A Christian homeschooled girl was ordered by a New Hampshire court this week to attend a public school because her faith is a “bit too sincerely held and must be sifted, tested by, and mixed among other worldviews.”
Thankfully, attorneys working with the Alliance Defense Fund have filed motions with the court, asking it to reconsider the order compelling the 10-year-old girl into public school. The attorney, John Anthony Simmons, said that parents have a “fundamental right to make educational choices for their children.”
The problem arose when the girl, whose parents are divorced, was questioned in a custody hearing and reflected her mother’s so-called “rigidity” on questions of faith. One state official said the girl’s “vigorous defense of her religious beliefs” indicated that she had not been exposed to other points of view.
As a father of four kids in Christian school, I find this ruling deeply alarming. My wife and I, as well as my kids’ teachers, train them to be able to defend their faith. That is part of being a Christian and an apologist for Jesus Christ.
However, the diversity craze in our nation is becoming very powerful, and it is certainly troubling when state officials make determinations that counter parental judgments.
One is left to wonder if the Bible itself will one day be determined to be socially objectionable because it:
- depicts Jesus Christ as the sole avenue to eternal life;
- establishes behavioral codes that counter modern social trends;
- maintains foundational chronicles that contradict contemporary science;
- institutes marriage designs that do not conform to present trends;
- confirms the value that God places on the individual, even within the womb.
Listen, I love diversity. I have learned so much about the deep expression of praise and worship from African-American members of our congregation. I have come to a much richer understanding of the power of the Gospel through my friend Ergun Caner, who was raised in a Muslim family. I have come to appreciate the beauty of answering God’s call to service through the many Korean students in our seminary who have abandoned established careers so they can train to serve Jesus Christ.
Diversity, in fact, should be a huge part of every church.
But when diversity is forced upon us – specifically, when it overrides parental authority – it becomes dangerous, especially to those of us who hold to values that counter much of the modern cultural diversity craze.
I am reminded of King Nebuchadnezzar erecting a mammoth golden statue in the plain of Dura (Daniel chapter 3) and requiring the people to worship it. However, three young Hebrew men – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – loved the God of the Bible and refused to bow, so they were thrust into the great fiery furnace. They would not allow the king to dictate how they worshiped the living God.
You will recall how God miraculously appeared with those valiant young men and protected them against the piercing flames. But also remember that Nebuchadnezzar was convinced of the power of God, understanding that they should “not serve nor worship any god except their own God.”
Never forget that trials – and they are unavoidable – often bring about great victories, my friends.
This story gives us confidence even today that God will never abandon us, even when powerful judges or politicians or kings oppose us in our efforts to live for Jesus Christ. The same God who protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego lives within us and is our strength in the midst of any storm.
Finally, please join me in praying for the New Hampshire girl and her mother who are now going through their own storm.