The warning was clear: Christian parents should pull their children out of public schools, now, to protect them from spiritual damage, extreme indoctrination, and other serious problems. Pastors and churches should work to encourage that “exodus,” helping and encouraging families to put their kids in homeschools or private Christian schools as quickly as possible. The alternative will be the continued decline of the church in America and an acceleration of the nation's decline. That was the explosive message of an evangelical ministry leader speaking as a guest this week on one of America's top Christian radio programs.
Dr. James Dobson, one of the nation's most influential Christian leaders and a former public-school teacher, hosted the discussion on his national radio program focusing on the spiritual danger of allowing children to sit in secular or even anti-God public schools for over a dozen formative years. Dobson's guest on his nationally syndicated show Family Talk, heard on hundreds of stations across America, was Lt. Col. E. Ray Moore, a retired military chaplain, a homeschooling pioneer, and the nation's leading advocate of a mass exodus of Christian children from the government schools. The explosive interview could have far-reaching ramifications, forcing millions of Christian parents and thousands of pastors across America to re-consider their choices.
In the two-part interview, which aired Monday and Tuesday across the nation and is available online, Moore said churches and Christian families must launch a fresh effort to “really grow Christian schooling and homeschooling in the evangelical and conservative church community.” First of all, he said, there is a “scriptural pattern” that underpins his argument. “The Bible is clear: Scripture assigns the education of children to the family with assistance from the church — and not government,” said Moore, who leads Frontline Ministries and is the director of the Exodus Mandate Project to get children out of government schools. “So we actually do not believe in state-sponsored education in any fashion.”
Citing various Bible verses, Moore said parents are commanded to raise their children up in the “culture” of the Lord. Homeschooling and Christian schools help fulfill that, he explained, adding that public schools today are overtly hostile to Christianity and the Bible. Especially in the early years of child development, homeschooling is an excellent choice, with Christian schools available later for those who feel they can't do it themselves. For one, it creates a strong solidarity in the family, Moore said, adding that many homeschooling families are able to avoid the “teenage rebellion” stage altogether. “These kids that are homeschooled, and their peers in Christian schools, are a different breed, it's a different culture,” he continued.
Dr. Dobson agreed, saying the sentiment was “absolutely true,” and that young children are especially vulnerable to lifelong effects from being bullied or teased in their early years. “Today, public schools don't offer much in the way of values education, and if they do, it's often wrong,” said Dobson, who was described as “the nation's most influential evangelical leader” by The New York Times. “Particularly today, so much of what goes on in public schools is really harmful.” When Moore and Dobson were children, public schools still began the day with prayer and the Bible. “It was very, very different than it is today,” Dobson added.
When asked by Dobson about his concerns, Moore let loose. “We got a reprieve in the last election, so I think it's time for Christians to take a look at resetting the agenda for the church in the area of K-12 Christian schooling and homeschooling,” said Moore, the author of the book Let My Children Go and an executive producer for the popular Christian film on government schools entitled IndoctriNation. “We have four years to do something better and different. I think it's time for pastors and churches and Christian leaders to really look at the Exodus Mandate option, which is our ministry, to pull out and start up private Christian schools and homeschools, that's what we're advocating.”
Dr. Dobson asked Moore what damage the “indoctrination” the children are being subjected to in public schools — “they've been propagandized and given a philosophy that in many cases is contrary to scripture and what we believe” — has done to America's children. Citing resources put together by the Nehemiah Institute, Moore explained that if only millennials (18 to 34 years old) had voted, the GOP would have won only five states. “Trump would have gotten 23 electoral votes, and Hillary 504,” Moore said. “What it shows is that about 80 percent of the millennials, are pretty left and progressive, they're part of the Occupy crowd, that type of a voter. We're losing the next generation.”
Perhaps even more alarming, the public schools are also responsible for the decline in morality and the church. “We believe you can make a case with data that the main reason the culture and the next generation are turning away from traditional values, from the Gospel, from Christianity, is primarily because of the indoctrination of the public-school system,” said Moore, adding that some 80 percent of evangelicals today have their children in government school. “So we're losing about 70 to 80 percent of the Christian children, they're abandoning the church and the Christian faith in their early adult years. And people will ask why this is happening. Well, you put them in a public school, you didn't give them a Christian education.”
Moore, whose latest film, Escaping Common Core, goes through many of those arguments, said Christian churches need to be “fully committed to K-12 Christian schooling and homeschooling as a normal way of life among our people.” “If we do that, we can save our children, and maybe save our culture as well,” he said. After serving in Christian ministry for more than four decades, though, Moore said “it grieves me to have to say this, so I'll be as delicate as I can, but a lot of our very good conservative pastors are not doing their job on starting up Christian schools or encouraging K-12 Christian schooling.”
He said many pastors have told him they are scared of taking a stand because so many in their flocks have their children in government schools. “So we're in an awkward moment in history where the pastors may think, if I speak up and really push this hard, I might lose my job,” Moore said. “They do think that. But if they don't, we lose our country and we lose our children.” While some have criticized his firm stance, Moore said that the criticism is actually declining. “The culture is changing in our direction, rapidly,” he said, suggesting Christian parents and leaders are increasingly realizing the threat posed by anti-God government schools. “They see it, they see what's happening in their own children.”
Speaking to pastors in particular, Moore said they need to stand up. “Parents are going to have to give an account for their children, but pastors are going to have to give an account for their flock,” Moore said. “They have a charge to shepherd the flock, and part of that is providing Christian education for the children. I'm not talking about Sunday school, I'm talking about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday school. Now, it's not going to be easy, but they've got to do it. And I think that a lot of pastors, if they don't step up, they could lose reward.... In pastoral work, we have to warn the flock, we have to teach, admonish, and this is an area that must be dealt with.”
Moore also said he did not know of any “serious Christian leaders” who were still trusting their children to government schools. Across America, he said, Christians are increasingly realizing that the public-school system is a danger to their children, and are responding accordingly. And that is very good news, not just for the children, but for the whole country. In short, an exodus from the government schools, led by pastors and churches, could help save the children, the churches, the culture, and the country all in one, Moore argued.
At the end of the first segment, Moore thanked Dobson for all he has done to raise awareness over the years. If more prominent Christian leaders such as Dobson would stand up, Moore said, the effect would be tremendous. Dobson seemed pleased, too. “It's nice having somebody else to beat this drum besides myself,” said Dr. Dobson, who founded both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, two of the most important and influential pro-family ministries in America. “I've said it for many, many years, and I don't regret a moment of it.”
In the second half of the interview, which was broadcast on March 21, Dobson asked whether removing Christian children from public schools would deprive other children there of a Christian influence. Moore said he was glad the question came up. “That's called the salt and light argument, and it's the number one objection I get from people who don't support what I'm doing,” Moore explained, acknowledging Jesus' commands to the faithful to be salt and light. “But it doesn't apply to little children at the K-12 level in the public schools ... a little six, seven or eight year old is not ready for a hostile environment.”
In fact, since that argument was made so often, Moore decided to produce a pamphlet addressing that exact subject. “We're putting them in harm's way in pagan and godless public schools,” he explained. “And I think, frankly, even though it's a valid text, it's probably the most misused and abused text in the Bible.... It's probably an excuse more than anything else, for not doing what scripture teaches on education. There is no wiggle room in the Bible on how we should educate our children.” In summary, children need to be brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, he said. And they are not getting that in government schools — in fact, they are getting the opposite — when, as Dobson argued, parents' number one job is to ensure that their children follow Christ.
The consequences of the government school system are massive. Dobson and Moore discussed Abraham Lincoln's reputed comments on the fact that the philosophy in the classroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. After that, Moore pointed to President Ronald Reagan's National Commission on Excellence in Education, which stated in its landmark 1983 A Nation at Risk report that the government school system was so bad, it threatened the future of Americans as a nation and a people. “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war,” the report stated.
And since then, the situation has only gotten much, much worse, Moore and Dobson agreed. “We're losing our children because of the extreme indoctrination going on,” Moore continued. “We have LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] teachings now in the schools, evolution — you can't teach intelligent design or creation — they're doing a revisionist form of American history, they're not even learning basic, rudimentary education anymore in a lot of our public schools.” He also attacked Common Core, the controversial national “education” standards foisted on states by the Obama administration, as part of a “radical progressive agenda” that has even started creeping into some Christian schools.
Dobson, who was a public-school teacher at one time, explained how his journey into this field began in graduate school while at the University of Southern California, where he studied child development. “The big fad at that time ... was that early childhood development was necessary,” he said. “The experts at that time, in my field, were all convinced that children should be ushered into formal education — usually in state-sponsored education — and to do it at younger and younger ages, to get them into formal education as early as three years or even younger. Everyone seemed to believe that, and there were many federal grants at that time to get kids into formal classrooms, much of it at the public school level.”
Multiple forces converged to push the idea — it created lots of jobs for teachers, it coincided with and facilitated the push to get as many mothers as possible into the work force, and of course the federal government drove much of the support. Dobson ended up believing in the idea. But on a speaking tour, somebody gave him a copy of Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child's Education, a book by the late homeschooling pioneer Raymond Moore — no relation to the Moore on this week's programs despite having the same name — and encouraged him to read it. “It was the first time I ever heard this notion that you would benefit children more by holding them out of public education than getting them into the early classroom situation,” Dobson said, adding that Moore had been in the same USC program as him. “It contradicted what I had been taught.”
Dobson was so intrigued that he contacted the late Moore and invited the expert to his radio studio for a discussion. “It was like putting a match to gasoline,” he said. “I got it. I saw it. I knew he was right.” The conversation then went on to homeschooling all those decades ago. “That was a new concept to me,” Dobson explained. “My wife Shirley and I would have homeschooled if we had known about it. But nobody was talking about that at that time. That was a brand new idea for my listening audience, too. And frankly, I didn't know how many of them were out there.... The sky fell on me. You can't believe the number of calls and letters that came. They weren't mad at me, they were saying, tell me more, tell me more. And that was the beginning of the modern homeschool movement, and I supported it every year from that time on.”
One person who heard those early broadcasts in 1981 was the Moore on this week's radio program who, by mere coincidence, shares a very similar name with the late Raymond Moore. The two Moores actually worked together after that. “I'm so happy to have this opportunity, Dr. Dobson, because I never have thanked you for that broadcast,” Moore told Dobson early on in this week's two-part interview. “So I'm thanking you today, and I know you're aware of the pivotal role it played in homeschooling. We think homeschooling started to grow exponentially after that, it just took off.”
Moore told Dobson that he was already homeschooling at the time of those broadcasts in 1981, having started in 1977. “I'm guessing that at that time there may have been several hundred families homeschooling nationally. It was rare, and those who did really kept it quiet. It was under threat,” said Moore, whose own four children were homeschooled until at least middle school before attending private Christian schools. “We were comfortable that we were doing the Lord's will on it with our son, he was young at the time.... But even those of us doing God's will — and we believe we have scriptural, biblical basis for it — we still need to be affirmed, we need Godly people and respected Christian leaders to say you're doing the right thing, keep it up.”
Both Moore and Dobson noted that even Jesus was homeschooled until he was 12-years old. And Moore said it was clearly the right choice, noting that his children, now in their 30s and 40s, are “still walking with the Lord,” have “good marriages,” and are “very successful.” The same is true as a general rule, both agreed, saying that homeschooled children and children from Christian schools were more respectful, better educated, and more. The data that does exist seems to confirm that, with homeschoolers on average doing far better on every relevant metric than their government-schooled peers.
In a statement to The New American, Moore said his interview with Dr. Dobson was “a big moment for Exodus Mandate.” “After 50 years of service Dr. Dobson still holds the ´good housekeeping seal´ for the family,” he noted, saying he was glad to be able to expose the “educational malpractice called Common Core” and promote his latest movie on the subject, Escaping Common Core, Setting our Children Free. “K-12 Christian education and home schooling is one method to assure survival of traditional values and the natural family.”
The interview will certainly have a major impact. On the show, Dobson mentioned that he had heard Moore speak at the enormously influential Council for National Policy (CNP), a low-profile gathering of top conservative and Christian leaders sought out by GOP presidential candidates on down. “You did a great job, and it was on that basis that I asked if you could be with us here on the broadcast,” Dobson said of Moore's CNP speech to many of America's most influential political and religious voices. Moore said the sentiment among top leaders was quickly changing as people realize the danger of government schools. Plus, with Common Core and other developments, many parents are also realizing that something is very wrong.
Indeed, public schools have been getting more and more brazenly anti-Christian in recent years. And the indoctrination — both political and religious — has become progressively more extreme, to the point where it is now becoming obvious to anyone who cares to look. However, it still remains to be seen whether enough American children will be able to receive a good enough education to sustain the churches, the values, and the liberties that made America great.