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 Free Market of Ideas,
Free Enterprise Education,
& the (Real) Wall between Church & State

The Separation of Powers vs.
Government-Controlled Education

F. Earle Fox

Click for printable pdf copy - 5 pages


I. Intent of the Constitution

II. Origin of the Wall

III. The Supreme Court Record

IV. - 1962 - The Banishing of God

V. Documented Results

VI. What is a Religion...?

VII. ...and What is Pluralism?

VIII. The Real Wall & Separation of Powers

IX. The Wall Between School & State

X. God & Neutrality

XI. Reasonable Education

XII. But, What About the Poor?


I. Intent of the Constitution

The three items listed in the title are all interrelated.  There will never be a secure free market of ideas so long as there is no free enterprise education. 

To keep that free market of ideas, we must keep government out of education.  And the only way to keep government limited to its rightful role as referee is to have a people who themselves are strengthened with a sturdy independence under the law and grace of God -- and who can thus hold civil government accountable.  Tyrants fear nothing more than a mature and healthy Judeo-Christian community. 

In 1962, the Supreme Court handed down a decision (Engel v. Vitale) that prayer in public schools was in violation of the American Constitution.  Their decision had then, and still has, no basis in history or in constitutional law.  This was the first decision the Court ever made with not a single precedent cited.  That is because there were none to cite.  It was a decision flying not only in the face of our documented legal (Supreme Court) history and Constitution but also in the face of any reasonable education system.  And, more important, the real problem was not prayer (talking with God) in schools, but government (coercive force) in schools. 

The President should have announce that the ruling by the Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional, and that he would not enforce it.  And then he and Congress should have worked to remove education completely from federal jurisdiction, and encouraged the states and local communities to do the same.  Education is not in the list of enumerated and permitted activities in which the federal government may engage.  Government education is an illegal and grossly destructive activity.  It will always drift toward a mind-control system -- to get the people to support and reelect those in power

II. Origin of the "Wall"

Contrary to popular misconception, the phrase, "wall between Church and State" does not occur in the Constitution, which reads simply (in the First Amendment):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

The word "religion" in the 1700's was commonly used to mean "denomination".  That is particularly clear in the State constitutions.  Hence Congress could not establish any one Christian denomination. The founding fathers did not want the Episcopal, Catholic, Presbyterian, or Congregational Church running the government, but they did establish general Biblical principles to be the common law foundation of American government.  Non-Biblical religions were hardly on the scene and not much on the minds of the founding fathers.

The institutions of government and religion were to be separated from interfering with one another, but the principles of government and religion were not separated.  The principles of religion and government are required to bond together -- to create the strength, stability, and freedom of the nation.

Thomas Jefferson (who did not help write the Constitution because he was ambassador in France at the time) first used the phrase "wall between Church and State" in an obscure letter in 1802, fifteen years after the writing of the Constitution.  As president he had written to clergy in Danbury, Connecticut, to assure them that there was a "wall" to prevent the federal government from favoring one denomination of Christians over others.  But he (and just about everyone else in America) expected, indeed insisted, that religious (i.e. Christian) principles be the basis for both government and education.

While president, Jefferson was also chairman of the Washington, DC, school board, at which time he established the Bible and Isaac Watts Hymnal as the two basic books of the public education system. It is inaccurate to say that Jefferson was anti-religious.  He was not a Christian, apparently more of a Unitarian, but he did hold that we are both personally and corporately (politically) responsible before God for our decisions and behavior.  

III. The Supreme Court Record

Every single Supreme Court decision relating to Church/State relations right up to the 1940's affirmed, or was compatible with the belief that America historically had always been, and logically could only be, a Christian nation based on Biblical principles, and that the American understanding of political freedom emerged from and was built on those Biblical principles.

In an 1892 case (Church of the Holy Trinity v. the United States), the Court reviewed the 350 year religious history of America. Quoting an 1824 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision (Updegraph v. the Commonwealth), the Court said:

Christianity, general Christianity, is, and always has been, a part of the common law ...
 not Christianity with an established church ... but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.

And then quoting from Vidal v. Girard's Executors in 1844:

It is also said, and truly, that the Christian religion is part of the common law....


There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people.

And from Zorach v. Clauson in 1952, just 10 years before banning God from schools:

The First Amendment, however, does not say that in every and all respects there shall be a separation of Church and State.... Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other -- hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly....

We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being....

Sadly, American Christians never developed the logic of this claim, and so lost the Church - State debate. That failure must be remedied.

During the 1940's, certain justices (who disliked America being a religious nation whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being) began using Jefferson's phrase (and enormous influence) out of context to mean something he never meant, and something radically foreign to all previous American history and Supreme Court decisions, i.e. to say that the framers of the Constitution had erected a wall "high and impregnable" to keep religious principles out of government, and that America had been founded as a secular, "pluralistic" nation.

Such a view cannot be supported by the evidence. The founding fathers clearly stated their understanding of America as a Christian nation. They were quoted at length by the Supreme Court for over a century and a half to show that if we lose our Judeo-Christian heritage, we will also lose our freedoms.

IV.  - 1962 -  the Banishing of God

For the first time in its history, the 1962 (Engel v. Vitale) Supreme Court justices astonishingly spoke with not a single historical or juridical precedent to justify their decision. The absence of any precedent waves a red flag to tell us that their decision to ban prayer (really to ban God) was a new thing, not at all rooted in the history of American jurisprudence.

The decision to ban prayer therefore did not emerge out of either American history or the Constitution, but out of a secular philosophy which the justices unconstitutionally imposed on the American people.

It was no accident that the banishing of God from American education and jurisprudence had the effect of leaving the Supreme Court in the role of God as the decider of ultimate values, who is or is not a person, etc. Constitutional decisions were removed from the people under God to be made by themselves. The Court is now a in a tyrant role.

One asks why this subversion of the constitution, which the justices swore to protect, should not be called treason.  Or, more to the point, one asks why the astonishing silence from the churches should not be called apostasy and betrayal both of God and of their people.

V. Documented Results

1962 was a specific and dramatic break-point for major health indicators in America. Each of the following indicators had been either improving or holding level with population growth. And then in 1962 we saw the following social results:

- Divorce rates, declining for 15 years, in 1962 began a 17 year climb to 3 times their pre-1962 level.

- Birth rates for unwed girls ages 15-19, climbed 24 straight years to over double pre-1962 levels.

- Pregnancies to unwed girls under 15 years went up for 12 straight years increasing five times.

- Violent crime skyrocketed for 28 straight years to six times previous rates.

- Teen crime, in and out of American schools, escalated dramatically during those same three decades, so that crimes in schools almost unheard of fifty years ago are increasingly commonplace, including murder, rape, mugging, extortion, and carrying guns and knives to school;

- So-called "non-directive" modes of teaching, particularly in drug and sex education, have been proven by empirical testing and common sense to produce little effect at great cost, and often produce more, not less, drug use and sexual promiscuity;

- Sexually transmitted diseases, which had been dropping, climbed for 12 straight years to over 3 times pre-1962 levels (and AIDS was yet to come).

- National productivity which had increased nearly 2% yearly, has dropped since 1962 to average just over 1/2% yearly increase. America has fallen from being the world's largest creditor nation to being the world's largest debtor nation.

- SAT scores, holding level since 1941, began in 1962 an 18 year drop, and have not recovered. In one year, 700,000 high school students graduated who could not read their own diploma. A 1983 government report, A NATION AT RISK, reported that to be the first generation of American children who will not receive an education surpassing their parents. During the 1990's, America, which had had the best education system in the world, sank to the bottom of educational test results of all the major economically competing countries. [See video and book in "Resources" below by David Barton]

Education has focused on affective and behavioral areas in order to produce politically acceptable citizens. It has all but abandoned proper teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic. In the early 1990's, Americans saw banner headlines telling us that 92.000,000 of us (half of the adult population) were functionally illiterate. Boston, in the early 1800's had a literacy rate well over 90%.

The slide in moral standards and climb in violence and abuse has precisely paralleled the desertion of the Judeo-Christian worldview, upon which America was founded and our Constitution written; and, citizen efforts across America to address these issues have met with rebuff, disdain, and innuendo.

This is a nation engaged in self-destruction. These appalling results cannot be accounted for by any event other than the rejection by the American government of God and the Judeo-Christian worldview from American civil life.

* * *

Government control of education has led to the following systemic conditions:

Psychological testing (see pdf article by Charlotte Iserbyt), which is illegal without parental permission, has, under cover, become an almost standard practice, to test for politically correct beliefs, to test for resistance to change by psychological pressure, and to "remediate" those children who do not conform to political standards. B. K. Eakman exposes the existence of government data banks being constructed, eventually to detail the life of every American citizen. (See ReSources at end, especially materials by Eakman)

So-called "Outcomes Based Education", and its renamed but essentially unchanged successors, such as "No Child Left Behind...," have shifted the force of law from what schools should teach to what students should learn. The focus of control is becoming, not the system to benefit the population, but the population itself to satisfy those in control.

Local school boards have become arms of the state departments of education, which have in turn been "bought out" by the Federal Department of Education, using tax monies as the carrot on their stick. There is essentially no citizen control of education remaining in America.

Hiring and curriculum are increasingly under the thumb of federal bureaucracies, which are in turn increasingly beholden to international control, largely through UN agencies. (See ReSources at end, especially James Patrick's "Research Manual".)

And all of this is being implemented to maintain a government monopoly on education. Government control of education, which is welfare education, is the very foundation for sustaining socialism in America.

VI. What is a Religion...?

The word 'religion' comes from the Latin 'religio', which comes from 'ligo', meaning 'to bind'. A religio is that which "binds back" or "bind together". We have liga-ments which bind the parts of the body together.

The religio in the ancient world was that which bound a society together. Far from the privatized, inner, personal thing forbidden in the public arena today, it was precisely that which was the most public of all. It was the common beliefs, ceremonies, and worship of the people. Christians were persecuted because they could not participate in the local religio. They then won the Roman empire because they showed that their religio, their way of binding people into one, was far superior to that of the pagan world, which relied, in the end, on raw coercion (see John 17:20-21).

It was not until the 1800's that anyone began to take the privatization of religion seriously. Most of the European religious wars were fought because it was understood that a society had to have its religio -- its common beliefs and values -- or it could not maintain its identity. They (emphatically including most Christians) had lost track of the Biblical way of uniting a society, and had fallen back into the pagan way -- force of arms, not Godly persuasion (as in "Come, let us reason together..." Is. 1:18).

The religion of a society, in the relevant sense of the word, is thus the set of beliefs and values and traditions which hold that society together, their worldview. One cannot get rid of religion. It will always reassert itself.

VII. ...and, What is Pluralism?

The only way to sustain objective truth and objective moral values is through the Judeo-Christian worldview. Reasonable education must also be Godly education.

Religion, however, got a bad name, as the Enlightenment came on the scene, largely because of those terrible wars among Christians, who had lost track of the command to love one's enemies, and who saw no way other than coercion to maintain the religio to which they had become accustomed. Christians, who, post-Constantine wielded the sword of state, had been co-opted into the old pagan scheme of things. They were, in many cases, seduced into coercion as the way to maintain their social cohesion and unity.

The answer to the problem was slowly being worked out through European history in the nearly two millennia struggle between Church and State. The resolution came with the development of the English parliamentary system, and then the crown jewel of all politics, the American democratic republic under God.

The American Constitution resolved the problems of "inclusiveness" and "pluralism". It recognized the obvious, that viewpoints are plural, but that truth is singular. Debate on public policy was thus set up to invite all viewpoints into the debate (as in a legislature, or political campaign) so that an open honest contest would be had, with the voting public as the jury. The public would, in its wisdom, decide whose views best represented truth and righteousness.

The losers were not run out of town or shot at dawn. They were still included in the family, and could return again to present their case -- so long as they respected this honest pluralism.  (An aside: America will have to come to terms with Islam, finding a way to discern between Muslims who can and who cannot be absorbed -- by requiring in an oath of allegiance.) 

But the American founding fathers recognized that the authority for their rights to freedom were not dependent on their constitution, but rather that God had granted those rights, and that the constitution was a statement of those principles which God had already granted.  Without the authority of God behind the constitution, it was just another piece of paper -- which would have to be defended by coercion, not through the moral order of God.

Government is coercion. Biblical government is the submitting of coercion to the law and grace of God. The primary role of coercion in the American plan is to defend the openness of the debate.  The gun would not come out to enforce one side's winning, but only if there were evidence of one side or the other coercing or manipulating the debate. Coercion, that is, was aimed at protecting the open freedom of discussion, not at some party subverting the rule of law to get its way, just as a referee protects the integrity of a sporting contest.

Far from being banned from the public arena, the religion of the people would be decided in that very public debate where all views were welcome to participate. The religio is none other than the constitutional order of the society -- those basic principles by which it operates.

Only those views and groups would be banned from the discussion who were set on grabbing the reins of government in a manner which subverted the freedom of discussion. I.e., any tyrant -- even (or rather, especially) if they happened to be Supreme Court Justices.

Legitimate pluralism of ideas means equal, uncoerced access to the arena of discussion. It does not mean that truth is "relative" so every view is equally right -- a logical impossibility.

Pluralism thus requires a free market education system. Differing viewpoints are enabled to enter the public discussion in a reasonable manner only as they are free to develop their own beliefs through education in their respective spiritual communities. All the various religions and philosophies among the people are to participate freely in the public debate over national values and identity -- not because they are all true, but to find out which is true. Each religion or philosophy must earn its place in public acceptance through the process of equal access, equal opportunity of presentation, and open critique.

No party to the debate is to have coercive force. Government (with coercive force) may act only to "referee" the debate to ensure honesty and freedom to participate, and then to enforce decisions legitimately arrived at, ultimately through democratically elected officials.

The role of government is therefore to protect the equal access of individuals and groups into the public market place and the debate (the vote) on public issues. That is our inalienable right "to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (or property, as earlier renditions better put it).

The inalienable right is to equal opportunity to pursue, not to equal results of possession. Governmental attempts to insure (coerce at gunpoint) equal results rather than equal opportunity must increasingly control the private lives of citizens, inevitably leading to tyranny, and the destruction (as we are seeing) of honest pluralism.

VIII.  The Real Wall & Separation of Powers

"Government" (according to Webster's Dictionary) is "direction" and "control". "Direction" is the choice made concerning ultimate purpose and values of the country. "Control" is the coercion employed (ultimately a gun to your head) to enforce decisions enacted into law.

The American Constitution separates direction from control by giving control (the gun, coercive force) to the executive branch, and by giving direction (decision-making) to the people through elected legislatures. The separation of powers is how that is administered.

It is the nature of government (and its greatest danger) to have a near monopoly on coercive power -- i.e., control. As George Washington noted, government is not eloquence, it is not reason, it is force. That is why the founding fathers insisted on a federal government with severely limited authority.

The most important limitation is the separation between coercive power and the "religious function" of society.

Coercive power is the ability to obtain compliance through force.

The religious function is the deciding of the ultimate (constitutional) values for the society, i.e., the "religio" of the society (which could be secular or believing in God).

And so: (1) the religious decision-making institutions, those which propose ultimate values for the public arena, were to have no coercive force, and (2), government (executive), with coercive force, was not to do the religious decision-making.

The basic separation of powers is that...

...he who holds the gun may not decide how the gun will be used, and he who decides how the gun will be used may not hold the gun.

That principle is carried out through the separation of executive, legislative, and judicial authority. Both Church and State are "religious" institutions, dealing with ultimate values. On the Biblical view, both are under God. The separation is not between God and State, but rather that the two human institutions should each keep to its own tasks and not intrude on the other's. The task of the Church is to educate the people according to the law and grace of God so that, among other things, Godly politicians will be raised up. The task of the State is to be the referee for society and to maintain the common public "space" -- roads, parks, etc.

The goal is to set each free to believe as he thinks proper, and to guarantee an open arena of debate to decide the ultimate religious and moral values of society. Hence Jefferson's comment that "the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction."

That arena of open debate is the "religious" arena composed of the media, the academic world, political campaigns, etc., and, finally, the voting and legislative processes. All viewpoints have equal access, all viewpoints may be expressed, and all viewpoints may be critiqued for their merit. And they may all be voted in or out, so long as that does not hinder, betray, or bind the openness of the arena or legitimate minority rights.

Jefferson insisted that truth would win in a debate which was kept open and free -- the view of honest liberalism. Hence coercive force and religious decision-making, which in every previous culture had been wedded, in America were pried apart into separate arenas. The divine right of kings to rule the people was changed to divine right of the people to choose and unchoose their rulers. Rulers could no longer perpetuate their position or views by force.

The place of coercive force would be (1) to protect the arena and to keep it open (government would be the umpire, not a participant), and (2) to enforce the ultimate decisions once they were freely made. The ultimate decisions freely made would be the law of the land. The government is to administrate those religious (i.e. constitutional) decisions made by the people, not by the government. Precisely in this sense, the government is to be the servant of the people.

The extraordinary maturity of responsible freedom and reason with which the citizens of America conducted their debate during the founding years stands unequaled by any nation before or since. It was a maturity borne out of the powerful Christian consensus which had been forged in America. The vote and intent, on the basis of both experience and reason, was to establish Biblical principles as the constitutional and common law foundation of America.

The Supreme Court, in its 1962 decision on prayer, therefore violated the constitutional separation of coercive force and religious decision-making by arrogating to itself the right to do what only the people in public debate and through elected representatives have authority to do: decide the basic values of the nation. In doing so, the Supreme Court has created the very conditions of tyranny which our ancestors fought a war to prevent. An unelected body of nine people, virtually inaccessible to correction or public recall, is making and imposing religious (constitutional) law upon the people of America. That is indeed treason. Such justices should be, at the very least, impeached.

IX.  The Wall Between School & State

Education, like religion, is, by its very nature, involved in the most authoritative of all decisions -- helping to decide the ultimate values of the people. The Church's task is to educate the people concerning the will of God so that government will be run by Godly persons.

That is why the Continental Congress, lacking in arms and munitions to fight the most powerful military machine on earth, spent precious funds to purchase 20,000 Bibles -- to ensure that the troops would understand the Biblical foundations of government and of legitimate warfare. And to even up the sides a bit.

Education is always a religious function. Education must therefore be separated from coercive control, and remain under the local direction of those being educated -- for precisely the same reasons that religious institutions must be separated from coercive control. The separation of educational institutions from state control is mandated on the same terms as separation of religious institutions (churches, synagogues, etc.) from state control. And for the same reasons. Both Church and Education form the hearts and minds of the people. If one believes that civil government should not control religion, one is logically compelled to reject government control of education as well.

Parents thus have original and primary jurisdiction (given by God, not by the state) over the raising and educating of their children. This is a fundamental right, i.e. a right not derived from civil government. Civil government may intervene in family affairs only if required by overriding obligations of the state, e.g., if there is clear and evident danger to a family member.

The American Constitution therefore forbids federal (and by implication, state or local) government involvement in education. Federal law, in the General Education Provisions Act, section 432, states that the federal government may not be involved in the direction or supervision of curriculum material.

Promoters of government schooling will argue that without this institution, there will be no way to keep America from being "Balkanized", fracturing into a thousand competing, and perhaps hostile, enclaves of belief. With just this fear, Evangelicals during the late 1800's supported the government school movement because they thought that such a system would help "Americanize" (read "Protestantize") the waves of Roman Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Eastern Europe. In so doing, Evangelicals signaled that they had already lost faith in their own ability to mount honest evangelism or engage in honest public debate. They did not think that, if Jesus should return, that He would win a debate with Darwin, Marx, or Freud.

During the earlier religious wars in Europe, those who defended government control of religion through "establishment" used precisely the same argument, and for precisely the same reason. How can we maintain our unity without a common religion? They were right about the need for a common religio, but they had no faith in the open market of ideas, the power of either love or reason, or that the citizens could maintain a legitimate pluralism. And so they employed coercive control. But, for good or for ill, a peoples' religion will assert itself.  

The philosophy in schools today will be the philosophy in government tomorrow (Abe Lincoln?).  So, when government controls education, the philosophy in government is locked into a closed circuit, and education will be structured and guided to keep the present government in power.  Government control of education prevents new or contrary ideas from fertilizing the educational or political ground.  He who controls education controls the future -- as every tyrant knows. 

Properly understood, then, the "wall" is erected, not between government and religion, but between (1) coercive force which naturally belongs to government and (2) ultimate decision-making authority which belongs to the people in public debate. The government may not make ultimate decisions, and the parties to the debate (such as religious or political parties) may not exercise coercion to win their way.

The government (executive branch) holds the gun, but the people (through the Constitution and elected legislators) tell the executive how to use the gun. Various parties in the debate cannot use the gun to "get their way", and likewise the government with the gun cannot participate in the debate. That is the constitutional "wall" between coercive force and decision-making authority -- inherent to a democratic republic and to the prevention of tyranny.

This wall was created in the American constitution, perhaps for the first time in the history of government, although the principles had roots in English law (e.g. the Magna Carta) and even much earlier in Biblical law.

A freemarket education system removes the gun currently pointed at parents, students, and teachers -- and aims it instead to protect equal opportunity and honesty in contractual relationships.

X.  God & "Neutrality"

Government schools have become the "Church of Secular Humanism." Both the Humanist Manifesto and the Supreme Court have recognized secularism to be a "religion" in the sense discussed above. So it is either ignorant or dishonest to enforce secularism as neutral over against Biblical religion.

Americans are being coerced to pay taxes in support of a religion with which they disagree, atheism. We have returned to the tyranny which Virginia and other colonies had rejected even before the constitution was written.

Secularism is touted as being "neutral" with respect to religion. But secularism is no more neutral with respect to religion than the Green Bay Packers are neutral about who is the best football team. What is neutral is the rules of football by which all teams are equally bound to engage in the contest.

Neither secularism nor Christianity is neutral about which is the best religion. "Jesus is Lord" is a political statement. So is, therefore, its denial.

But what is neutral are the rules of public discussion set up by the Constitution (and by God -- I Kings 18: which provide equal access before the law, and thus the arena in which the debate will happen so that it can be decided by the public which religio is right for America. Each contestant will have to win on the merits of its case.

God is not neutral about whether He is sovereign, but He insists on proving His case in reasonable and clear terms. "Come, let us reason together..." (Isaiah 1:18) is a theme illustrated in action throughout Biblical history. (See I Kings 18:17 ff., Elijah's scientific experiment on Mount Carmel based on logic and fact to prove who really is God.)

Only the authority of God can make respect for this kind of neutrality an obligation upon all participants in the human race. That is the very foundation of our "unalienable" rights. It protects both the government and the citizens against each other.

The authority of God is the only substantial basis for objective moral obligation at all, and thus the only basis for the authority of government. Apart from the command of God, civil government has no moral basis for commanding obedience, and in such case rules by force, not by moral authority. Only the command of God, not of the government, obligates the citizens to obey the government. The law of God thus protects the government (and so also the people) against outlaw people.

And in the reverse direction, the authority of God is also the only substantial basis for protecting the citizens against the government, i.e. for guaranteeing a citizen's "inalienable rights" against misuse of governing coercive force. Apart from the command of God, the people have no moral basis for demanding the obedience of the holder of the gun to obey the legislation enacted through their representatives. Because coercive force is inherent to government, temptation to self-serving misuse is inevitable. The purpose and command of God are the sole ultimate guarantee protecting academic, political, and personal freedom.

In a democratic republic, the role of the people is, in free and uncoerced public debate, to exercise authority by discerning the will of God, a discernment then given to government for enactment. Government is a servant to the people, i. e., the government is to be obedient to the will of the people under God.

XI.  Reasonable Education

Education is the passing on of previously gathered knowledge to future generations, and equipping the young to ferret out the as-yet-unknown. Education has to do, not only with the technology of life, but with living in the richest and deepest possible way -- not mere living, but abundant living.

Reasonable education aims to set a student free to make practical and moral decisions according to his educated conscience, not to prepare for conformity to a social image constructed by unelected and inaccessible social engineers and bureaucrats.

It is unreasonable not to equip our children to deal with the great issues of common public concern, the ultimate values of our culture and nation, that is, the religio of the culture. It is unreasonable and intellectually indefensible to pretend that our religious heritage is unimportant or should not be studied in school. It is a failure of professional competence and a violation of basic democratic procedure for educators to propose an educational system in which the religious arena (formation of conscience and values) is by law taken over from the churches, synagogues, and families by a mandatory, secular school system.

Such an education is the final takeover by governmental coercive force of the religious arena which is guaranteed a separate and free status by our constitution.

Any reasonable education must therefore equip students to deal with the "religious arena", that open place of discussion where the great moral and religious issues of life are debated. Reasonable education therefore requires -- not that morality and religion be stricken from school curricula -- but that the religious and moral traditions of our people be fully discussed, honored, and accurately taught in our schools.

All comprehensive education is religious by nature. Government education, like everything government does, is done at gunpoint. Government education will therefore enforce, at gunpoint, some religion. The problem, therefore, is not religion or prayer in schools, the problem is civil government in schools. The most important systemic change for good that America could make would be to remove all government influence from education, and to return it fully back to the parents, and to those agencies to whom they choose to entrust their children.

Control follows money. When government takes money away from people through taxation (i.e., at gun point), and then turns around and offers to "help" with that same money, which they now "own", government will be in charge. The only way parents will be the primary authorities over their children's education is when either they foot the bill, or they freely choose the source of financial help.

A legitimate pluralism is one in which all views have equal opportunity to develop and express themselves in public debate. Only a free market system is capable of promoting a legitimately "pluralistic" society.

A free-market education system is also necessary to limit government control by run-away bureaucracy and regulatory law, both primary tools of wrongful control of the people.

XII.  But, What about the Poor?

Appeal to the plight of the poor is the last and strongest bastion behind which proponents of government-controlled education will fight. It seems obvious to them that the poor cannot flourish without coercive government redistribution of goods -- in this case, funds for education. It is also the hardest challenge for many supporting free-market education to rebut. One does not want to appear ungenerous or unkind toward those with lesser goods.

But the appeal to the plight of the poor does nothing at all to improve the disaster toward which government education will always drift -- a bureaucratic mammoth, which, as in government control of the commercial market, is incapable of discerning local supplies or demands.

Parents love their children. Bureaucrats love their ideologies.  They tend to become "bean  counters", not interested in persons, but in checking off a list of items.  Persons become numbers.  Foisting a bureaucratic monster onto the plight of the poor only makes the matter worse. As with every other government welfare system, it tends to create dependency rather than creativity. The educational plight of the poor in American has been greatly worsened by government intrusion. The sad statistics in every large city tell the story.

Teachers sometimes blame parents and family breakdown for the horrendous lack of discipline in school rooms. But no institution has been more the cause of family breakdown than the school system itself, which has pounded parents with the messages of "government knows best", "parents are not the experts", and an acid deconstruction of moral and family standards with "values clarification", "situation ethics", and openly promoted sexual promiscuity. That is criminal child abuse, not education.

The poor, therefore, are almost always the least well served by government-controlled education -- despite the forced redistribution of resources via tax monies. The rich are able to make other arrangements, and so are not trapped in a dismal system.

Civil government (coercive force), under God and under the American Constitution, has neither the obligation nor the right to ensure "equal results" ("No Child Left Behind") among citizens, only equal access and equal opportunity. Government not only has not the right to coerce equality, it has not the capacity. In the end, it always fails.

Extended families and churches were by far the more successful welfare system. As America recovers its Biblical foundations, these and other free-market resources will again shoulder that burden. The evidence supports honest charity (people helping people) not socialism (government "managing" people). When Americans educated their children in that manner, they had the best educated citizenry in the world. One day we will have it again.   

See also: Referee - Not Parent

See also http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-09-037-f
for a view supporting a Constitutional amendment. 

ReSources from
Emmaus Ministries
(by Earle Fox unless otherwise noted)

See Education Library

___President Reagan & the US Dept. of Education -- pdf file by Charlotte Iserbyt -- a damning document

___OUTCOMES BASED EDUCATION DEBATE -- Video of debate (10/27/92) at Crescent Township, PA, Firehall -- department of education members vs. Anita Hoge and Peg Luksik. ($13.00) 

___Emmaus News 5 back issues of newsletter series on American Constitution, May-Sept 1992. Set $7.

___REASONABLE EDUCATION & THE WALL BETWEEN CHURCH & STATE (the above brochure -- 10 copies $2.50, 100 copies $17)

___THE FACTS, THE FALL, & THE WALL (Paper, 13 pp.) How and why the American Constitution supports not inhibits Church/State relations. ($2.50)

___SEX EDUCATION - TWO OPPOSING PHILOSOPHIES -- (Paper, 10 pp.) Letter to editor exchange between Dr. Fox and Robert Selverstone, past president of SIECUS (Sex Information and Education Council in the United States). Dr. Fox shows how morality is a necessary part of academic freedom and responsible education. (10 pp. $2.50)

___EDUCATION: FOR LIFE FOR DEATH? (Audio, approx. 40 min.) On the two precisely contrary philosophies of education which emerge from the Biblical view of objective truth vs. the secular/pagan view of relative truth. Flip side contains DOING IT SOMEONE ELSE'S WAY. ($5.00)

___EDUCATION WARFARE (Audio, approx. 1 hr) The spiritual warfare in our educational systems. Flip side contains POLITICAL WARFARE. ($5.00)

___VALUES CLARIFICATION - A FAILURE -- (Video, 1 3/4 hr) Paul Vitz, Ph. D., on why values clarification cannot work as an educational tool, why it produces more misbehavior, not less. ($22.00)

___NON-DIRECTIVE EDUCATION - a FAILURE -- (Video, 1 3/4 hr) Wm. Coulson, Ph. D., a founding father (with Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow) of non-directive, "self-esteem" psychology, explains why all 3 founders rejected the non-directive methods they developed, and how they are destroying our school systems. Suggestions for remedy. ($22.00)

___DIS-EDUCATION IN OUR SCHOOLS -- (Paper, 16 pp) Wm. Coulson, Ph. D., with commentary by Dr. Fox. On the educational and psychological disarray in America resulting from non-directive methods in our educational systems. ($2.50)

(Prices include postage)
See also Shopping Mall

Available from Wallbuilders:

___EDUCATION and the FOUNDING FATHERS -- (Video, approx. 1 hour) David Barton (Wallbuilders) dramatically illustrates with quotations and examples the intent of the American founding fathers to build public education on the Bible.

___AMERICA'S GODLY HERITAGE (video, 1 hr) -- David Barton documents the founding fathers and Supreme Court decisions up through 1952 (1) that America is legally and constitutionally a Christian nation; (2) the astounding degradation in American culture which took place immediately upon the 1962 Supreme Court decision to remove prayer from schools. Excellent for group presentation.

___ORIGINAL INTENT (Paperback, 550 pp.) by David Barton. Expands on the above video -- a treasure trove of information on the founding fathers, on Supreme Court history, and on the devastation resulting from the Supreme Court's rulings against Biblical in favor of secular religion. 

Available from your bookseller:

___THE CLONING OF THE AMERICAN MIND -- by B. K. Eakman, who documents in detail the mind-control practices common in our school system -- which goes a long way to explain why Americans are typically passive and incapable of thinking through challenges presented in the public arena.

___RESEARCH MANUAL - (Paperback, 8.5 x 11, 824 pp.) A massive documentation of the top-down international influence on education. Published by Citizens for Academic Excellence, POB 1164, Moline, IL 61265. (Possibly out of print.)

See also:

NEO - NEtwork for Education Opportunity ---  NEO has created a working model, a new horizon in education in the State of New Hampshire....   that provides real answers to the current education crisis we face.  Privately run, independent educational options can move us toward affordable, quality learning environments that will enhance our children’s lives and opportunities.   
        Yes!  New Hampshire has passed legislation which will change the course of education in America.  Pray for these people -- government centralizers will not stand for this freedom of the people to educate themselves.   But God does.  And their arms are too short to box with God.   But God works through His people, so stand up with the NEO.  Talk about it, promote it!   
        Here is the ACLU's response.  But the problem was never prayer or God in schools, it was and still is, government in schools.  That is the illegal and unconstitutional - problem.  We need to say this every time we get a chance. 


For printable pdf copy - 5 pages

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