Government Public Schools and Why Christians Can't Use Them

Government-Run “Public Schools”, A Smashing Success, From Satan’s Perspective

The following material is about the goals of state-run education: To destroy Christianity and (supposedly) to bring salvation through humanistic schooling. This material is from a tape series by Pastor Steve Wilkins of the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana, titled “America: The First 350 Years.” This tape series can be ordered in MP3 format with lecture notes in pdf files all on one CD for $25.00. Order from: Covenant Publications, 224 Auburn Ave., Monroe, LA 71201.

The Public School Movement

One of the most successful reform movements of the 1830’s and 40’s was the push for a nation wide, state-supported (and state-controlled) school system.

The education level of our nation was far higher than Europe at the same time and much higher than today.

Professor Lawrence Cremin, has determined that adult male literacy in the colonies ran from 70 to 100 percent (Samuel Blumenfeld, Is Public Education Necessary?, p. 20).

There were numerous private schools and even “charity schools” for the poor. This all came about without any government assistance.

Outside of New England, the country had almost complete educational liberty. This all being the case, why was there a desire for state-controlled schools? They were motivated by two things:

1. The desire to destroy the Christian foundations of the nation.

2. The humanistic belief of salvation through education.

“The public school movement was always more than simply an effort to have schools provided at taxpayer expense. Nor was it simply an effort to have an educated electorate as the franchise was extended to more people, is sometimes alleged. The most zealous of the reformers were determined to use the power of the state by way of the schools to break the hold of religious tradition and the inherited culture and to change society through the child’s training.” (A Basic History of the United States, vol. 3, pp. 90,91)

Let’s look briefly at some of the leaders of the “public school” movement:

Robert Owen
Robert Owen (the father of modern socialism) denounced all religion as the chief cause of human misery. He would write in 1830:

“Now, when the effects of religion, as it has been hitherto taught, and impressed upon the human race, shall be followed through all their ramifications, it will be discovered that the religion of the world is the sole cause of all the disunion, hatred, uncharitableness, and crime, which pervade the population of the earth…” (Blumenfeld, Ibid., p. 204)

The “salvation” of the world (which in Owen’s mind meant the embracing of socialism) depended upon the eradication of Biblical education. In order for socialism to take hold in this country, the populace had to be re-educated.

Blumenfeld observes: “to the Owenites in 1828 it was clear that national public education was the essential first step on the road to socialism and that this would require a sustained effort of propaganda and political activism over a long period of time” (Ibid ‘pp 79,80)

Abram Combe
Combe, a disciple of Owen, shared along with the others, a revulsion for the Biblical faith. He wrote in 1845:

“I was educated in rigid Calvinism, and sincerely embraced it, so far as my nature was capable of doing so. In boyhood, it appeared to me to embody into a system not only sound interpretations of scripture, but the undeniable facts of nature…These opinions, however, while they appeared to me to be true, never congenial to my nature, and caused me great uneasiness.. .After I became acquainted with the great facts in regard to the extent and constitution of the universe, and the uniformity of the laws by which its phenomena are regulated, as these are disclosed by the sciences.. .the cloud of superstition under which I had been educated gradually dissolved, and Phrenology [ philosophy of human nature developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall], by unfolding the sources of many of the errors of Calvinism which appear like truth, aided the process of emancipation.” (Ibid., pp. 205,206)

Combe realized that his conversion would have to be repeated in the lives of other men before a secular, national education system dedicated to the improvement of men could be a reality.

Horace Mann
Like his cohorts, Mann was also reared a Calvinist but rejected it when he was 12 years old. To Mann, inequality was man’s great enemy. If ever man was to be truly equal, there must be equality of education and character. This made public schools, with a common curriculum an absolute necessity:

“The common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man: we repeat it, the common school is the greatest discovery ever made by man.. .Let the common school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be worked with the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine-tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the long catalogue of human ills would be abridged; men would walk more safely by day; every pillow would be more inviolable by night; property, life, and character held by a stronger tenure; all rational hopes respecting the future brightened.” (Clarence Carson, A Basic History of the United States, vol. 3, p. 91).

Horace Mann believed the State to be the “true parent” of the child, “Society in its collective capacity is a real not a nominal sponsor and god-father for all the children.” (R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, p. 24)

Thus, it was the State which had the primary responsibility of providing education.

Robert Dale Owen
Son of Robert Owen. Followed his father’s judgment that Calvinism and especially the belief in the total depravity of human nature, was the enemy to “progress.” He wrote in 1832 that the doctrine of man’s depravity was a “degrading slander that has stolen from man his self- respect!” (Is Public Education Necessary?, p. 102) In place of the Christian education, he proposed a “religiously neutral” education:

“I would as little prejudice a child against any religion as in its favor; I would not speak to it on the subject. It should learn first what it could see and understand; its judgment should be carefully matured, and its reasoning powers sedulously cultivated. And if at riper age, when it opened its eyes on the creeds that now distract the world, it found one among the number that bore the impress of reason and truth, it is not I who would complain of conversion.” (Ibid.)

Owen’s “broad mindedness” needs to be understood in the light of what he had previously written in 1830:

“I object to Infant Schools, as now conducted, because they are under the control of the clergy, who enlist the Scriptures and superstitions of amiable young women to aid them in obtruding on the unsuspecting and immature mind of infancy creeds and doctrines which I believe mischievous at any age, but more peculiarly unsuited to one who is but just opening his senses to perceive the material world around him…” (Ibid., p. 121)

These men all rejected Biblical Christianity, but vehemently denied that they were faithless. Robert Dale Owen even wrote his own statement of faith:

“I believe in a National System of Equal, Republican, Protective, Practical Education, the sole regenerator of a profligate age, and the only redeemer of our suffering country from the equal curses of chilling poverty and corrupting riches, of gnawing want and destroying debauchery, of blind ignorance and of unprincipled intrigue. “By this, my creed, I will live. By my consistency, or inconsistency with this, my professed belief, I claim to be judged. By it I will stand or fall.” (Ibid., p. 104)

Public education was to be the “regenerator” and “redeemer” of this present age. This faith was the new orthodoxy for these modern “reformers.” The others involved were no less candid about their humanism. Francis Wright (feminist, public school advocate) said,

“National, rational education is to be free for all at the expense of all; conducted under the guardianship of the state, at the expense of the state, and for the honor, the happiness, the virtue, the salvation of the state.. .Fix your eyes upon the great object — the salvation and regeneration of human kind, by means of the rational education and protection of youth…” (Ibid., p. 83)

The Owenites later formed a secret society to work toward attaining their goals. Orestes Brownson (who was a leader in this society) later wrote about it:

“The great object was to get rid of Christianity, and to convert our churches into halls of science. The plan was not to make open attacks on religion, although we might belabor the clergy and bring them into contempt where we could; but to establish a system of state, — we said national — schools, from which all religion was to be excluded, in which nothing was to be taught but such knowledge as is verifiable by the senses, and to which all parents were to be compelled by law to send their children.” (Ibid., p. 95,96)

Surprisingly, the majority of Christians supported this movement. The reasons for their support were three-fold:

1. The decline of Calvinism among evangelicals in general. The majority of Christians were in basic agreement with the Unitarians and Owenites in their opposition to Calvinism.

2. The great influx of immigrants from Europe. Many of whom were Roman Catholics who had been greatly influenced by rationalism. These posed a threat to the historic Protestant consensus and many believed that government schools would ward off their influence.

3. It was the belief of many that the public schools would be turned over to the control of Christians once they were established.

These things resulted in the strange coalition of Socialists, Unitarians, and evangelical Christians all supporting a government school system for their own reasons. This coalition coupled with the vigorous support of textbook publishers, professional educators, and others who saw the profit potential of such a system brought tremendous pressure in favor government financed schools.

Buoyed by this support, the pro-school propaganda he became increasingly vicious and outrageous. Opponents of public schools were labeled the “enemies of light and knowledge” and of the “betterment of mankind.”

They even declared that to oppose public schools was equivalent to opposing the “purpose of our pious ancestors.” The very fact that these men could claim the Puritans as allies in this fight shows how little people knew about their Puritan heritage. The Common School Journal published its own version of Puritan history:

“Our fathers encountered the perils of the ocean, and endured the privations of a wilderness, nay, they suffered and died, for the great cause of equality. They established institutions for the express purpose of sustaining the poor, of guarding the defenseless; or, rather, they established institutions calculated to destroy the distinction between the rich and the poor, and to place men upon one common level.” (Ibid., p. 219)

This was not history but a carefully calculated fiction designed to intimidate opponents. The “friends of education” didn’t stop here however. The Common School Journal went on to state:

“Any thing which tends to lessen the value of our free schools is hostile to the designs of our pious ancestors. Any man, who through pride or parsimony permits these schools to decline, can hardly be regarded as a friend to this country. I speak with plainness, for I am pleading the cause of humanity and of God. And I say that any man who designs the destruction of our free schools is a traitor to the cause of liberty and equality, and would, if it were in his power, reduce us to a state of vassalage.” (Ibid., pp. 219,220)

By the year 1850 it was a forgone conclusion that this country would have a system of government supported schools; These schools were not to be centers of learning but engines of change and “reform.”

Schools were no longer extensions of parental authority but a powerful instrument of State control of the population. The reformers sought to deny parents any authority over the education. of their children. The schoolmaster was King. The state superintendent of education in California in 1864, John Swett put it this way in his Biennial Report:

“The vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teacher is entirely erroneous.. .In private schools the case is somewhat different; for the parents there, in legal effect, are the employers of the teacher, and consequently his masters; but in the common and public schools they are neither his employers nor his masters, and it is entirely out of place. for them to attempt to give him orders…” (Rushdoony, op. cit., pp. 80,81)

Children increasingly came to be viewed as “wards of the State” and it was the State’s responsibility (as the “Great Parent”) to provide education for them.

Horace Mann stated, “Society, in its collective capacity [ the State], is a real, not a nominal sponsor and god- father for all its children.” (Ibid., p. 24)

Schooling thus became the prerogative of the State and schools became the agents of the State. As Rushdoony notes., “If the schools are agencies of the state, they must inevitably serve the purposes of the state rather than God, man, the family, or any institution.” (Messianic Character, p. 88)

The public schools would become the chief instrument in implementing the revolution the enemies of Christianity desired. The schools became the new temples of the new religion of Man. The teachers were the new priests. Man., or more precisely, “humanity” as incorporated in the State, became the new god and has remained so to this day.

My Note: This is whay we could not send our children to Public Schools and obey God. Deut 6:1-12

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