STOP the War on Children

June 12, 2011

June, No Longer the Month of Brides?

Dr. Karen Gushta

The month of June used to be associated with brides and weddings. Now President Obama has proclaimed it “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.”

 

Obama is not the first president to make such a proclamation. In 1999 and 2000, President Clinton marked June as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.” Ten years later, more categories of “proud” gender types have been added.   

President George W. Bush declined to bow to pressure from homosexual activists to make similar declarations. His Justice Department also barred a group of federal employees from celebrating the month with this appellation.

Why designate June as “LGBT Pride Month?” As The Daily Caller points out, “June was chosen in honor of the 1969 Greenwich Village riots at the Stonewall Inn where gay rights advocates clashed with New York City police over alleged discrimination.”

It was more than a “clash.” At one point police barricaded themselves inside the bar while the angry mob outside tried to set the bar on fire and used a parking meter as a battering ram in an effort to break down the door to get at the policemen inside.

 

The event, which took place in the early hours of June 28, 1969, is marked as the beginning of the “gay rights” movement. Soon after, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed. The GLF was short-lived, but it introduced the term “gay” to Americans, most of whom would not imagine calling the homosexual lifestyle “gay.”

For 20 years, homosexual activists made modest impact on American culture at large. Then, in 1989, two Harvard homosexual intellectuals, Hunter Madsen and Marshall Kirk, teamed up to write After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s.   

 

Jonathan Kirsch wrote at the time in The Los Angeles Times that “the essential message of the book is an urgent demand for a fundamental change in the very nature of gay activism. The gay community, Kirk and Madsen argue, has resorted to the wrong arguments, the wrong symbols, and the wrong acts of protest. And the authors of ‘After the Ball’ think that they have a better idea.”

Their “better idea” was to exchange the tools of violent protests and barricades exemplified by the Stonewall Riots for “the story boards and 30-second spots of Madison Avenue, a kind of sanitized upscale media radicalism that finds mass demonstrations to be ‘ghastly freak shows’ and prefers highway billboards that ‘earnestly propound appealing truisms, the safer and more platitudinous, the better.’”

Kirk and Madsen said it themselves, “We’re talking about propaganda.”

Rather than protesting with “all the screamers, stompers, gender-benders, sadomasochists, and pederasts, and confirm America’s worst fears and hates” Kirk and Madsen advocated a “continuous flood of gay-related advertising.” Such advertising would depict gays “in the least offensive fashion possible.” And, more significantly, it would make “homo-hating beliefs and actions look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from them.”

As Kirsch observes, “This is pure propaganda, of course, but it is propaganda on the highest levels of insight and calculation.”

It is also propaganda that in a large part succeeded during the 1990s in changing the thinking of many Americans. In his June 1999 proclamation, President Clinton claimed that “gay and lesbian Americans” were serving “openly and proudly” in the federal government. In his 2000 proclamation, he bragged that “more openly gay and lesbian individuals serve in senior posts throughout the Federal Government than during any other Administration.”

President Obama’s proclamation tried to best Clinton’s record by listing all of his administration’s activities, such as the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the appointment of openly homosexual individuals to executive branch and judicial positions.  

 

According to one commentator, efforts like these could qualify President Obama to be called “the first gay president.” Writing in TheVoiceMagazine.com, Brian Burke observed that in this administration we’re seeing more being done “to promote the gay agenda than in any other American presidency in the history of the United States of America.”  

 

Burke concludes, “Christians should never forget that homosexuality is sinful behavior …. it doesn’t matter what law is passed or what proclamation is made, sin can’t be legalized either, no matter how many people agree. Throughout the Bible Scripture is clear that homosexuality will always be a sin. The President … is wrong to celebrate the lifestyle as if that’s OK.”

 

Nevertheless, celebration of the homosexual lifestyle was part of the U.S. Department of Education’s first LGBT Youth Summit held in Washington D.C. on June 6 and 7.  Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addressed the group, telling them that they have a “strong voice” and the Obama administration is hearing it. “I want to tell you, you have a friend in this administration who will stand beside you each and every step along the way,” Sebelius said.

 

The administration’s friendship was affirmed by a reporter for the homosexual activist Human Rights Campaign who wrote that “In addition to Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings and many of his DOE staff members, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies were well represented.  Many of the federal agency representatives ‘came out’ as LGBT while speaking at the two-day meeting.”

 

But how is the example of government employees “coming out” going to help homosexual youth who, according to conference presenters, “are more prone to exhibit high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual risk-taking, and running away from home?”

 

Conferences sponsored by the Education Department and proclamations that encourage “pride” in their homosexual lifestyles will not help these youth. Christians must “graciously yet urgently speak the truth in love to young people who are hurting themselves with the ‘LGBT’ lifestyle,” as a recent Family Research Council prayer letter urged.

 

Those who believe in the power of Jesus Christ to forgive, heal, and restore must determine to stand together in opposition to our government’s efforts to promote harmful and sinful sexual practices among our youth. Let our proclamation be of Jesus Christ and His willingness to receive all who would come to Him.

 

And then, maybe we can get back to June as the month of brides.

 

~~

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

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June 3, 2011

He’s Gone, But Not Forgotten

By Dr. Karen Gushta

When homosexual activist Kevin Jennings quietly left his post as “safe schools czar” at the Department of Education, the news barely made a ripple. Although pro-family advocates can rejoice, they should not underestimate Jennings’ ability to influence America’s children in his new post as CEO of non-profit group, Be the Change, Inc. The organization works closely with AmeriCorps, the government agency that funds community works and public sector programs in education, health, public safety, and the environment.

When Jennings was appointed by President Obama, Jim Hoft correctly noted at Gateway Pundit that his appointment was primarily due to the fact that he had founded the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 1990.  By 2007, Jennings was pulling down a salary of more than $270,000 as GLSEN’s executive director. But his goal was more than personal enrichment. His homosexual activist organization led the way in getting government schools to introduce programs intended to promote acceptance of homosexuality through anti-bullying curricula that teach tolerance of homosexual students.  

One of GLSEN’s tools is a “recommended reading list.” As Hoft reported, “GLSEN maintains a recommended reading list of books that it claims ‘furthers our mission to ensure safe schools for all students.’” The books are hardly ones that “all students” should read, however.

Purportedly the books help “gay kids” by raising their self-esteem, and “straight kids” who read them are supposed to become more aware and tolerant of homosexual kids and stop bullying them. In fact, these books expose young people to homosexual behaviors and lifestyles in a graphic and sexually explicit way.

According to Hoft, “Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air.”

In his book, Radical Rulers, Robert Knight notes that while Jennings was the leader of GLSEN, it established “gay/straight” alliances in schools, developed a “heterosexism questionnaire” that encouraged kids to question their sexuality, and established events such as “Day of Silence,” and “No Name-Calling Week.” According to Knight, these events are promoted “under the guise of discouraging bullying,” but in reality, “kids are taught to promote homosexuality and accuse anyone who thinks it is immoral of being a bigot and hater.”

While he was safe schools czar, Kevin Jennings met several times with the executive director of Christian Educators Association International, Finn Laursen. Nevertheless, in the past he has been vocal in dismissing the views of Christians.  

Robert Knight wrote that Jennings spoke to a conference at a church in 2000 where he called Moral Majority and Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell a “terrorist,” and said, “We have to quit being afraid of the religious right. We also have to quit—I’m trying to find a way to say this—I’m trying not to say, ‘[F—] ‘em!’ which is what I want to say, because I don’t care what they think! [audience laughter] Drop dead!”

So given his track record, is it time to breathe a sigh of relief that children in America’s schools are now safe from Kevin Jennings’ influence?

That might be premature.

Given Jennings’ track record and his avowed dedication to the cause of normalizing homosexuality in America, it might be wiser to assume that Jennings’ move to Be the Change is based on his belief that it will give him a wider platform to promote the causes that are near and dear to him.

Founded by Alan Khazei in 2008, Be the Change states that its goal is to create “national issue-based campaigns by organizing coalitions of non-profits, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, private sector and civic leaders, academics, and citizens.” The first campaign it launched was ServiceNation, a lobbying effort that gathered over 270 organizations in support of the Kennedy Serve America Act, touted as “the greatest expansion of national service in our country in 60 years.”

Addressing the Service Nation Summit, Khazei said, “We believe that the idea of America is ennobled and the future of America is strengthened when Americans come together to serve our country.”

Perhaps Jennings hopes he can have a hand in shaping the direction of that service. He’s taking charge at a very propitious time. In 2011 the second campaign, Opportunity Nation, was launched as the website proclaimed that children in America have less of a chance for improving their economic situation than those born into low-income households in the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, or Germany.

How Jennings will shape this effort remains to be seen. After 20 years leading the homosexual cause, it seems safe to say that he will find ways to infuse the goals of the homosexual agenda into the new campaign.

Be the Change, Inc. is not alone in its efforts to rally America’s citizens to bring change to their communities. Samaritan’s Purse is training tens of thousands of volunteers to bring relief and assistance in the name of Christ to those whose lives have been ravaged by the recent floods and tornadoes. Glenn Beck is encouraging people to seek “Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship” so our nation will be prepared for the impending world crisis that radical Islamists and Leftists are fomenting in the Middle East.  

America is at a crossroads. And there are many options for those who want to be “part of the solution and not part of the problem.” Coral Ridge Ministries is now offering a new option in its ongoing effort to inspire believers in their daily lives with the power of a biblical worldview. Community in Action is a new grassroots outreach that equips and encourages believers to find God’s call on their lives and connect their passions and abilities to that call in order to transform the culture and their communities for Christ.

It’s clear that activists like Kevin Jennings are not going to stop their efforts to transform the culture according to a vision that distorts God’s design for sexuality and human relationships.

The question is—will Christians take up the challenge to work with the same degree of zeal?

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

November 6, 2010

Time to Put Parents in Charge

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Following the November 2 election, there are many who now believe they have real hope for change. Not only did the Republicans win control of the House of Representatives, but according to Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures, “The Republican wave in the states is perhaps even stronger than it is at the federal level.” According to Storey, Republican legislators may be “in range of historic, post-World War II levels of control.”

But the looming question is: Will this make a difference? Chuck Colson cautioned after the election, “If you are hoping that yesterday’s election results will make that much of a difference, you hope in vain.” He pointed out that any Republican program to cut spending would “almost certainly be filibustered in the Senate or vetoed by the President.” And it’s spending cuts that are desperately needed. Colson quotes Harvard historian Niall Ferguson as warning that America’s debt has put our nation on the “edge of chaos.”

The amount the federal government spends on education is trifling in comparison to the two-thirds of the federal budget that goes to entitlements and service of the debt. Add defense spending to that and the remainder amounts to 14 percent of the total.

Nevertheless, we must start somewhere. How do we begin to cut back on our addiction to government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare? As one of my cousins, who says he proudly wears the badge of “liberal” told me—“I can assure you that everyone I’ve talked to who shouts loudly about getting big government out of their lives—they’re all still going to take those socialized benefits.”

My hope and prayer is that the new Congress will resolve to cut education funding and reduce the size of the Federal Department of Education—for three reasons. First of all, to stop the wild and unbounded spending. The 2009 Stimulus Bill gave $100 billion to Education. Another $10 billion in “emergency” aid was given in 2010. The 2010 budget for education was raised to $56 billion from $32 billion in 2009; $71 billion has been requested for 2011.

Second, cutting spending would loosen federal control. The Heritage Foundation has recommended that if we’re going to “cut Washington down to size,” we should send education back to the state and local levels, along with health care, transportation, criminal law enforcement and homeland security. As Heritage says, these are “all issues that in recent decades have become federal concerns, but are better dealt with at the state and local levels of government.” If, as Heritage recommends, these responsibilities “devolve to the states,” they can be administered more efficiently and with greater innovation.

The third reason to cut back on federal spending is that regardless of the staggering amount of taxpayer money that the federal government has been funneling back to the state school systems—81 percent of the Ed Department’s total spending—student test scores have been absolutely flat for 40 years. It’s time to do more than demand accountability to national standards or introduce another program such as charter schools with the hope that these will improve student learning.

The real problem with student learning is not that they are not learning in the schools, it’s that they are not learning in their homes. For several generations now, parents have turned over control of their children’s education to government schools. It’s time for parents to take back control of their children’s schooling from education bureaucrats and teacher unions.

The most obvious way to do this is to have funding follow students, not sustain unsuccessful schools. Students should be able to attend the schools of their choice. Parents, not the federal government, should decide how and where and what their children are taught.

Lindsey Burke, Heritage Foundation education policy analyst, stated it well, “[S]tudents are far better served by policies that empower parents to choose a school that best meets their child’s needs, not policies that perpetuate the failed status quo of throwing more scarce taxpayer resources into the monolithic public school system.”

And among those choices should be parent-controlled Christian schools and homeschooling. Governor Chris Christie, in his Governor’s Study Commission on New Jersey’s Nonpublic Schools has recommended just such an option by providing tax credits or tax scholarships. The study commission noted that “there are important economic reasons to keep private schools strong.”

More than economic reasons, however, there are the reasons of fairness, liberty and parental rights. It is time that our governments—federal, state and local—take these reasons into consideration. Let’s “devolve education.” Not back to the states, but back to the parents.

March 1, 2010

Blowing Kisses and Giving Big Smooches!

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Blowing Kisses and Giving Big Smooches!

By Karen L. Gushta, Ph.D.

Last fall President Obama declared that September 28, 2009 should be observed as Family Day. He urged families to celebrate “with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor and strengthen our Nation’s families.”

The president noted that “families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.” And parents, he said, “bear significant stress and burdens to protect their children from harmful influences.”

What kinds of “harmful influences” did he have in mind? The president’s list included alcohol, tobacco, or prescription and illicit drugs, and other harmful behaviors which, he said, “can destroy the mind, body, and spirit of a child.”

Conspicuously absent were pornography, promiscuous sex and homosexuality–behaviors so devastating to the physical and emotional well-being of adolescents that those who promote them are waging a de facto war on children and youth.

Promiscuity, for example, carries severe consequences. A 2006 study showed that one in every four girls in public high schools in this country is infected with an STD. Approximately 12 million Americans contract STDs every year—nearly three percent of the entire population. What’s more significant, however, is the fact that of this group, 65 percent are younger than 25 years of age. Youth who become infected with STDs are less likely to seek immediate treatment, and therefore more susceptible to the long-term devastating health effects of these diseases, such as sterility, damage to the brain and heart, cervical cancer, and incurable genital warts.

And what is the president doing in the face of this? Rather than promote abstinence, which is the only sure way one can be protected from STDs, the Obama administration’s budget redirected funds from abstinence-only programs, such as Community-Based Abstinence Education and Title V Abstinence Education, to what are termed, “evidence-based and promising teen pregnancy prevention programs.”

But the “evidence” favors abstinence. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation reports that abstinence programs that include a virginity pledge “dramatically lower rates of teen births.” Abortion rates, teen sex, and out of-wedlock births all decrease among teens who have made such a pledge. Although not all teens keep their pledge, this form of abstinence education results in the “number of sexual partners down a third to a half, compared to kids from a similar socioeconomic background.”

What about pornography? Twenty percent of Internet porn involves children. Ninety percent have viewed it online—most while doing their homework. Homegrown pornography, aka sexting, is the latest moral virus to infect cell phones and young souls. Only 25 percent of 7th to 12th graders have a filter or parental controls on their computers, and only three percent of porn sites require adult verification before entering.

Since the Warren Court opened the floodgates of pornography in the late ’60s by a series of 34 unsigned per curiam decisions, social conservatives have attempted to get legislation passed to reign in the purveyors of porn who now freely post on the Internet.

Where does the Obama administration stand on this threat to children? One might say they are “in bed” with the pornography lobby, having appointed David Ogden as Deputy Attorney General. Ogden’s resume includes service for clients such as Penthouse and Playboy, amicus briefs defending child pornography in Knox v. United States and opposing the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000.

Finally, what about strengthening families by protecting the institution of marriage itself? In his Family Day proclamation, the president proclaimed that families of same-sex couples can also “encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.” But research has shown that family configuration has significant impact on children’s well-being. And while there is still a limited amount of research on same-sex parenting outcomes, social science research is unequivocal in finding that children do best with a mother and father. An abundance of research also shows that children suffer in manifold ways when their home is fatherless or their parents divorce.

It’s clear who suffers when society tinkers with God’s structure for marriage of one man and one woman for the sake of social experimentation and a socially defined right to marry.

While the president gave one day to recognizing families, he declared the whole month of June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009,” and affirmed his administration’s support for ensuring gay adoption rights and civil unions. He also inexplicably appointed Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), to be the “safe schools” czar at the Department of Education. When he was a teacher, Jennings failed to report a homosexual statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy. Jennings has praised pro-pedophile gay activist Harry Hay and promoted books detailing seductions of teen boys by older men. What’s more, GLSEN sponsored a forum in which 14-year-olds were told how to perform dangerous homosexual acts.

Unless Mr. Obama’s administration follows through with family friendly social policies that seek the best interests of children, his Family Day Proclamation smacks of little more than lip service. Blowing kisses at the family while giving big smooches to all things gay, shows where the president’s heart really is.

Karen L. Gushta, Ph.D., is a researcher at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children (Coral Ridge Ministries, 2009).

February 10, 2010

STOPPING the WAR on Children

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Moral Education to Build a Moral Nation

By Dr. Karen L. Gushta

This speech was presented to The Constitutional Coalition’s “Education Policy Conference 21” – St. Louis, Feb 2010.

In many respects, the adults of our nation are like the ostrich—not the proverbial one who buries his head in the sand to avoid calamity, but the one described in the 39th chapter of Job, the one that abandons its young:

“For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers;”

This is description is emblematic of the case I make in my book, The War on Children. Our culture is dealing cruelly with our young. We kill them in the womb. We infect their minds with vulgar and pornographic entertainments. We barely notice when one quarter of young high school girls are infected with STDs. As a nation we seem to have lost sight of the fact that our children are our nation’s hope for the future and our greatest heritage.

Therefore, I doubly appreciate the opportunity Donna Hearne and the Constitutional Coalition have given me to speak to you today. Not only am I honored, but I am thankful to speak to a group that “gets it!”  You understand that education is THE political question our nation must face if we are to give our children a heritage of freedom.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan claims that congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle all agree that “education is the one issue that rises above politics and ideology.”[1]

But I would say, most emphatically not! Education does not—in fact, it cannot rise above politics. The way we educate—lead, direct, guide, and nurture—our youth is always going to be political and ideological, because it is determined by beliefs that are politically, morally, philosophically, and yes, religiously grounded.

For decades now we’ve been told that the way to fix our schools is to throw money at them.  The new Obama budget will give close to $50 billion to government controlled education, the highest amount ever.[2]

However, as Dr. D. James Kennedy observed, “It’s not the money that is the problem; it is the philosophy that has gone wrong. We have brought about a moral educational collapse equivalent to an attack by a hostile foreign power.”[3]

Education is the political question we must tackle if our country is to remain free. It has been THE political question since Plato addressed it in The Republic and Aristotle in his Politics.

Our Founding Fathers considered it deeply, and like most other political issues, they got it right. They saw that moral virtue is our “first line of defense” to preserve our Republic. Samuel Adams, known in our schools until recently as “The Father of the American Revolution,” wrote:

While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.[4]

According to Manhattan Institute Fellow Kay Hymowitz, parents during the Founding era gave a great deal of attention to the moral development of their children. They saw that they must prepare their children to be independent moral actors in a free society. “Knowing that republican government depended on individual virtue, they set out to construct in their child’s heart and mind an internal moral compass they thought of as ‘character,’” says Hymowitz.[5]

Until the rise of the commons school movement in the 1840s and 50s, schooling was handled by a variety of institutions: some students were educated in private academies; some attended church schools, some were taught by tutors or parents who prepared them for higher education by reading of the classics, and many youth were apprenticed to learn a profitable trade. The result of this mix was described by Alexis de Tocqueville after his visit to America in 1831:

There is no country in the world where, after all is said and done, men make as many efforts to create social well-being. I do not know a people who has succeeded in establishing schools as numerous and as efficacious.[6]

But Horace Mann believed a “common school” was needed to promote “common cultural values” across the land, and so he and his fellow educators took control of schooling out of the hands of parents and local communities and put it in the hands of government and bureaucrats. They believed, just as educationists do today, that children are the property of the state and, therefore, the state has the right to determine how they should be educated.[7]

This morning’s speakers have described the ideological takeover of our nation’s classrooms. I do not believe this would have been possible, however, if parents truly understood that education is a political question, or if they really knew what was happening in schools today. As Gary DeMar notes in his book, Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World, “. . . most parents have no idea what’s going on in their child’s school. If they don’t hear any bad news, they assume that all is well.”[8] But that assumption can bring disastrous results, as thousands of parents will testify who sent their kids off to school and had them return with their worldviews tainted by moral relativism, evolutionism, and now globalism.

Should this surprise us? Our nation has lost its moral bearings; its moral compass is skewed. Our current system of education only reflects that fact.

For years educationists have been insisting that their curricula not only are, but must be, “value neutral.” Rather than giving our children a strong moral mooring, schooling in America is cutting them adrift. The result: our youth are caught in the prevailing winds of hedonism, individualism, and egalitarianism. Their passions are ignited before their reason is fully developed. Lust is stoked by entertainment and marketing; the passion of envy, which de Tocqueville rightly recognized is endemic to democratic states[9], is played upon by educators and politicians alike.

So in view of this, I believe the only way we can stop the war on children is by providing a moral education to build a moral nation. And in the remaining time I have I’d like to suggest three principles which I believe must provide the foundation for education in our land.

First, education must affirm and value the sanctity of life. Life is the most fundamental value in any society. Without it, no other rights or liberties matter. Liberty, the pursuit of happiness, none of these matter, as Dr. Francis Schaeffer once pointed out, when you are lying in your coffin.[10]

Second, our education system must recognize that parents, not the state, have the primary responsibility for the nurture and education of their children.

Third, for education to be truly moral, it must be grounded in recognition of the covenantal relationship that God has made with His creation. As the Supreme Lawgiver, God has given His law not only to mankind, but also to creation, and His laws cannot be broken, except at our own jeopardy.

Let us look now at the first principle: Life itself is sacred—it is a gift given by the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, who dispenses all rights to mankind.

In our society, sanctity of life is a vanishing value—especially among our youth. Homicide is twice as high among teens and young adults as in the general population. Suicide is 13 times higher.[11] We shouldn’t be surprised.  Youth do not see life being valued; 50 million of their peers have been aborted.

As a society, we no longer treasure our children as a “gift of the Lord.” The “fruit of the womb” is often unwanted. The status of children in our society is more precarious now than at any point in our nation’s history. Children are vulnerable in the womb and young children are vulnerable to physical abuse and assault. In Broward County, Florida, the number of deaths caused by child abuse increased 23% just in 2008.[12]

Two incidents that occurred last year should have been a wake-up call in this regard. Perhaps you saw the cell-phone video that was played on the news showing teens beating their schoolmate to death in the Southside Chicago neighborhood where Barak Obama worked as a community organizer.[13] Then last fall boys in a Deerfield Beach, Florida neighborhood deliberately set fire to one of their peers.[14] These incidents illustrate the loss of moral conscience that accompanies the devaluing of human life.

Education by definition shapes the disposition, bends the will, and influences the soul of the learner. If moral values are not taught, however, there will be no formation of a moral conscience in our youth.

Today we hear more about “quality of life” than “sanctity of life.” However, that is taking us down a very slippery slope. If we think about it a bit, we see why. As Dr. D. James Kennedy pointed out, “quality of life” is a material judgment. It is based in a materialistic, and ultimately, atheistic ethic. “Sanctity of life” recognizes life as a transcendental value—it is sacred, holy—and God given.

If we do not affirm “sanctity of life” as the first principle of moral education, our culture will continue in a downward spiral of violence and degradation of human life. And our republic will be in great jeopardy, for any government that fails to protect the lives of the innocent is already becoming a tyrant state.

The second principle is one that I discuss at length in The War on Children. Moral education must affirm that parents have the primary responsibility to nurture and educate their children. Although the state derives a benefit from the education of its citizens, it is the responsibility of parents, given to them by God—the giver of life—to direct and determine the education of their children.

After giving the children of Israel the moral laws of the Ten Commandments to govern their relationships with God and with man, Moses gave the Israelites the following instructions:

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

In other words, they were to grab every “teachable moment” in order to pass on to their children a godly heritage of wholehearted love for the Lord their God.

Today, a growing percentage of children receive no moral instruction in the home; for many others, their fathers are absent or rarely seen. Our fathers are missing and parents are abdicating their parental roles. When fathers are absent, children suffer; when fathers fail to teach their children moral virtues, the nation suffers.

In The Death of the Grown-Up, Diana West says that Boomer parents, in their own striving for “perpetual adolescence,” are unwilling to assume the role traditionally held by “grown-ups” in society; i.e., the role of setting boundaries and guidelines for youth.[15] Boomers are not helping youths make the transition into adulthood. The result—career-less twenty-somethings continue to live with their parents. Thirty-somethings avoid the commitment of marriage and devote all their income to their own entertainments.

In her book, Ready or Not, Kay Hymowitz links lack of parenting in our society to a mindset she refers to as “anticulturalism.”[16] Arguing that our culture is denying the need for home and school to shape and nurture children’s moral development, she says we’re treating children like little adults. We expect 3 year-olds to exercise their autonomy by choosing what they will wear to school. 13 year-olds are not required to have their parents consent to have an abortion. Our culture is full of ironies, but this is one of the most poignant. Adults living in perpetual adolescence are treating their children like little adults and pushing them into realms of behavior they are not ready for—emotionally, cognitively, or morally.

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child is the ultimate expression of the “anticulturalism” Hymowitz speaks of. If ratified, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty would supercede all state laws regarding parental rights, and the federal judiciary and UN agencies would have the power to make determinations on what they considered to be in the “best interests of the child.”[17]

The third principle I’d like to suggest gets to the heart of moral education. True moral education must be grounded in recognition of the covenantal relationship that God has with His creation as its Supreme Law Giver.

The Pilgrims clearly understood this covenantal relationship. As their leader John Winthrop told them during their voyage to the new land, “The end is to improve our lives to do more service to the Lord. . . We are entered into a covenant with Him to do this work.”

Having been providentially blown off course so they could not settle in the area under the Virginia Company’s jurisdiction, the Pilgrims wrote the Mayflower Compact to serve as the foundation of their self-government. Some have called the Compact a “social contract.” But steeped as they were in Protestant covenant theology, the Pilgrims clearly saw themselves as loyal subjects of the king who, nevertheless, had the right to make a covenant with God and each other for the governance of their community.  “We, whose names are underwritten,” they wrote, “do. . . in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic.“[18]

This conception of covenant can be traced through scores of similar documents that preceded the Constitution. It had a tremendous influence upon the writers of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.[19] They recognized that the rights of life and liberty had to be endowed by the Creator in order to be “unalienable.” A social contract can be broken by either party. But signing a covenant meant pledging one’s sacred honor and even one’s own life to keep it.[20]

The dilemma of modern education, as my great uncle, apologist and theologian, Cornelius Van Til pointed out, is that it cannot provide our children with any moral absolutes, because it no longer acknowledges any source of truth outside of the material world and man’s own reason. He wrote:

Only when ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ revelation are seen (thus) to supplement one another, is man placed in his proper historical perspective. Only thus do we see what he was and what he was meant to become both individually and racially. Only in this way is man functionally defined as the covenant being that he is.[21]

God established a covenantal relationship with His new creation after saving Noah and his family from the worldwide flood. He set the rainbow in the sky as a constant reminder of His continued providential care for this “privileged planet.” God has always worked through families. The moral heritage passed down from fathers to sons and daughters can have tremendous impact for moral good in society.

As Michael Medved points out in 10 Big Lies About America, “No family story concludes with a single generation.” One of the most striking examples of this in American history is the story of the heritage the Puritan Theologian Jonathan Edwards.  He raised 11 godly children. Among their descendents were 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, and a dean of a law school, 80 public office holders, nearly 100 missionaries, 3 mayors, 3 governors, 3 United States Senators, 1 comptroller of the U.S. Treasury and 1 Vice President of the United States.[22]

Secretary Duncan has said that education is a “moral issue” because we have “an obligation to give every child in America an education that helps them succeed in their career and fulfill their role as active and involved citizens.”[23] But this is the morality of socialism.

Education a moral issue because it works on the soul. Education shapes dispositions, bends the will, influences character, and molds the conscience. And unless we understand the moral impact that education has on the souls of our children, we will never be able to provide education that is morally up to the task of building a moral nation.

There is hope for the future.  Our hope cannot rest in our own strength, however. It must rest in the One, who guided our nation in its founding; the One who will continue to guide us, if we turn to Him. Let us confess our national idolatry, seek His saving grace, and pray for His supreme help in this, our time of need.


[1] Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “Economic Security and a 21st Century Education,” Remarks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Education and Workforce Summit, November 9, 2009.

[2] Bill Murchison, “Government Itself Needs an Education,” Townhall.com, February 2, 2010,

http://townhall.com/columnists/BillMurchison/2010/02/02/government_itself_needs_an_education

[3] D. James Kennedy, “The Dumbing Down of America,” Sermon preached at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, FL,  Feb 2, 1997.

[4] William Federer, “Sam Adams and the Boston Tea Party, American Minute, September 27, 2009.

[5] Kay S. Hymowitz, Ready of Not: What Happens When we Treat Children as Small Adults, (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2000), 30.

[6] Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Translated and edited by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 88.

[7] Bruce N. Shortt, The Harsh Truth About Public Schools (Vallecito, CA: Chalcedon Foundation, 2004), 307.

[8] Gary De Mar, Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 62.

[9] De Tocqueville, op cit. p. 189.

[10] Quote provided by D. James Kennedy in “Life: An Inalienable Right,” sermon preached on Jan. 19, 1992 at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

[11] About.com Longevity, Top 10 Causes of Death for Ages 15-24, Mark Stibich, PhD. Updated June 15.2007;

Ben Best, “Causes of Death,” Causes of Death, USA, 2002, http://www.benbest.com/lifeext/causes.html

[12] Josh Hafenbrack, Tallahassee Bureau, January 7, 2010, “Child-abuse Deaths Jump 23 Percent in Florida,” Articles about Child Abuse, Sun Sentinel, http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-01-07/news/1001060797_1_child-abuse-deaths-jump-abuse-and-neglect-child-abuse

[13] Heather MacDonald, “Chicago’s Real Crime Story: Why decades of community organizing haven’t stemmed the city’s youth violence,” City Journal, winter 2010.

[14] Anne-Marie Dorning, “Teens Who Burned Boy May be Tried as Adults: Teen Was Set on Fire over a $40 Video Game,” ABC News, Oct. 14, 2009. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/US/burned-boys-attackers-adults/story?id=8829393

[15] Diana West, The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Civilization (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007).

[16] Kay S. Hymowitz, op. cit.

[17] Michael P. Farris, Judicial Tyranny Goes Global: International Mindset Usurps Parental Rights, reprinted from The Home School Court Report (vol. XXI, no. 2), http://parentalrights.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={FD002BD3-E4FC-4BE3-B30D-EFFE061FF34F}

[18] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower_compact

[19] David C. Gibbs and Jerry Newcombe, “The Puritan Covenants,” in One Nation Under God: Ten Things Every Christian Should Know About the Founding of America, (Seminole, FL: Christian Law Association, 2005), 36-46.

[20] D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, “Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor” in What if America Were a Christian Nation Again? (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 30 – 41.

[21] Cornelius Van Til, The Dilemma of Education, (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1956), 32.

[22] William J. Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (St. Louis, MO: Amerisearch, Inc.,

1994/2000), 223.

[23] “Education Secretary Launches National Discussion on Education Reform: “Listening and Learning Tour” Seeks Grassroots Input on Improving America’s Schools,” Press Release, May 5, 2009, http://www2.ed.gov/print/news/pressreleases/2009/05/05052009.html

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