When I was going to school back in the 1930s and ’40s, at each assembly the principal read the 23rd Psalm from the Bible. Its poetry rang out with truth, purpose, and the tremendous sense of God‘s love. And we all listened as if we were in a house of worship.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down to green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
When children hear such words as “soul” and “righteousness” at every assembly, spoken by the leader of the school, you can be sure that there will be an impact on their minds and emotions. Indeed, in later years when I was sent to Italy to take part in the last days of World War II, these words stayed with me. It was reassuring to know that I was under God’s benevolent protection.
As a young student from an immigrant family, I needed all the moral and cultural help I could get from my public school. Although I was born in New York City and attended synagogue services as a youngster, I could not understand the Hebrew prayers. It was the 23rd Psalm spoken in English that made me more aware of God’s presence and benevolence than any other experience.
Today, students in our public schools are given no such assurance of the existence of God or of His protective love. They may get it in church on Sunday, depending on the beliefs of their parents. But the public school has an authority that one hour of church on Sunday can’t compete with. Children are subjected to secular humanism six hours a day, five days a week, for 12 years. Denial of the existence of God is drummed into the students' heads through such studies as evolution, in which they are taught that they are the products of a natural process akin to what all animals go through and that they too are animals. That is why so many schools are called zoos.
The teaching of "values clarification" is an attempt to convey to students the idea that they can actually create their own moral code. The Ten Commandments are no longer even referred to as a relevant code of behavior. You can steal if the circumstances justify it, and you can lie if the circumstances justify it.
One widely used technique for clarifying values in the classroom is the lifeboat survival game, or fallout shelter game. Several years ago I was given the instruction sheet for the latter exercise by a parent in Clarkston, Washington, where I was lecturing. It was used in the 9th grade at the local high school. Ninth graders are about 14 or 15 years old.
The lesson was entitled, “Who Should Survive?” and the instructions read:
The following 15 persons are in a bomb shelter after a nuclear war. These 15 persons are the only humans left on the earth. It will take six weeks for the external radiation level to drop to a safe survival level. The food and supplies in the shelter can sustain at a very minimum level, seven persons for six weeks. It is your task to decide which seven persons will survive. Be prepared to justify your choices.
First of all, notice how the problem is rigged. How do these 15 persons know that they are the only humans left on earth? How do they know that it will take six weeks for the outside radiation level to fall? If they have that kind of scientific knowledge, maybe they also have a radiation-proof suit that one of the survivors can put on and find adequate food somewhere on the outside. Also, who among the survivors has the right to decide who is to live and who is to die? And what is the method of murder to be used? None of these questions is brought up. Instead, these 15-year-olds are now supposed to play God and sentence eight people to death in a situation which could easily be changed with a little imagination and resourcefulness.
Here’s a description of the 15 persons in the bomb shelter:
1. Dr. Dame, 39, white, no church affiliation, Ph.D. in history, college professor, good health, married, 1 child, active and enjoys politics.
2. Mrs. Dame, 38, white, Jew, MA in psychology, counselor in mental health clinic, good health, married, 1 child, active in community.
3. Bobby Dame, 10, white, Jew, special education classes for 4 years, mentally retarded, IQ 70, good health, enjoys his pets.
4. Mrs. Garcia, 33, Spanish-American, Roman Catholic, 9th grade education, cocktail waitress, prostitute, good health, married at 16, divorced at 18, abandoned as a child, in a foster home as a youth, attacked by foster father at age 12, ran away from home, returned to reformatory, stayed until 16, 1 child 3 weeks old.
5. Jean Garcia, 3 weeks old, Spanish-American, good health, nursing for food.
6. Mrs. Evans, 32, Negro, Protestant, AB and MA in Elementary Education, teacher, divorced, 1 child, good health, cited as outstanding teacher, enjoys working with children.
7. Mary Evans, 8, Negro, Protestant, 3rd grade, good health, excellent student.
8. John Jacobs, 13, white, Protestant, 8th grade, honor student, very active, broad interests, father is a Baptist minister, good health.
9. Mr. Newton, 25, Negro, claims to be an atheist, was in last year of medical school until suspended for homosexual activity, good health, seems bitter concerning racial problems, wears hippy clothes.
10. Mrs. Clark, 28, Negro, Protestant, college grad, engineering, electronics engineer, married, no children, good health, enjoys outdoor sports and stereo equipment, grew up in ghetto.
11. Sister Mary Kathleen, 27, nun, college grad, English major, grew up in upper middle class neighborhood, good health, father a businessman.
12. Mr. Blake, 51, white, Mormon, HS grad, mechanic, “Mr. Fix-it,” married, 4 children (not with him), good health, enjoys outdoors and working in his shop.
13. Miss Harris, 21, Spanish-American, Protestant, college senior, nursing major, good health, enjoys outdoor sports, likes people.
14. Father Franz, 37, white, Catholic, college plus seminary, priest, active in civil rights, criticized for liberal views, good health, former college athlete.
15. Dr. Gonzales, 66, Spanish-American, Catholic, medical doctor, general practitioner, has had 2 heart attacks in the past 5 years but continues to practice.
That completes the cast of characters. And now the students can start clarifying their values. It’s easy to imagine the students deciding to get rid of the easy ones first — Dr. Gonzales, who will probably have his third heart attack before the six weeks are up, and Bobby Dame, the retarded Jewish boy. It’s interesting to note that in Hitler’s Germany, Nazi doctors decided that the mentally defective were socially worthless and should therefore be killed. This practice started in the 1930s, before the war.
Two more easy victims are Mrs. Garcia, the ex-prostitute, and her nursing infant. The fifth will no doubt be the black homosexual atheist who wears hippy clothes. He’s not the type you’d want to help generate a new human race. So far it’s been pretty easy. But the students have three more to go.
Dr. and Mrs. Dame look pretty safe. He’s got a Ph.D. and she’s got an MA, which means they can start a graduate school of psychology as soon as they crawl out of the shelter. Goodness knows, the seven survivors will need one to help create their new world order. Mrs. Evans, the 32-year-old black teacher, and her 8-year-old daughter look safe. Mrs. Evans has an AB and an MA in elementary education, which means that the education establishment will have survived the nuclear holocaust. John Jacobs, the 13-year-old white boy is a shoo-in. The kids in the class will certainly identify with him.
Mrs. Clark, the 28-year-old black electronics engineer, will probably be spared because she’s good at repairing stereo equipment. Sister May Kathleen, the 27-year-old nun, is obviously a loser, unless she’s willing to give up her virginity. Mr. Blake, the Mormon mechanic, is a little too old, all of 51. Besides, he doesn’t have a college degree. Miss Harris, the 21-year-old Hispanic nursing major, looks good as a future breeder of children. Father Franz, the 37-year-old priest, is a problem. Maybe the kids will permit him to live if he gives up his celibacy.
Tough decisions for the students to make as they clarify their values. And, of course, this exercise has afforded the children the opportunity to discuss such subjects as infanticide, mercy killing, euthanasia, homosexuality, rape, prostitution, interracial marriage, religion, ethnic differences, etc. Incidentally, this interesting cast of characters tells us much about the values of the educator who dreamed it up. If you will notice, five of the 15 persons are white males; the one black male is a homosexual, and the one Hispanic male is old and sick. So only white males will survive. Of the five white males, the Ph.D., the 13-year-old boy and either the Mormon mechanic or priest will be among the final winners. Do you have any doubt that the Ph.D. would survive?
As for the females, the situation is fraught with social and racial overtones. The exercise starts with eight females: 2 whites (the Master of Psychology and the nun); 3 blacks (the MA in elementary education, her daughter, and the electronics engineer); and 3 Hispanics (the prostitute and her baby and the student nurse). After eliminating the prostitute and her baby, the kids will have to eliminate two more. Whom will they be? The nun? One or both of the strong black females? The Hispanic student nurse, or the Master of Psychology?
Maybe Dr. Dame will take a shine to one of the black females and decide that Mrs. Dame, the lone surviving Jew, is dispensable. Who needs a Jewish problem in the brave new world? Or maybe the Mormon mechanic and the 13-year-old boy will decide to solve the race problem once and for all by eliminating the three black females. Why start off a new world and a new human race with a race problem? The possibilities are endless.
Can you imagine the emotional and moral turmoil such an exercise can cause in the minds and hearts of the 15-year-olds who are being forced by their values-neutral teacher to deal with these life-and-death issues? The exercise throws the whole issue of values into entire confusion. Above all, it tells us that there is something profoundly sick in an educational system that conducts education in this perverse, depressing, imbecilic way.
By the way, when I read this class exercise given to me by the parent in Clarkston, I complained about it in a press interview. The principal of the high school was informed of my complaint and defended the assignment as one that teaches students the “process one goes about in making choices.” He said that the exercise was not unrealistic in this age of nuclear issues and that not to discuss such issues would be a disservice to the students.
In other words, the principal would have us believe that it is perfectly realistic for children to think of themselves as one of 15 sole survivors in a world-wide nuclear holocaust. Statistically, it is far more likely that any one of these children will win the state lottery than find himself among the last 15 survivors of the human race.
So why not give the children an exercise in deciding what they would do with $15 million if they won it in a lottery? It would be more fun, a lot more realistic (for hundreds of people in America have actually been in that situation), and a lot healthier than ordering the executions of eight survivors of a nuclear holocaust. One would think that in the bomb shelter scenario, the people would see that every human being is precious enough to be saved. But humanists don’t think that way.
I believe that what makes humanism and humanistic psychology so malevolent, so destructive, is the profound atheism of its adherents — an atheism not based on indifference toward God, but on hatred and defiance. And it is criminal to inculcate this hatred and defiance among defenseless children, who are sent to school to learn how to live a decent and productive life, but instead are turned into depressed, self-destructive nihilists and atheists.