It’s a news story that American readers might find hard to believe.
As the result of an out-of-court settlement of a “human rights” complaint, two private individuals—a pair of “married” homosexuals—have been given the right to be “consulted” as to the content of every lesson, in every subject, every grade from K–12, in the entire British Columbia public school system. They hold no elective or appointive office and are not accountable to the voters and taxpayers of the province.
They were awarded this “right” two years ago and are now insisting that a special “social justice” course, affirming and “celebrating” homosexuality, be offered in the public high schools.
When the local school board in Abbotsford, British Columbia, modified the course in response to complaints by parents, the two homosexuals filed another “human rights” complaint against the board to force it to provide the course as they desire it.
A broad spectrum of pro-family groups has risen up to oppose this newest wrinkle in what has become widely known as the “Corren Agreement,” after the name of one of the two homosexuals. Because we do not recognize their relationship as a marriage, we will not follow the common usage of referring to them as “the Correns.”
“Morality” Without Religion
Chalcedon interviewed some of the persons leading this resistance movement; but as this article was about to go to press, something unexpected happened.
Our most prominent interviewee requested that we not use his comments, his name, or the name of his organization. He had his reasons for this—one of which must be discussed here, without quoting him.
This person did not want to couch his group’s opposition to the Corren Agreement in any terms that might derive from “religion.” Instead, as a “public” organization, his group’s position was based solely on “morality” as distinct from “religion.” (The use of quotation marks is unavoidable here.)
He did not want his organization to be seen as involved in any way with the Chalcedon Foundation because Chalcedon’s position is theological, based on a conviction that God’s law is the law. He found particularly off-putting our reminder that the Bible describes homosexual behavior as “worthy of death” (Rom. 1:32).
We make allowances for any Canadian’s fear of running afoul of the “human rights” commissions and tribunals. In Canada, citizens may be punished severely for saying or publishing anything found objectionable by homosexual militants. If anyone is afraid that by his comments appearing in a Chalcedon article, he may be laying himself open to a crushing “human rights” complaint, that’s understandable: regrettable, but understandable. But we have interviewed and published the comments of many Canadians who have not been silenced by such fears.
Meanwhile, we must ask how it’s possible to sustain any “morality” that derives from any word but God’s Word. “In a world without absolute laws,” R. J. Rushdoony writes, “whatever god or gods may exist can, together with men, give only advice, and that advice at best can only be pragmatic. There is, then, no law to appeal to.”[i]
Some of those opposed to the Corren Agreement are going into battle with blanks for ammunition; it’s no wonder they’re losing. “Morality” that is only someone’s opinion can never be anything but someone’s opinion.
So they sit in meetings with the government, voice their concerns, and get the brush-off. They only learned the details of the Corren Agreement via Canada’s Freedom of Information Act: the government never wished to make it public. They demand of the government the same right to be “consulted” on the educational curriculum, as has been granted to a pair of homosexuals; but the government has not respected their demands. They present petitions and hold demonstrations outside government offices—without result. The government has already chosen sides in this dispute, and it hasn’t chosen theirs.
What About Homeschooling?
Homeschooling and Christian schools are still options available to British Columbia parents who don’t want their children being taught to “celebrate” sodomy; but the resistance still focuses its efforts on reforming public education.
This doesn’t work in Canada any better than it has in the United States. It’s understandable that Christians who are taxed to pay for public education should demand some say in what form that education takes, even if their own children have already been withdrawn from public schooling. But the reality is that the powers that be in public education don’t care what Christian parents want. Their actions have made that crystal-clear.
In Canada, as in America, the public schools are now full of “gay-straight alliances,” sodomy-affirming textbooks, and films from gay film festivals. In neither country has any amount of protest turned the tide. There is no reason to expect that any protests ever will.
Chalcedon has for forty years campaigned for homeschooling and for Christian schools, and will continue to do so. Nevertheless, tens of millions of Christian parents in the United States and Canada continue to send their children to anti-Christian public schools. This is at best confusion and ignorance, and at best a form of moral slothfulness.
A Teachers’ Guide
Let’s take a closer look at the mindset of public education.
In conjunction with the Corren Agreement, the British Columbia Ministry of Education last year issued a new teachers’ guide entitled Making Space, Giving Voice. A complete draft copy of this remarkable document can be read on the Internet (http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/irp/drafts/making_space_response_draft.pdf ). The guide is intended for all teachers, in all grades, and for all subjects.
Teachers and students, says the guide, must show “support for the achievement of social justice for all people and groups” and appreciation for “the talents and accomplishments of individuals identified with each and every diverse group within our society” (p. 5). Note the emphasis on groups. “Sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are included wherever the guide lists groups to be protected and respected.
On page 8 we find a self-questionnaire for teachers, a checklist of attitudes they are expected to acquire and cultivate. For example: “I routinely acknowledge students, both publicly and privately, for the actions they take to assist in the development of a community free of ableism, homophobia, racism, sexism, and other forms of intimidation or hurtful behaviour.” We are not told what “ableism” is; maybe that’s for the best.
We find many exhortations to teachers to alert children to the prevalence of “forms of oppression,” including “heterosexism.” Eventually every child is expected to be able to “describe and work toward an ideal future for the world” (p. 14).
Pause and reflect on that last quote. Should it be the business of the public schools to implant in the minds of children any vision of “an ideal future for the world”? And how is that to square with the guide’s incessant harping on “diversity”? It seems the teachers are to ensure that all children have exactly the same vision of what an ideal future is.
Much space is devoted to teaching teachers how to politicize each and every lesson in every subject, every grade. In arithmetic lessons, for instance, the teacher is advised to “Ensure that diverse examples are included when conducting number operations and statistics activities” (p. 18)—presuming that such “diverse examples” don’t clash with the approved “ideal future for the world.” And, “As students are introduced to the concept of mathematical equality (beginning in Grade 1) it is also possible to begin examining equality and inequality with reference to real-world situations” (p. 18).
Imagine those arithmetic lessons. “If Belinda has two daddies and then gets another one, how many daddies will she have?” Or, “Moe earns $500, but Maureen only earns $400—and that’s not equal, boys and girls! That’s why capitalism is bad.” As drivel, it speaks for itself.
We have no space here to go into how the guide proposes to teach “language arts” and “social studies.” It’s even worse than what the British Columbia Ministry of Education proposes to do to arithmetic.
The guide recommends that each student keep a “journal” to record his progress in developing a politically correct worldview. At the end of their public schooling, students are to graduate as “global citizens” (p. 45).
This Is Public Education
The Abbotsford school district has balked at the Corren-inspired “social justice” course, but it’s only one out of many school districts in the province. As an out-of-court settlement between two private citizens and the government, the Corren Agreement seems likely to stand for as long as the so-called “Correns” live. A high court ruling could invalidate it, but no one says he expects to see such a ruling in the foreseeable future.
And so a pair of homosexuals, neither elected nor appointed to any public office, with no burden of accountability to anyone, has become virtually the education czars of an entire Canadian province.
One wonders what might have happened had the Ministry of Education stood up to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. But in light of the alacrity with which the government has moved to implement the Corren Agreement, we must ask: has the government simply allowed the tribunal to do dirty work that no one in the legislature or the administration was willing to do on his own responsibility? Now they have a fait accompli in place, courtesy of the all-powerful “human rights” machine.
If the teachers in the British Columbia public schools are serious about carrying out the recommendations of the teachers’ guide, and at all adept at it, how would it be possible for Christian children in those schools to maintain their Christianity? Day after day for thirteen years, every lesson, every subject, every grade, these children will be subjected to an indoctrination regime that rivals the worst that any Marxist country has ever tried to execute. Those readers who don’t believe this are urged to read the teachers’ guide, cover to cover: the soul-shriveling thoroughness of the program is appalling.
But this is public education! This is what it has always been—a deliberate campaign to alienate children from their families and from their Christian faith and train them to be docile, obedient little cogs in an overpowering secular state managed by self-anointed “experts.” There is nothing in the British Columbia teachers’ guide that is outside the mainstream of thought in public education. There is nothing in it that would not be approved enthusiastically by America’s teachers’ unions or teachers’ colleges.[ii]
Don’t take our word for it. In The Messianic Character of American Education, R. J. Rushdoony dissects the writings of public education’s founders and guiding spirits over the course of 100 years—men like Horace Mann, William James, John Dewey, and a host of others.[iii] Read in their own words what they hoped to accomplish. Out of their own mouths they stand condemned.
The theologian A. A. Hodge said, “I am as sure as I am of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social, and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen.”[iv]
Today, over 100 years later, those words are prophetic and true—and Mr. Hodge never got a chance to read the British Columbia teachers’ guide.
If you are a Christian parent with children still in public school, don’t wait for anything as bizarre as the Corren Agreement to take over your local school district. For British Columbia schools, the Corren Agreement is only another stone added to the rock pile. Public education is already anti-Christian, everywhere in both the United States and Canada.
Christian children need a Christian education. They don’t need a lot of humanist humbugs “teaching” them how to build an ideal world free of ableism and homophobia.
[i] R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, Vol. I (Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1973), 600–601.
[ii] See Lee Duigon, “Public Schools’ ‘Social Justice Education’ Cloaks Marxist Teaching,” The Chalcedon Foundation, December 21, 2007, http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=2810.
[iii] R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1963).
[iv] Quoted in Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, 335.
- Lee Duigon
Lee is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels and a contributing editor for our Faith for All of Life magazine. Lee provides commentary on cultural trends and relevant issues to Christians, along with providing cogent book and media reviews.
Lee has his own blog at www.leeduigon.com.