As a Christian father, grandfather, and great grandfather, I can think of nothing more gratifying than to witness the place of God in those children’s lives. The world is making that introduction more and more difficult. this is not to say that the schools are or should be a default position to the notion that Godliness begins at home. Some would say many parents have abdicated that responsibility to a major degree.
It would be easy, that aside, to say ; “fair enough; just send them to Christian schools. ” However great a choice that may be, far too many find it difficult or impossible financially or geographically. We are left with the proposition, church aside, of finding a way to make faith a part of children’s lives in the context of the overall learning process.
For many years now there has been a steady erosion of that right and opportunity. The Constitutional authority for finding any form of “religious” teaching has centered on the issues of “Freedom of expression” and the “separation of church and state”. The original intent by the framers was to give all religions equal rights to expression, and the separation of the two entities clause was clearly meant to protect religious freedom…. not give them away to the State.
There is a major difference between teaching religion and teaching about religions. The movement to teach about religions in the public schools is not, as some would imagine, a smokescreen of infiltrations of the education system by the religious right. On the contrary you cannot have an accurate portrayal of history and leave out religion. It would be bizarre if the commands of the “Establishment Clause” of the Constitution turned out to be that religion cannot be mentioned in the classroom, even when it is historically relevant. And, how tremendously frequent is that in our long history.
Where there have been gains in that understanding, there are challenges to the specific teaching that it has been not been “objective”. Can then any religion be challenged or criticized; Satanism, snake handling, plural marriage, killing of children for various reasons. What do we do when children ask the hard questions; “But is it true? What happens when we die, or who made God? ” Only a few teachers would enjoy picking their way through those minefields. Many would opt out for reasons of job security, or the result of legal threats often coming from the minority of one; regardless of the objectivity of the teachings. Those stimulating conversations belong in an enlightened home.
It seems that the issue is resolved in finding an educational approach that describes religious doctrine without indoctrinating. The option of denying children a piece of their culture and past is more dangerous. Every one of us should stand strong for those disclosures of historical truths.
In the end we should not worry about God being locked out. He always has the key. So often it is us !
And a word to those litigants who would continue to frustrate His efforts for pieces of silver and notoriety; “Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge. Ye entered not in yourselves and them that were entering ye hindered”. Luke 11:52