Preaching in Schools

Consider this headline to an opinion piece in today’s Age: “Religious classes in state schools must be about teaching, not preaching”. The Melbourne academic also informs us that “A liberal society should protect children in public schools from indoctrination by well-meaning religious adherents”.

He also claims, “Schools set up by a liberal state and pursuing public good should not be intruded upon by the private convictions of any groups within society.” And he insists that “Children do not have the capacity to critically assess the ideas that are presented to them. The dividing line between telling students about religion and inducting them into religion is very hard to draw.”

The point of all this is of course that he does not like Christianity being taught to our students, and he wants this stopped: “Young people should understand the religious traditions that influence world events and which are adhered to in our multicultural society. But this can be achieved in better ways than special religious instruction.”

Of course the secular left Age has long been targeting Christianity in general and Christian religious classes in schools in particular for some time now. So we should not be surprised to see yet more of the same in its pages. But I just wish to make one fundamental point here, and use the author’s very reasoning to do so.

That point is this: we already do have hardcore religious preaching taking place in our public schools. It happens every day in every school in the country. And the religion being taught in all our schools is that of secular humanism.

Secular humanism is a worldview with a set of basic beliefs which address the basic issues of life. And it has its sacred texts, its prophetic voices, and its list of dos and don’ts. It is a worldview and it is a religion. Even the US Supreme Court ruled that secular humanism is indeed a religion.

So our academic is being quite disingenuous at best, and fraudulent at worst, in saying there should be no preaching in our public schools. It happens every day. Secular humanism is the default worldview which is being promoted in our schools all the time.

And this has not happened by accident. The humanists have said for quite some time now that the most important thing they can do is target children in our schools. They know that if they can get access to young children, they can turn them away from the beliefs and values of their parents and the churches.

As Thomas Sowell once remarked, “Advocates of Secular Humanism have been quite clear and explicit as to the crucial importance of promoting their philosophy in the schools, to counter or undermine religious values among the next generation.”

Plenty of humanist quotes can be produced here to demonstrate all this. Let me offer just a few. Charles Francis Potter, a signatory to Humanist Manifesto I, put it this way: “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

Interestingly, educational reformer John Dewey, known as the father of modern education, also was a signatory to the Humanist Manifesto. He was a member of various humanist societies, and even referred to humanism as our “common faith”. His influence on education – including his worldview – has been enormous.

Julian Huxley, writing in 1959, said this: “It is essential for evolution to become the central core of any educational system, because it is evolution, in the broad sense, that links inorganic nature with life, and the stars with the earth, and matter with mind, and animals with man. Human history is a continuation of biological evolution in a different form.

“The battle for mankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity. . . . These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing the classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level – preschool, day care center or large state university.”

Or consider what John Dunphy wrote in “A New Religion for a New Age,” (The Humanist, January/February, 1983): “The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new – the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”

More recently American philosopher and postmodernist Richard Rorty made this admission: “I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.”

No wonder Vladimir Lenin once said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Or again: “Give us the child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”

As James Dobson and Gary Bauer once wrote, “The humanistic system of values has become the predominant way of thinking in most of the power centers of society. It has outstripped Judeo-Christian precepts in the universities, in the news media, in the entertainment industry, in the judiciary, in the federal bureaucracy, in business, medicine, law, psychology, sociology, in the arts, in many public schools and, to be sure, in the halls of Congress.”

Abraham Lincoln was certainly correct when he stated, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation is the philosophy of government in the next.” And the philosophy of the classroom today is unquestionably that of secular humanism.

Thus if our academic friend is really worried about preaching in the classroom, he should be targeting the secular humanists, not the Christians. But he won’t because that is his default position as well, as it is of the Melbourne Age. And he knows full well what he warned about: “Children do not have the capacity to critically assess the ideas that are presented to them”.

Exactly. That is why the secular preachers are winning in our schools.

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36 Replies to “Preaching in Schools”

  1. There was a weekly column in the Sydney Daily Telegraph for many years by this crazy female school principle that used to love ridiculing anything religious and Christianity in particular and a very public opponent to religious instruction of any kind in public schools. Her name was Marilyn something, to retain my sanity with her poison pen I forgotten her last name! She really got stuck into creationists via her protected column. I had written many letters to the newspaper objecting to her views and opinions, none of which were ever published of course. Anyway, to make a long story short, she would love the purpose of the article above and dance happily around her coven with her friends.
    Manfred Sollorz

  2. You hit the nail on the head Bill. Many people make the mistake of thinking that education can be values neutral. It can’t! If you rip Christianity out of schools, you must replace it with something else. We must all ask ourselves what has replaced Christianity in our schools. The evidence points exactly to secular humanism. I personally think that we shouldn’t have state schools. I would prefer a system where all the money that now goes to state schools was divied up to the private schools. That way, atheists could send their children to atheist schools if they wish, but the majority of schools would be Christian as that reflects majority opinion. If we are going to have state schools, they should reflect the religion of the majority of people in the state. To my knowledge, this is still Christianity. The average Australian might not be as fundamental as the participants on this blog but they still adhere to the basic values of the Judeo-Christian worldview.
    Luke Beliks

  3. Yes quite right Luke. There is no such thing as value-free education. All education is being influenced by a person’s values, beliefs, worldviews, etc. The secularists hate Christian values in schools, but are quite happy to push their own values on hapless students.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. I am an SRE teacher (special religious education) or otherwise known as a Scripture teacher in a NSW school. Each year at our annual conference we thank God for the amazing provision He has made by allowing for the freedom of SRE in NSW schools – I understand it is the only remaining Australian state with this degree of freedom still allowed. It is actually still part of the legislation to have up to 1 hour of religious instruction by trained faith practicioners each week in public schools!

    But each and every year there are attacks against SRE. It is like clock work and so regular! There was a particularly well orchestrated campaign which had the fingerprints of the atheist foundation all over it in the last 18 months resulting in the addition of ‘secular ethics classes’ brought in for students whose parents refuse to allow them to attend SRE. It was an aggressive campaign. SRE received widespread and viscious attacks in the MSM (in fact there is another anti SRE/Bible-teaching post by Sarrah Le Marquand from blog linked in the Daily Telegraph just yesterday ).

    But the big question is whose ethics are being taught? The pro ethics class proponents tried to argue it was neutral of bias, but that can never be true. It is a secular humanist agenda that is being promoted. And is really just another religion masquerading as otherwise, despite the furious protests by the atheist foundation and St James Centre for ethics.

    Nikki Chamberlain

  5. Thanks Bill – this is so true and so sad.
    Thank God for you and others who do sound the alarms, while so many Christian leaders are oblivious, uncaring and silent.
    Annette Williams

  6. To paraphrase your closing comment: the statement “Children do not have the capacity to critically assess the ideas that are presented to them” is true, but applies equally to secular humanism and other religions. Therefore it is hypocritical to exclude Christianity and not secular humanism on that basis.
    John Bennett

  7. The academic quoted in ‘The Age’ stated – ‘“Children do not have the capacity to critically assess the ideas that are presented to them. The dividing line between telling students about religion and inducting them into religion is very hard to draw.”

    Why doesn’t that argument apply to the promotion of homosexuality as ‘just another lifestyle’?

    Strange how the constraints never apply to the ‘other side’.

    As you say Bill education cannot be values neutral. Couldn’t agree more.

    Doug Holland

  8. They speak as if it is their kids, their schools and their right to decide what schools do. 60% of Australians identify as Christians. Christian parents want their children to be trained in Christian education. Even other parents want the same for their kids. These people should pull their secular heads in. If they don’t like it then don’t send their kids to the CRE classes. But don’t thi9nk thyey have the right to tell other parents how to run their lives. It’s their schools too, they should realise.
    Tas Walker

  9. The Minister for Education Peter Garrett when confronted by Leigh Sales of the 7.30 Report last year on this issue, said that schools had RE or whatever it is called, because it was ultimately the choice of SCHOOLS to have it! That should be the end of the argument but not for people like Ms Sales who wants to pontificate to parents and schools about their choices.
    Did you see the cartoon on the front page of the Age where the child sent out of the classroom because they wanted to be exempt from the RE class was outside pinned to a cross! Talk about a hatefilled cartoon!
    I have seen a video of a state primary school in NSW that has all the kids say the Lord’s Prayer at the start of a school day (don’t know if it is every day) simply because the parents wanted it! (and the kids were all saying it clearly).
    Anne-Marie Modra

  10. “Secular humanism is a worldview with a set of basic beliefs which address the basic issues of life. And it has its sacred texts, its prophetic voices, and its list of dos and don’ts. It is a worldview and it is a religion. Even the US Supreme Court ruled that secular humanism is indeed a religion.

    “So our academic is being quite disingenuous at best, and fraudulent at worst, in saying there should be no preaching in our public schools. It happens every day. Secular humanism is the default worldview which is being promoted in our schools all the time.”

    Beautifully said Bill!
    It amazes me that others can’t see the point that state education is driven by a secularistic worldview. But if one is ‘inside’ such a worldview then one can’t readily see another point of view.

    The state should not be in charge of schooling at all. It does not have the ‘competence’ to provide schooling that does not inevitably conflict and conflict intensely with the deeply held-convictions of many Christians and others in the populace.

    Unfortunately, many children from Christian families are given years of education in which they learn to keep their faith separate from their everyday life at school.

    Of course, secularism aims to do just that: to keep the next generation of Christians even more alienated from the culture in terms of their faith.

    Keep ‘faith’ private is its motto as if secularism itself does not espouse ‘a faith’ in the seen world alone.

    Ian Ridgway

  11. One of the problems with having special Christian RE classes in public schools, is that it helps to perpetuate the myth that all the rest of the time there is no religion being taught in class. But as you rightly point out Bill, secular humanism (the unofficial religion of the state) is brainwashing students who attend public schools today. So in reality the public schools actually have RE classes all day, every day they are open. Secular humanism is taught in 99% of these classes and in some States, if we’re lucky, there is Christian RE occupying the other 1%. But not liking competition, the secularists want to take over even that 1% for themselves!

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  12. Buddhist meditation techniques are now being touted as a “science” by the humanists, and being taught to our children in our public schools as such:

    “Elementary schools in Vancouver have also embraced these meditation techniques as part of a program called MindUp that teaches children that it is hard to concentrate when the brain is stressed.
    More than 1,000 teachers have trained in the program at the Vancouver school board, and the district has received requests from other school districts, including in Yukon, to teach the program.”

    Eastern religion is being disguised as science helps to placate a “well-educated” secular society. Even Hindu yoga practices tout Vedic “science” to the naive and undiscerning public (a science that includes 33 gods and goddesses? Wow!).

    Though, Deepak Chopra honestly stated, as he opened up a Yoga studio in Vancouver, BC Canada, recently:

    But for those who aren’t after enlightenment and simply want a nice set of tight abs, Chopra has a simple piece of advice.
    “Start where you are,” he said.
    “Through yoga you will get to know your body. Keep practicing and you will come to understand your mind. Eventually, you will know your soul.”

    We Christians need to heed Jesus’ words, while at work, play, in school, or church:
    “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

    Monica Craver

  13. Bill,
    I have just been reading reports about the Finkelstein recommendations and how they could impinge on not only major media outlets but even family blogsites, and particularly your site. This is a most disturbing development, and it highlights how the left generally, and this Labor/Greens government are enemies of free speech, are agents of totalitarianism, and willing to trample on our traditional rights and freedoms to achieve total power. They will stop at nothing to stifle any dissent, and play the role of Big Brother.
    Murray R Adamthwaite

  14. Thanks Bill,

    When I saw that passage I knew what it was before reading it. It is refreshing to read it again in this context.

    Carl Strehlow

  15. Way back in the 70s, Jesus Music pioneer, Larry Norman wrote in one of his songs: Your money says “In God we trust”, But it’s against the law to pray in schools !
    John Wigg

  16. People who are anti-Christ are more to be pitied than blamed; they are walking around in the dark. Some we might pray for, others we leave with Satan; discernment is necessary. Btw, they hate us Carl for the same reason they hated Jesus; thus they honor us.
    B T Walters

  17. Nikki the latest ethics piece to hit the media is an article suggesting newborns should be able to be legally killed because the mothers circumstances have changed and she doesn’t feel financially or emotionally able to deal with a baby right now.

    If wouldn’t trust “non-religious” ethics programs at all. Secular humanism ethics seems to be based around killing those deemed as “non-persons” so “real people” can be comfortable rather than a respect for life that comes from knowing we are all made in the image of the creator and only he has the right to decide when a person is to die.

    We have decided to remove our children from all classes where secular humanism is taught as truth.

    Kylie Anderson

  18. This meditation stuff is in the private church schools as well. My 8 year old just told me they use it as a method to calm the kids down.
    A Christian antidote to that, Jesus said “If my words abide in you”, can’t remember the exact reference, but it was between John 13 and John 16. To be a Christian is an active decision on every level and goes far beyond the cultural values that we absorb in our childhood. That is why Christians if not active in their prayer life, study and meditation on God’s word, still live the cultural values they grew up with by default. And that of course includes many “christian teachers” who teach in our church schools where they are chosen more for their professional skills and development than their Christian maturity.
    The statement about children not being able to sift through information critically is absolutely right, that is why it is such an AWESOME responsibility to teach them the truth. I am glad Jesus takes this very seriously He says that it would be better for those who deceive children to have a mill stone round their neck and be thrown into the sea.
    It is interesting that when Christians pass on the truths about their religion they are preaching, but of course when the secularists do it, it is just dispassionate objective teaching. Yeah right.
    That idea of keeping the faith in a private compartment for Sundays is also in the school my children attend, which is a Anglican school. When I discussed with one of my high school kids teachers the content of their history book and pointed out the wrong and way too explicate concepts that were taught in there, she pointed out that 2 sessions of “Christian Living” would counter balance all that. How little they know about not only the Bible, but also about the nature of man.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  19. I present a two paragraph quote below, Bill, from the link provided at the bottom of your article, and make two points below. Hope you and your readers can follow what I’m saying –
    ‘Accordingly, the phrase “many people believe that …” should be placed in front of any statement of belief. It is this phrase that presents the belief as a piece of information rather than as a conviction. It is the importance of this phrase which dictates that it should be properly qualified teachers that convey this information in the classroom.
    Many believe that religious instruction is a necessary vehicle for moral education and that young people do not acquire ethical values and moral standards without it. This view is an insult to parents. It is parents who impart moral values, and most do so quite successfully through their example without invoking any religious foundations.’
    Point 1: Using the authors claim in the first paragraph about the phrase ‘many people believe that’, then the first sentence of that paragraph should begin with the same phrase – his use of the word ‘should’ indicates, according to his own reasoning, that the statement he is making is a conviction, or statement of belief, rather than a piece of information. He should apply his own rules to his own statement and should have written: (Many people believe that) “many people believe that …”should be placed in front of any statement of belief.

    Point 2: The author began his second paragraph above with the phrasing this time, indicating that his first sentence of this paragraph is being presented as ‘a piece of information’ – according to his own reasoning. Then he sets out to attack the people who hold to that piece of information – which means he is reacting to the ‘information statement’ (by his own definition) as if it were a conviction.

    There is one thing for certain – reasoning has long since ceased to be a subject in the humanistic education system.

    Kerry Letheby

  20. I wonder if this secular nincompoop writing in The Age would be happy to have the phrase “many people believe that …” precede all teaching involving the theory of evolution in schools?

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  21. I just hope the “secular ethics classes” aren’t being written by Peter Singer.

    Kylie Anderson

  22. Don’t want to pop your bubble Kylie, but I think it is inevitable that he will get involved somewhere along the track!
    Steve Davis

  23. Hi Bill
    On another topic, just checked with the UK Coalition for Marriage website. Over 104,000 people have now signed their petition against SSM in Britain. Some good news at least.
    Des Connors, Brisbane

  24. That’s OK Steve our children won’t be attending SEC just worried about garbage they will be pouring down the throats of the kids whose parents are already anti Christianity enough to object to CRE one a week.
    Kylie Anderson

  25. Manfred, I think you’re talking about Maralyn Parker?
    Grant Vandervalk

  26. I understand where you are coming from Kylie, I cannot help but think of the hypocrisy of parents who vehemently object to CRE, the freedoms and privileges that they and their kids enjoy come from our constitution which is based on Christianity. In view of this and at the risk of sounding judgemental, I find it very hard to symapthise with people like that. Getting back to Singer, some of the things I have read horrify me!
    Steve Davis

  27. Thanks guys

    Singer may not be writing these ethics courses, but secular lefties not very unlike him certainly will be!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  28. Not asking for sympathy for the parents Steve just the kids who funnily enough are probably given no choice is whether to indoctrinated by Christians or atheists during CRE timeslots.
    Kylie Anderson

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