Michele Bachmann regularly speaks about her work in Minnesota to advance homeschooling and charter schools, and she even co-founded a Christian-themed charter school that helped launch her political career. According to the New York Times, “state and local school officials warned the school that it was at risk of losing its charter” for running afoul of code, and Bachmann ultimately had her “children enrolled in private Christian schools.”
Her mentor John Eidsmoe in God & Caesar details the case against public schools that may have influenced Bachmann’s early activism in education issues. Eidsmoe discusses the supposed dangers of the public education system throughout God & Caesar, saying, “The power to educate is the power to control though and shape personality. The power to educate is the power to brainwash.” He even said that America’s stalwart public school system is reminiscent of Nazi Germany, warning “exclusive state control of education is a blueprint for tyranny” (p. 143).
Eidsmoe laments that instead of promoting Christianity, public schools endorse “secular humanism.” He writes that ever since public schools embraced secular humanism, children have been “brainwashed” into supporting evolution, sex education, and moral relativism instead of creationism and conservative Christian teachings.
He calls on Christians to “voice our objections when we see government funds or government facilities being used to promote humanism” (p. 139), since he believes that secular humanism was created by the devil: “When Lucifer rebelled against God, he declared, ‘I will be like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:14). And, having fallen from heaven, he seduced Eve with the same temptation: ‘Ye shall be as gods’ (Genesis 3:5). The modern humanists offer man the same promise” (p. 132).
Eidsmoe explains the reasons why Christians should challenge the public school system:
As we have seen, Scripture gives parents the right and duty to educate their children. Traditionally, parents have fulfilled this duty with help from the church or synagogue. Within the last century and a half, however, the state has gradually usurped this function. As long as the public schools taught nominally Christian values to their children, many Christians did not object to the state taking over education. Within the past few decades, however, and particularly within the past few years, more and more parents have become concerned that the public schools may be teaching values to their children that place them at odds with their parents.
The Christian parent who believes in special creation may find his children brainwashed by evolutionists. The parent may believe that the source of values is God and his revealed Word, but the child may learn from his teacher that values are relative and that we must discover them for ourselves. The parent may believe that sex is to be confined to marriage, but the school health teacher may teach that premarital sex is okay “if you really care about each other.”
Yes, parents can combat much of this by carefully instructing their children at home, and they should be careful to do so. But why should parents have to support a school system that teaches alien values or compete with the state for their children’s allegiance, perhaps for their children’s very souls? (p. 123)