Religion in Schools
The National Free to Speak Campaign
By Chuck Colson|Published Date: July 16, 2009
As her contribution to a school mural, Melissa Yates painted a cross with the words “I believe, do you?” School officials quickly whitewashed her artwork, erasing her expression of faith.
Olivia Turton wanted to sing her favorite song, “Awesome God,” during an after-school talent show. She was denied permission to do so.
Harrison Kravat asked to read the Bible during quiet reading time at school. He was told to take his Bible home.
Elizabeth Johnson proposed to her teacher a book report on the Book of Exodus. Her teacher said “no.”
Each of these students has a story to share—about how their religious freedom was squashed by school officials who were either ignorant of the law or fearful of offending the ACLU.
After legal motions were filed for each of these situations, Melissa re-painted her cross, Olivia sang her song, Elizabeth completed and submitted her book report, and Harrison read his Bible at school during quiet time.
But a lot of time and legal expenses could have been spared if school officials had simply followed the Department of Education’s guidelines on students’ freedom of religious expression.
And even more time, legal expenses, and all sorts of other wasted cultural capital could have been spared if the Department of Education were abolished (Reagan said he would do that, but didn’t or couldn’t follow through) and school and state were as carefully separated as church and state.
For all the same reasons that it is counter-productive for the government to own GM, for example, it is also counter-productive for governments to own schools. Though it is now a long-standing tradition, it is a bad tradition. It is, if you think about it, the epitome of socialism – government ownership of the means of production.
For one thing, it is completely impossible to separate education from religion. You cannot explore the physical universe, the human self, and the human experience without using significant religious assumptions or conclusions. Even the thought that there is no God, or that God is irrelevant to education, is itself a religious position.
The original reason/excuse for government ownership of schools seemed to be that functioning citizens in a republic needed to be educated to some extent. But once governments own schools, those in power in government will tend to educate students ‘in their own image.’ State-provided education will tend to be, to some extent, an apologetic for current state policies. How often, for example, do students in government-owned schools seriously explore the problems with governments owning schools?
And thus can you now peruse the curricula of most state-owned schools and find little breeding grounds for environmentalism, multi-culturalism, nanny-statism, agnosticism, and every other current ‘politically correct’ drivel imaginable. Even those who seriously disagree with all this are forced to pay to have it stuffed into the minds of those sentenced to endure such nonsense from ages 5/6-18.
These are problems all easily solvable by separating school and state, if only we had the courage to do so!