Emmaus News

March 1998

Articles
1. Separation of School & State
2. A Letter: to the Loudoun (Virginia) County Board of Supervisors
on pornography

A Friendly Word

Greetings in the Lord:

Some themes keep cropping up. Separation of School and State is one of them. It is the first part of a 3-step program which I advocate and believe can lead to the restoration of freedom and head off our steady drift toward chaos and then tyranny.

1. Get civil government totally out of education, and return education to the parents and students. Most Christians and others fighting the "education battle" are merely putting out brush fires, and for reasons of their own, do not aim for the jugular vein -- government control of education (see below).

2. Revisit our Constitution. Learn the history of how America was founded by going back to the source documents. Read the words of those who wrote it, not the words of those who write about them. There is too much room for slippage and insertion of the writer's bias. Learn the meaning of a limited government, what is limited, and why so.

3. Revisit the sweep of western history leading up to the writing of our Constitution. That trail leads right back to the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

Most commonly quoted by the founding fathers was the Bible (a whopping 34% of all quotes). And even that impact is greatly increased by the fact that the three others mainly quoted (Montesque, Blackstone, and Locke) themselves quoted the Bible as a primary source of legal wisdom.

I strongly recommend that you, dear reader, follow up on these three points. We will be either part of the problem or part of the solution. There are excellent materials available in all of these areas. In a coming issue, I will be listing some of these.

Faithfully in Christ,

Earle Fox

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Our Reasonable God

Separation of School & State

1. - How We Got Here -

A free people will never, never, never put the education of their children and the formation of their minds into the hands of the government. If they do, they will not long remain free. The encroachment of government into education over the last 150 years has resulted in (1) a steady drift toward a socialist/communist mentality in America, (2) an incremental erosion of our freedom to run our own lives., and (3) a rejection of the sovereignty of God.

Over the last decades, few recognized the spiritual war in which we were engaged. Even fewer recognized how the war was being fought, that being acted out right before our eyes was the 3-stage path of Romans 1:18 ff.: (1) subversion of truth, (2) idolatry, and (3) descent into compulsive and lethal activities.

The subversion which had been operating in the background up until the 1960's erupted in the 1960's with President Johnson's "Great Society", the seizing of the civil rights movement by secular extremists, and the burgeoning sex revolution into a dramatically new attitude among Americans.

Few Americans are aware of the history of American "public" education. If you wish to get a snootful of the unhappy truth, read Samuel Blumenfeld's two books, Is Public Education Necessary? and NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education. These give the history of the founding of the American "public" school system. It is not a happy story.

"Public" is in quotation marks because public education is not really public, it is state education-- two quite different things. The civil government is not the public. The public is all of us folks out here, some of whom are going about educating their children.

English education is probably no better than ours, but they do have one thing right. They call "public" schools what we call "private" schools. That is because they at least verbally still have some sense of who the real public is.

We have nearly all been "socialized" (made into little socialists) by the steady intrusion of government into all aspects of our lives, to the point that we can hardly imagine running our own lives in a growing number of areas. Such as education. Such as welfare.

One of the great socialist victories was to convince us that the government is the "public", and that the rest of us are "private". With the implication that in our capacity as "private" folks, we are selfish and self-centered -- as against those community-minded socialists.

They do not normally use the word 'socialist', however, because of its associations with communism and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (How can you have a socialist republic?) But our whole mindset has been so altered that we routinely reject the vision of the founding fathers of a limited government with clear separation of powers in favor of a socialist concentration of powers.

Many of those who began government control of education during the mid 1800's, such as Horace Mann, were anti-Christian Unitarians. Their stated purpose was to replace the "Christian system". It was no system at all, it was the free market of schools run by the real public. They were Christian schools because that was what people were in those days. Anyone was free to form a Hindu school, but there were no Hindus to form them.

The secular folks were free to form their secular schools as well. But that was not enough for some of them. They wanted to transform society to their vision. And they knew that they could not do it unless they got control of the minds of the youth.

Mann and his allies were therefore determined to undo the Christian hold on education. That meant that they had to undo the hold of Christian parents on their children - a principle about which they were often quite open. They knew that the only way to do so was to import the system then current in Prussia -- a state-controlled, mandatory, tax-supported education system.

They sold the American public on the falsehood that we needed such a system in order to educate our children. Under the banner of "science" and "improving education", of course. But it was all deceitful nonsense.

The fact is that we then had the most educated people in the world, so that one could hardly find an illiterate adult. That fact was reported with no small amazement by visitors from Europe such as Alexis D' Toqueville in his book, Democracy in America.
 

2. - Separating Church & State -

The principle behind separation of Church and State is not at all what our (either ignorant or deceitful) Supreme Court has given us to believe. It was never meant to be a separation of religious activity from civil government. It was meant to be a separation of civil institutions from religious institutions. It was meant to keep each set of institutions from interfering in the others rightful domain. It was not ever meant to separate civil government from the sovereignty of God.

Government is composed (according to my dictionary) of two things: direction and control. Direction refers to the laws -- to be enforced by the control mechanism, i.e. by the gun.

Politics is choosing whose laws will be enforced -- which is why we elect legislators. The people (in a democratic republic) choose the laws through their representatives. But the people do it under God. That is because, God being the creator, is the sovereign. God is able to give us our reason for being because He gives us our being to begin with.

The laws to be enforced are selected first through public debate about who will be the legislators, and then by the legislators debating about the specific laws.

But the executive power (the control part of government), which holds the gun (enforces the laws), is not permitted to engage either in the election debate or in the legislative debate. Anyone who holds the gun is not allowed to use it to determine or influence the outcome at any level -- other than to ensure that the debate is kept open and honest. The executive power is the referee for the debate, but never a participant.

So the basic, rock-bottom principle of a democratic republic is that

...he who chooses how the gun will be used (passes the laws) will not be allowed to hold the gun. And he who holds the gun will not be allowed to determine how the gun will be used. The separation between direction and control is the essential separation of powers which makes a democratic republic work.

Churches, individuals, political parties, and other spiritual and philosophical communities are then free in the public arena to present their cases about which or whose laws are to be enforced.

The separation of powers in civil government are like those in a football game. No one in public debate can hold the gun, any more than a football quarterback can be a referee. And the referee cannot choose the plays, receive a pass, or block a defender. The referee must be neutral with respect to the teams and players. Likewise, the executive power must be a neutral referee with respect to those in the debate about which laws to pass.

The Christian position is that the laws of God as understood through Jesus Christ are to be the law of the land. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. It is therefore the Christian's duty to present Jesus' case so that the public can intelligently vote for candidates that represent the Lordship of Jesus.

The early Christians first creed was, "Jesus is Lord!" -- which they understood to be aimed directly at Caesar with all of its political consequences. Caesar was to obey Jesus -- "Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess..."

The American colonial soldiers (especially the Presbyterians and Congregationalists) talked about the "crown rights of King Jesus", and had as a slogan in response to George III's misuse of power, "No king but Jesus!"

The genius of the American Constitution was that the coercive authority, whether king or president, could no longer determine how the sword would be used. The divine right of rulership was handed over from the king to the people under God. The people under God through their legislators would tell the civil government how the sword was to be used, i.e., what laws were to be enforced.

That means that the Churches were to be fully involved in educating the people about the law of God so that they would elect rulers of Godly character. John Jay, our first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty... of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

The separation was not between God and state, but between two human institutions: churches and civil governments. The churches were to educate the people in the open public market place so that they could elect Godly legislators, executives, and judges. But both church and state were under the authority and sovereignty of God.
 

- Separating School & State -

What does that have to do with education?

Schools are human institutions, which much like churches, form the minds and souls of the citizens. Schools form the opinions of our children at a very basic level, second only to family and church (when the are doing their job).

As Abraham Lincoln said: The philosophy in education today will be the philosophy in government tomorrow. So schools, like churches, must not be directed by him who holds the gun, i.e., by civil government. The reasons for separating the institutions of school and state are precisely the same as for separating church and state. For government to control education is a conflict of interest because it guarantees its own future success by controlling the electorate.

Government involvement in education is like the referee calling the plays in a game. It is a conflict of interest and a violation of neutrality in public debate. A government which oversees the education of its people is a government in mind-control. He who holds the gun should never form the minds and souls of the people.

So the issues of a corrupt, inefficient, and inept school system have only secondarily to do with their inefficiency and corruption. It is not as though the system were broken and needed fixing. The government education system is not broken. It is doing with astounding consistency precisely what it has been designed to do from its earliest days: separate children from parents and produce children who are controllable socialists, not Godly individuals.

A horse is not a broken house. You cannot fix a house to be a horse. Neither can we fix government-controlled education to be Godly education. The system itself is wrong and must be changed back to a freemarket system in which parents and students are responsible for their own education with the help of family, church, and other non-coercive (i.e., non-government) social institutions.
 

- "But What About....!" -

Two primary arguments are raised in defense of state schools: (1) that the rich need to be forced to pay for the education of the poor, and (2) that we need consistent standards across the nation so that we can compete in a global market. Both of these arguments seem very persuasive, but in fact, when analyzed, neither of them holds water. We will deal with these arguments in more detail later, but briefly, one can answer as follows:

(1) It is immoral for any person to steal money from another to satisfy his own needs. We call that robbery (unless, of course, we ask the government to do it for us). The rich do indeed have an obligation to help the poor, but the civil government does not therefore have an obligation to make them do it at gunpoint. There are much better ways to help the poor.

The poor are the worst hurt by government-controlled education. The rich can, and if they have any sense will, go elsewhere.

(2) Consistent standards are a good devoutly to be sought. But not at gunpoint. Government control of our cultural and intellectual standards means the same thing as government control of our churches and our minds and our souls.

A free people will never, never, never put education under the control of him who holds the gun, or they will not long remain free.

*   *   *

- An Open Letter -

To the Loudoun (Virginia) County Board of Supervisors:

I am writing concerning the coming vote on whether pornography ought to be permitted in a library as a matter of policy.

It is a logical and legal fact that the higher law always trumps the lower law. Federal law, where applicable, always trumps state law, as state law does county law. Etc.

It follows therefore that the law of the cosmos, the law of God, trumps all other laws of any sort. I can no more reject the law of God on the grounds that I find it offensive than I can reject the laws of Pennsylvania (where I live) on the grounds that I find them offensive (some of which I do).

The Constitution, which, as all law, must operate under the higher moral law of God (as the founding fathers agreed, to a man), does not guarantee the freedom to do what is wrong, and so we do not have a constitutional right to do what is wrong. Such an idea would be an intellectual self-contradiction. We can have a right to do only what is right.

The American Constitution was not written to guarantee our freedom to do whatever we wanted, it was written to guarantee our freedom (1) to pursue truth in an open and honest way (precisely what the rules of science and academics are all about), and (2) to pursue justice and righteousness (precisely what a democratic republic is all about). It is self-contradictory and non-sensical to say that we have a "right" either to falsehood or to unrighteousness.

So the claim that we have a "right", even a "constitutional" right, to pornography is simply illogical and self-contradictory. I do not have a "right" to pornography any more than I have a "right" to steal.

The question before us about wrong activities is whether the coercive force of law should be applied against them. We limit government (in a democratic republic) to those items that we want enforced (as it were) at gunpoint. Some items we leave to public persuasion. It is right to be polite, but we do not enforce it at gunpoint.

Taxation is done (as it were) at gunpoint. So the question which you folks appear to be faced with is: Is it right to take tax money (at gunpoint) and use it for publications, activities, etc., which are immoral? It may not be proper to forcibly prevent someone from writing or drawing his own pornography, or to build his own private pornographic library.

But if government is about the administration of righteousness and justice (as it is in a democratic republic), it is then certainly also not right to take money away from people and use it for immoral purposes. In other words, it is perfectly right to say "no" to pornography in public libraries, i.e. libraries paid for by money forcibly removed from citizens. It can never be a legitimate purpose to use tax money to do things which are immoral on the grounds of freedom of speech or expression.

The first guarantee mentioned above includes the freedom to present one's viewpoint for public debate, no matter how unpopular. It does not include the freedom to carry out my viewpoint unless I can establish my viewpoint in public debate as legitimate. People, in other words, have the right to argue for pornography. They do not have the right to tax people to pay for producing or viewing it unless they can show that it is indeed within the moral law of God. And unless they can show that it is a proper use of funds taken (at gunpoint) from other people.

Immorality is not a constitutionally protected right. And even less is it a constitutionally protected subject for tax expenditures.

* * *

I sent the above, responding to an email from someone involved in the public library pornography fray in Loudoun, Virginia.
 

Quote of the Month

"There is no country in the world where
the Christian religion retains a greater influence over
the souls of men than in America...  Religion in
America takes no direct part in the government of
society, but it must be regarded as the first of
their political institutions; for if it does not impart
a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it....  I
am certain that they hold it indispensable to the
maintenance of republican institutions."

- Alexis d'Toqueville in Democracy in America -

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Copyright, Earle Fox 1998