May 21, 2018
This past week, John Stonestreet, writing for the Colson Center’s Breakpoint broadcast, addressed the “California Healthy Youth Act,” which was legislation passed in 2015 designed to “provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health.” The legislation was passed with a provision that parents had the right to excuse their child from all or part of the sex education programs. In March of 2018, California parents exercising their right to exclude their children from sessions which discuss gender, gender identity, and gender expression were told that the clause that stated that children could be excused applied only to instruction related to the anatomy, but not to ideological discussion. In other words, a California parent cannot exclude their child from being taught an ideology that they do not want their child exposed to. This is not an isolated case, as there are similar cases which have taken place all over the country. It is a growing trend, where governmental power is used to try and silence the voices of those who hold positions that are based on their personal convictions, but do not meet the current politically correctness agenda. So while Americans are still free to choose a school, like FCS, which holds to Biblical principles, could this be the beginning of the legal means which would infringe on the right of a parent to choose to opt out of a public school program, and to choose a Christian education for their children which does not meet the agenda to “enlighten” a generation. For this reason, it is incumbent on all Christian parents, to be aware of, and actively oppose all governmental action which would take away the rights of parents to raise their children in accordance to God’s Word, including ideological discussions about sex.
According to the Bible, I believe that God instituted three distinctive authorities in our lives: the family, the church, and the government. In the Bible He ordained each of these to function simultaneously, each with its own purpose and function, but also with a mutual independence. As a result, the government or the church, has no more right to invade parental authority than parents do to invade the government or church’s areas of authority. The rights and responsibilities, which God gave to us, have been taught to us through scripture. For instance, as Christians, we know that the Bible says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance (law) of man for the Lord’s sake” I Peter 2:13-17. We also believe that if there should be a conflict between the explicit requirements of the Scriptures and the commands of the government, we must consistently hold to the superior authority of God. In Acts 5:28-29 the authorities told Peter, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this (Jesus) name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” After being arrested and put in jail, Peter said to them, “We must obey God rather than men!”
I believe this concept is especially true with regard to the education of the children of Christian parents. As believers we must realize that God has committed to parents the high privilege and responsibility of training and educating their children in the fear of the Lord. Psalm 78:1-8, “O my people, listen to my teaching. Open your ears to what I am saying. For I will show you lessons from our history, stories handed down to us from former generations. I will reveal these truths to you so that you can describe these glorious deeds of Jehovah to your children and tell them about the mighty miracles he did. For he gave his laws to Israel and commanded our fathers to teach them to their children, so that they in turn could teach their children too. Thus his laws pass down from generation to generation. In this way each generation has been able to obey his laws and to set its hope anew on God and not forget his glorious miracles. Thus they did not need to be as their fathers were-stubborn, rebellious, unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” A parent must not surrender the God given right of educating their children to any other institution, such as the government. Education is vitally important, the Bible is the ultimate authority, and parents are accountable to God for the instruction and discipline of their children. As a result, parents cannot in good conscience come under the control of any outside authority with respect to the education of their children. Whether they choose home school, the Christian school, a private school or the public system, ultimately, education is the parent’s responsibility in the eyes of God. Here at FCS we are very grateful for the sacrifice our parents make to have their children prepared academically, and to fulfill the scriptural command to teach them Biblical truth.
I believe the time is coming when Christian parents may face the same dilemma reflected in the California case, the dilemma between the right as a parent to choose to educate their child with biblical truth in a Christian environment, or having to succumb to a government system which does not respect their Christian faith. Focus on the Family issued this statement regarding the rights of parents. “At Focus on the Family, we believe that children are a cherished gift from the Lord and that parents are the ones primarily responsible for guiding and preparing them for a life of service to God and to humanity. Parents have a God-ordained right and responsibility to determine what is best for their children. In the majority of cases, parents and legal guardians are the ones who are closest emotionally, mentally and spiritually to their children and the most in tune with their needs. Given their intimate knowledge of their children, they should have the protected ability to direct and give guidance concerning their children’s educational experience. This includes the ability to determine when, how and if their children are introduced to controversial sexual topics as well as other educational philosophies that may conflict with families’ deeply held Judeo-Christian values and principles. Protecting parents’ rights in education also protects a self-governing society by safeguarding against an intrusive government school system that could eventually infringe on religious freedom.”