Move on Aid to Schools
The question of federal aid to schools already arose during the Kennedy administration, but failed to gain the approval of Congress, mostly because the issue of aid to private and parochial schools was brought up by the Roman Catholics. Kennedy refused aid to these schools, and the program floundered. Johnson, with his vision of a “great society” has revived it. In order to retain some hope of passage of an education bill, something had to be done about this thorny problem of whether private schools would also receive aid.
Johnson has tried to skirt the issue by proposing a limited amount of aid to private and parochial schools under certain specific limitations. Although the program is chiefly aimed at providing adequate schooling for children reared in poverty-stricken areas (as part of the so-called war on poverty), he has made concessions chiefly to Roman Catholics who are loudly insisting on their fair share of federal money.
Out of a total budget of $4.1 billion to be set aside for education, about 15% is earmarked for private and parochial schools. This figure of 15% is supposed to equal the percentage of all children of school age not enrolled in public educational institutions.
There are several ways in which the president hopes to dodge the basic issue of aid to schools other than those belonging to the public school educational system. He wants, in the first place, to leave the issue of whether or not schools get aid up to the individual states. Secondly, he proposes giving the money to students rather than to the schools. (Cf. my article in the February 1 issue of the Standard Bearer on the “CEF.” One wonders whether the “CEF” has had any influence on the president’s proposals in this respect.
Thirdly, the proposals are limited to specific fields of education.
a) Elementary and secondary religious schools would be eligible for public school textbooks purchased with federal funds. A total of $100 million is set aside for this purpose:
b) Grants and loans to colleges and universities whether public or private would be increased so that more scholarships could be given.
c) Most important of all, another $100 million is to be set aside to set up educational centers and services in which public and non-public school children would be educated together in a sort of federal version of the “shared time program.”
Educational services in which public and private students would share include the following, according to Christianity Today:
Special courses in science, foreign languages, literature, music, art.
Programs for the physically handicapped and mentally retarded.
Instruction in the sciences and humanities during the summer for economically and culturally deprived children.
Special assistance after regular school hours.
Common facilities that can be maintained more efficiently for a group of schools than for a single school,—laboratories, libraries, auditoriums, and theaters.
A system by which gifted persons can teach part-time to provide scarce talents.
A means of introducing into the school system new courses, instructional materials, and teaching practices.
A way of tapping the community’s extra-curricular resources for the benefit of students,—museums, concert and lecture programs, and industrial laboratories.
We have discussed this shared time program before. It originated with the Roman Catholics and is already being tested in many areas throughout the nation. The idea behind it is that there are many subjects taught in the private and parochial schools which have no religious slant to them, which are, therefore, identical with the subjects taught in the public school system. In these subjects, so the proponents of the shared-time program reason, it is possible for all students to study together. Any religion is irrelevant to them anyway.
Surely this movement will receive added impetus from the federal government if Johnson’s proposals are accepted by Congress. The result will be that increasingly public and private school children will more and more be educated together.
This is, however, a complete denial of the very purpose of Christian instruction. There are several remarks we wish to make in this connection.
1) There are several courses offered in schools which are usually mentioned as being adaptable to a shared-time program. These courses include such subjects as cooking, baking, shop, etc. But it is doubtful, to say the least, whether subjects such as these belong in a school curriculum. Schools are built as parental schools, but in order to give education to children which they cannot receive at home. Surely such courses as the above can well be given at home if they are needed. The same thing applies to the over-emphasis on physical education. Gymnasiums are mentioned as one facility which can be used by both public and private school children. But, while it is no doubt valuable to have a limited physical education program in the school, there is a terrible overemphasis on sports in our day which is corroding the educational value of the schools. In other words, there is a tendency that ought to be resisted for parents to push their entire responsibility of educating their children on the schools. This ought to be resisted.
2) If religion is not relevant in courses such as science and mathematics, language and literature, who is to say that religion is relevant in history and geography? Every subject in the curriculum speaks its own language concerning God’s revelation of Himself. There is no such thing as neutrality,—in any subject. But if certain subjects are set aside as having no religious significance, the result will be that only some courses in Bible and religion will be left for the private and parochial schools. But we don’t need schools to teach these subjects. For while they are taught in our schools with a great deal of profit for our children, if these courses are the only reason to have Christian schools, we can better close the doors and teach these subjects in the church.
3) It appears as if, through this entire federal aid program, the way is being paved for an amalgamation of public and private schools into one unified school system under the control of the government where atheism and evolutionism become the new religion. The only ones who will escape this system are those who are willing to forego federal funds in the education of their children. And even they may very well be hard pressed by the government in one way or another to join this one governmental school system.
Some News About Lutherans
The main Lutheran denominations in this country (the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church of America) have for many years already hastened down the road of apostasy. There have been, however, segments of Lutherans who have remained more or less conservative and orthodox in their theology and have fought to retain the heritage of the Reformation. Among these can be numbered especially the Missouri Synod Lutherans and the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans. However, evidently in recent years the Missouri Synod Lutherans have gone the way of their denominational family and drifted far from the conservative position they once occupied. The evidence of this came out a few years ago when the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans severed relationships with the Missouri Synod on the ground that the Missouri Synod had gone modernistic.
Recently this has been further substantiated by the fact that within Lutheranism a new denomination has come into being calling itself the Lutheran Church of the Reformation. This denomination is composed chiefly of churches and people who left the American Lutheran Church and the Missouri Synod Lutherans. The criticisms were much the same as the criticisms raised against all the churches of our country in recent years. The Missouri Synod harbored in its seminaries, universities, and pulpits men who denied the infallible inspiration of Scripture; the miracles of the prophets, apostles and Christ; the creation, fall, and flood narratives, teaching instead the theory of evolution; the divinity and atonement of Christ; etc.
The voice of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation (although evidently not official) is a paper called theLutheran News. If what this paper writes about Missouri Synod Lutherans is true (and there is no reason to doubt it) the state of affairs within this denomination is very bad. All the major doctrines of Scripture are under attack by professors, leaders, doctors, and ministers. And their views are not condemned or criticized, but are gaining ever larger audiences.
With all this, the Lutherans are deeply involved in modern apostate ecumenicism, especially the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches.
There is a branch of the Lutheran faith in Australia. In the above-referred-to Lutheran News, a page out of the Sunday Truth from Brisbane, Australia was reproduced in which the Lutheran Church in Australia repudiated the theory of evolution. Following are some interesting quotations.
. . . The controversy is over the teaching of organic evolution, that is the transmutation (change) of a species, or genus or kind, by way of a slow, gradual development covering a vast period of time, into a new genus or kind, the higher from the lower. . . .
On behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Queensland, I (F.W. Noack, President) herewith submit the following statement:
We cannot possibly accept evolution as a fact, because contrary to the claim of the advocates of evolution it has not been proven to this day . . . .
Here a long list of scientists, some of them themselves evolutionists, is made with quotes from their works in which they admit that evolutionism has never been proved. One quotation will give the gist of them all.
The great thinker, Dr. R.A. Milikan, famous physicist and Nobel prize winner, who died in 1953, states: “The pathetic thing is that we have scientists who are trying to prove evolution, which no scientist can ever prove.” Dr. Milikan was an evolutionist.
The Darwinian Anthropologists for many decades have been very busy to discover the missing links between the ape and man. What is the truth concerning the famous so-called links: . . .
Then again follow some quotations from scientists:
“The whole of the bony fragments on which these famous (missing links) are built are not more than a child could carry in a small basket.”
“Even if these fragments are of humans why should they not be examples of deterioration rather than evolution?”
“The fossils of man leave us mystified about his beginnings. Long study of the skulls has failed to give any conclusive picture of man’s early evolution, in fact many of the theories have not stood the test of new fossil finds.”
“Man is not an ape, and in spite of the similarity between them there is not the slightest evidence that man is descended from an ape. No missing link has ever been found.”
The author then goes on:
We roundly reject evolution for it is diametrically opposed to the Scriptures’ doctrine of creation. If evolution is a fact then there was no Fall into sin, then Christ’s work of redemption becomes meaningless, then the Bible is wholly and sole the work of evolving man, and has become obsolete long ago, then God is eliminated . . . .
Next we also reject Theistic evolution which holds that some Superior Being called the primitive masses into existence and established certain laws for development of things over a great period of time from a simple to a complex state. If Theistic evolution is accepted then we cannot escape the appalling conclusion that God is not only the Author of good, but also the Author of evil. Impossible!
. . . . To conclude, because evolution has not been scientifically proven, because many leading scientists roundly reject it, because of its serious detrimental effects on civilization, above all, because it strikes at the very heart of the Scriptures, eliminating God and Christ’s work of redemption, we are compelled to reject evolution, and we protest against teaching the same in a direct or indirect way in our schools.
It is refreshing to see a group in our day take a stand not only against atheistic evolution, but also against theistic evolution. It is sad that among Reformed churches there is hesitancy in rejecting this heresy and even eagerness to embrace it with all its terrible consequences.