Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

By Karla Fetrow

America’s New Academics

Home-schooling; the wave of the future; the practical design that allows you to prepare your child’s education within the modern world by the standards long cherished and protected as family values.  Taken up in the 1960’s as a counter cultural movement toward early levels of higher education, the practice has caught on with the basic appeal of choosing your own environmental settings and allowing the child to explore academic potentials at his or her own pace.  On March 17th., 2009, a custodial decision by Judge Ned Mangum of Raleigh, North Carolina suddenly turned media attention to the home-school community.

The case involved Venessa and Thomas Mills, a recently divorced couple.  According to the father, Venessa has been home-schooling her children for four years, under the guide lines of the Sound Doctrine Church, which provides the educational material and spiritual guidance for its members.  He states he originally agreed to home schooling, although only as a temporary structure, however it was her ties to the Church that had initiated their divorce.  He stated that, “She became unrecognizable as the person I married, and, in the name of her religion, she distanced herself from me.”

During this estrangement, he admitted having an affair.  “Venessa Mills expressed appropriate concern for his transgressions,” the court order stated.

Venessa Mills asked the court to order that her husband have no decision-making authority related to the children’s education or religion.  The judge ruled that the three children should be placed immediately into public education and that both parents should have the opportunity to influence the children’s religious development.

The Sound Doctrine Church is one of the larger and more successful of the religiously based home school educational programs.  1.9 to 2.4 million children are home-schooled, up from just 300,000 in 1990. According to the US government’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 72 per cent of home-schooling parents interviewed said that they were motivated by the desire to provide religious and moral instruction.

The Home School Legal Defense Association, which now counts 81,000 families each paying about $100 a year in dues, was founded in 1983 by Mr. Farris, a lawyer who had been a protégé of Tim LaHaye, the conservative Christian political organizer and best-selling author. Mr. Farris and his wife home-schooled their own 10 children. Like Mr. LaHaye, Mr. Farris is a novelist. He has written three legal thrillers involving conservative Christian issues. His latest, ”Forbid Them Not,” begins with a Democratic landslide in the 2004 elections that leads to a nightmare of laws blocking parents from spanking their children, teaching their children fundamental Christianity or schooling them at home.

Mr. Farris was a novelist with a dream.  In 1997, he decided there needed to be a college for his Christian homeschooled students to attend.  One of the first and most significant contributors to sign on was Dr. James Leininger, a Texas physician, home-schooling parent and part-owner of the San Antonio Spurs. Dr. Leininger had made a fortune as controlling shareholder of the medical-bed manufacturer Kinetic Concepts Inc. He also owned a conservative political consulting and direct-mail business, and he had already become one of the biggest political contributors in Texas. He became known for backing Christian conservative candidates to the state’s influential school board. And, as a board member of Children First America, he was also a major patron of the push for school tuition vouchers.

Thanks to the generosity of its donors, Patrick Henry operates with no debt, eschews federal financial support and charges about $15,000 per student a year for tuition, about $10,000 less than some comparable small colleges. The average SAT score is about 1320, roughly comparable to Notre Dame or the University of Virginia.

Of the one hundred interns groomed for working in the White House this semester, seven are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four-year-old Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville, near Washington D.C.   An eighth intern worked for the former president’s re-election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern  worked on the paid staff of ex- president Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove. Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according to the school’s records.

No Quarter – No Compromise – No Retreat – No Regret (Statement at the web site for Sound Doctrine Church)

The necessity to separate Church from State is self-evident.  Discriminatory laws attacking blacks and Native Americans, and which continue to be an issue today among those who successfully evaded the Civil Rights campaigns of the 1960’s, are founded on a Christian dogma that claims these racial distinctions are punishment of a vengeful God for past sins.  The Monroe Doctrine; the biggest stain on American Democracy; sought to expand its Christian ideology through territorial invasion and forced religious education.  The abortion platform has degenerated into one of religion versus science, instead of one that deals directly with the mental and physical well-being of the mother who ultimately must be bear the brunt of any decision concerning her unborn child.  The religion motivated anti-abortionists say they will give no quarter.  A woman’s body is no longer her own once it houses a child.  The unborn rights supercede hers.

The issue of whether creationism should be taught in the schools is an old one.  After the Scopes Trial (Tennessee, 1925) the theory of evolution gained much public support. However, this did not translate into evolution being taught widely in the public schools of America.

State creationism laws were passed during the 1980’s in Arkansas and Louisiana, to force the teaching of creationism in place of evolution. In a 1987 case, Edwards v. Aquillard, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these laws were unconstitutional because they violated the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment of the U.S. constitution. Creation science was seen to be a expression of religious belief. It was judged to be not a true science because it could never be falsified — i.e., it was firmly held as a religious belief by its adherents that no amount of contradictory physical evidence could change.

A board of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance concurred that creationism could be taught alongside evolution as an illustration of particular religious beliefs, but it could not be taught as a science.  Creationism versus evolution is not a conflict among many Christian organizations.

A minority of conservative Protestants, most liberal Protestants, the Roman Catholic Church, and most scientists accept either Theistic Evolution or Naturalistic Evolution. Both accept that evolution of the species has happened, and that the earth is over 4 billion years of age — some 500,000 times older than young-earth creationists believe.

Over 95% of scientists generally, and over 99% of scientists in the fields of biology and earth sciences, accept the theory of evolution. These beliefs estimate the earth to be about 4.5 billions of years old.

Creation science based on the biblical book of Genesis cannot constitutionally be discussed in isolation. The beliefs of other religions, and of secular movements would have to be taught along with the Judeo-Christian-Muslim belief. Otherwise, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam would be seen as being promoted by the school as superior to other religions and to a secular lifestyle.

General acceptance of creation science would mean that the entire foundational structure and inter-relationships of many sciences (geology, biology, astronomy, nuclear science, etc.) would become meaningless, and would have to be abandoned. It would also directly conflict with one of the basic principles in the Bill of Rights concerning religious freedom.  At a time when it is necessary to compromise and regain the perspective that one is a science based on religion, the other a science based on mathematics and earth studies, we hear a battle cry of there can be no compromise.

America is not alone in its struggles to keep a religious belief from becoming the government legislated academic base.    David Modell of the UK  Telegraph recently covered the aspects of a growing fundamentalist movement that currently operates fifty schools within the United Kingdom.  Yet, according to Modell, Yet these schools are not operating outside the education system. Carmel is a government-endorsed faith school, complete with an Ofsted report that describes the teaching as “satisfactory”.

Modell reports visiting a class room where the six year old children were instructed to recite the lines, “The Lord has not dealt with us according to our sins nor punished us according to our iniquities.”  The teacher then went on to explain that, “Before Jesus came, people who disobeyed God got turned to a pillar of salt. So thank God for Jesus because we can say ‘Jesus, I’m sorry’ and we don’t have to fear getting turned into a pillar of salt, which really happened in the Old Testament.”

The lessons were centered primarily around “original sins”, with one child praying for another when it was discovered there would be a science test.  The prayer consisted of hoping the other girl would not make any spelling errors.

Modell states that this uncompromising dogma was imported from the United States It is called Accelerated Christian Education; the motto of the Florida-based company who produce it is: “Reaching the world for Christ, one child at a time.” It is an outreach that claims there will be no retreats.

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”… and they came with their yearnings and dreams.  They came in droves, filling the shore with waves of immigrants,  the exodus of the uprooted, the religiously persecuted.  The diversity of their voices created an awareness and rapid exchange of intellectual ideas, resulting in a progressive Nation.  In order for this diversity to continue, there can be no established religion within the government.  There can be no Christian crusades.  Religious instruction within academic studies should be optional and apart from formal State approved formal education.  Home schooling, which broke ground as an alternative to public education by producing college accredited students, should not be crippled by a political agenda based on religious motivations.

The world has suffered much under the hands of those who had no regrets.  It has suffered elitism, exploitation and tyranny.  Our moral dignity has suffered under lies and deceptions.  Religious power, when placed in the hands of governing officials, is a club that annihilates all other basic human rights.  We must keep religion and science separate within our academic studies for it’s only through these separations that we can maintain an objective view and fully explore the potential of both science and religion.  It’s only through these separations that we can safeguard against religiously motivated decisions in our legislative body.  We must keep the distinctions clear, whether we are Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Matriarch inclined or atheist, for only then are we truly guaranteed the freedom of religion.








By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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28 thoughts on “The Corporate Sovereignty of Home School Education”
  1. Good job on a heady subject matter.

    I agree with the basic viewpoint that teaching creationism in school would probably only benefit major Judaism and Christian religions, at the expense of eastern religions.

    Still, since evolution (speaking specifically of the current scientific viewpoint on how life happened, not just the general evolutionary concept which seems to universally accepted) is still considered a theory. Fact is defined is something that has happened, something that is proven with undisputed events and happenings and physical evidence available to the general public. A group of scientists agreeing that a plausible theory should be considered fact because of the weight of their qualifications does not make it fact.

    That said, there’s no reason to teach current evolutionary viewpoints in school, since it’s a religion requiring faith as much as any other. Why not focus on teaching students how to read, write and do something practical with their life? Schools may claim they do this already, but statistically, their current methods ain’t working. So maybe they should add a few more subjects, you know somewhere along the lines of growing up to be decent human beings who don’t murder, lie, go to war, engage in political corruption or help bring STDs to the world.

  2. So the alternative to “religious power.. in the hands of governing officials” is to take it away from individuals and families. How is that tolerance?

    Homeschoolers are a diverse bunch. Many homeschoolers are not religiously motivated at all. To list all these hot button issues like abortion, evolution and political conservatism is a feeble attempt to lump these with homeschooling.

    Your citation of the success of homeschoolers, you fail to realize is regardless of religious motivations. Children learn better when directed by parents who know them, have their best interests at heart and are free from government meddling.

    It’s actually rather difficult to tell what you are proposing here. Homeschooling is not a government program. It’s just the opposite. If you want the diversity to continue, the government is not going to produce that with it’s federal mandates and universal standards.

    There is nothing to be alarmed or afraid of with homeschooling. It’s simply people taking charge raising their own children. You should be more afraid of the government taking charge of your children.

  3. As publisher of a homeschool magazine which just entered its 27th year, I welcome this exporlation.

    Homeschooling had been a diverse community where the diversity of beliefs posed no problem working together for homeschooling freedoms. Most relationships between citizen and state were worked out under these conditions and freedoms were discussed with legislators in terms of rights and responsibilities. The goal was not only favorable regulations but a broad base of support for homeschooling.

    That was before evangelical politicians found homeschooling. These evangelical politicians brought a different set of strategies and tactics, divided the movement along religious lines and inserted a strategy for protecting homeschooling freedoms that can only be termed ‘freedom by license’. While diversity remained, the result of the politician’s efforts was tying homeschooling to a narrowed agenda and thereby narrowing the base of support.

    For years we have published warnings that the ‘freedom by license’ strategy not only threatens homeschooling freedoms, but, religious freedoms as well. An odd, very odd strategy. I have never been able to puzzle out how this strategy could be a win for families or the nation. But maybe that was never their goal.

  4. The defining principle of science is that it can be falsified. This is why science evolves. The Big Bang theory, generally accepted by scientists, has recently gone through its own trial of statistical error, leaving scientists to review their data and recalculate their findings. Anthropology has had to re-adjust its data over and over again as new evidence pushes humankind’s beginnings into a deeper and more distant time period. Creationism is presented as an absolute. It doesn’t allow the tests of theory, which separate it from science.

    I find nothing at all wrong with religious schools. The freedom of religion is one of our basic rights. However, to use Christian education as a means of infiltrating society at the government level is to create a mandate of one a single belief system, that not only excludes non-Christian entities, excludes any Christian that interprets the Bible in a separate manner. This includes Catholics, liberal Christians, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses, who all have separate Bibles and separate interpretations of the Biblical meanings. To accept Creationism as science would corrupt the meaning of the word science, because science is the theoretical analysis of mathematics and physical evidence.

    We do not have to be Christians to have moral fiber. We do not have to be anti-religious to accept science. We don’t have to believe in science to be intelligent, although it is science that gave us our technology. Without it, we would not have computers and video games, medical knowledge and complex engineering.

    Implementing a religious based government is nothing more than creating a safety net for those who feel they must be right because God is on their side, while ignoring the rights of others. They need the appointment of laws that prove their particular vision of a perfect world is inclusive and compulsory. They are cowards. They are afraid to test their faith against others. They are afraid to test the foundations of their beliefs. If the appeal of their ideology doesn’t work to gain followers, they work within the sheltering umbrella of governments and corporations, spinning out lobbyists to change it. The censorship laws are a direct result of this ideology. Do you find a Christian government so palatable, you are willing to accept the consequences of a censored internet?

  5. At issue for me is the utter inability for either side to make allowances and come a step closer to middle ground. Should creationism be allowed for discussion, absolutely, as should evolution and any other bloody thing that should come up. Discussion is intigral to learning and do not see how a student doing research thoughtfully and presenting it in a scholarly manner to his classmated for discussion be it on honey bees or Xenu’s earth colonozation model should be disallowed. If people are going to get freaked out about discussion in schools then they are clearly not speaking to their kids at home enough.

    What is of concern to me is the ideal that schools be they public, private or in the home are somehow bad for kid’s moral development. I have heard these types of statements made by many proponents of alternative schooling. I have also heard the school districts say that homeschooling is bad for reasons of lack of socialization, level of awareness and structure.

    So too am I concerned about abusing the Bible to teach and control as in the case of the teacher that told her student that “all sinners will be turned into a block of salt.” Where does it say that? That happened one time.

    I am less concerned about the Bible itself being used as a teaching tool. It was a standard of teaching in schools across the country until well after the turn of the last century, and more of our graduate population could actually read, if a child can get through that they can pretty much read anything.

    I agree that religious power is a mighty tool in the hands of government and we should work hard to keep it out. There were very good reasons the drafters of the constitution did so although all of them identified themselves as Christian. There can no longer stand a democracy when the state is handing out laws about religion. It at that point becomes some sort of Oligarthic Theocracy, and I really don’t want to be around for that.

  6. After reading this article, I was rather confused as to what its point was. What is the author advocating here? At first she talks about how successful homeschooling is as an educational model, then describes how conservative Christians are supposedly hijacking it for their own political goals and how they are a threat to secular society. Fine, I disagree with that, but you’re entitled to your opinion. However, what are you saying we should actually DO about that? Are you honestly proposing that the government step in and regulate the content of homeschooling programs, censoring parents and telling them are are not allowed to teach religious principles to their children? You stopped short of actually saying that, but it seemed to be the implied conclusion of this article.

    If that is indeed your conclusion, I find it highly offensive that you would consider evangelical Christians such as myself undeserving of the basic religious freedom our country is founded upon–the freedom to practice our religion without state interference and to pass our religious teachings down to our children. If you actually talk to Christian homeschoolers, you would find that most merely want to be left alone to teach their children according to the dictates of their conscience. It’s a sad day indeed when people such as the author of this article are unable to respect that.

  7. Patrick, i think you summarized quite well the lineal trend of the article. The statistics and the references are there to follow up on if you disagree there is a fundamentalist movement to groom students for roles within politics and government. This movement does not include all the various church groups defined as fundamentalist. It is a specific organization whose purpose is to create a Christian government according to their terms of Christianity. You bet i have an issue with that!

    I homeschooled my own children from eighth grade on. My own reasons were complex, but one of them was that i didn’t believe they were receiving a complete education by following an agenda that traces a Christian history as the epoch of world knowledge. It’s been the procedure for so many years; a few centuries; that the practice is entirely a sub-conscious evaluation. Ancient history covers the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, than abruptly follows the trail of Christian dominance as it spreads into Europe. It’s as though the history of other countries don’t count unless they followed the power and conquest of an Anglo/Saxon Christian religion. Home school your children in any manner you please, but as an American who upholds the Constitution, keep religion out of the government. My ancestors did not belong to a tribe of Nomads, wandering around and waging war against Babylon and Egypt. My ancestors were living in Ireland and the Americas when Moses floated down the Nile and when Solomon built his temples. Their religion was matriarch and i, who have no taste for patriarch religion, reserve the right to a belief system very similar to my ancestors. Incidentally, according to the religion of my ancestors, women made the best government officials and leaders because it was felt that women were the least likely to lead us into war. My religion however, did not produce a Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin, so it proves any religion can be wrong.

    Grainne, consider this perspective from my radical background. My father, who was greatly influenced by the sci-fi he read, conceived the idea that the block of salt was actually a reference to a man-made catastrophe; possibly something along the lines of a nuclear explosion. He believed that many of the stories in the Bible could actually be references to a technology that has long since been destroyed and whose words for its applications no longer had a base in common language. It’s not entirely difficult to imagine. What if a war was to occur within the next few years that knocked us back to square one? For awhile, the survivors would talk about automobiles, computers and other marvels, but unless they were able to take up back where they started, by the next generation, the words would be essentially meaningless. This still did not stop him from being religious. He still had no explanation for the spark of life that started everything except through a willful consciousness.

    Which brings me around to creationism. After some discussion with a few fundamentalist friends, i agreed that creationism could be taught alongside evolution in the schools, provide both were introduced as theories. In fact, it might even be a healthier attitude, as it would serve as a reminder that theories are never relegated to fact. They are never an absolute. If my children chose to believe that earth was created in a day, that would be their prerogative. If they believed that the planets are actually giant organisms with their own brains and own agendas, that is also their choice. I understand the entire formula for creating a hypothesis and using analytical studies to support a theory, but the truth is, when it comes to determining how something came out of nothing, and the something combined to create solids and liquids that supported that biological miracle called life, it’s going to take a lot of evidence to support any theory.

    I will only respect other belief systems as far as they’ll respect mine. I don’t wished to be forced to be a Christian, which is what the nature of a single religion government would do. It would determine my ethical viewpoint. It would give me a history that wasn’t mine. It would deny that my own beliefs are valid. And it would in one fell blow, make true science, based on theory and not absolutes, ineffective.

  8. Spirit of the law or letter of the law?: The vast majority of professionals agree that child bottom-battering/slapping isn’t healthy. A marginal few (mostly religious fundamentalists as those at Calvin) think that child bottom-slapping is good. They use the same selective literalist interpretation of the Bible as was used to justify “witch”-burning, depraved torture methods for those accused of sin and heresy, slavery, racism, wife-beating, oppression of women and a host of other social ills.

  9. People used to think it was necessary to “spank” adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual assault if a person over the age of 18 is “spanked”, but only if over the age of 18.

    For one thing, buttock-battering can vibrate the pudendal nerve, which can lead to sexual arousal. There are multitudinous other physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won’t list them all here. One can use the resources I’ve posted if they want to learn more.

    Child bottom-battering/slapping vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child bottom-battering (euphemistically labeled “spanking”,”swatting”,”switching”,”smacking”, “paddling”,or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit http://www.nospank.net.

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    American Psychological Association,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  10. PDevirit, we allowed your comment, but considering the nature of your particular issue, i would have preferred to see this discourse in our submissions. We prefer to work around themes and the healthy or unhealthy consequences of spanking are a very good issue.

  11. Whew. I want to reply to this article, which my Google Alerts picked up, but to do so thoroughly would take a while. So I’ll stick with a few items.

    First, I am a 2007 Literature major graduate from Patrick Henry College, which is actually finishing up its ninth year at this point. I work there now, managing the website, and I can tell you that there isn’t any overarching scheme to take over the government. It’s just a good place to go for Christians who think they might want to hold government jobs someday. It also includes us mavericks who simply like to write stories.

    I also had an undeclared minor in History, which leads to my second point. I challenge you to locate histories of portions of the world post-Rome that didn’t have a Judeo-Christian underpinning. China and India have great and glorious heritages, but did not often record them as histories. China in particular had a habit of changing its historical accounts, depending on who was in power. The Norse wrote down some fascinating myths, but mostly around the 13th and 14th centuries, if I recall. The Judeo-Christian heritage puts a special emphasis on the existence of an objective reality and on the use of the written word. That’s why we all typically learn that history — because it’s the most reliable.

    Just a few thoughts! Thanks for the interesting article.

  12. Sarah, thank you for your post, it is true, Christians through the institutions of Monestaries and Scriptoriums are responsible for a lot of the information we still have.

    However ALL portions of the world have a history. I think it is a mistake and a cultural misunderstanding to count out the oral history of places like North and South America where a very strong and well preseved oral history was passed down, except in cases where tribes of native peoples were decimated. In Africa you will find oral traditions as well as written ones and there was no Christianity there. I know that people tend to discount the oral histories as they pass through so many generations however there is much misunderstanding. People who kept the histories had to undergo much training, and be exceptionally good at memory and morally true.

    I think it is a mistake also to discount Eastern Writings simply because of the re-writes rulers commissioned. China in particular was inhabited by a well read and written ruling class very early and although state records may have been changed, there are other items written by those; things like poetry, stories, journals and histories of the times, along with balance sheets, census records and pretty much any other written form we have today.

    And you are also discounting Islam, which yes started as an oral tradition but very quickly turned to the written word. These histories are engraved on ancient buildings from Mosques to Bathhouses, on scrolls, etc.

    There are the Runes of the Nordic peoples, and Ogham, the ancient written language of the Picts and Celts which precedes Christianity.

    As I write this it leads me to the thought that this is what is missing in a completely Christian Environment. Not that it has to be, but clearly, there is a lack of diving into other world culture, histories and types of communication.

  13. Sarah, i have no problem with religious people in government positions. However, i do have an objection to religious biases being the deciding factor in decision making when those decisions trespass on freedom of choice; which is why i’m not against creationism to be taught as a theory in public schools, alongside evolution and any other theory that tries to explain the origin of life, as long as it is taught as a theory and not an absolute.

    Your reference to post-Rome is precisely why i have a distaste for single religion government. Did the Gauls, the Celtics, the Huns, the Moors and the Vikings suddenly pop into existence with Christian exposure? They had been busily shaping their own civilizations and histories until monotheism and the Christ message included them in the state of a crumbling Rome as a government whose only real strength was a religious seat. With its economy in shambles and technology outdated, it was Rome’s only means of retaining control over the secular people.

    We have numerous examples of the destructive forces of religious government; the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Protestant persecutions that sent wave after wave of religious sects into the Americas. These well recorded epochs destroyed an enormous amount of technology and the personal recorded histories of so many people, it takes excruciating research to begin placing the pieces back into place. A continued religious bias concerning these people whose lives have been usurped through conquest and destruction will only take us a step backwards in our discovery of world history.

    As i mentioned in a previous comment, some of my ancestors were Native American. They were building pyramids in Central America at the same time Egypt was building theirs. They believe that the cradle of civilization is in the southern base of Mexico. They couldn’t care in the least what the history of a Nomadic tribe half-way across the world. There were only two reasons they accepted Christianity. One, because of the matriarch aspect of a Holy Mother, and two, because their own histories contained stories of prophets whose message was similar to Christ’s. However, a Judea/ Christian history supplants their own in the public school system even though they were America’s first people. The fight continues to retain the language, the culture and the history of the Native American people.

    Regardless of the denomination, anyone who seeks to establish a Christian government is in direct conflict with the Bill of Rights, which establishes freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of press, without preferences to any particular religious leanings. That there is an agenda to create a dogma based on a particular interpretation of Christianity and its assumptions of morals, is evidenced in the recent Internet controls in Australia, the blasphemy laws in Ireland, and refusals in the United States to recognize homosexual rights. I adamantly oppose any laws that would subject the morality of my personal choices, Christian or otherwise. I adamantly oppose any laws that would replace the secular presentation of the academics in the public schools with religious interpretations. You are entitled to your religious beliefs, your moral choices, your field of academics, your specializations. I insist that i am also entitled to mine and the only way to safe guard my rights, which include studies in earth science, anthropology, World Religions, Native American history and twentieth century history, as well as an aversion to marriage and the indulgence of some minor vices such as tobacco and coffee, is to keep religion and its accompanying nanny laws, out of government.

  14. Grainne, you answered the same time i did. You’re such a beautiful person and far more tactful than i am. A slight correction on Native American history. The Mayan pyramids contain hieroglyphics just as the Egyptian ones do. Because the oral history of the Zapotecans out date even the Maya and the Aztec, the Mayan people have been able to compare the writings with the Zapotecan history and found a general agreement. This history carved in stone also agrees with the Hopi Bible, hundreds of miles away in the Western United States, so there is a great deal of independent correlation. Their stories of creation are more closely related to stories of continuity and their cautionary tales included how humankind failed as a civilization when urban centers became too great and too populated, when technology was developed to do harm and the people became too lazy, spoiled and selfish. They blamed the forces of this destruction mainly on natural calamities of massive proportions and the survivors as the people who opened their third eye. I don’t find their stories any less marvelous or incredulous as any other ancient historical record.

  15. “The statistics and the references are there to follow up on if you disagree there is a fundamentalist movement to groom students for roles within politics and government. This movement does not include all the various church groups defined as fundamentalist….”

    This is the whole crux of the matter, really – and the comments from Patrick and Sarah really crystallize the situation.

    The problem isn’t home-schooling. The problem is the deliberate creation of an insular society.

    In its basic elements (“…we are in the world; not of it….”) this isn’t a bad thing – people holding themselves to a much higher standard than those around them; being ‘the light of the world’. In this, being ‘Christ’s ambassadors’ is very much a leadership-by-example.

    Along came the ’70’s.

    Militant Christianity took root here in the U.S.; Rushdoony; LaHaye; Falwell and their minions began the systematic politicization of Christianity in America.

    With little or no interaction with ‘worldly’ children and no exposure to the concepts of the First Amendment, far-right Fundamentalist children are given far more than, as Patrick would have us believe, “the freedom to practice our religion without state interference and to pass our religious teachings down to our children.”

    I’ve spoken to many Christian homeschoolers. The majority of them are very distrustful of ‘outsiders’; most want to prevent the assimilation of their children into what they believe is ‘worldly culture’. This ‘education’ has created two societies within America; one which is trying to deal with the issues at hand – and another which actually believes that America’s current travails are because we’ve ‘strayed from “god”.’

    Sarah’s comments above illustrate this in part. “I challenge you to locate histories of portions of the world post-Rome that didn’t have a Judeo-Christian underpinning. China and India have great and glorious heritages, but did not often record them as histories. China in particular had a habit of changing its historical accounts, depending on who was in power. The Norse wrote down some fascinating myths, but mostly around the 13th and 14th centuries, if I recall. The Judeo-Christian heritage puts a special emphasis on the existence of an objective reality and on the use of the written word. That’s why we all typically learn that history — because it’s the most reliable.”

    This view of ‘history’, as stated, is filtered through the supposed ‘inerrancy’ of the Bible. In point of fact, there were many cultures after the Roman era which were not based on Judeo-Christianity, and their histories are quite well-known. China and India both have recorded histories in spite of her comment.

    It’s a small leap from (il)logic like hers to say, “America is a Christian nation,” in spite of the First Amendment.

    Since the late ’70’s, an army of ‘Sarahs’ have been raised, sent to these pseudouniversities and ‘educated’ through the lens of a book of myth and fable called ‘the Bible’. This ‘education’ is in the process of being unleashed on America with one goal: To turn America into a far-right Christian theocracy.

    Everywhere you look, the evidence abounds.

  16. While homeschooling may be legal, it clearly isolates children from the broader society and therefore tends to be harmful. It should also be noted that homeschooling tends to be motivated mainly by ultraconservative religion and thus to weaken support for our American constitutional tradition of church-state separation as the best way to preserve religious freedom. As for creationism, it is clearly not science and the courts have clearly and properly held that it may not be taught in public schools. — Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty, http://www.arlinc.org

  17. Importance of education should never be undermined. All over the world people agree that education is the key to a healthy mind and a successful life.

  18. On a similar note to The Corporate Sovereignty of Home School Education, The internet is a great learning resource and it shouldn’t be disregarded as a beneficial tool for homeschooling. With its comfort of use, and flexibility, there is room for online resources in any education plan.

  19. There certainly is an abundance of homeschooling information available and this is a good thing… for the most part… as long as you don’t get bogged down in overload and suffer paralysis by analysis. There are a lot of wonderful articles and tips to help you insure your homeschool success.^`..-



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