In the last two messages we discussed the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Carson v. Makin. A majority of the court held that any tuition assistance plan that excludes religious schools unconstitutionally infringes on the religious freedom of parents. The three dissenters argued that allowing public funds to be used to pay tuition at a faith-based school unconstitutionally compels taxpayers to effectively “establish” a religion as proscribed by the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment.
Left unsaid and unexamined is what is actually going on in today’s government schools under the guise of “education.” Traditionally, many parents have sent their children to private schools that included and emphasized religious formation. Recently, however, parents have begun taking their children out of government schools in droves. Dismal academic performance is not the only factor. These parents are in full revolt against cultural and political corruption in the classroom.
Families are fleeing a radical government school system that rejects religion and despises its adherents. They rightly recognize that the agents of government, under the guise of “education,” are actively promoting a rival creed designed to upend and destroy the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western Civilization. They cannot otherwise expect to radically transform American society. This system is at war with religion, at war with the family and at war with the very idea of America. Hence, the struggle for authentic, universal school choice is, a priori, a fight for religious freedom.
The Big Red Schoolhouse
In our discussion of Justice Breyer’s dissent in Carson v. Makin, we noted that what we call “religion” is fundamentally just another set of opinions. Hence, the label we apply to a certain set of opinions as not as important as the opinions themselves. And if we closely examine the ideas and how they are advanced, we soon discover that the ideology embraced and advanced in our government schools functions no differently than any religion.
A traditional religion posits the existence of God, explains our existence, defines man, his relationship to God and others and tells us how we ought to live. What all religions have in common is that they demand that you believe their major tenets and comport your behavior accordingly. In other words, you not only need to believe something, you need to act like it. The modern government school is no different. Students must not only master the government credo, they must also accept and obey its decrees without question.
Each system is “total” in the sense that it demands the full assent and commitment of the individual. It was Jesus Christ himself who said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Does the modern Leviathan state demand any less?
The Totalitarian Government School System
There are important differences, however. Proper examination reveals that the radical transformation they seek is not just social, economic, or political. They demand a quasi-religious transformation as well. As such, this system challenges all organized religion. It places man at the center of the universe and, in turn, the State at the center of man’s own existence. The claims of this radical secularist ideology are thus functionally indistinguishable from those of any organized religion.
This ideology differs from organized religion in several important ways. First and foremost, it is a political force. It is not neutral. that seeks not to persuade but to destroy its rivals. It demands the same total adherence as any religion but combines it with total power over your person and property. It is in this sense that this modern ideology may be said to be “totalitarian.” It demands absolute control over everyone and everything.
Time to Fight
Our rights and liberties have never been under greater attack. In many ways, the stakes are higher now than in 1776. And the struggle is no less desperate. The ongoing campaign to radically transform America is fully underway. The real battlefield is the classroom. We must fight this grave threat from within.
This is why it is urgent that Californians qualify and pass The Educational Freedom Act. This responsibility for doing so rests on each of us. Here is what you can do now.
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Chairman, Californians for School Choice
President, California School Choice Foundation