Education is a beautiful word. It comes from the Latin educaare, which means “to rise up, to take from the lowest degrees to the highest spheres of knowledge”. America’s founding fathers were unwavering advocates of education founded on American principles. The existence of liberty is, by its very definition, dependent upon an educational environment that encourages the belief in the God of creation, justice and His moral law. It is a crucial battlefield. We are waging a war for the mind, determining the life or death of our future liberty. The existence of liberty is, by its very definition, dependent upon an educational environment that encourages belief in the God of creation, justice and His moral law. Education that does not consistently undergird our nation’s constitution with belief in God and our founding principles is nihilistically defective.
Historically, politicized groups–military, clergy and others–controlling the flow of information, negating or censoring established truth, have been the outstanding method used to enslave the masses. Presently, tyranny of the mind is being imposed upon us in the name of, and in the disguise of, that status we cherish most–LIBERTY! The reality is that fostering a knowledge spectrum devoid of the specific principles of government and absolutes in morality is a tyranny that denies the people their freedom. They are left unable to discern and act on principles that make it possible for millions of people to share in a complex society and still have liberty.
Belief in God was basic to education for one hundred thirty years or so both before and after the Declaration of Independence. Teachers and textbooks supported “One Nation Under God” without becoming sectarian. Even the liberal historian Henry Steele Commager gives education prior to 1900 some credit. “One thing the McGuffey Readers shared with schoolbooks everywhere, and indeed with most literature and art of their day–the notion that education itself was primarily moral, and only secondarily intellectual… The world of the McGuffeys was a world where no one questioned the truths of the Bible, or their relevance to everyday conduct, where the notion that the separation of church and state required the exclusion of religion from the schoolroom or from schoolbooks seemed preposterous. The Readers, therefore, are filled with stories from the Bible, and tributes to its truth and beauty… William McGuffey showed no awareness in his Readers, or in his college and university teaching, of those progressive educational ideas that had their origins in Germany, penetrated into France and England, and spread to New England…”*
The McGuffey Readers, then, are far more than an historical curiosity. They played an important role in American education and American culture, and helped shape that elusive thing we call the American character. If they did not themselves provide the stuff of culture and morality, they were one of the chief instruments for weaving it into the fabric of American life. Their contribution was, on the whole, a beneficent one.* Public education was consistent with 1) the separation of sectarian church hierarchical powers from the powers of state; 2) the need of an educational base for general belief in God in support of America’s unique Constitution, man under God and over government; 3) the need of state schools to be separated from the apostate tyrants of the mind who would use state powers to politicize education in fulfillment of their goals to enslave, by undermining belief in God and moral absolutes.
Education under control of one group always leads to the suppression of others, so separation of church and state has proven essential to liberty. It is important that we see and understand that communism and related sects who get the upper hand in education are much more devastating upon freedom than the historic church and state marriage we oppose. Education satisfactory to atheistic and related sects is a rival of belief in God, the Judge of nations, as well as being the enemy of political and economic independence. Remember that “education simply is not value free.”** Cultural and moral education is going on every day in every classroom and in every activity. This is an inescapable truth. Education that abandons the principles of liberty, morality and responsibility becomes a tool for propaganda, moral pollution and political subversion; and if continued will make liberty impossible.
Teachers who stress belief in the Creator and the specific and unique American principles are presented as a tyranny to academic freedom and enlightened liberty. True education is replaced with collectivist manipulation. Academic centers become a centrifuge for socialist propaganda. Sincere and sound objections by anyone, even parents, are labeled “McCarthyism”. National pride in America gets labeled as selfish isolationism and dangerous to world union. A word like “truth,” essential to reasoning, is gutted and tyrants adulterate students’ minds with immorality and disorder. Except in defense of the rights of criminals and non-citizens, the Constitution is forgotten.
*From the foreword to McGuffey’s Sixth Reader, by Henry Steele Commager. Copyright 1964 by The New American Library of World Literature, Inc. By arrangement with the New American Library, Inc., New York, NY.
**David Purpel and Kevin Ryan, “Moral Education–Where Sages Fear to Tread,” Phi Delta Kappa, June, 1975, later in Education Digest, November 1975.
~ David Norris