Today on Believers Voice of Victory, David Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that the only way to rejuvenate America’s education system is to instill in kids the “fear of the Lord.” Barton launched his career as a Religious Right activist with the 1989 booklet What Happened in Education?, in which he concluded that a decline in SAT scores was a result of the end of school prayer, and that only Christian teachings in schools could bring SAT scores back up. Barton explained to Copeland, a Prosperity Gospel preacher, what that instilling the “fear of the Lord” in children would require establishing the Bible as the basis of all school curricula:
Barton: This shows you what public education is supposed to look like, the educational system was supposed to come—and it did, these guys started the first public schools in 1642 and cited Bible verses on why they were doing it, they also cited Bible verses on the courses they taught and the way they taught the courses. Now most Christians today, ‘Well we got government schools that’s the way it was supposed to be.’ Really? Show me in the Bible where government’s supposed to do the education, show me how that works, show me what courses government’s supposed to be teaching. See we can’t do that anymore, we don’t use the—we’ve been conformed to the culture, we’ve had public schools for so long that we think that’s the way it is.
Copeland: So now we’ve done then, we’ve gone, into our own—
Barton: Dark ages.
Barton: This book right here, every Bible says, in Proverbs 1:7, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ Now I don’t know why today we think, ‘oh I’m going to know more about the Lord if I fear God,’ we’ve made the fear of the Lord the beginning of spiritual knowledge. He didn’t say that, He said the fear of the Lord’s the beginning of knowledge. If you want education you better include the fear of God, if you want to be a good scientist you better include the fear of God, if you want to be a good musician—1962, ’63, the U.S. Supreme Court in three decisions said no more fear of God in education, we want education to be secular. All right, that’s a theological issue. How’s that working out? In 1962, ’63, America was number one in the world in literacy, we are now number sixty-five in the world in literacy. We don’t have the fear of the Lord, because guess what, we don’t have knowledge, it goes down.