"Public School Pullout" was the title of a recent newspaper article on The Canton Repository. This gist of this report is that certain conservative Evangelical Christian fundamentalists are urging followers to remove their children from the public schools and either educate them in a -- to be established new schools, present fundamentalist schools, or provide children home schooling.
Why is this move imperative bordering on an emergency? Rev. D. James Kennedy, Pastor of the 10,000 member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL and host of a nationally televised religious program --- and a minister who is a leader in the back to godly-schools movement expresses this need in these words:
"The infusion of an atheistic, amoral, evolutionary, socialistic, one world, anti-American system of education in our public schools has indeed become such that if done by an enemy would be considered an act of war."
Apparently this sub-group of the larger category, "Christian," wants the children of America to eventually attend "Christian" schools, i.e. schools that, I assume, form children according to the values, ethics, and life style of Jesus.
For the present, the goal is to convince most of those with their beliefs to pull out of the public schools. Eventually, being evangelicals, they hope to convert the vast majority of Americans to their beliefs. Some day in the distant future there will be no need for the public schools because all the children will attend Christian, i.e. Evangelical Fundamentalist schools. By that time the government will have become an instrument of God and our country will have returned to its (falsely) assumed fundamentalist Christian roots.
Furthermore, they believe that the public schools have been corrupted into a monstrous distortion of what American schools should be like, especially since they view America as a nation founded on a Judeo-Christian foundation.
To begin with I don't see that Christianity, in general, follows the values, ethics and life style of Jesus. Christianity, I would define, as a religion which is based somewhat on some of Jesus' message but has rather poorly lived up to the little of the essence of Jesus in its various denominations. GBS once said something like -- Christianity is a fine religion. Too bad it has never really been tried out. I would say that Christianity has been tried out and found wanting. And that if Jesus would return he would not fathom why these Christians believe they are his followers.
So it frightens me to see a group of fundamentalists who seem so far from the person of Jesus attempt to transform the USA into the Christian nation --- it never was intended to be.
Now, I would like to take the words Rev. Kennedy used to characterize the American public schools. We must remember, though, that the US public school system is NOT a monolithic institution. But, we will play the fundamentalists' game.
For Christian fundamentalists atheism would be absence of belief in a personal, creator God.
This would mean that the public school system is based on the belief that "God" does not exist, and that it promotes this belief by its environment and its teachings.
I am not sure whether these Christians believe that most of the staff are atheists too. One would think the staff would have to cooperate fully for this atheistic educational agenda to be really effective. (Note: For Christian fundamentalists atheism would be absence of belief in a personal, creator God.)
I don't believe that the public schools attempt to dissuade their students from a belief in God. In general, they do believe that religious teachings and beliefs should NOT be part of the curriculum unless in a course of general studies, e.g. "World Religions". The public schools are basically secular in that they don't think their job is to do the mission of the Christian Church or any other religious institution. Public schools are meant for everyone. Their purpose does not include fostering devotion to any religion or spiritual path.
IMO, there is no place in the the public schools for organized public prayers to Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Krishna, etc. The Ten Commandments should NOT be posted in the school because that would be an endorsement of the ethical code of two of the world's religions -- Judaism and Christianity. Do these Evangelicals believe that this posting would have a beneficial effect on the conduct of the students? I very much doubt this myself.
It seems to me that there are values within the public schools. Effort, honesty, truthfulness, fairness, respect for others, compassion are only some of the common morality of humanity that are embodied in the operation of our schools by example and by the school's rules.
I find this criticism of the public schools bizarre. I hope the schools are teaching our students that all the peoples of the world count; that we all are in life together; that what one nation does or does not do--effects the rest of us. Personally, I would like to see "nationalism" either fazed out or drastically de-emphasized.
Socialism does not equal communism. Communism might be considered a perversion of socialism especially in the undemocratic, totalitarian and atheistic forms we have seen in the former Soviet Union and Red China.
As I understand socialism in its basic form, it contends that the people should have some control over the economics of the nation in addition to the political structure and operation of the nation. Many socialistic countries believe that basic natural resources, e.g. oil, energy, coal, water resources, etc. should be owned by the people rather than a relatively small group of people whose ownership of these resources is mainly is seen as appropriately benefiting the owners and the stockholders ---chiefly.
In fact, IMO, democratic-capitalism (capitalistic democracy) are examples of oxymorons. One of the chief, if not the main, problems of the world today is the growing control of corporations over the nations of the world, their people and the world's natural resources. Capitalism unless carefully monitored and regulated will almost surely undermine a true democracy.
The U.S. Constitution established a democracy, which is a political system. It did not decree a specific economic system for our democracy.
I suppose the above term means that the public schools, in general, teach in some science classes ---- evolution. (This term does not mean that the public schools are evolving -- which I hope they are.)
A Jehovah Witness in the hospital bed next to mine gave me a rather well written and attractively illustrated pamphlet on intelligent design. I haven't finished reading it so I can't share my opinion. I don't have any problem with our schools teaching other theories of creation -- once they gain some stature.
(My view for a number of years is that the universe is reality and there was no creation. To say that there must be a First Cause begs the question: "What is the cause of the First Cause? " This viewpoint is held, I think, by many Buddhists.)
Wow! This is a serious charge.
America is the one of the most materialistic, commercialized, consumption driven nations in the history of the world. Probably at the top of the list. I don't think the public schools reflect fully the above qualities of our very secular state. Eventually, they too alone will become like most of the media, population, culture, business and political sectors of America.
Therefore-----as our schools decline in their purpose and values they will become more truly American. So, I suppose, as long as they keeping trying to hold the fort from being completely invaded by our American culture----they could be labelled ---Anti-American.