We hear it all the time (and of course by “hear it” I mean we read Facebook memes about it): “we need God back in our schools…I’ll bet none of my friends will repost this” or “so many of the problems in the world today could be fixed if we put God back in the schools.” As a God-loving, God-fearing Christian, I must respectfully disagree. And here is why…
First and foremost, we live in a beautiful country with a beautiful little thing called “separation of church and state.” The government is supposed to have no say in our worship, and the church is supposed to have no say in our government. When these two entities remain separate, life is just easier. Like chocolate ice cream and an onion…nothing good can come from mixing them. You don’t see me walking into a church and forcing a captive audience to sit through a lesson on mitosis, now do you? There is a time and place for everything.
School is a place for educating children on how to read, write, do math, and learn the science behind this confusing world. Above all, it is a place where children should learn how to think for themselves. The adults who are teaching this information to your children have spent years in school mastering this content in order to become an “expert” on their subjects. So unless you’re suggesting that a schooled pastor or priest be hired onto every single public school staff, it’s a little scary to think of which version of “God” would be taught by teachers who are certified in computer technology or Algebra II or (God forbid) theatre. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable teaching theology.
You see, that’s the beauty of church: you can seek out a spiritual leader and a doctrine that aligns with your individual belief system. And if, by some chance, you are suggesting that a schooled pastor or priest be hired onto your child’s school staff, I’m sure there are plenty of private schools that would gladly accept your thousands of dollars.
Secondly, I’ve blogged before about the teacher’s ever-growing responsibilities that reach far beyond content. This year alone, in addition to my daily lessons, I have helped a child get out of an abusive household, mended a student’s only pair of uniform pants, coached children on integrity, honesty, appropriate language, and manners, as well as purchased lunch and field trips for countless students. I am not writing any of this for accolades. In fact, this is the norm for almost all schoolteachers. My point is, already our duties have gone far beyond the classroom. We have to draw the line somewhere.
Thirdly (is that a word?), can God really be kept out of schools? Even though the law prohibits me from leading a group of students in prayer, nothing can stop me from praying for “my children.” You see, God is not really someone you can get rid of. It’s just that children must be taught that God is always in their hearts and they can decide when to speak to Him. The key is they must decide. Which brings me to my final point…
Schools have not done away with God. Children have not gotten worse. Many parents are simply relying on the school to raise their children. If you want your child to pray in the cafeteria, then pray with him at your dinner table. If you want your child to read the Bible during English class, then read the Bible with her before bedtime. If you want your child to minister to other children who are not as fortunate as your child, then model Godly ministering.
The break down is not with our kids and it’s not with our schools. A Godly education occurs at home.