Word from the Center: Friday, February 8, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.  I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s topic/issue….

Educational Freedom: A Cultural Need Whose Time has Come

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Think-Tank in Washington D.C. sounds the alarm in education when it says,

Faith-based organizations involved in education increasingly face the
possibility of losing state or federal funding unless they assent to the new
cultural norms on sexuality. In 2016, California legislators introduced SB
1146, a bill that, if passed in its original form, would have disqualified
students for state aid if they attended a college with faith-based codes of
conduct and profession-of-faith requirements.[1]

What’s going on out there in our schools? Have your read about the Florida school that forced a male teacher to watch a female student (who identified as male) undress in the locker room. Other boys were literally caught with their pants down too, as no warning was given to her presence. What did the school do? They punished the teacher. (For more on this issue, see http://thefederalist.com/2018/11/14/florida-school-district-gags-p-e-teachers-telling-parents-girl-watching-naked-sons/). It would seem that the need to educate our children is increasingly running into the juggernaut of the sexual libertine movement of the last 50 years with students, parents, and even communities suffering from the collusion. With virtually no societal or legal restrictions today concerning such issues, what’s the issue? The issue is that there still remains organizations, i.e. the Christian Churches and her schools, who have a different perspective on sexual activity, relationships, and marriage and their proper use for a beneficial impact one’s life and one’s community. The moral code and conduct of the Bible honors the gift of sexuality as one that is to be used faithfully within the bound of marriage, one that seeks restraint of such a power gift as a blessing. Misuse and abuse of this gift can wreak havoc in our relationships, our families, and communities. And, those who are Christian, especially the Lutherans, understand that while there is a clear biblical perspective concerning such things, in the public square dialogue the Christian-moral worldview must be argued in the common language of physiology, sociology, psychology, and history. The good news is that there is plenty of data in these disciplines to undergird the biblical, moral worldview as a healthy part of any public discussion and/or practice of these issues for the sake of all.

So, again, what’s the issue? The issue is that the Christian worldview is under attack as a legitimate worldview by many in our educational establishment today even when reinforced by data from these other disciplines. It’s not that it isn’t viable. The issue is that it isn’t ideologically accepted. And, what’s worse, more and more such a view is being shamed into oblivion as well. (See the supposed outrage of Karen Pence’s teaching at a Christian School at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pence-tells-mainstream-media-to-end-attacks-on-christian-education). In their book, Get Out Now, Marie Rice Hasson and Theresa Farnon describe the war against the Christian worldview in public education in even more heart-rending terms (the situation is worse than one can imagine). On virtually every front, the very worldview that undergirds the most tolerant culture in the world, one that philosophically undergirds so many freedoms and advancements celebrated throughout the West, that worldview isn’t being defeated by debate, it’s being shamed into the corner of our culture. That’s why we at the LCRL believe that educational freedom is a cultural need whose time has come. Why shouldn’t one’s education dollars go to the schools of one’s choice. Why must bathroom designations and androgynist locker rooms be hoisted upon every school when there is ample argument and opportunity for traditional designations amidst educational freedom. It’s true, our culture needs an educated and moral people—ironically, even the motivation for universal education can be linked historically to the religious movement called the Reformation. Then, why not let the parents take that money and give it to the school of their choice so that their children might pursue the finest education possible, having the skillsets and the moral acumen needed to live healthy, active, free, and disciplined lives for those whom they love? The “one size fits all” view of education isn’t working today. Let’s bring more voices and more parents, teachers, and leaders to the discussion table, not less. It matters for the sake of our communities, families, and our churches. The time has come.

[1] https://www.heritage.org/what-you-need-know-about-religious-freedom/impact-faith-based-organizations