Do you ever stop and look around at the culture in America that once respected God, valued life, held marriage in high regard, and generally respected moral standards, and ask, “What happened?” I’ve got two answers for that:
- God’s people have strayed from upholding their commitment to Him, just as Israel did and
- Those who oppose God and the church strategized as to how they would accomplish their goals and did not stop until those goals were achieved.
That second point sounds crazy and conspiracy theory-ish until you start researching just how homosexuality, abortion, the sexual revolution, and other moral downfalls came to find a foothold in this country. While we as Christians try to live Christian lives on our own and maybe convert others if the opportunity presents itself, those on the other side of the spiritual battle understood what needed to be done in order to win the culture war, and then they went out and did it. Stated more simply, they had vision and we didn’t.
You can research a number of areas in our culture that have been taken over by those with an anti-God agenda, but I’ll get you started with just one example in this article: education. Most would agree that we’ve come a long way from the little red schoolhouse, but that didn’t just happen by accident. It was a step-by-step process that has brought us to today.
First, while Christians have generally agreed that education doesn’t really matter and have accepted it as a natural part of life with little consideration until the last generation or two, the world has long been saying how valuable education is for changing a culture. Consider a few quotes that illuminate the value placed on education by those who want to accomplish a purpose.
“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” – Joseph Stalin[i]
“Your child belongs to us already… What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”[ii] – Adolf Hitler
“An institution for this purpose (training teachers) would become by its influence on society, and particularly on the young, an engine to sway the public sentiment, the public morals, and the public religion, more powerful than any other in the possession of government.”[iii] – James G. Carter (19th century legislator who helped establish compulsory schooling laws in America)
Want to accomplish social change? Use education. Once they grasped that, the second step was to take over education. The world latched onto education as a mighty weapon in America through the work of men like Horace Mann and John Dewey while most Christians remained indifferent. Today, the teachers unions are filled with humanists who deny God, and they work closely with the textbook writers who also display an anti-God slant.
So, once they accomplished step two, they moved into step three: use that well-earned influence to make children believe what you want them to believe. How is it that people mindlessly defend evolution as fact without examining counter-evidence? Why did millions of people go out of their way to applaud the first openly gay NFL player on social media? If these values weren’t passed down through families or churches in our God-fearing society of a few generations ago, where did we get them? How about from the people who teach?
To illustrate this, consider the case of homosexuality. Beginning in the 1980s, homosexuals began strategizing ways to get mainstream America to accept them (see a book called “After the Ball”). In the 1990s, they decided to bring that to schools, with openly gay leader Kevin Jennings emphasizing safety and anti-bullying campaigns as a Trojan horse to get gay rights in the door.
In a 1995 speech, Jennings admitted that the rhetoric about “safety” was a political device, saying that it “threw our opponents on the defensive, and stole their best line of attack. This framing short-circuited their arguments and left them back-pedaling.” In a 1997 speech he embraced the idea of actively “promoting” homosexuality, looking forward to a day when “people, when they would hear that someone was promoting homosexuality, would say, ‘Yeah, who cares?’”[iv]
Just 17 years ago he wanted Americans to accept the promotion of homosexuality as normal and they were going to do it through education. News flash: it worked. Again, they valued the power of education, they grabbed that power, and they exerted their influence through it. They’ve done the same thing through entertainment, politics, news media, and a number of other cultural mediums. What did Christians do in response? We (generally speaking) maintained that education doesn’t matter… and preceded to lose over half of our youth while also losing almost all control and influence over the culture.
Shame on us as God’s people that we’ve been so content without vision and have operated without an understanding that while God’s kingdom is not of this world, this world still belongs to Him and we should be fighting to win it for Him. Anytime we at Focus Press talk about cultural issues, people always ask, “What can we do?” Sometimes people feel like they can only vote and hope everything else works out. No, we have to do more. We have to develop a long-term vision for how we’re going to get our families on track, which will help get our churches on track, which will help get our communities on track, which will help get our society on track. These changes in education in America began roughly in the 1830s. Mann, Dewey, and so many others who worked to achieve this end never got to see it come to fruition, but it was their long-term vision that caused the state of education we’re fighting today. We have to realize there’s no quick fix. That’s why we have to get to work on a vision immediately.
Christians need to start developing a vision for how we’re going to fill society with God’s influence, like the leaven in Matthew 13. In education, that means getting back to the principles of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Proverbs 22:6, Luke 6:40, and Ephesians 6:4. In other areas, that means rebuilding a biblical worldview and acting on it. We’ve spent too long hoping these enemies of God will just leave us alone. That’s not how war works. It’s time to get back up and take the fight to them.
Do you understand the weapons of our struggle? Do you have long-term vision? Do you have short-term steps you can take to achieve that long-term vision? We can’t really afford to keep losing ground. Let’s start doing what we should’ve been doing all along.
By Jack Wilkie
For more information on the influence of American education on Christianity, see Jack’s book “Failure: What Christian Parents Need to Know About American Education.”
[i] Joseph Stalin, “Marxism vs. Liberalism” Interview with H.G. Wells, Rational Revolution, http://www.rationalrevolution.net/special/library/cc835_44.htm.
[ii] As quoted in Erwin W. Lutzer, “When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany,” Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010. 99.
[iii] James Gordon Carter, “Essays Upon Popular Education, Containing A Popular Examination of the State of Massachusetts, and an Outline of an Institution for the Education of Teachers,” Boston: Bowles and Dearborn, 1826. Web edition, Google Books, http://books.google.com/books?id=I6AAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR4&lpg=PR4&dq=james g.+carter+outline+of+an+institution+for+the+education+of+teachers&source=bl& s=A7M8gGBVe5&sig=ldcCCXUkpxLBb2CTz5AUyg6roPo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=K0FXU5 oGYqp2QWm3YGAAg&ved=0CEkQ6AEwCg#v=onepage&q&f=false, 22 April 2014.
[iv] Tony Perkins, “Kevin Jennings – Unsafe for America’s Schools,” 29 June 2009, Web, http://www.humanevents.com/2009/06/29/kevin-jennings–unsafe-for-americas-schools/, 6 March 2012.