Monday, December 29, 2008

Operation Exodus: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Back in the 1940’s visionary Jewish leaders recognised that the key to Jewish survival was Jewish education, not in extra curricular programs but in full-time, full-service day schools. Back then, only a fortunate handful of students was enrolled in the new Jewish institutions. It did not take long for the merit of Jewish private education to prove its worth. There was a marked contrast in Torah observance and commitment between those enrolled in the new institutions and those who remained in public schools. Now, there are Jewish schools educating their students in Torah values all across America.

Many Christians and believers of other faiths have discovered the need for an education that is supportive of the values they teach in their homes. What back in the forties was a problem only for those who feared assimilation into America’s majority faith has now become a problem for those in the religious mainstream as well.

What many thought was a “value neutral” education was really full of secular humanist values. Sex education and biased history along with disastrous experiments in “whole word” reading instruction and “new math” frustrated millions of parents who felt their concerns were being dismissed. An education bureaucracy with a hidden agenda and flawed methodology provided and continues to provide ironclad protection for ideologues from a skeptical public.

For decades, Jews and Christians who seceded from public education were nevertheless forced through taxation to pay for it as well as for their own schools. In the vast domain of public education, both the Christian majority and the Jewish minority (among other groups) are disenfranchised by secular humanists who are dismissive of their concerns.

Now, a group has formed for Christians who are sick of the toll secular humanist schools have taken on the transmission of their faith.

World Net Daily reports on the group as follows.

“Now some people are fed up with public school treatment of Christianity and have launched a campaign calling for a rescue of kids from government education programs – a “Call to Dunkirk.”

The name Dunkirk is famous for the hundreds of thousands of World War II allies saved in May 1940 when a flotilla of pleasure boats, fishing craft and others rescued the soldiers from the beaches near Dunkirk, France, where they were trapped by an advancing German army.

Author David J. Knowles, who wrote a book on the rescue that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called a miracle, said volunteers including boat owners, fishermen – ordinary people instead of trained soldiers and sailors – crossed the English Channel to effect the rescue of about 340,000 people.

Now, officials with Exodus Mandate have launched their “Call to Dunkirk” to advocate a departure from public schools.

Several officials have created a YouTube video on their plan, and it is linked here:
Call to Dunkirk”

Although this video makes extensive reference to Christian scripture, the theme of a faith community seceding from a corrupt system has a resonance that transcends denominational boundaries. Many orthodox Jews have made identical arguments couched in a solidly Jewish textual framework for their children to attend religious schools. I mention this to underscore the importance of this issue to many faith communities

The tactical metaphor of Dunkirk has particular resonance for the wide assortment of faith communities who are marginalised and disenfranchised under our current educational system. World War Two was a conflict in which disparate allies rightly sensed common interests. Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Seventh Day Adventists may have acrimonious theological disagreements and separate communities, but each group is threatened in a similar way by the values promoted in the public schools and the dismissive treatment in public schools of any sort of religious faith.

Just as businesses that compete with each other lobby together in recognition of their common interests, religious schools of any denomination must ally together on matters that affect the viability of religious education. Whether it is lobbying for favourable legislation or legal advice on maximising a school’s advantage under existing tax laws , people of disparate beliefs face many common problems.

The World Net Daily article forcefully drives home the point that an average child spends 14,000 hours of his or her life in public schools. This is a massive amount of time in which formative years are spent exposed to alien values. Counteracting this with a couple hours of Sunday School or afternoon religious instruction is in most cases wishful thinking.

For me as a Jew, values transmission and Jewish identity are central themes that can not be reduced to an occasional scholastic footnote. I have no doubt that millions of Americans of other faiths have similar concerns about their respective traditions. After the recent Presidential election a forceful show of concern by citizens of faith should serve as a wake up call to the Obama administration to treat this issue seriously.

I live in an area that is predominantly African American and in which many of my neighbours choose church schools for their children. Having expounded at length on the theme that people of all faiths are affected by this issue, it should be noted that many African Americans prefer or choose religious schools for their children. In neighbourhoods with lower average incomes, their commitment often represents a major economic sacrifice.

The issues raised by Call To Dunkirk involve the most basic right of choice, and that is the right to educate a child according to the manner deemed fit by his or her parents. Anyone who is truly “pro choice” understands this.

A generation ago, no one would have dreamed of the sort of insanity taught in schools today, such as the school in Massachusetts that teaches homosexuality to kindergarten students with the protection of a judicial decision that was so far reaching that even parents who objected on religious grounds were not allowed to remove their child from the class.

It is not an accident that Bill Ayers and others like him went from terrorism into education. Radicals rightly see the subversive potential within the educational system. America has been sleeping while they have been busy at work.

When public schools start closing for want of students, perhaps our tyrannical public school system will give way to one that expresses the wishes, goals and values of the citizenry.

The public school establishment has turned a deaf ear to the pleas of disgruntled citizens for far too long. Now, instead of the dialogue they have ducked and avoided, it looks like they may hear the rumbling sound of millions of fed up Americans voting with their feet. They asked for a rumble and they may just get it. Sphere: Related Content

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