I recall studying in the history of our country the account of peoples of many lands emigrating to this land “of freedom.” It seemed to me a moving event when these individuals entered the harbor at New York and beheld the Statue of Liberty welcoming them to their new homeland. The poem affixed to that Statue contains the stirring lines, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. . . .” Today, however, one might suggest that these lines could be modified to suit the situation of our own day. This Statue, standing as representative of this mighty land, could well proclaim our present philosophy, “Give me your children to train and educate to make them fit citizens of this land of increasing socialism and government control.” Perhaps far more than we are ready to acknowledge, the government of our land has sought to gain control of the children of the land—and of our children, too.
Of course, there is wisdom in the attempt to train children from their early youth. Scripture itself reminds children of God of the importance of teaching children when they are young. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. On this basis, covenant parents instruct their children not only, in the homes, but also in our own Christian schools.
There is an awareness in our land, among the “progressive” and “liberal” elements, that only if all children in this country receive the kind of training they deem necessary, will we develop the sort of country they envision—a country of peace and prosperity where all are equal. These leaders know that there is little hope of re-training those who are older. Older people are too fixed in their ways. But the young can be trained. Such training must not be left to individual parents or to private schools. There must be a master plan which will provide for the instruction of all children without exception.
Step-by-step, in recent years, the groundwork is being laid for the eventual closing of private and Christian schools. Laws have been passed, and are being considered, which would allow for the full control of the schools by federal government. Perhaps sooner than we now imagine, private and Christian education will be ended. That must .happen if the universal kingdom of the antichrist is to be established.
The federal government has made long strides towards control over the education of the children. Together with local government, it has passed laws to regulate the public school system. The government determines who may or must teach; it determines where one is required to send children; it determines, to a large extent, the subjects which must be taught. The federal government has exercised such control usually under the “civil rights laws” of the land.
The federal government has done much to control schooling through the federal funds contributed to schools. By the threat of withholding such funds, local school systems have been compelled to follow certain government guidelines for the operation of these schools. It is also for this reason that the Christian schools ought by all means to refuse governmental assistance. Federal funding ultimately would mean federal control.
Increasingly, government on various levels seeks to control education. Without doubt, the days ahead will mark more and more of such control also over our own schools. Nor is government content to control children while they are in school. There is agitation for instruction and control over the children from birth through at least the age of 14. The argument is that there are many children who, because of economic privation or parental unconcern, are not receiving the early instruction which they need in order to develop into worthy U.S. citizens. The federal government must, therefore, see to it that such provision is made that these may be properly trained in their youth. So, members in Congress submit bills which, hopefully, will remedy this situation. Yet when one considers the bills which have been submitted, one is struck by the fact that these will surely open the door toward total government control over not only underprivileged children, but over all children.
One of these bills came to my attention recently. This bill is numbered: H.R. 155, submitted to the House of Representatives, 94th Congress, 1st session. The bill itself contains many things which seem, at least in superficial, study, to be harmless. It would appear to be an enlargement of what has been called the “Head Start” program for the underprivileged. This bill is called, “The Comprehensive Child Development Act.”
Many have objected to the bill because of the unbelievably large sums of money required to initiate and maintain its proposals. According to the bill itself, “There is hereby authorized to be appropriated the sum of $2,000,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1976; the sum of $3,000,000,000 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1977; and the sum of $4,000,000,000 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1978.” There are those who claim that this is but the “tip of the iceberg.” Expenditures are expected to soar far beyond these suggestions in the bill.
But our concern is not first of all the matter of the cost. What ought to trouble us is the repeated emphasis upon the “rights” of children. This bill also, throughout, assumes that children have certain “rights.” The assumption is that children have the “right” to good medical care; they have the “right” to education from infancy on; they have the “right” to good nutrition. The difficulty which arises with this idea of one’s “rights”, is that responsibility and duty are ignored or distorted. The responsibility of fulfilling these “rights” inevitably is placed upon some governmental agency. Rather than emphasizing the duty of parents, governmental agencies assume that they ought to be responsible for taking over these parental tasks. Certainly, that sort of action can only inevitably lead not merely to “communism” which so many seem to fear, but rather toward the anti-Christian kingdom (which, will likely be very socialistic).
One finds various disturbing elements in a bill such as H.R. 155. First, there are presented assumptions which are unproven. As a reason for this “child development program,” it is stated that “millions of American children are suffering unnecessary harm from the present lack of adequate child development services, particularly during their early childhood years.” It is simply an unproven statement that there are “millions” of such children. Another real question could be asked: “What are adequate child development services?”
The bill further suggests that “comprehensive child development programs, including a full range of health, education, and social services, are essential to the achievement of the full potential of. America’s children and should be available to all children regardless of economic, social, and family background.” The question arises, “Who is to determine what is essential for the development of full potential?” Certainly with a bill of this nature, it will be governmental authorities which ultimately determine what is essential for the development of the potential in all children (not only for the poor and deprived, but for all children). If the government determines that it is essential for the development of the full potential of my children that they receive no Biblical instruction but rather training in the theories of evolution, it seems to me that this bill would allow for such determination.
The proposed bill desires to place special emphasis upon the preschool children: “It is the purpose of this Act to . . . make child development services available to all children who need them, with special emphasis on preschool programs for economically disadvantaged children and for children of working mothers and single parent families. . . .” Surely there is a recognition of the necessity to provide training from infancy on (“preschool programs”). Thus children can reach their “full potential” presumably.
The Act makes plain, too, that it is not merely designed for the underprivileged. The purpose of the Act is also to “establish the legislative framework for the future expansion of such programs to provide universally available child development services.” It might indeed be argued that “Universally available” services are not compulsory. Fact is, however, that what is “universally available” and what is deemed to be essential for the “achievement of the full potential of America’s children” would also shortly be made compulsory. Presumably, children have the “right” to use that which is available for the development of their potential. And government can well insist that each must make full use of their “right.”
The bill before Congress suggests, too, that this proposal will give “thousands of American women the opportunity to achieve their full employment potential.” In other words, women are encouraged to leave their children from shortly after birth in. order to work—and others will take over the task of training their children. Instruction will no longer be given at home, but government agencies will see to that. All this is, of course, voluntary. But the way is being opened so that none will feel obliged to carry out their parental responsibilities. “Big Brother” will take care of the children. The implications of all this are ominous. What is now suggested as a voluntary act in freeing one’s self from the restrictions of raising children, can and will soon become compulsory (in order to develop the full potential of America’s children).
One writer, in opposing a similar bill, stated, “I can not escape the haunting fear that if this measure is enacted we shall be taking a final, fatal step down the road which leads to a completely controlled existence of the kind portrayed by Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World” and, most recently, by the work of B.F. Skinner. Rather than breeding that race of wise and just philosopher-kings dreamed of by Plato, however, we are more likely to end up producing a race of docile automatons. The proposal as it is now designed cannot possibly rise to the level of its utopian expectations; and that failure will, in time, produce widespread frustration and, in all likelihood, a yet more stringent program to remedy the deficiencies of this one. And that, in turn, will be a good deal less voluntary.”
In all of this, one is reminded of that end-time when antiChrist shall attempt to control all things. To gain such control, he must begin with the youth. Communist countries are well aware of this—and proceed from that principle. He who controls the youth will possess and direct them also when they grow older.
Children of God ought to resist steadfastly every attempt of this world or of our government to control or to teach our children. On the other hand, we ought to be very faithful in instructing and seeing to the instruction of the covenant seed. The time is short. What our children learn well now, can not be taken from them. Soon this privilege of training our own children could indeed be taken from us. Watch, therefore, and be diligent in this important calling given to us!