By John Carey, CHEWV’s Legislative Liaison/Lobbyist
As you consider the upcoming election, it is important to support those who not only stood up for your freedoms by advancing positive home school legislation but also promoted bills that strengthen parental rights and religious liberty.
Legal protection of homeschooling is built upon two pillars: parental rights and religious liberty. If we ever lose the fight for religious freedom, we will find ourselves unable to stop laws which wrest control of home education away from parents and place it in the hands of government agents. We must consider the actions of officials at the local, as well as national level, as they relate to religious liberty.
During the 2016 regular legislative session, as many of you will recall, Delegate Hornbuckle proposed an amendment that would have required homeschool students to undergo diversity instruction by periodically requiring “public school visits and activities” to “enhance social skills and tolerance for others with different beliefs or backgrounds.”
But it does not stop at one WV legislator. Recently HSLDA reported that U.S. Department of Education Secretary King has also expressed his concerns about the social development of homeschool students. King worries that “students who are homeschooled are not getting the kind of rapid instructional experience they would get in school” unless parents are “very intentional about it.” King said the school experience includes building relationships with peers, teachers, and mentors—elements which he believes are difficult to achieve in homeschooling.
If that is true, if students get an excellent social development experience in public school, where is the proof of it? Are America’s public school students known around the world for excellent social development? How happy, content and self-assured are they? Consider this:
- Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18.¹
- More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease COMBINED.²
- Each day in our nation on average, over 5000 young people grades 7-12 attempt suicide.²
Tragically, a child in a West Virginia elementary school recently committed suicide, and perhaps because of bullying.³
It has been my observation that many parents homeschool primarily because they are concerned about proper social development. They want their kids to grow up with a solid self-image and gain essential social skills.
It would seem that there is another reason that King and Hornbuckle want our kids exposed to public school. This can be seen in the second justification that Delegate Hornbuckle gave for his committee amendment: “tolerance for others with different beliefs or backgrounds.” Secularists who share the worldview of Secretary King and Delegate Hornbuckle do not want parents, especially Christian parents, directing the education of their own children because these parents teach that homosexual marriage is wrong and traditional marriage is right. In their minds, to teach that this is the only way to look at life is to be intolerant.
Stepping back to view our culture, we can see that it is not Christians but the godless society around us that is becoming intolerant of those who believe that objective truth can be known and lived out in the world. The traditional view of absolute truth is being replaced with “Cultural Relativism,” which says all cultural beliefs are good and must be appreciated. Those who believe that there is a best way or a right way to live are quickly being defined as bigots. This is why our children must be exposed to “different beliefs and backgrounds” as the Hornbuckle amendment mandated. Yet Christian parents know this is not true. Some ways of looking at life are very harmful, even destructive.
Some ways of looking at life are very harmful, even destructive.
On the floor of the Senate during the 2016 regular session, Senator Mitch Carmichael, in a tearful speech, gutted the West Virginia religious freedom bill in the final moments of the debate by, in effect, mandating that Christians who bake cakes or take wedding pictures be legally required to use those talents to affirm homosexual marriage – “or else.” Consider if this proposal had been made law. It clearly would have set a precedent for limiting religious freedoms in other areas as well. Why not eventually homeschooling?
A battle is raging all around the country, even in West Virginia, over religious liberty. For those of us who have chosen God’s Word as the sure foundation of our lives and families, the religious liberty purchased for us by America’s forefathers should be precious to us. We must rise up to protect that liberty if we want to keep the right to direct the education of our children.
If ideas which are counter to the Bible gain momentum in society, parents will eventually have no legal means to prevent their children from being indoctrinated in the name of the “greater good” of society. And what is the greater good? That all ways are equally acceptable. To think otherwise is to be one who hates and is intolerant. Instead, students in school should be encouraged to discover what is true and right, and what will enable them to be successful in life, just as homeschool students are already doing. True success is never found in placing equal value on all ideas as Cultural Relativism mandates, but by embracing the best ideas – God’s ideas! The LORD our Maker says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
Anything contrary to the ways and thoughts of God puts men and women, girls and boys, in bondage. Only the knowledge of the Truth of God’s Word will set us – and these children – free.
Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make your free.” – John 8:31-32
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1