A character in the historical movie Braveheart says of 13th-century Scotland, “from top to bottom this country has no sense of itself.”
The same could be said of 21st-century America.
Our massive mood swings every election have us implementing border security and then abandoning it; cracking down on crime and then cracking up; lowering taxes and then trying to raise them; achieving energy independence and then pleading others for oil; variously hitting our enemies with missiles and plying them with cash; and failing to adequately teach reading, writing and arithmetic while bizarrely trying to hurry along our children’s embryonic sexuality.
After a hopelessly divided 2020 election, 80% of Americans said the nation is on the wrong track – after having just set that direction.
Like 13th-century Scotland, this country, from top to bottom, has no sense of itself.
Political scientist Charles Murray said in a 2020 interview that America is “like the cartoon where the coyote is chasing the roadrunner and runs off the edge of the cliff and continues running without a problem for a while and then suddenly realizes where he is.”
How long can a self-governed nation stand when its people can’t govern themselves or agree on much of anything? America’s failure to have any sense of itself has become an existential crisis.
I’ve long pondered and written about the need for a renaissance in civics in America, and it’s desperately needed. Many of us can’t pass a basic civics test, cite any of the five rights in the First Amendment or name the three branches of government. And we have even less of a clue when it comes to U.S. history.
But working for the Herzog Foundation, and writing and editing for its education news site The Lion, I’ve come to understand that a grasp of civics alone can’t save America. An understanding of the three branches of government won’t eliminate our budget deficits, fight crime, secure the border, stop mass shootings, cure our social ills or reverse our cultural degradation.
In short, the secular world can’t solve what is, at bottom, a spiritual problem.
Only another Great Awakening, a revival in religion, spirituality and morality, can do that. Only the handing down of virtue and righteousness – based on devotion to God and godly principles – can save us.
That’s something made clear by our Founders, who spoke and wrote endlessly of this young republic’s complete reliance on God and our fealty to Him.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People,” John Adams observed. “It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Yet, who will lead our young to a return of first principles, or another Great Awakening, if not Christian educators? Public schools? With all due respect to them, no. They are, in fact, forbidden from it by perhaps overly strict prohibitions of government entanglement in religion.
“The fear of court challenge has made Christian values an especially restricted topic in public schools, yet our society has no other commonly accepted set of value positions,” notes Albert Greene, author of Reclaiming the Future of Christian Education. “It is impossible to educate properly without dealing with ethics and religion, but the government has no right to dictate to its people what their morality or religion should be.”
Clearly, then, it’s up to families and Christian educators to pass down the traditional American values that made the nation what it is – and which will sustain it.
Here, then, are 5 ways Christian education might just be America’s salvation:
1. Get back to God, pure and simple.
It’s the only answer to what truly ails us. Christian schools are specifically designed and situated to weave God into each of the academic disciplines, which His presence should already be so evident in.
“We will have to give up our convenient habit of splitting the study of so-called secular subjects away from communion with the living God,” Greene writes. “The idea that there are realities that exist independently of God is a dangerous delusion.”
2. Get God back into the public square.
A revival of morality through Christian schools must spill out into society. Contrary to secular myth, there is no constitutional mandate, or governmental authority, to keep religiosity out of our civic life. The usual purveyors of that cynical fairy tale know well the deep role of Christianity in America’s birth, and its handprint on the country’s foundation.
Moreover, nothing in the First Amendment says the “free exercise” of your religion is confined to houses of worship. In fact, within certain reasonable constraints the government cannot prohibit the exercise of your religion even in the public square.
3. Acknowledge and pass on an understanding of American exceptionalism.
Public schools seem to have abandoned the teaching of this vital and legitimate concept.
President Obama, once asked if he believes in American exceptionalism, said he does – “just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
Stunning. Even a president of the United States didn’t understand the concept of American exceptionalism!
It’s not national pride, which Mr. Obama described. American exceptionalism is a recognition of our unique and unsurpassed system of governance enshrined in our founding documents – the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Federalist Papers and more. The rule of law. The Bill of Rights. The inviolability of private property. The concept that basic human rights flow from God, not government.
If public schools can’t, or won’t, teach students what went into the pouring of America’s foundation, due to a climate of political correctness and misguided self-reproach, then Christian schools are our main hope of passing on a full appreciation for this country’s providential singularity.
4. Get away from racist teachings on race.
The enemies of human freedom know full well that the surest way to destroy America is to sow the seeds of division and self-loathing. Few things have done that as quickly and sharply as the teaching of Critical Race Theory tenets that claim the nation is hopelessly, reprehensibly racist at its core.
Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn recounts how a 7-year-old girl there told her mom, “I’m ashamed that I’m white. Is there something wrong with me? Why am I hated so much?”
“Those who have yet to investigate the tenets of CRT will be shocked to know that this child’s distress was the desired result of her lessons,” Blackburn writes. “If left unchecked, this mental and emotional trauma will worm its way into every classroom in America.”
This kind of fomenting of hate and division is one of the big reasons for the recent growth in Christian schools and their enrollment.
5. Get away from sexual grooming and radical gender ideology.
The odd acceptance of teaching alternate sexual identities and lifestyles in the earliest grades in public schools has driven many parents into private and Christian education. And for good reason. Not only does such radical teaching confuse kids and prematurely sexualize them in ways that usurp parental rights, but it’s such a new, extreme, unprecedented form of “instruction” that we have little idea what it will end up doing to children and future societies.
States such as Florida have taken steps to forbid such age-inappropriate indoctrination into sexual lifestyles. But legislation moves like molasses compared with the cascading movement to indoctrinate children into adult sexual subjects. And somehow, the books and the curricula and the teacher trainings were suddenly all at the ready nationwide.
Christian schools not only can be a safe haven from such early-childhood sexualization by strangers, but from other forms of faddist left-wing dogma that is nothing short of an uncontrolled mass psychological experiment on the very young.
More and more, it is Christian education that serves as a lonely bulwark against immorality, anti-Americanism and far-left thought control.
But I can’t think of anything that gives America a better fighting chance against them.