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Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before God

Every child entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well—by creating the international child of the future. —Psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, addressing 1973 Childhood International Education Seminar

  • Bret McAtee,
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Every child entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well—by creating the international child of the future.
—Psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce, addressing 1973 Childhood International Education Seminar

Despite the pagan educator’s explicit intent to indoctrinate children into a worship of the state, Christians continue to send their children to government schools. Some Christians believe that their local schools are different because the teachers there are “nice” and maybe even “smart.” What they fail to realize is that “nice” and “smart” are buzzwords used in service of the reprogramming of children—often without the nice and smart teachers being themselves aware of the malevolent design of government schooling to program and indoctrinate their children into a pagan statist religion.

The most effective reprogramming is done with a smile on the teacher’s face. The Christian community has to realize that the Christian teachers in the school system to which they are sending their children have yoked themselves to a system that is at war with Biblical Christianity. Further, we must realize that the Christianity of “Christian” teachers is either a Christianity that is in abeyance or a Christianity that has been reinterpreted to fit the mold of the humanistic agenda of the government schools in which they are employed. A Christian teacher who taught his subject matter from a Biblically Christian worldview in a humanistic school system would be fired in weeks if not days. Government schools are not populated by the kind of Christians who can help your children think God’s thoughts after Him.

Government schools are committed to the religion of humanism, where man considered either individually or collectively is the god of that system. The man-centered idolatry of humanism is so obvious that government schools really ought to be considered churches. Just as Christian fathers in concert with Christian churches are charged with teaching children to think as Christians through catechesis, so the government schools are charged with teaching children to think as humanists through their lessons.

In the church of humanism, the teachers are the ministers. In the church of humanism, the curriculum of its schools is the equivalent to the catechism in the church of Christianity. In the church of humanism, there are high holy days, which its adherents celebrate, just as Christian churches have their own high holy days that they celebrate. In the churches of humanism, people can be expelled for sinning against humanistic rules of political correctness just as in Christian churches people can be excommunicated for sins against the Christian faith. All the dynamics that one finds in Christian churches and in the Christian faith are present in government schools. Government schools are the temples of humanism where the initiates are indoctrinated in the ways of a false religion. Don’t let anyone say that Americans don’t have an established religion.

Let’s briefly examine some of these claims and see if we can find evidence from those who are associated with government education to support this premise.

More Than Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

When considering whether government schools are committed to the religion of humanism, we read from Charles Potter, a former honorary president of the National Education Association:

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching? (Charles F. Potter, “Humanism: A New Religion,” 1930.)

When considering whether teachers are the ministers of humanism, we learn from humanist John Dunphy:

I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers that correctly perceive their role as proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being … The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and new. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing the classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state universities.  (The Humanist, Jan/Feb 1983)

When we combine Dunphy’s quote with a quote from the father of outcome-based education, Benjamin Bloom, we begin to see that Dunphy’s vision fits well within the vision of those who are “shaping” public education:

By educational objectives, we mean explicit formulations of the ways in which students are expected to be changed by the educative process. That is, the ways in which they will change in their thinking, their feelings, and their actions. (Taxonomy – Handbook I – pg. 26)

When considering how the nature of the curriculum serves the ends of religious humanism, we have only to read from Dr. John I. Goodlad, former director of research and development at the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, who many years ago wrote that future curriculum “will be what one might call the humanistic curriculum.” Looking forward to the future, Goodlad could say that his humanistic curriculum would “become significantly evident by 1990 or 2000.” (NEA Journal, “Directions of Curriculum Change” --  March 1966)

Outcome-Based Education and Its Rotten Fruit

The idea that government schools are in reality government churches is not only supported by the quotes I’ve provided thus far, but perhaps the best support for this claim can be seen by the overall structural methodology that informs the world of government education. This structural methodology is named Outcome-Based Education (OBE).

OBE is anchored in anti-Christian behavioral psychology and is committed to inculcating a particular socio-political agenda that guides the student to adopt an anthropocentric value system based upon the precepts of pagan humanistic psychology. This stands in contrast to a Christian worldview, or a worldview based upon historic categories arising out of Western civilization. When the government schools use OBE as the methodology that structures their teaching, the result is to indoctrinate students who favor group-think over individualism, socialism over free market competition, and subjective oriented ethics over ethics that are transcendent. The end is the humanist “new man” who has been taught to prefer egalitarian conformity and is prone to faulting individuals oriented toward industry and achievement. All of this is accomplished by manipulating students by means of emotive control. In OBE mind control, solid academics are thrown out in favor of pursuing self-esteem, being “self-directed,” and achieving “process skills.” OBE is dedicated to creating a culture of slavery.

In light of this very small sampling, and given that the first commandment forbids us to serve other gods, why do Christians send their covenant children to government schools? Why do Christians send their and God’s children to an institution where they are immersed in learning the covenant ways of a false religion? Further, why are Christians surprised when their children, upon maturity, abandon the Christian faith? Having saturated them in the belief system of humanism, why would we expect them to be unfaithful to humanism? One reason why our children leave the church is because by placing them in government schools, we train them to be pagans.

Objection #1 Anticipated – Education Is A-Religious

Most “Christian” teachers employed by government schools are not self-conscious about their contribution to building an anti-Christian culture in the way that they are teaching children. These teachers are too often Christians only in the sense of embracing a particular religious brand identity. Unfortunately, these “Christian” teachers have never had the opportunity to probe and examine the presuppositions that inform the curriculum they are teaching and have accepted as their own.

Some would object to this by positing that education does not need to be specifically Christian since education is not spiritual but only intellectual. The objection reasons that education is not religious: that education is one of the disciplines that falls within a “creational common realm” where both Christians and non-Christians labor together, in spite of significant differences in presuppositions. These folks insist that education is to be done not by the standards of God’s Word, but rather by the standard of natural law. They believe that God’s Word doesn’t teach anything with regard to the disciplines one might expect to find in a liberal arts education. The truths of these disciplines, in their view, are taught by natural law and are self-evident.

But this is a peculiar minority reading raised only by some Reformed Christians.Other adherents of other faith systems understand perfectly well the importance of an education in keeping with their faith. This is why we can find people of other non-Christian faiths insisting on the importance of an education that is in keeping with their beliefs.

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future. —Adolf Hitler
Give me your 4-year-olds, and in a generation I will build a socialist state. —Vladimir Lenin

Even were we to concede that education is not a spiritual discipline, we still have to come to grips with which metaphysical, epistemological, teleological, and axiological starting points should be presupposed in the educational process. Education always presupposes some theological order as standard. So even agreeing that education belongs to a spiritually undifferentiated common realm, we must still ask, in the midst of many disputes in a pluralistic culture, which starting points will be presumed as the context in which the various educational disciplines find their meaning? The real issue is determining which regime’s creation order will be presupposed. Obviously, if Christians agree that education is an “undifferentiated common realm project,” then all Christians absolutely must agree that that project will explicitly and implicitly center on no other God than the God of the Bible who alone can provide the starting points that can render the educational disciplines rational.

Objection #2 Anticipated – Keep the Schools Secular

A second objection by Christians who do not object to placing their children in government schools is that public schools do not teach humanist beliefs any more than they teach any other belief. The schools, so the thinking goes, are simply secular and neutral, neither promoting nor demeaning religion. Therefore, any calls for Christians to pull their children from government schools are unwarranted.

But teachers can’t teach in a presuppositional vacuum; they must educate according to some perspective, worldview, or philosophical paradigm—and this paradigm, because it descends from a theological system of belief, is inherently religious. As we have noted, the worldview of government schools, regardless of any insistence to the contrary, is humanism.

The End of the Matter

Christians are commanded to set no other gods before them. When American Christians send their children to those schools—in spite of what they know about their humanist indoctrination—they are worshipping at the altar of humanism. There is simply no other way to put it. There may be rare exceptions, but as a whole, government schools are committed to sanitizing the Christian faith of those who enter their doors.

Many Christians have been praying for reformation and religious awakening. If we genuinely desire this, we must immediately stop sending our children to government schools. Looking for reformation in our culture while at the same time immersing our children in a belief system that is at war with Christianity is a very odd way to prepare for reformation and religious awakening. Indeed, it is extraordinarily difficult to understand how prayers for reformation and awakening will be answered by God as long as God’s people continue to disobey God and poison their children’s minds against Christ by sending them to government schools. Certainly we can say that one sign of reformation and awakening in the church will be Christian parents removing their covenant seed from humanist schools, thus taking the first commandment seriously again.

  • Bret McAtee

Bret McAtee lives in Charlotte, Michigan where he pastors a small Reformed Church and dwells in familial contentment with his wife, Jane, and their three children. Pastor McAtee’s other writings can be found at

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