I know some good people are in hard times, but getting upset by bad books in gov't schools is like getting upset by nudity at a strip club. ~RC Sproul, Jr.
Glad someone said it. And speaking out of turn to the point of disorderly conduct is not heroism. ~Joel McDurmon
The two brethren above offered these remarks in response to the national sensation of a man being arrested at a school board meeting.
William Baer, the father of a teen who attends Gilford High School, was arrested during a school board meeting Monday night after he continuously talked out of turn in protest of the Jodi Picoult book Nineteen Minutes. Baer was upset the school had assigned the book –- which contains a graphic sex scene between two teenagers -- to his ninth-grade daughter without first notifying parents . . .
For the record, the book is absolute filth and it contains more than a graphic sex scene. It contains several. I know this because I’ve read it from cover-to-cover.
You see, six years ago I too protested this pornographic book being in the local school library. (Yes, I’m that far ahead of the curve, and no I wasn’t arrested!) The librarian who opposed me (and the superintendent who stood with me) received a professional award.
(Apparently in some circles nothing garners accolade more than peddling porn to pupils…but I digress.)
The school board knew the book was garbage. I know they knew this because after reading 2 or 3 extracts aloud to them, they—shocked and red-faced—requested that I stop reading. Even so, they caved to outside pressures, brought to bear upon them by ominous letters from the ACLU and the ALA, and allowed the book to remain.
However, according to Sproul, Jr. and McDurmon, I shouldn’t have been “upset” by this and there was nothing heroic in my stand. Nevertheless, I was rather “upset” and I do specifically remember being called “hero” by a few folks—and “Hitler” by others.
(While McDurmon is likely correct that I am no hero, I recall that at the time I very much preferred “hero” to “Hitler.” But again…I digress.)
I’m sharing my story in the interest of full disclosure: I fought against this book and my children attended public schools, as did I. Though I don’t regret these things, I realize such facts produce nothing but disdain in many homeschooling Christians.
The reaction of certain homeschooling Christians to this story (and mine) is incredibly predictable. For many—but certainly not all—the conversation begins thus: “Do your children attend government schools or are you a Christian?”
Yes, this is an exaggeration, but just barely. It seems for some, homeschooling is essential to their Christian identity. (I’m not suggesting this is the case with Sproul, Jr. or McDurmon.)
But while I am no fan of compulsory education or of government schools, neither am I an advocate for homeschools. I’ve seen homeschooling done well and I’ve seen it done poorly. Furthermore, I’ve known Christian children in public schools and I’ve known non-Christian children in homeschools. The same could be said of teachers (this is disputed by some).
In other words, students or teachers in any school may or may not have a Christian worldview. I and my children had several Christian teachers and never once did we leave our own Christian worldview at home.
But the issue isn’t necessarily individual students or teachers per se. Perhaps we should think of the underlying philosophies of the schools. Is any given school’s philosophy godly or godless? What is the goal or aim of the institution? What type of student, what kind of mind, does it want to help shape or produce?
It seems to me that public schools in general operate within godless parameters. Does this mean Christians are sinning against God when they work and/or send their children there? Some will offer a hearty “yes” to that question. Others are less dogmatic.
The reality is I didn’t send my children to public school in a vacuum. We discussed the things they were being taught. Not all things were to be eschewed and not all things were to be endorsed. We applied scriptures to their subjects—even their sports. They had, and still have, a Christian worldview.
In the end I fully support homeschooling (if done well or adequately) without denigrating those who do otherwise (if done attentively).