Its no secret that our culture wishes to dismantle Christian institutions; its been trying to bring down churches and Christian colleges and universities for years. You might think that Christian K-12 schools and homeschools are exempt from this attack; that smaller communities of faith would be understood to have more leniency with raising their children, but you would be wrong.
The latest way in which Christian institutions are being held up in our culture as institutions of hate and anti-science is through the hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools. If you or your family have had the privilege of benefiting from a Christian primary school – be it Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Homeschool, or whatever background – this is toward you.
It was started by Chris Stoop, responding to Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, for her decision to teach at a K-8 school that can refuse to hire employees that are homosexual and enroll children whose parents are homosexual. This, of course, was an egregious act toward the American people that spawned the outrage of many that alleged Christian schools are harmful to our culture.
Hey fellow Christian school grads, let’s tell @VP and @DavidAFrench how traumatizing those bastions of bigotry are. Use the hashtag #ExposeChristianSchools @amandablount2 @300ZXNA @TheCheekyGinger @msnbc#ChristianAltFacts #EmptyThePews #Exvangelical #LGBTQ #FaithfullyLGBT
— Chris Stroop (@C_Stroop) January 18, 2019
The goal of #ExposeChristianSchools is to show that these educational institutions are plagued with the stuff that our culture most vigorously despises. Go ahead and check Twitter for yourself. You’ll find many people tweeting about being oppressed, or sheltered, or shamed by Christian schools, but it all comes down to the same charges that we’ve heard before.
They say: Christian schools promote hate; hate against homosexuals, transgendered, anyone who is not white, anyone who is not rich, and anyone who is not Christian.
They say: Christian schools promote anti-science; teaching about Creationism, Intelligent Design, a spiritual world, religious stories as history, and a law discoverable in nature.
Let’s be fair, there are some things that happen in a private Christian school, or homeschool, that are awful. Just like every institution, Christianity can abuse its authority. But let’s not pretend that the #ExposeChristianSchools movement has in mind the academic success or even personal safety of young students. They are after the ideas. They want to demonize, what just a few years ago, was completely rational thinking. If you don’t promote homosexuality and transgenderism, you are hateful. If you don’t denounce white people and American history as oppressive, you are hateful. If you do not teach that science is the only way to know truth, you are an imbecile. If you do not teach that all behaviors are good and beautiful and to be applauded, than you are oppressive.
And don’t think that the movement is just a social media thing. There are efforts to slowly pick apart Christian schools. Last year, California tried to ban the sale of material that promotes “sexual orientation change efforts”, of which much Christian school curriculum would probably be considered; including the Bible. There are movements against charter schools, like in LAUSD and the state of New Mexico, where many home schools get their funding. How far are we away from becoming like Germany, where a parent’s rights to homeschooling are all but gone?
Responding to the Exposure
Stuff like this is upsetting; I mean really upsetting. It seems that nothing is sacred in a culture with such vitriol toward religion. There is a tendency to want to fight back; with political power, with subversive action, or just in plain anger. So many families that I know have had wonderful experiences with Christian schools and homeschooling; but it seems the Christian upbringing that many of us enjoyed is at risk of going away. Is there anything to be done? I have only a couple of suggestions.
First, we must put our money where our mouth is. Many of the efforts against Christian schools will at first be financial; taking away any aid we receive from the state and convincing donors not to entrust their money with schools of bigotry. That’s step one in the tyranny playbook. So, we must be willing to pour our resources into our schools. For many of us, who don’t have a great deal of disposable income, this is a burden, but a necessary one. We must be wise stewards of our resources and be innovative in how we try to sustain our schools. Our time and efforts are also resources that must be invested in our Christian schools. Prioritize making your child’s school better, with every ounce of energy you can afford. And it is with great hope that Christians who normally make large contributions to charities and organizations would see the tremendous need for Christian schools, and be willing to take a chance on these strong communities of faith.
Secondly, I suggest that we expose Christian schools for what they really are; or at least, what they ought to be. Christian schools are the best places to take up the original pursuits of academics; those of the ancient Greeks and the medieval Christians, among others. Education is the pursuit of knowledge about God, His world, and His people. Its obvious that most public schools primarily pursue college, careers, sports, socializing, and of course secular ideologies. This creates the biggest appeal of a Christian school or homeschool community, because our pursuits are higher. This is not to say that Christian school students are unprepared for the job market or improperly socialized; or more importantly, unable to participate in sports. The opportunities for job readiness and socialization are perhaps better in a Christian school, for the Christians I know are the best employees I know, and exemplify the charity, truthfulness, and faithfulness needed for any type of social relationship.
But the pursuit of knowledge of God, His world, and His people summarizes a good portion of the reason for humanity’s existence and explains the presence of our mental faculties. Education contributes to our faith more than we realize. So, I suggest we show how our Christian schools are environments in pursuit of truth and beauty. Let me explain how we do so in the Saenz home school.
Through Christian education, we introduce children to authors who have expounded on truth and beauty. Our children have read Homer, Bunyan, Swift, C.S. Lewis, and Patricia St. John. They’ve seen the power of Aslan, the courage of Achilles, and the folly of Lilliput. They’ve been to Narnia, faced the Fire Priests, and crossed the River to the Celestial City.
Through music, we bring the goodness of God into our homes and into our hearts. Our children have rejoiced with Handel and Bach, worshipped with Wesley and Newton, rapped with Shai Linne and Tedashii, made a joyful noise with Crowder and Jimmy Needham, and joined Libera and the King’s Choir. Our home is filled with music that brings peace and rest and lends itself to the devotion of the liturgical seasons, like Advent and Lent.
Through history we see where we’ve come from, and God at work in frailty of human beings. Our children have been on the battlefields of the American Revolution, in the Mayflower with the Pilgrims, at the cathedrals of Europe, in the streets of ancient Rome, and through the pyramids of Egypt. They see history as God’s unfolding drama of redemption; in which our past is often hazy, but our future is crystal clear.
Through science we reveal the beauty of an ordered world. Our children have understood nature in its most explicable way, that it is created for God’s glory and our benefit. They have seen the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, the heights of the Sequoias, and hundreds of miles of the Pacific Ocean. They’ve seen the variety and beauty of wild life and vegetation; like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly, right before their eyes, and with no “evolution” required!
We’ve also laughed at the ridiculousness of our great-great-grandparents being monkeys. The kids get a kick out of that.
Our children have explored the universe at JPL and the Griffith Observatory, and they see design and intelligence; God creating order from forces that otherwise lead to disorder. Through science they see a natural world that informs us and can teach us about who we are. Our children understand that the ordered world shows us that men are different from women and that no matter how many surgeries one has or hormones one takes, a man will never be able to develop an egg into a fully human baby, and a women will never be able to fertilize anything.
Our children have been shown that nature’s order informs us that humans are special, above all other creatures, and that leads to special obligations — morals, if you will — and these obligations are the basis for our laws and government and a political theory that says that man is not subservient to government, but that government is instituted by God, and that we ought to respect it as such.
Our children know that the physical sciences have their limitations. They know that science cannot answer every question. Read this article from the Imaginative Conservative regarding world-renown physicists. Many have essentially come to the point, in quantum physics, where they question whether what they’re doing is still science. From the article:
Dr. Hossenfelder was “not sure anymore that what we do here, in the foundations of physics, is science,” making her wonder why she was basing her life on it. So she interviewed the top experts in the field to give her hope. Gian Francesco Giudice, manager of the world’s largest particle collider (16 miles long costing $6 billion) justified the rules for beauty and elegance as “universally recognized” between cultures. When Dr. Hossenfelder objected they were not, he responded: “it’s a gut feeling; nothing you can measure in mathematical terms,” what he called physical intuition, requiring “not only rationality but subjective judgement,” a “sense of beauty” that is “hardwired in our brain.” It is what makes physics “fun and exciting.”
“Subjective Judgement” and “sense of beauty” hardly sound scientific to me, but its understandable since science is not always sufficient to describe nature.
Our Christian schooling has taught our children, above all, about the sacred sciences. They’ve seen God through the wisdom of the Proverbs, the beauty of the Psalms, the history of God’s people, the spirit moving through the Prophets and Apostles, and through the visible image of God Himself in the life of Jesus Christ. We have prayed together, fasted together, rejoiced together, served together, and grown in righteousness and grace.
Our family and community are not alone. Christian schools around the world bring students and families close to the truth and beauty of God. Showing this is our best response to the #ExposeChristianSchools movement. Our culture will stand opposed to our schools for the foreseeable future, but that is does not mean we are defeated. Fear not, and do not lose heart. These communities of faith are simply an extension of the Christian life, and may the Lord protect them as such.
I’ll let Blair Linne tell you a little more about the Sacred Science.