105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
October 16 30, 2007
Teaching Religion in Public
by Allen Quist
With a 2007 grant of just less than $1 million from the U.S. Department
of Education, a "teaching religion in the public schools"
seminar was held this past summer in Stockton, California. The legitimacy
of such seminars hails back to U.S. Department of Education guidelines
issued in 1998, and clarified in 2003, indicating that public schools can
now teach "about religion" in their classes. This impetus for
teaching religion in public schools should not be surprising since the
federal curriculum standards for civics, history and geography for more
than a decade have been calling for this teaching religion in public
schools to take place.
it mean to teach religion, or to teach "about religion" in
public schools? Since the education establishment is totally committed to
transformational education (changing the beliefs, attitudes and values of
the child), teaching religion, or teaching about religion, in public
schools really means shaping the child's beliefs, attitudes and values
in the name of teaching "about religion," many public schools
will be engaging in al all-out assault on Christianity and will, at the
same time, be indoctrinating our children with the New Age/Pantheism of
theologian Joseph Campbell. One of the key speakers at this teaching
religion seminar, Dr. Peg Hill, has suggested that the kind of religious
instruction advocated at the seminar is necessary to counter what she
calls the "extremism" of talk radio.
A "teaching religion in public schools" seminar held this
past July, 16-20, at Stockton, California, is a case in point. This
seminar was dedicated to creating "master teachers" who would guide other
teachers on why and how religion should be taught in public schools. (The
seminar was funded by a grant from the U. S. Department of Education and
was conducted by the California Three Rs Project.)
The purpose of the seminar was to argue that religion can
and should be taught in public schools and to explain the methods for
doing so. The way to package this agenda, according to the speakers and
information at the seminar, is to teach what it called "Religion in
The materials and speakers at the
seminar made it abundantly clear that the curriculum was designed to mold
the attitudes and values of the child about religion, not to genuinely
teach "Religion in American History." This purpose became evident by the
promotion of a number of major themes ("doctrines" might be a better
word). Several of the more significant doctrines were:
Theme #1. "The Reformation" never happened.
Speakers at the seminar said it is inaccurate to speak of the
Reformation because there have supposedly been numerous reformations, and
continue to be numerous and ongoing reformations within the Christian
church. Speaking of the reformation, therefore, said the speakers, is
In addition, speakers at the conference argued that one
group's "reformation" is another groups "heresy."
So it's all a matter of your group's point of view. That is, the speakers followed the false
doctrine of unlimited cultural relativism (e.g. some cultures revere
their relatives, other cultures eat them; it's all a matter of
Speakers at the seminar spoke openly about the need to
"deconstruct" and "reconstruct" American history--to suit their own point
of view, of course. Using this postmodern approach to historical
research, real history disappears -- which frees the seminar's speakers to
construct any kind of history they desire. Historical facts and real
history become irrelevant. Shaping the worldview of the child (and the
teachers) is the only concern. (See the author's
America's Schools: The
Battleground for Freedom, Ch. 3.)
Theme #2. The Protestant Reformation [if there
was one] consisted of Sola Fedei (faith alone) and Sola
Scriptura (Scripture alone).
One of the seminar speakers
defined the Lutheran Reformation by means of the following power-point
In addition to the false and/or misleading definitions of
"predestination," "Sola Scriptura," and "Sola
Fidei," notice that the seminar materials make no reference at all
to Luther's insistence on Sola Gratia (God's grace alone) and
Sola Christus (Jesus Christ alone). One has to wonder how a
Protestant Reformation can be accurately described without any reference
to Jesus the Christ? Once again, facts and rial history are not an issue
for those committed to transformational education.
"Sola Scriptura: individual interpretation vs. tradition and councils.
Predestination: God knows who will receive grace of salvation.
Sola Fidei: Faith Alone
Purgatory: Does not exist; no good works can influence God.
Priesthood of All Believers; only two sacraments; individual approaches God."
By distorting the history of the Reformation, the seminar
has also distorted the history of the United States. The foundational
principles of the United States cannot be understood without recognition
of the profound influence of Christianity and the Reformation on these
principles. Under the guise of teaching "Religion in American History,"
the seminar indoctrinates our children with a false view of Christianity
and a false view of the United States. It's all about changing the
attitudes, values and beliefs of the child to conform to the views of the
anti-America and anti-Christian left.
Theme # 3. Christianity has had a horrendously
negative impact on the world.
The power-point presentation
which includes the assault on the Protestant Reformation also includes a
long litany of wars that were supposedly caused by Christianity followed
by allegations of unending strife in the colonies said to have been
caused by Christianity -- followed by a description of Christian
missions in the new world which compares these missions to Nazi-style
concentrations camps. Following is the content of a power-point slide the
seminar uses to describe what the Christian missions in America
supposedly were like:
"The Mission as Concentration Camp:
Notice that the description above uses the word "punishment" four times.
The speaker defined punishment as follows:
- Use of corporal, extreme and lethal punishment
- Punishments typically administered in public
- Any deviation from highly structured routine is quickly met with
- Any demonstration of sub-standard Spanish or Latin, or the Christian
Faith, is met with quick and severe punishment
- Men separated from women
- Children separated from adults
- Indians who attempt to run away are hunted down, captured, at times
executed, though predominantly beaten and incarcerated
- Spanish is the primary language; Latin is secondary and utilized in
- Epidemic diseases proved to be the most significant factor in
colonial efforts to overcome "native resistance."
Is this an accurate description of Christian missions
in the new world? Absolutely not! We actually have here the
indoctrination of our children by the hate-America and hate-Christianity
crowd. Remember that truth is not an issue for those committed to
transformational education. One participant reportedly said, "We are
going to shed a very ugly light on Catholicism -- and on Christianity as
well ..." The seminar's description of Christianity was totally negative.
That of course is what this kind of historical revisionism is all
about -- changing beliefs, not real history.
- Eyelids ripped off children who fell asleep in Mass.
- Vaginas sewn shut
- Needles/nails run into body
- Needles into testicles
- Mouths sewn shut
Theme # 4. The religions of the native peoples
are highly beneficial to the lives of their
In contrast to the
seminar's depiction of Christianity, the perspective presented on native
religions is totally positive. In addition, these pagan religions are
described in terms of what the seminar titled their "Overarching
Indigenous Religions Similarities." By reducing the "indigenous
religions" to their similarities, they are actually promoting the
mystical theology of New Age/Pantheism guru, Joseph Campbell.
Campbell said that all religions are constructs of their
culture, but the common themes of the world's religions, he said,
describe the real spiritual world. Following his lead, the seminar is
implying that these common themes of pagan religions are the correct
religious doctrines for all people In this way teaching "Religion
in American History" is not only a denigration of Christianity, it is a
promotion of New Age/Pantheism at the same time.
Entirely absent is any recognition of the overwhelmingly
positive role of Christianity in the world and in the formation of the
United States specifically. Where, for example, did the Western movement
to abolish slavery come from? It came from Christianity and its
insistence that all people are created in God's image equally. And where
did our nation's concept of God-given inalienable rights to life, liberty
and property come from? It came largely from the Christian church and its
doctrines of natural law and creation.
Where did our recognition of the importance of limited
government come from? Or our insistence on there being universal
standards of right and wrong? Or our adoption of the principle that we
are all created equal by God and are, for that reason, all equal before
government? All these foundational principles of our country came largely
And how about the guidelines Christians follow for the way
we are to treat one another? (Genuine historians know we should go to the
original documents to answer such questions.) What model did Jesus
himself provide for the way we should treat one another? Was it a
Nazi-style concentration camp? Or was it the parable of the Good
Samaritan? You be the judge.
What we actually are facing, in the name of teaching
"Religion in American History" in public schools, is a concerted attack
on Christianity based on lies and distortions along with indoctrination
into New Age/Pantheism (which just happens to be the religion of the
Earth Charter and other UN related documents). It's coming to a school
near you -- if it's not there already.
Are we ready to counter this carefully planned, and likely
to be effective, attack on Christianity and the real history of the
United States and the West? This is Congress in the classroom-and
its not good for America.
Allen Quist is a professor of American Government at Bethany Lutheran
College in Mankato, Minnesota and a widely recognized writer and speaker.
He is author of five books, the most recent being America's Schools:
The Battleground for Freedom. Quist authored the best-selling book,
FedEd: The New Federal Curriculum and How It's Enforced, which is
in its 3rd printing. He served three terms in the Minnesota House of
Representatives from 1983 to 1988. He played an influential role in
legalizing home schools in Minnesota. In 1994 he was the Republican
endorsed candidate for Minnesota Governor, and was one of seven delegates
elected from Minnesota to the White House Conference on Families in
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