustice, and a philosophy foreign to the original thinking of the first Americans.


Finally, this case points to one of two things. When a government school principal declares that a mother reading a Bible passage during "Me Week" is against the law, one of two problems is in view. Either the principal is lying, or, he does not understand the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Either way, government education isn't looking too good.



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