Education and the Leftist Creed
I was touched recently by what a young man visiting my office told me. He attends a Catholic high school in the area. I asked him how Christian prayer plays a role in his school day. He told me that there is a formal prayer to the beginning of each class. It was not only a prayer for the beginning of each school day, but prayer for the beginning of each of the several classes throughout the day. So, he said, algebra starts with giving thanks to God for their ability to study, their school, and teacher. It is repeated next period at the start of English, on and on through the day. Amazing, I thought, how beautiful, how enriching and elevated, that such words come from the mouths of some of our American young regularly through the day. We know or should know as we experience more in life that expressing regular gratitude is a key element for happiness. We know that regular ritual changes the mindset. Such prayer is also a key way we transmit culture to our young -- not only religious culture but American. We are, as we should recall, “One nation under God.” America is a country with a secular government but a religious people.
Yet, how depressing, how tragic, in fact, to know that in our modern America such words never leave the lips of most of our young for an entire 12 or 15 years during their schooling. It is tragic that our citizens on the left have taken this form of prayer from our young and replaced it with different prayer. It is the prayer of the religion of secular leftism. The replacement is destroying American culture and terribly harming especially our young.
The prayer our kids now encounter each day is a quiet but powerful one. It is not said with words but it is clear and strong. It is the prayer of secular leftism. It tells our kids lies each day such as, America is not a God-based culture. It tells them nothing significant about American culture ties us to the wonderful liberal values and wisdom of the Bible, Judaism, or Christianity. It says there is no God blessing and caring for America. It tells them is no loving God that has created us, that roots for this great country steeped in liberty, that allows us to know good and evil; that obligates us to behave in certain ways, that judges us for our behavior; that ultimately gives justice in the afterlife. This is the prayer of Leftism, the same one that has now swept over soulless and God-free Europe. It is the prayer that we are but dust; our lives are at their core meaningless; enjoy what you can; get as much free stuff from government as you can; get as much vacation time as you can; have as few children as possible; have as much fun as you can before you deactivate and become dust again.
With the other prayer, the old one, the one based on American Judeo-Christian values -- it’s a slam-dunk as far as Jews on the left are concerned. To most of my fellow Jews with this value system, they give thanks to God, nature, the stars, or whomever they give thanks to that we have wiped that form of prayer clean from the lives of American children, particularly at school where they spend most of their day.
I have now lived in both worlds, the current one with the religion and prayers of leftism my kids received each day at public school and the former America with the Judeo-Christian ones I said as a kid in a Miami public school in the early 1960s. Then, the school day began similarly to the young man I met, began with giving a nonsectarian blessing to the God of the Bible for all the gifts bestowed on us and the meaning and values he gives to our lives and country.
My first world, my childhood America as a young Jew, was a far better place. It was far better because the public, rich, enthusiastic expression of our Judeo-Christian foundation was vital to experiencing joy and shaping a love of country, American values and God. It was far better because it helped give us wonderful America of God fearing Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, and Rev. King to admire rather than the new icons of kneeling football ingrates, Al Sharpton, Rev. Wright, and foulmouthed Colbert and Maher.
Now, thanks to the left and their prayers, even a mention of anything related to our Judeo-Christian foundation in a public school is considered a micro, actually, a cosmic-sized macro-aggression. It might even land you in jail. The man of the American left thinks pushing his own particular religion onto our kids is progressive and liberal. It is not. It is regressive, destructive, and illiberal. Our founders understood this. They did not build a society for leftist prayers. They made one centered in the God of the Bible. They made one where robust, decent, nonsectarian expression of our Judeo-Christian values in the public domain was encouraged and understood as a necessary ingredient for a good, virtuous, and free people. Also, in their great wisdom they also understood such a people also needed to be led by a central government barred from forming a national religion.
So now we are left with our kids praying to leftism each day at school. It’s a sterile, bleak, soulless world in our public-school space, where the day may begin with a reminder to move quickly through the front door metal detectors so homeroom may start on time. We are left with schools replete with kids dressed like they are going to watch a football game in the basement, who routinely mouth off to their teachers and not infrequently attack them verbally or physically. We are left with millions of kids who do not fear the authority of God, parent, or teacher, we are left with a whole generation of young, ungrateful to their country, clueless about the Bible and ready at an instance to take a knee against this despicable land. We are left without the joys of prayer, of color, smells, music, and songs of Christmas, our American national holiday to the God of the Bible.
In that other world, my childhood America, the much better, much more liberal, enlightened, and progressive America, we were allowed and encouraged to speak the words banned by the Catholic hating former KKK member, and Supreme Court justice appointed by another leftist icon FDR, Justice Hugo Black.
We were once allowed to start the day with the beautiful elevating words:
Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen."
He nixed that. The religion of leftism banned that. We are much poorer for it.
Now the American left calls such words repugnant in a school setting. How far we have fallen. If we don’t reverse this, America will be no more. God forbid.