Charlie Brown is the latest casualty in the on-going culture wars.
In an under-reported article just before Christmas on Fox News, Todd Starnes explained that a local school district in Kentucky censored a Charlie Brown Christmas play because of the reading from the Gospel of Luke.
This makes sense given how the secular courts kicked God out of school when they kicked prayer out of school back in 1962. Then the 60s revolution followed shortly thereafter. Then abortion-on-demand was legalized even as crime and drug-abuse increased. And it has all been going down hill since then.
At least that is one typical narrative.
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But a closer consideration of this Charlie Brown fiasco will show something more telling.
But many others were silent. None of the reports I read indicated any of the parents pulling their children out of public school.
On the other hand, when the new sex education curriculum came to light in a suburb of Toronto, parents were angry enough to pull their children out of school, leaving one building half-empty.
Should parents pull their children out of school because part of a play was censored? Not necessarily.
They should have been pulling them out of public schools a long time ago. And for more significant reasons.
Consider their reason for nixing the Bible reading:
“In accordance with federal laws, our programs will follow appropriate regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit are very clear that public school staff may not endorse any religion when acting in their official capacities and during school activities. However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday. With core values such as service, integrity, leadership, and commitment, our staff and students will continue to proudly represent our district as recently demonstrated by our many student successes.”
Here seems to be proof of the dangers of secularized authority. Is this not the reason for the war on Christianity?
Certainly this is a problem. But this problem came about and is sustained by a deeper problem: godless education.
From teaching simple moralism to foisting unproven evolutionary thought upon young minds, many of the public schools have become bastions of secular thought, with nary a protest.
Through the myth of neutral education.
When the superintendent gave the reason for omitting the Bible reading but keeping the rest of the play, he offered a value judgment: this is preferable to that. And the reason offered is a value judgment: this reason is preferable to that reason.
Then there is the undefended assumption that religious values are irrelevant to education. And that there are other values more important to be taught in school: “With core values such as service, integrity, leadership, and commitment, our staff and students will continue to proudly represent our district as recently demonstrated by our many student successes.”
How many conservative, even Christian, families believe that schools teach service, integrity and leadership? Of course schools do. But they teach secular service, integrity and leadership. These are not neutral categories but value-laden truth claims that reflect commitments hidden behind the cloak of neutrality.
Just look at the service, integrity and leadership of the current administration.
The mythical nature of neutrality makes sense in light of the Christian faith many Americans claim. Christ declares that he who is not for Him is against Him even as He declares that all we do should be for His glory in obedience to Him.
Education is not neutral because education must begin with the fear of the Lord:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7).
But how can families believe in this truth if they have not heard it?
Consider the pastor protesting the school. Not to be outdone in rage by the parents, he declared, “If you take Christ out of the Christmas play, it’s only a play…that’s the bottom line.”
Why must a play be a Christmas play? Christmas is not a holy day. Yet there is more protest over this than the fact that Christ was taken out of education. If we take Christ out of Christian education, then it is only secular education.
And if Christ is taken out of Christianity, then it is not Christianity. Many mainline liberal churches threw out Jesus and God generations ago, and many Christian Americans seem to take little notice.
Too many churches push Jesus out of their pulpit. The Gospel becomes moralism or social justice. Church preaching becomes therapeutic or entertainment. And church discipline reduces to pep talks without institutional bite.
And too many families still attend such churches.
Churches are no longer a leaven of righteousness in society. And that hurts the families. They are no longer instructed in godliness with warnings against Christless education.
Sure, secular laws, courts and politicians are a bane upon society. But they could not exist without secular churches and families supporting them.
The Charlie Brown Christmas play was censored because Americans censored God in the churches and the families.
May God wake up more Christians to the dangers of hostile secular education disguised as acceptable neutrality.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.