“Values are fundamentally divisive. But man is hostile too often to ‘divisive’ values, and so the values he prizes are in effect anti-values, attempts to reduce religion, ethics, or whatever value he seeks, to an all-inclusive level.” —R. J. Rushdoony
When R. J. Rushdoony wrote those words in 1961, he could hardly have guessed that, almost fifty years later, governments throughout the English-speaking world would be moving to force Christian schools to teach anti-Christian values. But he would not have been surprised.
Today in the United Kingdom and in Canada, legislation either pending or recently enacted aims to force religious schools to teach that homosexuality is, in the words of one member of the British Parliament, “normal and harmless.”
“This has been building up for generations,” said Michael Donnelly, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association. He’s not exaggerating. Here is what a professor of anthropology said, 100 years ago:
“Our actual family circle is most often imperfect: so few families can give, or know how to give, a healthy physical, moral, and intellectual education to the child, that in this domain large encroachments of the State, whether small or great, are probable, even desirable. There is, in fact, a great social interest before which the pretended rights of families must be effaced”[emphasis added]—including, it would appear, the right of Christian parents to provide their children with a Christian education.
In Great Britain, the Children, Schools and Families Bill—note that “Schools” comes before “Families”—is being debated and amended in Parliament. Its final form can only be a matter of conjecture; but so far it displays an intention, at least, of some members of Parliament to nullify the whole purpose of a Christian school.
Originally the bill included several radically anti-Christian measures. As late as February 25, as reported by the Ignatius Press, the bill proposed requiring Christian schools to teach contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. Said Edward Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, “If you are currently a Catholic school … you could choose to teach only to children that contraception is wrong, homosexuality is wrong. That changes radically with this bill.”
And, “A Catholic faith school can say to their pupils we believe as a religion contraception is wrong but what they can’t do is therefore say that they are not going to teach them about contraception to children, how to access contraception, or how to use contraception. What this changes is that for the first time these schools cannot just ignore these issues or teach only one side of the argument. They also have to teach that there are different views on homosexuality. They cannot teach homophobia. They must explain civil partnership. They must give a balanced view on abortion, they must give both sides of the argument, they must explain how to access an abortion, the same is true on contraception as well”[emphasis added].
Forcing a nun to teach a classroom of twelve-year-old girls how to “access” an abortion does seem to push the envelope; and many Liberals in and out of Parliament would consider the entire Christian teaching on homosexuality to be “homophobia” and therefore banned—while at the same time, teaching those “different views” on sodomy would still be mandatory in a Christian school. No wonder a Church of England bishop called the legislation “fascist”!
Faced with so much controversy, the government moved quickly to amend the bill—only to come up against more controversy, this time from the Left. The British Humanist Association accused the government of trying to “deprive children of their right to broad, balanced and objective Sex and Relationship Education” and blamed Catholic groups for “lobbying [that] produced the change of policy by Ed Balls.”
What the amendment did was to allow religious schools “to teach PSHE [Personal, Social, and Health Education], which includes Sex and Relationships Education, ‘in a way that reflects the school’s religious character.’” To us this language may seem ambiguous, but humanists and “gay” organizations insist it represents a “U-turn” by the government.
“The amendment was designed to make clear that equality requirements do not force governing bodies or heads [of religious schools] to teach about issues such as homosexuality and contraception in a particular way,” reported “pinknews.”
In the United Kingdom, unlike in the United States, the “faith schools” receive government funding. About a third of the schools covered by this legislation are religious schools.
Note that for the humanist, “balanced, objective” education means the rigorous exclusion of Biblical teaching—that would be “homophobia”—in favor of the teaching that sodomy is “normal and harmless.”
Will the government give in to the clamor on the Left, and amend the bill again?
All we can say is that there is in Parliament and elsewhere a long-standing interest in forcing Christian schools to teach abortion and sodomy, and that whatever happens with the bill this year, those who have that interest will continue to promote it.
Homeschool in the Crosshairs
The Children, Schools and Families bill also takes aim at homeschooling Christian families. Parents will be required to sign a “home-school agreement” with the “head teacher” of the nearest government school, obliging them to educate their children in accord with “the school’s aims and values,” whatever those might be. Also, “the head teacher may invite the pupil to sign the parental declaration as an indication that the pupil acknowledges and accepts the school’s expectation of the pupil.”
The Conservative Party in Parliament has strongly objected to the bill’s provisions for regulating homeschooling. In the words of Conservative Member of Parliment Michael Gove, “this is about the Secretary of State being able to say that an individual home education parent is not providing an education that he deems appropriate and therefore they should not have the right to educate that child at home.” Also, Gove said, “it allows the state to terminate the right of a family to educate a child at home if the education offered is not deemed suitable according to regulations that the Secretary of State writes.”
We have seen from Ed Balls’ quotes what sort of education he deems appropriate. Said Gove, “this legislation means the state will take it upon itself to regulate what may or may not be taught in the home.”
He also denounced “the additional bureaucratic burden” that the legislation would impose on parents: a yearly report to the head teacher, and a visit from “an inspector” from time to time, to ensure that the school’s “aims and values” are being met in the home.
Quebec’s Crusade—Against Christianity
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in Canada, the provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario have enacted laws to force Christian schools to provide anti-Christian teaching.
As part of an announced government crusade against “homophobia,” and a promise “to wipe out attitudes not supportive of all sexual orientations”—supportive?—Quebec has installed an Ethics and Religious Culture program, mandatory for all schools, including all religious schools; and a Quebec court has ruled that parents cannot exempt their children from this course.
“The program will replace the Catholic Religious and Moral Instruction, Protestant Moral and Religious Education, and Moral Education programs that have been taught until now,” says an official government website. In addition to teaching the normalization of homosexuality, the program also teaches that no religion is more valid than any other.
In Ontario, a new Health and Physical Education curriculum for grades 1-8—mandatory for all publicly-funded schools, including Christian schools—will go into effect in September. It is intended to promote “equality and inclusive education,” says the provincial Ministry of Education, “which include the advancement of homosexualism and transgenderism,” reports LifeSite News. “A notable aspect of the curriculum’s revision is the attempt to instill a sense that homosexuality and transgenderism are perfectly normal.”
Supposedly the teaching is to be “open and respectful of various points of view,” including the Christian point of view. It is difficult to imagine how “educators” committed to the normalization of sodomy and sexual mutilation will be able to show respect to the Biblical view that such behavior is an abomination to the living God.
A Case in New Hampshire
We must not assume that Christian schooling in America is immune to interference by the government.
“Now is not the time to relax our vigilance,” said Michael Donnelly. “This is going on all over the world, and of course there’s always more of it on the horizon.”
In New Hampshire, for instance, a judge has ordered a ten-year-old girl, who has been homeschooled by her mother since she was in first grade, to be enrolled full-time in public school. Donnelly is one of the attorneys handling the case for the Home School Legal Defense Association.
“Actually, this is a child custody case,” Donnelly said. “The parents are divorced, the mother’s a Christian, the father’s a non-religious person, and both have legal custody of the child. They have to agree on what’s best for the child, and they can’t agree, so the state had to find a remedy.
“But in this case the judge’s reasoning was so outrageous that it had to be appealed. The case has been accepted by the New Hampshire Supreme Court for a hearing, and we’re preparing a brief now.”
The judge ruled last year that “this child and her mother are too religious,” and that the girl needed to be “exposed to other worldviews.” The judge’s order read, “Amanda’s vigorous defense of her religious beliefs … suggests strongly that she has not had the opportunity to seriously consider any other point of view.”
“Outrageous” is putting it mildly. What if a judge were to order a publicly-schooled child to be homeschooled full-time in order to absorb a Christian point of view? The storm of protest from the ACLU, academics, and the media, would be deafening.
Almost ten years ago, political scientist Rob Reich argued that American children have a “right” to be instructed, by the state, in worldviews other than their parents’, and that Christian homeschooling should, by law, be made subject to the secular authority of the state. Without invoking Reich by name, the judge in New Hampshire echoed Reich’s reasoning.
Who Owns the Children?
“You can’t point to a person or persons behind this—other than Satan himself, perhaps,” Donnelly said.
But we can say that this campaign to force Christian schools to teach anti-Christian principles is only to be expected, given the secularist, God-denying, statist philosophy that has been at the heart of public education from its beginnings in the nineteenth century.
Consider these quotes from a British government document, Sex and Relationship Education Guidance to Schools. Herein, schools are charged to “promote equality, inclusion, and acceptance of diversity”—meaning a “diversity” of sexual practices and “lifestyles”—to the end of “reducing the likelihood of sexist, sexual, homophobic, and transphobic [sic] bullying” and creating universal “gender equality.” It goes on and on, page after page of messianic utopian drivel—and there is to be no opt-out from this teaching once the child turns fifteen.
Documents such as this show that the state schools put themselves above the child’s parents as the authority on what constitutes sexual morality. We also see it in Ed Balls’ title—Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families: note that “Schools” comes before “Families” and comes between “Children” and “Families.” How could they be any clearer about what they’re trying to do?
Christianity teaches “that life belongs to God rather than to the social group,” Rushdoony wrote. “It is precisely this note that is now being submerged by the rise of statism. The structure of the family as an order from God and having certain rights beyond the state and its law is now disappearing, and education has been especially instrumental in its erosion.”
In 1961 Rushdoony saw in public education “a call for the re-ordering of all aspects of life and the world itself in terms of this democratic and leveling perspective.” This was already a ponderous chain in 1961, and the statist public educators have labored on it ever since. They are not going to change. Their cultural aggression against the Christian schools of the United Kingdom and Canada shows how much their confidence, and their ambition, have grown in fifty years.
Can It Happen Here?
“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev.12:12).
Rushdoony believed that the godless, secular, humanist civilization of the West is in decline and heading toward a fall—despite, or perhaps because of, its “radically messianic and religious program, aiming at the re-creation of man and his total culture.” “But today’s crisis,” wrote Rev. Edmund Opitz, “is religion’s opportunity.”
Are we taking advantage of that opportunity? Are we building Christian institutions—schools, colleges, hospitals, media, and Bible-faithful churches—that will survive the failure of humanism, and lay the foundation of a new Christendom?
Millions of America’s Christian families are in denial about public education, and tens of millions of Christian children continue to be sent to public schools. Do we have the common sense to look across the Atlantic, and across the Canadian border, to see what the government “educators” have in mind for us?
Thankfully, Christian schools in America, unlike those in Canada and Britain, receive no funding from the state. That makes them much less vulnerable to state interference with the curriculum. By all means, Christian schools should never take money from the government. Beware the Greeks bearing gifts!
Nevertheless, there is in America an opinion that Christian children must be “exposed” to anti-Christian points of view; and in New Hampshire a judge has acted on it.
We must be vigilant. We must defend our Christian schools and our right to homeschool.
But above all, we must remove our Christian children from the public schools and provide them with a Christian education.
In the years and tumults yet to come, they’ll need it.
 R. J. Rushdoony, Intellectual Schizophrenia (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, Vallecito, CA,  2002), 17.
 Rushdoony, 6.
 op. cit., dailymail.co.uk
 From the text of the bill: see http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldbills/036/10036.1-7.html/
 Rushdoony, 117
 Ibid, 64.
 Ibid., 7.
 Ibid., xv.
- 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.