Busing Of Private School Students
In some twenty-seven states, busing is provided by the state for private school students as well as for public school students. Apparently this too will soon cease. According to Christianity Today, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that states have no constitutional duty to provide free bus transportation for students of private schools. The case originated in Missouri when a family sought such busing for their children. A lower federal court refused, and the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the lower court.
The decision does not forbid states to provide such busing. It merely states that the states have no duty to provide it. The decision is therefore, left up to each individual state.
According to the same magazine, the Supreme Court also voided a California tax-credit plan which was formed to help parents of private school children pay tuition costs.
We are not unhappy with these decisions. While we recognize the unfairness of requiring the parents of private school children to pay for the education of their own children in addition to the children attending public schools, we want no government aid to private schools. Government aid, as we have said before in these columns, will ultimately lead to government control. And we cherish too deeply our covenantal schools to do anything which will open the door the slightest bit to government control.
It is interesting though that this seems to be the trend in our country. We know from the Scriptures that the devil is the implacable foe 6f the cause of Christ, and that he will do all in his power to destroy that cause. We may be sure that the devil and his allies, the world of wicked men, hate Christian schools and will not rest until these schools are destroyed. Right now, this is apparently the tack our enemies are taking: deprive Christian schools of all aid of any kind in the hopes that they will collapse because of inability to support them. This tack is working well in some areas. There are many parochial and private schools which are losing students because those who have previously supported them, no longer want to bear the burden of their support. The students of these schools are gradually drifting into the public school system. Even where unbelievers are starting private schools because they are thoroughly disgusted with conditions in the existing public schools, (and there are many places where this is happening), one wonders how long people will be willing to pay the high costs, especially in times of economic decline.
The one sure guarantee of continuing private schools is deep, spiritual conviction. Those parents who solemnly believe that Christian schools are necessary for the fulfillment of their covenant obligations will be willing to support these schools no matter what the cost. They will never abdicate their responsibility to train their children in the fear of the Lord, and turn over this responsibility to the godless state. No matter what the economic pressures, they will continue to maintain their schools.
What then will happen? We know that, in the long run, the state will never tolerate this. Something will have to be done. If economic pressure alone will not close those schools whose parents are committed to convenantal education, then some other means will have to be devised. What form this will take, only God knows. But we must rededicate ourselves to the cause of Christian education.
We were talking about the threats which believing parents face to the education of their children. These threats are more real than we often imagine.
Just today a sample copy of the magazine Faith came to my home. This magazine contained an article entitled: “Coming Soon: Government-Reared Children”. It was written by James Wesley Baker, a newswriter at radio station WMUU in Greenville, South Carolina. In this article the author points out the fact that social activists who advocate government training of children have already made considerable progress.
There are a number of men who are convinced that, if the training of children is left to parents, the world will never succeed in solving her many social problems. Several authorities are quoted. Dr. Reginald Lourie, president of the Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children, is quoted as saying: “There is a serious thinking among some of the future-oriented child development research people that maybe we can’t trust the family alone to prepare young children for this kind of world which is emerging.” This statement was made to a congressional sub-committee. He is quoted further as saying: “There is increasing evidence that we must intervene in the earliest years if we are to truly deal with the roots of many of the problems facing this country . . . . Child development offers an opportunity to have access to children in need of help to avoid distorted development in these early years.” Dr. Milton Akers, Executive Director of the National Association for Education of Young Children, looks on such programs as necessary in our world: “It may well be that means by which wars, social conflict, and human injustice are eliminated.”
Those who favor such programs justify their position by appealing to the fact that many homes in this country simply are not providing even a minimal training for their children. The claim is that the home is chiefly responsible for many, if not all, of the problems which the world faces today. If the home will not perform its duties, someone else will have to do it. Hence these men argue: “It is not the parent, it is not the child, it is society that has the responsibility.” “Society has the ultimate responsibility for the well-being and optimum development of all children.”
And so a program is being pushed which is called, “Comprehensive Child Development.” It assumes almost all the responsibility for rearing children from the age of six months to at least six years—and longer if necessary. It seeks a program which will place the responsibility for all the care of the child – educational, nutritional, and emotional—upon society as a whole; by which is meant, the responsibility will be placed upon behavioristic educators, psychologists and sociologists who operate government-financed programs. As now proposed, this education would take place through “specially designed health, social, and educational programs (including after school, summer, weekend, vacation, and overnight programs.)”
How far is the program advanced? There are already many books on the market advocating this type of program. Popular magazines and television programs have taken up the cause. But more ominously, already bills to set up such a program have been before the Congress. In 1971 Representative John Brademas (Democrat-Indiana) and Senator Walter Mondale (Democrat-Minnesota) introduced separate but similar legislation in the House and Senate to finance such a program. The bill provided for funding of such a program not only, but it also provides for the use of “Child advocates”. The idea behind child advocates is that certain specialists would be provided by the program to work with parents to teach them how to bring up their children. If, in the judgment of those who are in charge of such a program, parents are not doing a good job, advocates would enter the home and direct education even within the home. Apparently, the authority in the home would be transferred to these advocates. If parents disagreed, the opinion of the advocates would take precedence.
This bill passed both House and Senate, but was vetoed by President Nixon in December of 1971. A revised version was introduced in the Senate in 1972, and died in the House. But supporters of the movement have vowed to continue the fight until their measures are adopted. Senator Mondale is quoted as saying: “I will continue fighting for child development and child care legislation until we get a bill enacted.”
So far, the bills which have been introduced have made the program voluntary. But the article notes that this is done only to attempt to quiet conservative opposition. There are already some who are promoting compulsory attendance and participation in such a program.
There are a few points which are worth noting. In the first place, while the program is ostensibly directed towards those homes where child-rearing is not done, the whole point is nonetheless, that the government is determined that her citizenry shall be so trained and educated that all the citizens are so many faithful followers of the men in power. And this is surely Anti-Christ. It is not difficult to imagine that the time will come when the government will consider genuine Reformed, covenantal education also a threat to her well-being. The government need not go much further in the direction in which it is now going to take the position that Christians are a threat to the state, and that the education these Christians provide for their children produces people who are similar threats. So the government will insist on the right to train our children.
In the second place, such programs constitute the gravest possible threat to the Church. From a human point of view, it seems impossible that God’s covenant could ever be continued if such programs were put into effect and made compulsory. God Himself has tied the continuation of His covenant in the line of generations inseparably to covenant training. Take covenant training away, and the covenant lines are lost.
In the third place, the people of God have the assurance however, that the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church. In every assault they are defeated, for Christ fights for His won cause. And He is sovereign.
Finally, all these things give urgency to the calling to covenant parents to be faithful and train their children in the way they should go. Included in this training there ought also to be warnings of the dangers ahead which we and our children will have to face before the Lord comes again.
The Orthodoxy of “Present Truth”
In the last couple of years, many of our people have seen and read a magazine called “Present Truth”. They have been impressed with the orthodoxy of this magazine, especially with its telling criticism of the Neo-Pentacostalist movement and with its sturdy defense of the Reformational doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Apparently however, this magazine is not as orthodox as it sometimes appears to be.
In a recent issue of Christian News, the editor points out that the authors of this magazine deny the truth of the immortality of the soul. In fact, the magazine is quoted as claiming that Luther himself denied this truth. A writer in the magazine is quoted as saying: “It follows that I dare not regard my death, even under the aspect of biological mask, as something that no longer strikes the real me, since I am immortal, but moves on bypassing my soul. No, all of me goes down into death. Nothing gives me the right to reject the totality of man, which the Scriptures proclaim in connection with the disaster of death, and suddenly split him into body and soul, into a perishable and an imperishable I-segment.”
We are not sufficiently acquainted with the magazine to know what the theology of the editors is in other matters. It seems reasonable to conclude that the denial of such a central truth would lead inevitably to the denial of other truths as well. Those who read this magazine are therefore urged to read it with discernment.