Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Philosophies at War: Democracy in Education

"We are at the crossroads of our national history. In the field of education we will either believe or we will obey. He who will not believe in the Truth must submit to Power. Which will it be? Will we retain a set of beliefs in which we are all agreed, and on which we were all agreed when this country was founded, or, scrapping all beliefs shall be and thus extinguish all freedom?

Let no one who hates religion falsely think that we can do without religion or that it can be banished from the earth. That is false assumption under which modern pagans work...The choice is not between religion and no religion, but between two religions: a religion from God or a State religion...

We do not yet realize this truth, but it is an indisputable fact that a nation's education is far more important than a nation's government. Given one generation educated on the principle that there is no absolute Truth or Justice and our next generation will be a government of power.

There is no such thing as neutral education; that is, education without morality and religion. Religion and morality are not related to education like raisins to a cake, but as a soul to a body. There can be cake without raisins, but there cannot be man without a soul. If education does not inculcate a moral outlook, it will inculcate a materialist or a Communist or a Nazi outlook. Neutrality is absolutely impossible in education. By the mere fact that religious and moral training is neglected, a non-religious, non-morality and by consequence an anti-religious and anti-moral ideology will be developed. 'He that is not with me is against me.' (Matt. 12:30)"

-Bishop Fulton Sheen, Philosophies at War 1943


A good number of Americans are counting down the days to the November 2nd, 2010, mid-term elections. And no doubt, they (me included) will breathe a sigh of relief if the majority of the power-hungry incumbents are replaced with more Constitutional-friendly Senators and House Representatives.

However, as Bishop Sheen said in the above quote, America's education is even more important than our government. A reliable index of a nation's future is the quality of its present day education. According to Archbishop Charles Chaput, only three universities require a course on the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, very few colleges and high schools teach how religion, virtue and democracy are interrelated and inseparable. With education being what it is, can we, as Americans, be expected to hold back the tide of "anti-religious and anti-moral ideology?" Can the surge of an all-powerful State be kept in check politically if the majority of our children do not receive a sound Christian and civics education?

We may indeed breathe a sigh of relief on November 2nd, 2010. But believe me: We will go back to holding our breath on every election day if public education is not given back to local communities and parents. Only then can a good Christian and civics education prepare today's children to be the conscientious politicians of tomorrow.

Let's not settle for short-term political gains only. Let's also look at the big picture and take the long view. If State-run education remains on the back burner in our national debates, then Constitutional-loving Americans may win a battle here and there, but the war will be far from being won.

"Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)