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Forced Religious Education in Public Schools

Forced Religious Education in Public Schools

One of the biggest fights that has gone on in public education over the last couple of generations has been the effort to remove and eliminate any vestige of religious teaching in public schools. It seemingly began with the successful effort to remove prayer from the schools. These days the fights have centered around efforts to keep religious organizations from hosting after school programs, preventing students from mentioning their faith in their valedictorian speeches, or keeping coaches from having a post game prayer. But the truth is, religious training goes on all day every day in most public schools.

It seems that the Montgomery County, Maryland school district has a no opt-out policy when it comes to allowing parents to pull their children out of presentations they find offensive ... and the offensive material is definitely there.

It seems that some parents were offended when their children were forced to sit through the teacher reading them books containing LGBTQ characters. And, of course, all of the characters were presented as righteous, and the books encouraged the children listening to the stories to accept them and regard their homosexuality as normal.

Because of this policy, a group of Christian and Muslim parents too this to federal court. They claimed that such books force religious parents to either abandon what they believe or leave the public school system.

In making her decree, Judge Deborah Boardman wrote a 60 page ruling defending the right of the school system to maintain their no opt-out policy. She wrote, "With or without an opt-out right, the parents remain free to pursue their sacred obligations to instruct their children in their faiths. Even if their children’s exposure to religiously offensive ideas makes the parents’ efforts less likely to succeed, that does not amount to a government-imposed burden on their religious exercise."

Reading this, I just have to shake my head. Obviously this judge doesn’t have a clue. What this judge doesn’t realize is that the promotion of the homosexual agenda by the Montgomery County school district is, itself, the promotion of a religious point of view.

I don’t know how many conversations I have had with Atheists in which they have declared to me that:

  • I don’t have any beliefs.
  • Lack of belief in God is not a belief, it is a lack of belief. (A lack of belief is not a belief.)
  • My beliefs are based on facts (science) and are not religious.
  • Or some variation of these.

In spite of what they think about their beliefs, Atheism is a religious belief. In order to believe in Atheism, they have to believe something. Saying what they don’t believe is truly a copout. By asserting what they “don’t” believe, they are trying to disguise what they “do” believe. (Either that, or they are truly oblivious to their actual beliefs – which I believe is true of most of them.)

Atheists are Naturalists. Their most fundamental belief is that the natural universe, operating by natural laws, is all that exists. This is the positive way of expressing what they try to express negatively. It is rather difficult to deal with the negative expression (I don’t believe in God) because you can’t disprove a negative. But once you state the belief positively, you have something you can actually discuss. At this point, it becomes possible to actually get at the underlying beliefs of the school system’s policy.

They are not promoting religion neutral policy, they are promoting naturalistic philosophy – which is an expression of a naturalistic worldview. They are promoting a policy based on the beliefs that:

  • The natural universe, operating by natural laws, is all that exists.
  • Human beings are merely animal creatures that have the most highly evolved brains of all animals.
  • The ultimate one can achieve in life is survival of the species and personal fulfillment.

This leads to a belief about morals and values that has no objective foundation. Without a God to provide that, there is no choice but for humans to create them for themselves. That is, those who are in positions of power and authority get to decide what values and morals are considered right. And the Montgomery County school system administrators and teachers have decided that promoting homosexuality is the moral course.

So, we have a situation where particular religions morals and values are being taught in the school – morals and values that go against those of the children’s parents. So now the question becomes, why does the school system have the right to impose its religious values on the children they teach? I thought they were against having religion in the schools. I guess not as long as it is their religion.

Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books entitled The Truth MirageRules for Christians RadicalsLiberalism vs. Conservatism, and his latest book Shattering the Truth Mirage and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.

You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.

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