With civil government school system abolition, what about the poor?
At a recent national conservative leaders meeting I was informally cross-examined by another attorney. It was in regards to civil government school system abolition: What about the poor? It was not a conversation, but rather – as indicated, a cross examination. Cross examination takes place when an attorney confronts the opposition’s (sometimes hostile) witness and asks “questions” the attorney already knows (or thinks he knows) the answers to; it means asking a question, simultaneously suggesting an answer. For example, Isn’t it true that you were the one who drove the getaway car?
The cross examination was frustrating. It was a drive-by dialogue; one where the cross examiner cross examined me for about ten seconds, and then left it at that. There was no rescue: I was not offered the opportunity to provide truthful and honest answers; I was not able to work through the examiner’s assumptions and misunderstandings.
So what about the poor? Here we are talking about being poor financially, for there are other types of being poor. Initially, I wonder a few things. Why is being poor the biggest “crime” or most dire situation needing to be addressed? Could it be that Christians are thinking like humanists, insofar as we think there ought to be an equal outcome, where every person has a certain amount of money? Aiming for an equal outcome (other than desiring everyone be saved), and attempting to implement that through law, is unbiblical. That is because it is determining an end (besides glorifying God), and then backfilling the law (pragmatically) to steer society in the direction of that outcome. That is opposed to what we must do as Christians, which is obey God’s law, here relative to civil government limits, and then trust the outcome as a function of applying biblical principles. (This is partially what is meant by the Rule of Law, where a set of principles external to ourselves guide us.) Being poor is not the direst situation; eradicating poverty is not the goal. Using poverty as a means to glorifying God can be the goal.
I can say from experience that being poor is not the direst situation. That is, at one point in my life I was living in a home with a single mother, who worked multiple jobs while raising four children. There was no help from our “father”, who abandoned us, and who never paid child support or lifted a hand to help. He did, in fact, just the opposite. Nevertheless, I say with complete confidence, that in hindsight my problem was not poverty; it was sin and depravity; it was the need for a Savior. I have been “poor” most of my life; I use quotes here because we still live in a Nation where our homeless people have access to basic services and care. So to cross examine me about being poor, without listening to my answers and what I have to say on the matter, is not honestly seeking answers on the matter. The poor will be just fine, save from the matter of their salvation.
Besides all that, could it be the case that when we show such an interest in the poor, we may be bordering on contempt for being poor? It may be that some project their contempt onto some people who really just don’t have an interest or willingness to not be poor. But let us not confuse being poor with being poor stewards of what God has given us. Which brings me to a very fine point: not everybody weighs wealth the same way. I have no problem with wealth; but many poor people are poor because they have chosen to dedicate their money to other things. For example, some parents sacrifice having new clothes, a second car, hardwood floors, and cable television for having the means to raise a child in the Lord’s nurture and admonition. That is, there is not always a direct correlation between financial inability and ability to raise children according to Scripture. It can be a stewardship issue. Moreover, many people are bogged down by earthly possessions, as they can hinder pursuing more important endeavors. That is not to say that wealth or earthly possessions are per se evil. There is a difference between pursuing wealth and utilizing it; there is a difference between worshipping it and spending it for God’s glory. Because of that difference I can say that we must not pursue the goal of equal financial outcome, and in the process disregard biblical principles. For if we do that we are disobeying how the civil government has no God-given right to be in the discipleship business; and therefore when we use that civil government to replace what we are commanded to do as nuclear families (family government) and a spiritual family (church government), poverty becomes the end, displacing God’s glory as the end. There are consequences to that: they are called curses. Those curses are manifested in our contemporary society as cultural rot and unbiblical civil law.
The bottom line is, as I recall from the time I wasted watching movies, that if one has a million dollars, it does not then mean his child will be raised in the Lord’s nurture and admonition. There is not always a direct correlation there. One does not need a million dollars to home school. Yes, I would love to have a million dollars, so that I could help more people privately educate in the Lord’s nurture and admonition; but I do not need a million dollars to do so. Neither do you need a million dollars to educate your child. The sad part is I have to cite movies whose characters understand God’s revealed connectivity between his principles and reality better than do some of our Christian leaders. In one such movie I wasted my time watching, when a man was asked what he would do if he had a million dollars, he said “nothing”, and it was wisely pointed out that he did not need a million dollars to do so. And when another man was told that because of his poverty he would be serving the Harvardian’s children at the drive-thru on their way to a skiing trip, (I reiterate) that it was wisely pointed out that one does not need one hundred and fifty thousand dollars for an education. Not if we are talking about biblical education, for its purpose is to make sure the drive-thru attendant and the skier are both presented with the gospel, separate from each’s (in)ability to financially afford skiing trips.
Anyway, I know quite a few people who have little money, yet are teaching Christianity to their children; I also know quite a few people in the opposite situation. It is possible to be poor and comply with Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6:4.
Some other observations, now employing my own cross-examination. My organization, DtC, promotes abolishing the civil government school system. If you persist that the civil government school system must exist in order to help the poor: Isn’t it true that we still have poor people, even though the civil government schools have existed for over a century? Why is there still poverty after a century of civil government schools? If you suggest that civil government schools eliminate poverty: Isn’t it true that the poor child you now claim to care for so much has a parent who also attended a civil government school? How then is it the case that civil government schools solve generational poverty? If mom and dad attended a civil government school, why is little Johnny still in such a poor situation? If you maintain that civil government schools should be hijacked by Christians: Isn’t it true that disobeying God and His revealed principles yields curses? How then is it the case that you think anything good can be accomplished by conceding mass discipleship to the civil government’s force, coercion, and compulsion? How can sin bring blessings in the form of financial abundance? And how can teaching our children that it is okay to disobey God, in rejecting His command to raise children in His version of knowledge, possibly cause them to grow older and want to then obey God in every other area of life?
I am not done cross-examining you. Isn’t it true that all civil governments (combined) in our Nation spend about six hundred billion dollars a year on k-12 education? And you are worried there isn’t enough money for poor people? Isn’t there enough money? Isn’t there enough money for poor people? Isn’t it true that the problem is NOT that there isn’t enough money, but rather that we do not have it, and that we cannot access it, unless we enter an environment where godless enlightenment is perpetuated? There is plenty of money my friend. The problem is that your preacher has never preached on taxation – because he is a pragmatist and not a Biblicist. He thinks Romans 13:6-7 means the civil government has unlimited taxing power, and that preaching on such a matter is either political or illegal, or he is just afraid of how the majority of the congregation (who are civil government school stakeholders) will chastise him. In other words, his audience is man and not God.
So what about the poor? How many THOUSANDS of churches lay dormant six (sometimes almost seven) days a week? Can’t those churches be utilized – for free? To help poor people? (Here, when I say “free” it is actually true, as “free” civil government schools are, of course, not free.) And aren’t there, when you take the time to investigate, hundreds and hundreds of home school groups, co-ops, academies, curriculum experts, and entrepreneurs? All doing just fine, despite not necessarily being poor, but certainly being financially strained. Oh, and aren’t there also private schools, some of which offer biblical financial assistance? The question, What about poor people?, is not rhetorical. For what you are doing with the poor now is the same as what you would do for them if there were no civil government schools. Helping the poor is not something done later, as a function of abolition; it is something that is done precedently, to cause abolition. If there were no civil government schools – and presumably no taxation for them – that would be (in a relative sense) the easy time to help poor people. Now is the hard time, and if you are helping them now there will be less need to help them later.
Once again, there is plenty of money to spend on biblical education; even after the oppressive Caesar’s taxes are tithed to him. Money is not the problem; allegiance is. We have allowed the Social Security Administration, through FICA, to help widows and orphans. So not only do we need to work harder at helping (post-tax) widows and orphans – recovering that jurisdiction, but we must speak out against interfering economic civil government mechanisms, so that we can have more money to help widows and orphans, and so that the next generation knows what society is supposed to look like.
Finally, Could it be true that in not listening to my answers, you’re not really interested in helping poor people?
Coming in January, in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, an article titled:
Can Your Child Be Taught the Truth in Public Schools?