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[COMMENT: An email response on education issues. E. Fox]
I agree with you in principle. that religion should not be taught in our public schools, the reason being that public schools have the force of law behind them, and neither education nor religion should be forced on anyone. I have NEVER pushed for religion in public schools. I am for pushing public schools out of business. See http://www.schoolandstate.org/home.htm, www.Networkforeducation.org, and www.exodusmandate.org
But, as noted before, secularism/humanism is a religion (as per the Humanist Manifesto and the Supreme Court in one long ago case). Go here for Humanist Manifesto http://www.theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/21PbAr/Apl/HumMan1.htm
The Humanist Manifesto gives a very good case for saying that humanism is a religion. Humanism or secularism has a worldview, a morality, a way of life, a cosmology, etc. Just like a religion does. If walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and looks like a duck....
If that is the case, if secularism is a religion, why is secularism being taught in our govt. schools? Or, does someone have a different definition for "religion"?
When we had a freemarket education (you want to educate your kids, go for it -- that is your business!), we had the best educated population in the world..., as witnessed by the French philosopher Alexis de Toqueville in the 1830's (Democracy in America). Govt. had very little to do with education beyond providing a plot of land (as per Northwest Ordinance), maybe a building, and almost zero to do with telling anyone how to go about it.
Does anyone know where Horace Mann, the hero of public schools, got his inspiration for improving the better than 90% literacy rate in much of Massachusetts? From Prussia, probably the most militaristic nation on the earth at that time. The Junkers (precursors of the Nazis), the top military class, ruled with an iron hand. They had a tax supported, mandatory, state-run education system. This is what Mann persuaded the MA legislature would improve their 90+% literacy rate. On the contrary, you can track the decline in literacy with the growing govt. control of education , right from the 1850's. We now have somewhere around 50% of adults functionally illiterate (banner headlines in the early-mid 1990's).
Parents, not govt. bureaucrats, love their children.
Govt. control of education means a serious loss of the freemarket of ideas which is the basis for all the rest of our freedoms. Govt. will sooner or later turn education into mind-control, as we have demonstrably today. (Ask me how I know that...) They do that because they want to educate the children to reelect them to office. The power-minded, who naturally gravitate toward government, know a good thing when they see it. So, the price of freedom is still eternal vigilance.
Thus I agree with XXX, except that the answer is not getting religion out of schools, it is getting government out of schools. I.e., getting coercive force out of schools, (1) so that no one's beliefs are forced upon them, and (2) so that we can go about our business educating ourselves as we, or our parents, see fit. And, yes, I am willing to go toe to toe with the Muslims in an honest freemarket of ideas (if you can get them into it). Or anyone else.
XXX, you once objected to my view by saying that my way would Balkanize America, that we would lose our unity in a welter of viciously competing parties. Is the way to stop Balkanization and reunify us that we must forcibly clamp someone's view on everybody? That is precisely what the pre-medieval period did, and almost all cultures before that. Everyone thought they needed one religion in a country. (That is what the early liberals rightly fought against -- such as T Jefferson.) And that is what we are doing now -- the public schools have become the Church of Secular Humanism. People still are convinced that we need "one religion", they think secular religion will do just fine. That was in the works by at least the late 1800's ("progressive education"), and probably earlier. And Christians sat on their butts and got what we deserved.
In the late middle ages, the rise of freemarket academics and of science changed all that lockstep education business. With the help of the Christian universities and the printing press, education got democratized. Education became a freemarket thing. We were growing up as a human race, coming to the point where we could engage in an honest and public search for truth on a level playing field. But the centralizing forces were too strong. Or, rather, the freedom forces were too weak, apathetic, and ignorant.
The way to unify ourselves is not to have Govt. Nanny (any more than Church Nanny) tell us, but rather to search for the truth in an open and properly refereed public arena. That is what our Constitution was written to help provide -- an honest referee which does not play in the game (i.e., via education, welfare, etc.). And that is the Biblical way. It can also be anyone else's way that wants to join in. Welcome aboard!
Freedom is a precious thing, and a thing most people only say they want. What people mostly want is to "get my way", or life as a cozy comforter, or a six-pack and a TV, not real freedom, which can be had only with an agreed moral commitment to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, a commitment to love as commanded by God (which is why, no doubt, He commanded it). Freedom is not for cowards or the lazy. It takes blood, sweat, and tears. Because of our rebellious ignorance, apathy, and comfort-seeking, I think we are going to be drenched in all three.
I go out, usually hiking somewhere, once a week for a couple of hours to pray for the whole world. My first prayer is that God will raise up truth-seekers and truth-speakers, and Christians who put truth first -- because truth-seeking is the Royal Road, the Camino Real, to God. I think He will. I hope some of you will join me.
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