Burn All the Schools

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H.L. Mencken once suggested a shrewd educational reform that has somehow not caught on. He said that there was nothing wrong with our current education establishment that could not be fixed by burning all the schools, and hanging all the teachers. Now some might want to dismiss this as an extreme measure, but visionaries are often dismissed in their own day. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one . . .”

Get Them Out Now:

I do have an idea, followed by a question. Millions of evangelicals still have their children in the government school system. Get them out now. Having Christian children in the government school system is what theologians of another era would have called sinnity-sin-sin. Not a little smidge of sinnity either.[1] Not really a debatable matter. Stop it. Crash the system. If there ever were to be a true reformation among us, Christians leaving the public school system would form a refugee column that would make the Mississippi River look like a solitary tear running down Horace Mann’s cheek.  

My question is a simple one, but I will divide it into two questions in just a moment. Here is the first phase of the question:

In order for all Christians to get their kids out of the maw of this government school system, what would it take precisely? How many outrages would have to be slathered over the tops of all of our heads before we said something like, “Friend, enough”? How outrageous would such outrages have to get before somebody noticed? How much before everybody noticed?

How far down this wormhole do we have to go?

Some time, away in the future, the last holdout, some Baptist deacon in Tennessee, will finally acknowledge that when the public school system refused to allow his (politely worded) request for his daughter to opt out of the lab for the pole dancing class, with the football team as the practice audience, they really had “gone too far.” The football team was there because they were all in mandatory sensitivity training, which meant that they had to watch the girls without any catcalling, which they did grumble about a little bit.

Here is how the question divides. What it would take in 2018is a very different question than what it will take twenty years from now, in2038. The reason I know this is because what it would have taken in 1998, and beforethat in 1978, is quite different from what it would take now. Decadence, as Augustine once put it, is a conveyor belt that has no off switch. Things that pass without comment today would have caused riots forty years ago. And that which would cause riots today is what you are prepping your great-grandchildren to eventually put up with, provided they learn your evasions.

If you boil a frog slowly enough, as the adage has it, he will let you do it. If they are evangelical frogs, you can boil the whole Nile, with all of them in it. On a summer evening you can hear them croaking their praise choruses.

Can anybody imagine a school in 1958 where drag queens were in charge of the library reading hour? Can anybody imagine John Knox writing a stern letter to the school board about it, and speaking in opposition for his allotted three minutes at the public hearing that was scheduled for it? While you are at it, try to imagine him going up to the lectern with mincing step and simpering into the microphone.

The Heart of Our Compromise:

This is the diseased heart of our great compromise. This is the Baal-grove out in front of Gideon’s house. The sound of revival would be the sound of multiple chain saws firing up. If it doesn’t smell like burning oil, and if it doesn’t sound like those chain saws, it isn’t revival.

Get them out now.

“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul” (Eze. 33:7–9, ESV)

How many pastors have watched how many covenant children turned over to the godless so that the godless might oversee their growth and formation, and have said nothing? Pastors are those who must give an account. Part of giving an account means counting (Heb. 13:7, 17). So what is the casualty rate? How many survive that cliff you make them dive off? Any notion at all?

Yeah, I know. Some do survive, no thanks to their elders. And those who survive can be pretty impressive, or pretty lucky, or both. And I know that there are Christian schools that barely merit the name, but that is nothing to the purpose. If I objected to an argument that urged us to send one hundred children through the Sunday Schools run by the JWs, along with a proud display of the three of them who made it, whose Trinitarianism was actually strengthened by the experience, it would still be a really lame argument.

If we were instructed to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), if we were summoned to teach them the law of God in its fullness and to do so in a context entirely dominated by the entirety of the Word of God (Dt. 6:4-9), what good does it do to point at all the inconsistencies of people who have figured out creative ways of disobeying this? What is that to you? Get them out now.

What some people call having their children be salt and light, I call conscripting covenant children into becoming child soldiers, with all the grief that such recruitment entails. It makes me think of Dylan’s Thunder on the Mountain

Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches
I’ll recruit my army from the orphanages

The orphans that survive fight well. So? Government schools are institutions controlled by the fatherless, staffed by the fatherless, with curriculum written by the fatherless, and attended by evangelical children who are functionally fatherless. I have known a number of such fathers who have big views of fatherhood, or so they think, but their vision for fatherhood is that biological function they share with donkeys and dogs. When fatherhood begins is one thing, but what it entails is quite another.

Get them out now.

In the spirit of all this November jollity, for the next five days, Canon is giving away free Kindle copies of Classical Thee, Classical Me at Amazon here.

[1] Now when I say . . . Nope. You said you wouldn’t. November, man. Don’t want people to think . . . Doesn’t matter what they think. If they are in sin anyway, all the qualifications in the world are just being pushed up the wrong rain spout. Well, didn’t feel like it anyway. Good. Sorry about that. Old habits die hard. No problem.