Attacking Christian Schools
But they're producing citizens who are compassionate, thoughtful, fair-minded, and principled.
The attack on the students of Covington Catholic is just one example of the extent to which the Left is willing to go to stigmatize Christianity and force it out of our history and culture. The most innocent actions of Christians are now thrust into the spotlight and mocked by the media — and one of their favorite targets is mainstream Christian education.
For example, when Vice President Pence’s wife Karen revealed that she’s returning to the classroom to teach in a Christian school, a self-described “exvangelical” named Chris Stroop started a hashtag campaign called #exposechristianschools. Stroop calls Christian schools “bastions of bigotry.”
Not wanting to miss out on the action, New York Times reporter Dan Levin posted this on Twitter: “I’m a New York Times reporter writing about #exposechristianschools. Are you in your 20s or younger who went to a Christian school? I’d like to hear about your experience and its impact on your life.”
Disgraceful, isn’t it? It’d be hard to imagine a reporter soliciting former public-school students to share stories of sex abuse, violence, bad teachers, peer pressure, suicide, politically biased class assignments, and lack of resources. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey wonders “why an obscure social-media hashtag would be worthy of an in-depth report by a major media outlet, regardless of the topic.”
We know why: Because there’s a widespread assault in this country on Christian values, beliefs, and practices.
Of course, we shouldn’t make broad assumptions about the experiences of students in public schools any more than we should be characterizing Christian schools as cults.
Before the Times piece was published, The Resurgent’s Erick Erickson wrote, “With Democrats in the Senate attacking the Knights of Columbus, the left in Texas attacking Christian businesses, and the left nationally trying to kill religious liberty legislation, it is entirely predictable that the Times would join the fight against Christians in America.”
On the surface, Levin’s piece in the Times seems to be an honest, open attempt to paint an unbiased portrait of the experiences of students who’ve attended Christian schools. His opening explanation merely sets up a few categorical first-hand accounts. But despite a few positive anecdotes to make it seem fair, one can’t help but reach a lukewarm conclusion about Christian schools as institutions that, at best, don’t sufficiently educate kids and, at worst, are perpetuating homophobia, sexism, narrow-minded values, and religious dogma.
It’s no wonder that Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, a professor of politics and religions at Northwestern University, said, “There’s a real profound sense among a large part of the Christian population that the rug is being ripped out from under them. They feel their moral certitudes and sense of community are being ridiculed.”
The good news is that Christian schools are becoming more popular, and they’re producing citizens who are compassionate, thoughtful, fair-minded, and principled. They’re also turning out pretty good scholars.
William McGurn writes at the Wall Street Journal, “One of the lesser known things about Catholic schools is that they boast a 99% high-school graduation rate — with 86% going to a four-year college, nearly twice the 44% rate of public schools. Particularly in the inner cities, these schools are a lifeline, not least for the tens of thousands of non-Catholic children of color who without that education might be condemned to lives lived at the margins of the American Dream.”
The appeal of a Christian education isn’t limited to Christian schools. More states are considering offering Bible classes in public schools. In Tennessee, there’s a successful Bible curriculum offered to middle- and high-school students at no cost to taxpayers. Starting in 1922, and affirmed by a church-and-state federal court challenge in 1980, the courses are currently available to 81% of public-school students in grades 6-12 — the largest program of its kind in the nation. Enrollment in the classes increased 9% last year and is projected to increase 12% this year. And based on student testing and surveys, the curriculum is very successful.
Reflecting on the trend in recent years to expand religious education in public schools, The Daily Signal’s Daniel Davis recently wrote about a range of programs designed to offer Christian and Bible history education in Kentucky’s public schools, with six other states considering the same.
Christians should continue celebrating all the good that’s taking place in Christian schools, notwithstanding mainstream media attempts to vilify those educational bastions. The American people need to know the truth, because they’re not ever going to get it from the media. What happened to the kids from Covington Catholic is just the beginning. Until Christians across the country start defending themselves, we can expect one assault after another on our beliefs and values.