Conservatives in the United States are in a tenuous position; one of the reasons for this is the advice given in columns like this one, which amounts to the following: Don’t rock the boat, conservatives; just do as you’re told by the Elite, and, maybe, if you’re lucky, they’ll let you live out your beliefs quietly in a dark corner of your home, office, school, etc. – maybe.
We are grateful for Mr. Sadow’s attention to the issue of religion in public schools, but surely we can do better than weak acquiescence to unjust dictates, can we not?
Mr. Sadow is correct that there are federal Supreme Court decisions that forbid government endorsement of Christianity in public schools, but that of itself proves nothing. The key question is: Are those rulings valid? And of course they are not, just as a number of others are not – such as Roe v Wade, Obergefell v Hodges, or Bostock v Clayton County.
The public school rulings in question are justified by relying on the incorporation doctrine, which is a reading of the 14th Amendment that applies the federal Bill of Rights to the States. But this is a faulty interpretation, as Ryan Walters explains:
It is clear from history that the Bill of Rights was never intended to apply to the states. It was established by a desire to bind the federal government. Benner notes that not only were the ratification conventions very clear about the original intent of the Constitution, that in the very first Congress, James Madison introduced a constitutional amendment that would have applied limits on the states but it was rejected by the House.
Even the Marshall Court, in the 1833 case, Barron v. Baltimore, held that the restrictions in the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states, for the amendments were seen as “restraining the power of the general government.” This opinion “went unchallenged for almost 100 years,” Benner notes.
After the “Civil War,” however, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to ensure that “freed slaves enjoyed the same basic fundamental rights and privileges as their white counterparts.” But because such a law could be repealed by a future Congress, particularly one led by the Democrats, Republicans placed the same provisions into a new constitutional amendment, the 14th Amendment.
Part of Section 1 of the amendment is the one federal judicial activists have used to bind the states:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Yet as Benner has pointed out, if you consider the opinions of those in Congress who drafted the amendment, it was never their intention to impose the Bill of Rights on the states. The amendment was simply to “constitutionalize” the components of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was never to be used to expand past the limited intention of the law.
In fact, in another interesting tidbit of history, Benner notes that in 1875, Congress considered an amendment to apply the 1st Amendment restrictions to the states. It failed. So if the 14th Amendment had been intended to apply the Bill of Rights to the states, then such a proposal would have been unnecessary. Furthermore, in the “Slaughterhouse Cases” of the 1870s, the Supreme Court also upheld the original intent of the Constitution, and subsequent Courts did so until the 1920s. And even after that, as Benner points out, many prominent justices continued to hold that the “incorporation doctrine” was incorrect.
The path to take is pretty straightforward. When any person or department of the federal government issues an unlawful edict – as is the case with the Supreme Court’s decision to ban prayer, Bible teaching, etc., in public schools – the States, invoking their inherent and inalienable power as the creators of the federal constitution, are to ignore the edict and proceed to implement the proper, lawful policy in its place. This has been the practice since the current charter between the States was ratified (and even before that time), and it continues to be practiced today by State and local governments on a wide range of issues.
Furthermore, there can be no neutral spaces when it comes to Christianity. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that His kingdom is like leaven that works its way through the whole lump of meal (St. Matthew 13:33). Everything is to be brought into the Church, to be united to Christ; this is the ultimate meaning of the Incarnation (the union of God with His own creation). Whatever is not leavened with the Grace of Christ, whatever is not baptized, does not remain neutral: It is occupied by demonic forces. Hence the great need for Christians to retake the institutions currently occupied by enemies of the Faith, including the public schools.
Two principles ought to guide parents in their approach to Christianity in public schools:
1 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10);
2 The salvation of the soul is more important than anything else in the world (St. Mark 8:36).
Unless we lay the right foundation for our children, and point them to their proper end, then the final outcome for them in this world and in the next will be doubtful. We see confirmation of this all around us: As Christianity weakens, murder, suicide, drug use, pornography, gambling, the breakup of the family, etc., are surging.
It is absurd in the extreme to believe that any victories of conservatives, traditionalists, revivalists, etc., will be long-lasting without a strengthening of Christianity. Parents at Riverbend Elementary and throughout Louisiana should be irate over attempts to eradicate Christian practices from public schools. They can and should fight doggedly to reverse this trend, to add Christian teachings and practices to the daily life of students and teachers in public schools. As we said in the last essay, this is the hill to die on. This is where all other problems converge.
Parents in Florida are having great success at organizing to keep woke math textbooks out of their public schools. If they can muster that kind of focus and determination to root out woke math, surely Louisiana parents can do likewise for the greater cause of rebaptizing the public schools of their children. If they do not, then they have sealed the fate of our State, and we will continue our slide into chaos.
Parents must stop retreating, and FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! until the victory is won.
We are several decades late in mounting a large-scale resistance to these un-Christian and unlawful federal Supreme Court edicts regarding public schools. That should make us all the more eager to ‘redeem the time’ (Ephesians 5:16) and to join other peoples around the world in the process of ‘re-traditionalization’ here in the belle terre of la Louisiane after far too many years languishing under the malicious ideology of secular globalists.