Downtown Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia. Photo by henristosch, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, Wikipedia.
A week before Christmas, the public schools of Augusta County were closed for a day because of possible “risk of harm to school officials” amid an angry backlash of parents over an assignment given to students at Riverheads High School. The students were assigned to copy the Shahada in Arabic calligraphy. The Shahada is a Muslim creed, which says: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” The parental revolt made national news.
John Morrison, the Superintendent of Grace Christian School in Staunton, made a powerful point in his blog to parents that week:
While Christian parents at that particular school may have been justifiably concerned about the teacher’s assignment, I believe they have missed the deeper, more fundamental issue. And that issue is simply this: what is the basic religious worldview that their children are being taught everyday in public school, and is the content of that worldview perhaps far more alarming than the assignment this public school teacher gave to her students?
If it is a religious matter to teach ─ or imply ─ that the Bible provides a standard for moral order, is it not also a religious matter to teach ─ or imply ─ that it does not?
If it is a religious position to say, “Jesus is Lord of all, and by Him and through Him all things exist,” is it not also a religious position to say ─ in so many words, or lack thereof ─ “Christ and the Bible are irrelevant to our discussion on biology, art and math?” Are not both statements religious statements?
To teach students that Christ and the Bible are irrelevant to biology, art and math can be done very effectively without telling them this directly. A teacher does not have to stand in front of a class and say “The Bible has nothing to do with our discussion” to communicate the message that the Book is irrelevant.
Is American education religiously neutral?
If we think the current U.S. system of education is religiously neutral, we must think again. If state schools were indoctrinating children in Buddhism, Islam or Native American Animism, many Christian parents would hit the ceiling. Maybe. But when it comes to the indoctrination of children in John Dewey’s so-called “Common Faith,” which he referred to as a non-theistic faith, Christian parents are curiously passive.
John went on in his blog to point out that
Because of what is at stake with our young people, I am not overly concerned about stepping on toes with the above comments. We should not be surprised at the devastation of our national values and those of our young people that are largely the outcome of secularist education!
We cannot throw out long-standing traditions of Christian education as practiced by the Church down through the centuries, by turning our children over to secularist educators, and then expect them to stand in our faith.
Previous generations clearly understood this. What will it take to awaken ours?
Christian Overman is a writer, speaker, and coach. He earned a B.A. from the University of Washington, an M.Ed. from Seattle Pacific University, and his D. Min. from Bakke Graduate University. Christian is a Colson Centurion and alum of Creative Results Management.
This post originally appeared at Christian’s blog, Worldview Matters. He was kind enough to grant us permission to repost it here.
camJanuary 21, 2016 - 10:08 am
Thank you for a short but very perceptive piece of writing. You are right.
adminJanuary 21, 2016 - 12:29 pm
Thanks, Cam. We always appreciate hearing from you.