Those who champion the atheistic-secular concept of open-mindedness use it to justify exclusivity for imposing their God-rejecting life view upon captive classroom students.  “Not only must school teachers and principles be ‘exemplars of open-mindedness and free inquiry, but severally and collectively, they must be prepared to proclaim their faith in that open-mindedness and free inquiry.'”  Here we must hearken to Dewey:  “The administrator will… realize that public education is essentially education of the public: directly, through teachers and students… in the transformation of society [into a God-rejecting, socialistic society].”*

Atheistic-secular demands that “school teachers and principals be exemplars of open-mindedness [in] the transformation of society” undermine the moral foundations of civil society.  The justification for a tax on the people for education, in a representative republic, requires that the curriculum promote foundational moral boundaries.  The constitutions of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba proclaimed liberty.  But in the absence of a moral predicate providing certainties for constitutional law–such as provided in the American Declaration of Independence and Northwest Ordinance, they rule by what Solon of Athens called “incalculable and changeable decrees.”**

Prior to the leftist takeover, the National Education Association published God-honoring, character-building booklets for students and parents as recently as 1950.  For example, A Golden Treasury from the Bible, contained twenty-four Bible verses, including Psalm 1; Proverbs 20:1; Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments); Romans 12; John 3:16, 6:23, 14:1-4 and 15:1-4; 1 Corinthians 13; and Ecclesiastes 12:1, “remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”

In contrast to the old European secular philosophy, the American philosophy of education requires that all prominent views, including the atheistic-secular view, be introduced, but that they are taught in the context of the history of their outcomes.  This is seen in the resolution proposed by both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and adopted by the newly founded University of Virginia (see Chapter 10 of Restoring Education Central to American Greatness).  Their resolution identifies the great need of our day, stressing citizen responsibility and the need for a thorough knowledge of historic American foundations.

The education guidelines set forth for the University of Virginia emphasize that “all students shall be ‘inculcated’ with the basic American principles for government,” and, “None should be inculcated which are incompatible with those on which the Constitution of this States, and of the United States were genuinely based, in the common opinion.”  The resolution also stated that the faculty had a standard of responsibility and were required to teach affirmatively these unique American principles.  Only after they had done so were they to teach the conflicting principles as such, judging them by the soundness of the American principles that served as a basis.***  These principles are detailed in Chapter 10 of Restoring Education Central to American Greatness.

Faithful school boards and administrators take seriously the fact that youthful trust, inexperience and vulnerability to exploitation by the enemies of the family and self-government require that the learning environment be protected.  God has given mankind a wonderful mind to use and explore the universe, with but one exception:  we are not to use our minds to absorb the details and wiles (deceptive snares) of evil (Genesis 3:13; Isaiah 5:15-16, 20; Romans 16:19; and James 1:12-17).

*James Allen Johnson, “A Note on Academic Freedom: Schoolmen Must Declare Their Faith,” Phi Delta Kappan, 44:185-88 (January, 1963), in Robert Hoffman, Foundations of American Education (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1970), 192.

**Will and Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization, vol. 2, The Life of Greece (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1939), 118.

***Nathaniel F. Cabell, Early History of the University of Virginia as contained in the “Letters of Thomas Jefferson and Joseph B. Cabell” (n.p.: Richmond, Virginia, 1856), 339.  Repeated in Hamilton Albert Long, The American Ideal of 1776, Your American Heritage Books, 141-44, 147.

~ David Norris

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