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The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

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"Children in the Christian schools of America are the Army that is going to take the future."
Joseph Morecraft, Christian educator, 1987

Abolish The U.S. Department of Education?
    The A Beka Curriculum
    Home Schooling
Good News Clubs
Religion in the Classroom
Patrick Henry School
Vouchers and Government Funded Religious Education
Secular Humanism
Intelligent Design
School Prayer
Abstinence-Only Sex Education
Recent Articles

Abolish the U.S. Department of Education?

Christian schools and a strong home schooling movement are the foundations of dominionism. "Until the vast majority of Christians pull their children out of the public schools," writes Gary North, "there will be no possibility of creating a theocratic republic."

From journalist Frederick Clarkson:

Among the top Reconstructionists in education politics is Robert Thoburn of Fairfax Christian School in Fairfax, Virginia. Thoburn advocates that Christians run for school board, while keeping their own children out of public schools."Your goal" (once on the board), he declares, "must be to sink the ship."

The Texas Republican Party Platform, 2004, a document that reflects the values of the Bush administration, has no use for the U.S. Department of Education:

We call for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and the prohibition of the transfer of any of its functions to any other federal agency.

Rev. Jerry Falwell wrote:
"I hope to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we don't have public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them." (America Can Be Saved!, Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tenn. 1979, p. 52-53.)

Rob Boston sums up the goals of education in Church and State, 2002 writing about the best selling author, the Reverend Tim LaHaye:

In LaHaye's perfect world, voucher subsidies for private religious education are freely available. Public schools are turned into centers for fundamentalist indoctrination with daily prayer, promotion of the Ten Commandments and creationism firmly ensconced. The Department of Education has been abolished, and teenagers are given no sex education at school. Instead, children are taught revisionist history about how the United States was founded to be a "Christian nation."

Will Southern Baptists Replace Public Schools?, Talk To Action, March 1, 2006

The A Beka Curriculum

A Beka is one of three curriculum packages (the others being Bob Jones University and Accelerated Christian Education/School Of Tomorrow) that are commonly used in school programs run by dominionists--both private schools operated by dominionist churches, and correspondence schools operated as "Christian Homeschool Programs" in the dominionist community. more

Home Schooling

Here's what kids in dominionist "homeschool"/private school households are often learning, Dark Christianity, July 17, 2005

line in the sand

A line in the sand, Talk To Action, December 16, 2005





Good News Club: Converting Young Children

From Americans United , January 12, 2001:

Good News Clubs are sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, a national group that seeks to convert young children to fundamentalist Christianity. At the weekly meetings, children are divided into groups of "saved" and "unsaved." "Unsaved" children, who may be as young as 5 or 6, are pressured weekly to make faith professions.

A Supreme Court decision in 2001 upheld the right of Child Evangelism Fellowship to hold Good News Clubs after hours in public school buildings. The high court ruled 6-3 that religious clubs such as CEF, which had contact with 4.9 million children last year, couldn't be prevented from meeting after hours if other private groups also are allowed to gather.

American's United Executive Director, Barry Lynn, said about the Supreme Court decision:

"This decision is a terrible mistake. The court's ruling means aggressive fundamentalist evangelists have a new way to proselytize school kids."

Mathew Staver founded Liberty Counsel in 1989. Staver was quoted in the Orlando New Times (p.3) as saying,

"Now, every one of those schools has become an open door for evangelism," Staver declares, "so that right after the last bell on a public school, you can now begin a Good News Club, which I describe as a high-powered Sunday School program that not only teaches morals and character and values and respect but most of all introduces young people to Jesus Christ who will change their mind, renew their mind, and restore the culture. Every public school in America is an open area for evangelism, and every school should have a Good News Club or an after- school Christian club to reach these young people in America."

Liberty Counsel won a lawsuit against a Los Angeles Unified School District policy that allowed Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings for free on school property but charged a fee for church, community, and business groups.

Liberty Counsel represented the Child Evangelism Fellowship in California which sponsors an after-school religious program called the Good News Club. A federal judge ruled that the fees discriminated against the Good News Club and were a violation of the First Amendment.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled September 3, 2004 in favor of a teacher who was running a Good News Club directly after school. (Wiggs v. Sioux Falls School District)

Christianity Today, July, 2004, "The 4-14 Window:New push on child evangelism targets the crucial early years" reported on a gathering in April, of 94 children's ministry leaders from 54 organizations.They focused on ways to effectively reach children between the ages of 4 and 14.

Religion in the Classroom

A fundraising letter from American's United for Separation of Church and State states: "Religious Right leaders have recently launched a renewed campaign to bring religion into the classroom."

In Michigan, the Frankenmuth School District recently considered adding to their curriculum a Bible course created by a fundamentalist Christian group that says its goal is to "expose the kids to the biblical Christian worldview."

In Kentucky, Bullitt County officials planned to allow preachers to join public schoolchildren for lunch.

In Texas, a school official at Morningside Elementary spelled out how students should pray during the daily moments of silence.

In Pennsylvania, the Dover Area Schools considered approving science textbooks that promote creationism, and children in several grades at Tamaqua Elementary were given a "cut-and-paste" assignment which featured the biblical story of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fleeing to Egypt and a passage reading, "A savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Patrick Henry College: A Pipeline into Conservative Politics

Colleges such as Patrick Henry College, the first college primarily for evangelical Christian home-schoolers offers a pipeline into conservative politics.

Of the nearly 100 interns working in the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four-year-old Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville. An eighth intern works for the president's re-election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern now works on the paid staff of the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove. Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according to the school's records.

The Patrick Henry College Statement of Biblical Worldview explains their philosophy.

Funding the Culture Wars,, February 16, 2005

GOD AND COUNTRY, The New Yorker, June 27, 2005

Student Body Right, At Evangelical colleges, what they're taught and what they learn are two different things, The American Prospect, August 10, 2005


Last Friday, President Bush released his plan for helping students and schools recover from the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.  While there are good components, what stands out is the administration’s attempt to use the devastation wrought by Katrina as political cover for pushing school vouchers on the nation. more

To read about problems with school vouchers, click here.

Secular Humanism

The Reverend Tim LaHaye spearheaded the "war" on secular humanism with the publication of a book in 1980 called Battle for the Mind. From Church and State, February, 2002

In the book, LaHaye asserts that "secular humanists" have taken control of all American institutions, including public schools and universities, the political system, the news media and the entertainment industry, with the aim of driving Christianity from American life and creating a totalitarian state.

The goals of humanists, according to LaHaye, is to create an "Orwellian Big Brother complex, which will enable the elite humanists to merge America with the Soviet Union and all other countries. This will culminate in the humanist dream of a one-world, socialist state."

Then in the year 2000, LaHaye updated his treatise against secular humanism with the best selling book Mind Siege, which is a call to arms for Bible-believing Christians to rid the government of secular humanists who are destroying America. In the book, LaHaye declares that secular humanism is a religion.

In a textbook written for fundamentalist Christian schools, America's Providential History, the authors ask us,

"What was 'Biblical Scholarship' that formed the basis for all education in America for over two centuries? Simply stated, Biblical Scholarship is the ability to reason from Biblical principles and relate it to all of life. Not only did early American Christians reason from the Bible, but even non-Christians were trained in this manner and held to a Biblical worldview. This is quite the opposite of today, for both non-Christians and even many Christians view life from a man-centered, humanistic worldview.

Briefly stated the Principle Approach to education inculcates in individuals the ability to reason from the Bible to every aspect of life."

Programs that don't assume a "Biblical worldview" are labeled as "secular humanist." The Religious Right calls programs "secular humanist" that are designed to enhance a student's self esteem. They would ban programs that encourage self reflection such as the writing of autobiographies or engage in small group discussions. They mostly oppose programs that encourage children to think for themselves.

In a court case in 1987, Judge Brevard Hand stated the same principle in his court opinion: "...this court must [also] purge from the classroom those things that serve to teach that salvation is through one's self rather than through a deity."

To purge secular humanism from the schools, Judge Hand ordered more than forty textbooks removed from shelves. He stated: "For purposes of the First Amendment, Secular Humanism is a religious belief system." Judge Hand's rulings were overturned in the higher courts, but with the kind of judges Bush is appointing to the higher courts, opinions such as those issued by Judge hand may not be overturned in the future.

The theocratic right also labels as secular humanist classes teaching subjects of international relations or global studies that support a one-world view. From The Texas Republican Party Platform:

The Party opposes a one-world government which is in direct opposition to the basic principles of the United States of America..." (p. 23)

"The Party believes it is in the best interest of the citizens of the United States that we immediately rescind our membership, as well as financial and military contributions to, the United Nations... The Party urges Congress to evict the United Nations from U.S. soil." (p.24)


The battle to teach evolution has been going on since the Scopes "monkey trial." In 1986 the State of Louisiana passed a law requiring creationism be given equal time with evolution. The Balanced Treatment Act , 1986, was overturned in the courts with Justice Scalia writing the dissenting opinion. To read updates on the Christian Right and evolution click here.

Intelligent Design

From Church and State:

While supporters of church-state separation frequently consider groups such as the Christian Coalition and Family Research Council their principal adversaries, the Discovery Institute has quietly positioned itself as the most effective and politically savvy group pushing a religious agenda in America's public school science classes.

Founded in 1991 by former Reagan administration official Bruce Chapman, the Seattle-based Institute has an operating budget of over $2 million. "Intelligent design" creationism has become such a central feature of the organization's work that it created a separate division, the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, to devote all of its time to that cause.

The Institute enthusiastically endorses what law professor and ID champion Philip Johnson calls the "wedge" strategy. (See "Insidious Design," page 8.) The plan is straightforward: use intelligent design as a wedge to undermine evolution with scientific-sounding arguments and thereby advance a conservative religious-political agenda. more

Intelligent Design: Creationism's Trojan Horse, Americans United, February, 2005

For updates on Intelligent Design, click here.

School Prayer

School prayer is a defining issue for the Religious Right, for it crosses the line in church-state separation enabling teachers to actually impose their religious beliefs on their students. There are some misconceptions about school prayer. Contrary to what many people believe, prayer is allowed in schools - just not teacher led school prayers during classroom instruction. The law requires school neutrality on religion, nothing more. Students already have the right to read their chosen sacred texts in their free time, organize after-school religious clubs and say prayers before meals or at any time they seek spiritual guidance.

The theocratic right has been trying since 1962 to overturn a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court which declared unconstitutional the inclusion of state-sponsored school prayer as a part of instruction in public schools. The late Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black said of this decision,

"A union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion."
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Engel v. Vitale, 1962.

August, 2004, Appeals Court Strikes Coercive Prayer At Public Schools:

... the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction covers the Dakotas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas, concluded that prayers held at mandatory public school staff meetings violate the First Amendment principle of church-state separation.

On February 7, 2003, the Department of Education issued a directive: schools could lose federal funds if they don't comply with a mandate to allow students and teachers to pray outside the classrooms. According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, "The Guidance punishes students by threatening to withhold federal funds from public schools."

The ... document - entitled the "Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools" - is not an objective presentation of the state of the law. Rather, it is an unprecedented effort to coerce school districts, through the threat of the withholding of federal funds, to comply with a selective and inaccurate interpretation of constitutional law. more

Two bills in the U.S. House of Representatives would enable teachers to lead prayers during classtime. One calls for a constitutional amendment that would overturn the 1962 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning teacher-led school prayer in the classroom. more

For a history of the Istook bill calling for an amendment to allow school prayer more

Americans United calls the Istook Prayer Amendment " Unnecessary, Divisive And Dangerous." (May 9, 2003)

On April 7, Retiring Secretary of Education, Roderick Paige wrote in the Baptist Press:

"all things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith."

A letter from Congressman George Miller to the Secretary of Education:

I am writing to request that you clarify recent remarks which appeared in the "Baptist Press" on April 7, 2003. Many of the comments attributed to you in this article - "Rod Paige: America's Education Evangelist" - are extremely troubling in light of your role as the "chief superintendent" for our nations public schools. more

Gary North, a prolific writer for the Christian Reconstruction movement, stated frankly the ultimate goal of education in Christianity and Civilization, Spring, 1982:

"So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God."

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Last updated: March-2005