Common Core: Educational Freedoms and Freedom of Religion

bill of rights religionThe federal government’s implementation of Common Core wages war on a number of freedoms, including educational freedoms and freedom of religion.  Educational freedom is a broad topic, and in this article I will talk about a parent’s choice to home school or send their children to a private school.  You will see why I brought freedom of religion into the conversation in just a moment.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression to all Americans.  Freedom of expression means the right of free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly, and the freedom to petition the government for a “redress of grievances,” and the implied rights of association and belief. Freedom of religion guarantees to all Americans the right to practice any religion they choose, as they choose, or to practice no religion at all. Practicing any religion includes making educational decisions based on religious beliefs.  Congress is forbidden to establish any religion as our nation’s official religion, and cannot favor any one religion over others, nor can it tax American citizens in order to support any one religion.

In addition, parental rights are implied in the Constitution and have long been upheld by the Supreme Court. In the 1925 decision of Pierce v. Society of Sisters, Court struck down a compulsory attendance act that required all parents to send their students to public schools, instead of private or religious schools. The court concluded that the act was unconstitutional because it “unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” The choice to home school very clearly falls under this protection.

I want to return to the phrase “and the implied rights of association and belief” for a moment. Freedom of expression and freedom of religion both would not be possible with freedom of thought, logically encompassing accessing reliable information, interpreting and understanding it, thinking, forming opinions and acting upon it as one chooses, all fundamental to implied rights of association and belief.  Freedom of religion and education are often intricately interwoven, and neatly compartmentalizing each one is impossible.  Freedom of expression permeates every aspect of our society, including everything from religion and education, to how we dress and what we watch on television. And “the implied rights of association and belief” are the very fabric that make these freedoms real.

educ freed

And that scares governments. Many countries go to great lengths to stifle freedom of expression, which drastically limits or completely inhibits freedoms in other areas, such as religion and education. Germany, for instance, never abolished the law enacted by Adolph Hitler that outlawed homeschooling, and the repercussions were seen just recently in the news with Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their five children. We also see the horror stories that materialize on the internet every day, stemming from efforts to control educational freedoms and freedom of religion from places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, China, Egypt and Syria.

Yet, our government is attempting to limit these same freedoms here in America.

Fundamental rights are critical to our freedom as Americans, and because of this, the government must meet a substantial burden of proof in order to restrict those rights. They must prove that there is a government interest in restricting the right, and that the government has a specific interest in restricting the right of the particular parents whose actions are being challenged. In 2006, the Supreme Court used this very language when talking about violations of religious liberty. According to the Court, the government must “demonstrate that the compelling interest test is satisfied through application of the challenged law ‘to the person’–the particular claimant whose sincere exercise of religion is being substantially burdened.”Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418, 430-431 (2006).

In addition, in 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a parent’s fundamental right to direct their child’s education ends at the threshold of the school door (Fields v. Palmdale, 427 F3d 1197, 2005), and the Court clearly determined that parents have the right to make reasonable decisions for their child, even in the public schools. It does not include any right to make decisions for others’ children or the school as a whole. The Court set a low standard that parents need to reach to make decisions for their own student, doing so to, again, protect parental rights. The government, however, would have to show that a parent’s request was unreasonable, putting the burden on the government, not on the parents.

Something else I found of interest is the fact that the United States has become part of many United Nations (U.N.) declarations and agreements, and one such declaration, in which the U.S. was instrumental in actually writing, is The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.  It specifically provides that the liberty of parents or guardians to choose for their children schools other than those established by the public authorities which conform to minimum educational standards shall be respected.  In addition, Article 13 recognizes parents and guardians have a right to ensure the religious and moral education of their children according to their own convictions. Our constitution provides American citizens with these same rights. However, Common Core contradicts not only our own Constitution, but also the human rights laid out in this declaration. I do not see “except in the United States” noted anywhere in the U.N. document, and the Constitution does not say “except when the federal government changes its mind.”

Many people exercise their freedom to direct their children’s education by homeschooling them.  Many do so for purely educational reasons, and just as many, if not more, do so for religious reasons.  It is our right.  I, myself, have been considering homeschooling my own daughter based on these two freedoms, and Common Core has compelled me to add several more amendments to the list of reasons. That, however, is a conversation for another time.

The federal government has taken giant steps to weaken these freedoms, with complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution, its beliefs proudly displayed for the U.N. and other countries, and human dignity.  It argues that compulsion laws negate the right to home school, and has worked for years to erase God from public view, yet it so eloquently holds these freedoms up for other countries as basic human rights.  How long will we tolerate this double-standard?

For further reading:

German Homeschooling Family

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Current Proposed Parental Rights Amendment

Does Freedom of Religion Have Anything to Do with Common Core?

Common Core, the Girl Scouts and Pro-Abortion Activism

Every time I think it can’t get any worse, it does.  I don’t know how I missed this one, for my daughter was a Brownie last year and a Junior Girl Scout this year.  Know where I’m going with this?  Yep, you guessed it, Common Core has taken over the Girl Scouts. All of the badges are now aligned with CC. You can check it out on their website. It says: “The Common Core Standards, developed and approved in 2010 by a bipartisan group of governors and educators, provide a shared framework for learning and teaching objectives specifically for English Language Arts and Mathematics for most US students. The 21st Century Skills standards focus on blending subject-skills with life and career skills; information, media, and technology skills; and other key skills necessary to develop multidimensional abilities to succeed in the new century.Financial Literacy standards correlate to national personal finance education.”

No longer is the focus on bringing girls “into community service and the open air.” Now, the focus is on “21st Century Skills,” financial literacy and diversity, uniformity and conformity.

Mary-Rice-Hasson-GS-MAKERS-480x268

But wait, there’s more.

Girl Scouts of America is part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), part of the United Nations.  Their closest partner? Planned Parenthood.  Yes, that’s right, let me say it again: Planned Parenthood. Oh, they’ve followed Obama’s example and denied it, but, like all lies, it’s hard to keep track of what you’ve told to whom, and they’ve slipped up several times.  For instance, we have Nancy Pelosi singing the praises of the Girl Scouts/Planned Parenthood partnership, and we have Kathy Kloninger, former CEO of GSA, sharing with NBC’s Today Show about how they partner with Planned Parenthood “to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.” Sydney Volanski with LifeNews.com, carefully researched the issue and found plenty of evidence to back the claims. His first article about the issue ruffled feathers, so he wrote a response, again, with all claims well-supported.

Just exactly what do they mean by “information-based sex education”?

Well, I’ll tell you.  A good example is Waco, Texas, where the local Planned Parenthood affiliate holds an annual sex education conference called “Nobody’s Fool,” for children in grades 5-9, the Girl Scouts are right there with them, partnering to bring Nobody’s Fool to the area.  In 2003, Planned Parenthood began distributing It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health to children in grades 7-9 at this conference. This book is considered pornographic, and is aimed at children as young as 10, containing explicit descriptions, depictions, and promotion of various sexual activities, and portrays abortion and other sins against life, marriage, and family as normal, a positive part of life.  The Girl Scouts were part of this in Waco for 14 years, until public outrage grew so strong that they ceased to cosponsor the conference. The outrage hasn’t grown to a national level, so they are still very active in this capacity on a national and international level.

abby_hgs_agh_postSharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, attended the 2010 UN Conference and attempted to participate in the “Girls Only” workshop, but was barred.  She snuck in anyway, and picked up some booklets from a pile on a table called “Healthy, Happy and Hot: A Young Person’s Guide to their Rights, Sexuality and Living with HIV.” It’s publisher? International Planned Parenthood Federation, and its stated purpose is “to support your sexual pleasure and health, and to help you develop strong intimate relationships” (p. 2). They have distributed it nationwide and worldwide.

Here’s what else is in the booklet:

“The booklet contains graphic information on sex, and teaches youth and young adults that they have a right to engage in any type of sexual behavior they desire: “[T]here are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. . . . Just have fun, explore, and be yourself!” (p. 7). It also portrays same-sex relationships positively, tells those infected with HIV that they don’t have to inform their sex partners, provides tips for “safer sex,” and promotes “safe abortion.” If that promiscuity-promoting “educational information” was available to young girls at the Girl Scouts’ UN “Girls Only” workshop, what materials were available at their national convention last year?

It gets better.

Girls Scouts media spokesperson, Joshua Ackley, is a gay porn music video star, and you can view one of his videos, which features him masturbating in newspapers as a young woman is murdered in an elevator, on Youtube. He is also the adult facilitator of the “no adults allowed” Girls Only workshop at the UN conference.

I could go on and tell you that, contrary to their claim that 89 cents of every dollar made from sales of merchandise and cookies goes back to the organization, is false.  Instead, the money pays for the pension fund for WAGGGS , sex “education” material like what I described above, and generous salaries for its illustrious staff.  But, I won’t tell you that.  I think you’ve had enough shock for evening.cookies2-400x452

I would like to encourage you to read the related articles listed below. In the meantime, I need to go. I need to pull my daughter from the Girls Scouts of America.

http://www.honestgirlscouts.com/files/1112YouDeserveToKnowWhatGirlScoutCookiesFund.pdf

http://www.snopes.com/politics/sexuality/girlscouts.asp

http://www.clmagazine.org/article/index/id/MTEzNDY/

http://www.honestgirlscouts.com/discover_hallofshame.html

Radical?

yes-radical3Today, I discovered I am a radical.

I am a radical because I can have an intelligent conversation about the U.S. Constitution, still believe in it, and am angered when our government treads on it. I believe that it is our responsibility to know it and defend it.

I am a radical because I believe in a parent’s right to direct their child’s upbringing and make decisions about their education, their health, their values, what they watch on television, their religious practices, what they wear, and what time they go to bed.

I am a radical because I believe in Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for my sins, that He rose from the dead three days later, and He saved me from eternal death.  I believe in His complete love for a sinner like me, a love so beautiful and unconditional that He died so that He can spend eternity with me.

I am a radical because I say I’m sorry, yes ma’m and excuse me.

I am a radical because I believe that my child is a gift, that I have a responsibility to raise her as well as I can, according to God’s will, to be a godly, loving, hardworking, responsible, compassionate and strong adult who can think for herself.

I am a radical because I am in awe of sunsets, love, mountains, God, and forgiveness.

I am a radical because I believe it is wrong to walk out of the grocery store without saying anything when the cashier erroneously forgets to ring an item up and I haven’t paid for it.

I am a radical because I love our National Anthem, say the Pledge of Allegiance with tears in my eyes, and get goosebumps whenever I see Old Glory fly.

I a a radical because it matters to me that we have soldiers who give up everything to protect our country and her freedoms, and that I am angry and saddened when they are mistreated, disrespected or abused by our government.  It breaks my heart to see the burdens they bear for us–broken families, sadness, missing a child’s birth, death, injury, heartbreak, PTSD, suicide, homelessness–and the list goes on.

I am radical because I care about people with disabilities, and I demonstrate compassion and understanding whenever I can.

I am a radical because I cry when I see people without homes, especially kids, standing on streetcorners with cardboard signs, desperate for help. I stop and talk to them, because I want to know their names, hear their stories, give them whatever I can and pray for them.

If this is being radical, then yes, I am a radical.

And I am radical about it.

 

How Should Christians Respond?

trust

“8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore[a] do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately. 10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:8-23 NKJV).

This is not an opinion about end of times prophesy. There are plenty of those already, and the Bible tells us all we need to know.

This is an article about trust, hope and what God expects of Christians regardless of current events.  We read the news every day of Christians persecuted worldwide, disdain for Christianity in our own country, wars, increased violence, propaganda, dishonesty and oppression. The natural human response is fear; however, God commands a different response, even in warning of sufferings. Even in suffering, we can advance God’s kingdom.

Satan smells fear like a hungry animal, and we are to be wary, “Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour “ (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV). Fear is a weapon the enemy likes to use against us, and to open ourselves up to that leaves us vulnerable to sin and to turning away from God, attempting to rely on your own resources.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2  Timothy 1:7 NKJV). God reminds us many times not to fear, but to put our trust in Him, who protects, comforts, empowers and provides.  “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV).  The word “trust” occurs (depending upon the translation) 147 times. and the word “hope” occurs 126 times; however, the messages of trust and hope are far more plentiful.  We have plenty of reminders that God always fulfills His promises, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:13 NKJV).

God is power, peace, safety and might, and his grace is never withheld from believers. He encourages us to trust Him, even in the worst of times, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, even though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah. […] He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in twor; he burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 46:1-3, 9-11 NKJV). Praise Him when life is good, and praise Him when life is harsh, for He is constant throughout. Keep your eyes on Him; to focus on events at hand is to do otherwise.

Peter urges us to grow in our relationship with God, to walk right and not let our spiritual growth stagnate, for we cannot draw water from empty wells. In 2 Peter, he urges us to engage in four specific activities:

  1. Godly living: through Christ, we have been given everything necessary to live godly lives, free of corruption, and we are to remember our divine nature;
  2. Reliance on Scriptures: Inspired by the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is everything;
  3. Opposition to false teachings: The Holy Spirit grants us discernment to detect deceptive teachings, and we are to stand firm on God’s Word regardless of the popular teachings of the day;
  4. Watchfulness: Look for the return of Christ, avoiding sinful traps or becoming lax in our thinking. God’s promise of judgement should prompt us to diligently encourage others to repent now and believe in Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection, saving us all from eternal death should we choose Him.

“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13 NKJV).

With everything that is going on in the world right now, how should Christians respond? As God has always commanded us to respond.