Imagine taking your innocent, trusting children by the hand and relinquishing them to a life of bondage. As unthinkable as that may sound, an account in one of my children’s books, “A Child’s History of the World” (Hillyer, 1924), told of this very act during the Children’s Crusade of 1212:

Children from all over France left their homes and their mothers and fathers – it seems strange to us that [the parents] would let them start off on such a trip – and marched south to the Mediterranean Sea. … [They] expected the waters of the sea to part and allow them to march on dry land to Jerusalem … but the waters did not part. Sailors offered to take the children to Jerusalem in their ships. … But it turned out that these sailors were really pirates, and as soon as they got the children on board their ships they steered them straight into … the very land of their enemies. … Here, it is said, the pirates sold the children as slaves.

We have virtually the same thing occurring in our culture today. The ships of bondage are the public schools, but instead of thousands of children, millions are led aboard. Founded by secular humanists over 150 years ago to delegate the training of children to the state, the public school of today is where the “old and irrelevant” has been removed – God, the Bible, prayer – and new godless, socialist and New Age agendas have assumed their place.

Sadly, many parents are either unaware or unwilling to see the true depravity of today’s government schools. Although many well-meaning parents may rationalize sending their children to secular institutions, there are big reasons to remove them from these public stumbling centers immediately.

Public school is where the “blind guides lead the blind” (Matthew 15:14) in centers of secular-humanistic indoctrination. This is no longer up for debate. The research is in. Please make yourself familiar with the following research: The National Study of Youth and Religion by Smith and Denton (2005), The Southern Baptist Council on Family Life Report (2002), and the 20 years of study by Dan Smithwick and the Nehemiah Institute with over 40,000 youth who professed to be born-again. The facts are mind-boggling! The American church is currently losing between 70-90 percent of the next generation. The vast majority of our children’s worldviews have been decimated, the inevitable result of nearly 1,100 hours a year of teaching that runs antithetical to Christianity.

E. Ray Moore of Exodus Mandate, at the forefront of this battle for the last 11 years, wrote the following: “… the lion’s share of converting and witnessing is accomplished through the public education curriculum, peer pressure from other children – most of whom are non-Christian – and educators who implant (either subtly or obviously and conscientiously or unconscientiously) their humanistic, neo-pagan or New Age doctrines within the minds and hearts of Christian children.” One recent Barna study shows that if current trends continue, in 10 years church attendance will be half of what it is today. Parents: the pagan institution down the street may have sports activities, marching bands, school plays, homecomings, proms, et cetera, but in light of eternity, do they really matter? Is not your child’s soul worth so much more?

Public schools, by design, bring not one thought captive under Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We as taxpayers now spend roughly $9,000-plus annually per student on K-12 public education, topping the charts globally in per-student spending, to produce scores near the bottom of all industrialized nations. So, what do our nearly 600 billion tax dollars a year generate besides a generation of youth thinking, acting and growing up to vote like socialists? As put by Mrs. Charlotte Iserbyt, former senior policy adviser in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, public educated children are being “deliberately dumbed down.” The damage is not only spiritual, but mental and emotional as well.

Public schools surround children daily with the companionship of fools that corrupts good morals (Proverbs 13:20 and 1 Corinthians 15:33). Our impressionable children are faced with even greater temptations than in generations past. Why would we send them to places that are in a moral free-fall?

The facts speak for themselves. A recent Heritage Group study reports, “Every day, 8,000 teenagers in the United States become infected by a sexually transmitted disease.” A recent study by Congress estimated that one out of 10 students (K-12) are “subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school” and that most of the abuse is never reported. To put this into perspective: a child going to a public school nowadays has a significantly greater chance of being sexually abused in school than being in an automobile accident. Yet every day millions of parents insist on seatbelts as they drive their children straight to a place where they are subject not only to the temptation of other fools but also potential physical harm.

A believer may point to Scripture and accuse another of being “judgmental,” “legalistic” or “binding another’s conscience” and therefore unduly burdening them because they choose to send their own children to public schools. I would graciously ask my fellow believers to read beyond the “don’t judge me” verses to the ends of these chapters. In Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8, Paul’s overarching theme is, “Whatever you do as a believer, do not offend or cause another weaker believer to stumble.” Here Paul uses the Greek words for “offend” or “stumble” from which we derive our English word “scandal.” Paul could have written the following to millions of Christian parents today in a tone of genuine love and concern: “Parents, yes, you have been given freedom in Christ and yes, you are no longer ‘under the Law,’ but you are using your freedom in Christ as a license to send your children to a place that is causing these little ones ‘scandal’ – to stumble, to be offended, to turn away from our Lord. Why? Do you not remember what our Lord has told us? ‘If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.'”

Sending our children to public schools clearly causes them to stumble in their walk with God. The answer is not more youth groups, children’s ministries, or even a teaching series by our pastors. The answer begins with parents loving their children more than they love the convenience or tradition of their local public schools. We must spark a debate within our churches. Since it appears that many of our Christian leaders and pastors – the shepherds – are afraid or unwilling to tackle this topic, then let the sheep address it, and let them begin now.

The facts, Scripture, and plain reason clearly demonstrate that when parents send their children to today’s public schools, they put them in harm’s way. Evidence and history have shown it is a fool’s errand to try to reform the schools – a waste of time, money and children. It also runs contradictory to God’s Word. In the words of Martin Luther, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God … to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

Let us come together as the Body of Christ, repent and honor the Lord by raising our children for God’s glory! Before another precious soul stumbles and falls away, let us stop leading our kids onto the pirate ships and work together to rescue those who are already on board. It is time to abandon ship.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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