Will we be denied the right to teach our children the greatest commandment?
If you were going to teach your children one commandment from all of scripture, what would you teach them? In Matthew 22:36-38, a Pharisee once asked Jesus the question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus responds with these words, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
Do you understand the ramifications of following this command? If you give all of what you have to something, then you have nothing left for anything else. In other words, if you were to teach your children this, you would be teaching them to love (serve, follow, honor, glorify, etc.) God with everything they have, meaning they would have nothing left to give to another god. You would be teaching them that there is only one God, and that the totality of their lives should be given to him alone. And you would be right to do so.
Jesus quotes this command from Deuteronomy 6:4 & 5. Immediately following, in verses 6 & 7, are these words, “And these words (the great command) that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall TEACH them DILIGENTLY to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” So as parents, we are instructed to teach our children diligently, the great command, which is that there is only one true God and that they are to love Him with all their heart, soul, and mind.
Wellsprings Church is a family integrated church, and we hold to the conviction that our families must be free to teach our children that there is One God and we are to love Him only. I’m not talking about just formal education here. I’m talking about the right to TEACH my children what I believe, at all times, in all circumstances, in all manners.
But not everyone believes we have this right, and Christians are facing a growing tide of opposition around the world. The platform on which they spew forth their ideological challenges is that of “tolerance.” Catherine Ross, Professor at George Washington University Law School, wrote in the May 2010 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal: “If a parent subscribes to an absolutist belief system premised on the notion that it was handed down by a creator, that it (like the Ten Commandments) is etched in stone and that all other systems are wrong, the essential lessons of a civic education (i.e., tolerance and mutual respect) often seem deeply challenging and suspect.”
Professor Ross is also not just talking about formal education. By targeting parents, she is targeting ALL education. Here is more evidence. Writing about Christian education, Professor Ross said, “the state can and should limit the ability of intolerant [Christian educators] to inculcate hostility to difference in their children.” The question here is “What is education?” and “Who are the educators?” In referring to “their children,” she seems to imply that the Christian educators are the parents. In other words, if I teach my children that Jesus is the one and only true God, and that they should live only for Him, then I am intolerant, and the state should stop me.
Why? In a 2009 book edited by Professor Martha Albertson Fineman of Emory University Law School, it was written that all forms of private education should be banned because Christian education “unfairly imposes hierarchical and oppressive beliefs on their children.” Another way that such liberal political theorists argue this is that such beliefs infringe on a child’s human rights. Don’t think this can happen? Recent events in the UK suggest otherwise. There, the High Court has implied that Christian views on morality were essentially too absolutist, and therefore discouraged allowing Christians to participate in the foster care system and perhaps even adoption. Christian Concern has an informative article on the subject (click link to read article).
So already there is a movement to prevent Christians from receiving children into their home whom they would then influence. How big of a step would be required them to prevent Christian parents from teaching such morals to the children they already have? If President Obama has his way, not much of a step. He and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Senator Barbara Boxer are among those who have committed themselves to seeing U.S. ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This devastating piece of international legislation will create a climate that will place Christian parents at odds with our government over our rights to teach our children the great commandment, or any of our other beliefs. Haven’t heard of this? Be informed and check out 20 Things You Need to Know About the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Christians, whether parents or not, need to be aware of what is transpiring in the world and get involved. For more information on these issues, go to www.parentalrights.org. Politics will not save us or our children, but that doesn’t mean we should not get involved. We believe in one God, He is the only God, and as we teach our children, it is in Him and in Him alone that we trust.