From Jim O'Brien
November 11, 2016

Hi Friend,

Separation of School and State

A high school student in Dyersburg, TN was sent to the principal's office and given an in-school suspension, which in itself isn't remarkable. But the crime she committed is. Her friend sneezed and she said, "Bless you!" This is the violation that both a teacher and a Principal found so objectionable that it required censuring a student before the school.

There was no demonstration that closed down an expressway. Maybe there should have been. Churches did not demonstrate or burn and loot the stores in Dyersburg. Nobody on the football team took a knee during the suspension.

Where was the high school history teacher to tell the administrators they were violating a fundamental concept of our nation's founding? Where were the churches to tell the city that removing God from the schools means the loss of divine protection?

Solomon said "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), but it seems the one thing public school administrators don't fear is God.

The educational system has become America's worst bully.

Every sector of American life must be certified by the "system" which educates us. Judges, lawyers, journalists, doctors, educators, and even ministers are trained in government sponsored educational institutions. They tell us who is "qualified" for what job. Now they tell our children they must worship another god.

My father had an older friend who was a bank president. He had founded the bank a half-century earlier and it had grown to be the largest in town. The man had never attended college and lacked even a high school education. When the bank officers sought a replacement they would not even interview candidates who did not have a doctorate in finance. We discussed the irony that the man who founded the bank could not have applied for the job he had held for 50 years because he lacked certification from a school.

This isn't new. Years ago John Stuart Mill wrote that that a state education operates as a contrivance for molding people to be exactly like each other. He called it despotism of the mind.

Mill said education should reflect the values of the citizens rather than the values of government. The real danger, he thought, was that government supported education would lead to propaganda, what he called "educational tyranny." He said privatization of education had one goal, the complete separation of school and state.

Maybe we should replace the term "separation of church and state" with "separation of school and state." The founders of America thought there was a lot more to fear from government than church. In fact, the concept of separating church from state was meant to keep government out of religion, not vice versa.

Schools are creating another problem for families and churches by changing the school year. Kids used to have time in the summer for a summer job. Jobs help them learn. It's the real world.

Churches have summer camps where kids experience a unique atmosphere for connecting to God. The shortened summer breaks restricts that opportunity as well as family vacations. To whom are the school administrators accountable?

The educational system has become the new bully on the block. They tell parents how their children should be raised, tell them what morals should be taught, what is appropriate sexual information for grade school, whether they can pray to God or not-the list is endless.

There is a reason God tells us that knowledge begins with the fear of God. If educators don't fear God, whom will they fear? The first bully to stop is the educational system.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien