Public Education As Messiah

The adherents of public schooling in this country have always had a messiah complex. They have always sought to make that educational institution (so called) that they adhere to and promote appear to be the sole method of improving the lot of mankind. No longer are we supposed to lean on the Holy Scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to show us the way to better the lives of people. We are supposed to now jettison that outmoded belief and replace it with the latest pronouncements of the public school educrats.

In his book Idols for Destruction, published way back in 1990, Herbert Schlossberg observed this messiah complex in the public education system. He stated: “From the time they began in the United States, the public schools have been intended to be a social force. Beginning with Horace Mann, they were supposed to promote the socialization of diverse peoples, end crime and poverty, and in general solve the political, economic, and social problems of the entire society. Muggeridge recalls that his father’s socialist vision included a society in which the population would be transformed through education.”

Horace Mann ~ NOT my favorite ‘educator’

A few decades earlier, Theologian R. J. Rushdoony noted the same thing. Back in 1965 in The Nature of the American System, Rushdoony had written: “The ‘public school’ movement, or statist education, did not exist until the 1830’s. Statist education began as a subversive movement and its bitter, savage struggle has not yet been written. The essentials of the drive which produced statist education are clearly seen in Horace Mann (1796-1859), the ‘Father of the common schools.’ First and foremost, Mann was a Unitarian. New England Unitarianism was in the forefront of the battle for statist education. For Mann, Unitarianism was the true Christianity, and with humorless zeal, he fought for his holy faith.

Mann and his Unitarian cohorts felt the Christian schools of their day were backward and just not able to deal with the basic social issues of the times. So the public schools would be the new contemporary messiah and would accomplish what those obsolete Christian schools had not been able to. As to whether this socialist manifestation was successful or not, take a look at what public schools today are promoting and you will have your answer. And, as the man says–it ain’t pretty!

Rushdoony also wrote a book called The Messianic Character of American Education. The title of that one pretty much explains what it is all about. Schlossberg noted, as did Rushdoony before him, “Hence, all education is fundamentally religious. Horace Mann, the father of compulsory state education in the United States, did not disguise this, but rather traded on it in order to gain adherents to his ideas:…” In other words, Mann was ready to accept Christian ideas for a time, while he urged Christian parents to get their kids into his schools–but only for a time. And, unfortunately, way too many Christian parents, and their ministers, took the bait. Discernment seemed to be lacking, as it so often is in our day. Now, 190 years later we find Christians shouting the praises of a public school system that, in many cases, openly promotes perversion and seeks to stifle those students who seem inclined to speak up for their faith.

Schlossberg also stated that: “The assumptions of modern public education concerning the nature of man, the function of the state, the nature of truth, and so on are such as to inculcate a set of presuppositions that can only be called religious. Ivan Illich was perfectly justified in saying that the teacher is the font of moral instruction that substitutes for God, state, and parents, providing for his students the meaning of right and wrong.” That thought should scare the living daylights out of parents today, but mostly it does not seem to, but only because they have tossed aside their responsibility to be the prime educators of their own children. They have been taught for generations now that the public schools would be the prime movers in that area and so they didn’t have to bother.

In other words, the public school is god, the public school is the surrogate Mom and Dad, and the public school is the prime formative presence in the forming of opinions. All Mom and Dad have to do is feed the kids and send them off to the public brain laundry. And judging by what those schools are turning out today it must be working–but for who?

Judging by the fact that homeschooling and Christian schooling are on the increase today, you must admit that there are many parents who have finally figured out that the public schools do not exactly work the way they want to see their kids educated.

All education is inescapably religious. The question is, whose religion are the kids being educated in? The God of Holy Scriptures or some other god?

August 14, 2020

~ The Author ~
Al Benson Jr. is the editor and publisher of The Copperhead Chronicle, a quarterly newsletter that presents history from a pro-Southern and Christian perspective. He has written for several publications over the years. His articles have appeared in “The National Educator,” “The Free Magnolia,” and the “Southern Patriot.” I addition to that he was the editor of, and wrote for, “The Christian Educator” for several years. In addition to The Copperhead Chronicles, Al also maintains Revised History.

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Confederate Society of America and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and has, in the past, been a member of the John Birch Society. He is the co-author, along with Walter D. Kennedy, of the book “Lincoln’s Marxists” and he has written for several Internet sites as well as authoring a series of booklets, with tests, dealing with the War of Northern Aggression, for home school students.

Mr. Benson is a highly respected scholar and writer and has graciously allowed Metropolis Café to publish his works. We are proud to have his involvement with this project.

He and his wife now live in northern Louisiana.