A Christian Teen Army in Public Schools

“High school Christian teens, Join Us!”

That is the call of a new video promoted by the evangelical Christian group Reach America.

In the video, teenagers ask a series of provocative questions, such as the following:

Why can’t I pray in school?  Why do I have to check my religion at the door?  Why can’t I write about God in my school papers?  Why do I have to tolerate people cursing my God, but I’m not allowed to talk about God and my faith? Why are they taking God out of my history books? Why do they teach every other theory in science besides creation?  Why am I called names because I believe in marriage the way God designed it?

Like many conservative evangelical educational activists, Gary Brown, founder of Reach America, believes that public schools have lost their way.  Beginning with the prayer and Bible SCOTUS decisions in 1962 and 1963, Brown insists, God has been systematically frozen out of schools.  Christian students have been targeted for bullying, indoctrination, and harassment.  Every part of public education is a threat, from pornographic sex education to mandatory dating.

Brown’s answer has been a call for youth engagement.  In the recent video, Reach America teens warn, “People who do not love our God have stolen our country. . . . We are an army.  Christ is our commander. . . . We are in a war for the hearts and souls of our generation.  And we know it.”

This culture-war army can be directed, Reach America promises, by programs such as its new Educational Partnership.  From its headquarters in northern Idaho, Reach America wants to organize a non-school school.  At this “partnership,” students will come to this non-school school every day, September through June.  In the mornings, they will work on academic work.  That work, though, will not come from the non-school, but rather from parent-directed online education or homeschool assignments.  In the afternoons, students will work on the “four Cs:” Christ-Centered Counter-Culture.

So how is this school not a school?  Parents pay tuition.  Students study there.  The program even offers “P.E. and electives.”  Do the Browns avoid calling this a school to avoid legal hassles?  It certainly looks that way.

How big is the program?  Not too big.  According to Brown, twenty-three students are enrolled for the current non-school year.  My guess is that Reach America will attract the attention of scribblers like me with the culture-war rhetoric of this video, but will soon encounter the difficulties that plague every Christian school, even non-school ones.

In any case, the message of the teens’ video is clear.  The way to prevent bullying is to fight back.  As they declare, “America will be one nation under God, again.”

 

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2 Comments

  1. Adam: I love it that you’re on top of this stuff. Keep up the good work! – RL

    Reply

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