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Friday, October 27, 2017

In the City by the River Uzh

Meeting in the office of the Superintendent. On my left (wearing glasses) is Mr. M., and on my right is the Worldview Matters' board President at the time, John Taylor.  

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Several years ago, I received an invitation to train educators on how to incorporate Christianity into elementary and secondary education. This in itself was not unusual. It's what I do. But this invitation was quite unusual: the person inviting me was the superintendent of a large state-run school district, with some 20 schools and about 16,000 students. I had never been invited to do training at a state-run school before, let alone a whole district.

My first thought was this superintendent did not really know what he was asking. You see, my approach is "no-holds-barred" biblical, and I was concerned this poor soul would be fired for inviting me in. I was nearly certain he would be.

Just to make sure the superintendent knew what he was doing, I met with him in his downtown office (photo above), to discuss my "no-holds-barred" approach to biblical worldview contextualization of subject matter. During my visit, Mr. M. made this remarkable statement: "Restoring Christianity is more important to me than academics."

Was I dreaming?

When I heard him make this statement, I knew this man was serious. And fearless! Mr. M. was on a mission to restore basic Christian tenets to the hearts and minds of the next generation under his educational care. He told me he was concerned about the breakdown of the family, as well as the proliferation of drugs and crime. He believed a restoration of Christianity was the answer. Here was Noah Webster's vision, alive and well!

Was this superintendent dreaming?

Yes, he was! The man had already taken steps to restore the essential, biblical world-and-life-view to those within his jurisdiction. He showed me the curriculum they were using. It presented the basic tenets of Christianity in a manner that was sensitive to denominational differences. He had not been fired.

Where was this unusual Shangri-La? It was far, far away from the USA, in the City by the River Uzh, in Transcarpathia, Ukraine, just a stone's throw from Slovakia.

You...didn't think this was an American school district, did you?

Mr. M. lived under a painful "no-holds-barred" atheistic body-press by the Soviet Union until 1991, when Ukraine became an independent state. He experienced what society is like when Christianity is silenced, and he understood the high cost of losing it...as no American can comprehend. 


To see what I encountered, click HERE.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bring This Great Civil Injustice Before The Bench

Every time you brush your teeth, pray "tea toss, Lord."

Photo by Scott Ehardt, Public Domain.

Apart from another Great Awakening, Bible reading and prayer will not be restored to state schools soon. John Dewey's non-theistic Common Faith is too deeply entrenched. The toothpaste has been out for too long, and cannot be put back in the tube.

But there's a better way.

Why not allow the tax dollars that I pay for the next generation's education go directly to the educational system of my choice?

As a property owner, about 50% of my real estate taxes go to the state-run schools in my area, and only to them. This tax is confiscatory, and if we do not pay it, my wife and I will lose our home. We are forced to financially support the only schools in town that are silent about the real world, and what it's for. This is not "neutral" education. Far from it! See The Underestimated Power of Silence.

Why can't I choose the kind of system I want to have receive the financial benefit of my educational tax dollars? This is the just way. If I were Jewish, and I wanted to support the Jewish schools in my city, why should I not have this choice? If I were Muslim, and I wanted to support the Islamic schools in my town, why should I not have this choice?

A parental voucher system can also be done (as some states are doing), but vouchers do not allow those without school-age children to have any say in the matter. We all have a stake in this. Every voice counts.

I'm for choice! If I want my tax dollars to support the Common Faith schools, let it be. But if I choose to support the Christian schools or homeschooling efforts in my area, why should I not be able to direct my educational tax dollars to those endeavors, without passing them through government hands at all? It's still for education, and it can still be confiscatory! People who cheat can easily get caught.

The current no-voice system is unjust, and it's time to toss the tea overboard.

Let the Christians, the Jews, and the Muslims, hire the toughest atheist lawyers the American Civil Liberties Union can offer, who will vigorously oppose the government preference for one faith over others, and toss the tea out. Let's bring this great civil injustice before the Bench, and fight fire with fire. 

While we can.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Indeed, Mr. Webster, Tell Us About It

Twelve days ago, in Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, 59 people lay dead and over 500 were wounded in a shocking mass shooting. Depending on how "mass shooting" is defined, some sources say there are hundreds of cases per year in the US, while other sources say it's closer to dozens. Whether it's dozens or hundreds, it's a problem. People of all political persuasions agree this problem needs to be "fixed." But I have yet to hear a single mass media pundit even remotely suggest this problem might be linked to a gag order imposed on Bible reading in US elementary and secondary schools in the 60s, and the total absence of instruction in basic Christianity which used to be commonplace in our state-run schools. (Shocking, isn't it?) Could there be a connection here? It's time for a refresher course from one of our Founding Fathers, Noah Webster, who was once considered the "Schoolmaster of the Nation."

(Photo by Pobrien301, Public Domain)

Founding Father Noah Webster wrote that education was "useless without the Bible." His American Dictionary of 1828 included more biblical citations than any other reference volume of his day, and probably since.

In his Preface to that Dictionary (which shaped the way Americans spell, and influenced the way Americans thought), Webster wrote: "In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people."

Our problem now is, we want “freedom” without Christianity. 

How's that working out?   

Webster wrote: "...the education of youth should be watched with the most scrupulous attention. Education, in a great measure, forms the moral characters of men, and morals are the basis of government."

He went on: "...it is much easier to introduce and establish an effectual system for preserving morals, than to correct, by penal statutes, the ill effects of a bad system."

Indeed, Mr. Webster, tell us about it.

Webster referred to the Bible as "that book which the benevolent Creator has furnished for the express purpose of guiding human reason in the path of safety, and the only book which can remedy, or essentially mitigate, the evils of a licentious world."  

In a letter to David McClure, written on October 25, 1836, Webster wrote: "Any system of education...which limits instruction to the arts and sciences, and rejects the aids of religion in forming the character of citizens, is essentially defective."

Dear reader, I submit that we are seeing an increase of lawlessness in this nation because we have been feeding our elementary and secondary students a steady diet of defective education since the 1960s, when the 10 Commandments were taken off the schoolroom walls, and Bible reading and prayer were declared unconstitutional. 

Tell that to those who wrote the Constitution. Webster would have a few choice words for us today. Thankfully, his words were written down. They are part of the historic record. This includes the record at the University of Washington, where I confirmed all of the above quotes, and documented them in Assumptions That Affect Our Lives.

Please read that book. And give a copy to a friend.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale

This painting, called "A Fair Puritan," is by E. Percy Moran, a US artist who created it in 1897. We've come a long way since that time, with respect to the image of Christians in our nation. Recently I wrote that Christianity is being demonized in the US. In the guest post below (used by permission), Philip Irvin shares one chilling example of a grotesque caricature of conservative Christians in pop culture that should concern us all.
(This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA)

Suppose a TV series presented a dystopian world where a religious group imposed something more severe than Shariah law. In this religious world, women were not only brutally subjugated and ritually raped but were also legally prohibited from working outside the home, owning property, handling money, or even reading. What would be the response to this series?
If the religious group were identified as Muslims, all those involved would be strung up by their thumbs and denounced as Islamophobiacs.
If instead, the series vented its venom at conservative Christians, you would find that “the series [The Handmaid's Tale] garnered extremely positive reviews and won the 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, along with seven other Emmy Awards from 13 nominations."  
Please consider what would have happened if this level of venom were vented on any other group. What if the oppressing group were gays, blacks, or even not-in-the-news Hindus? But because this demonizes Christians it wins critical acclaim.
“The Birth of a Nation,” a movie about the Civil War and its aftermath, portrayed black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive toward white women while portraying the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic force. This movie is credited with being one of the events that inspired the “second era” Ku Klux Klan that was formed in the same year, since the original Klan had died out decades earlier.
Do not be deceived into thinking that The Handmaid’s Tale is just harmless entertainment. Such a publicly acclaimed, grossly hostile representation of Bible-believing Christians is reminiscent of the displays of growing hostility toward Jews in pre-war Germany. This should cause conservative Christians concern.

Postscript by CO:
Recently, conservative Christian organizations have been dropped from credit card processing companies because they are deemed “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. See the Ruth Institute and American Vision

For further SPLC branding, see D. James Kennedy Ministries. Other organizations painted by the "hate group" brush include: Traditional Values Coalition, Family Research Institute, and American Family Association.

This should give every evangelical church and conservative Christian service organization "cause for concern," as Philip Irvin put it. Is it only a matter of time before the "hate group star of David" is painted on your church or favorite Christian service organization? 

By the way, would your church or favorite Christian service organization qualify for the SPLC “hate group” list? 

If not, why not?

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