In October of 2021, because I cared very much about the future of abortion legislation in our state along with a number of other reasons, I decided to run for public office. A Senate seat was open for a Republican candidate, and my husband and I decided we were okay with taking on the challenge of campaigning while still trying to be faithful in our respective roles in the home. For over a year of our lives, we lived, ate, and breathed politics. Political issues, political events, door knocking, and speeches consumed my days and especially our weekends. We began to talk about what life would look like in our home if I were working the long hours of a Minnesota Senator, and how it would affect our household.
At the same time that I was campaigning, both of our kids were struggling in their respective Christian schools. They struggled partly because of decisions we made as parents, and partly because of the schools themselves. And it was that knowledge, more than anything related to politics, that kept me awake at night and produced constant anxiety.
November 8, Election Day, came and went, and I lost to my Democratic opponent. Incidentally, I think one reason I lost the election was because Democrat women love abortion. I think that the June 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe and Casey galvanized pro-abortion women in particular, and that this had a great effect on the election, at least in my district. There are some very pro-abortion, very progressive women who have come to see the “right” to “abortion access” as a sacrament. Feminism has, as Rebekah Merkle says in her book, Eve in Exile: and the Restoration of Femininity, “catechized [us] to believe that a woman’s decision to kill her baby is a basic human right, and that when a woman’s body is invaded by another tiny human, that tiny human is trespassing on private property, and therefore forfeits all rights and cannot claim protection. And who has fought for that story to become the accepted narrative? The women, of course.” I lost the election, in my estimation, because there was no way the progressive, abortion-loving women of my district were going to elect a candidate that was intent on taking away their “rights.”
1. Rebekah Merkle, Eve in Exile, (Moscow, ID: Canon Press), 198.
When I awoke the day after Election Day, any thoughts or aspirations I had about a career in politics were gone. My kids were going through a tough time, and they needed me and my husband to guide them through it. My son’s silence in the car as I drove him to school that day made me desperate to do something, and after I dropped him off and prayed, the answer became obvious. God had, in His merciful sovereignty, kept me from being elected as a Minnesota Senator, and therefore I was free to take on a more weightier job instead—I arrived home and announced to my husband I was going to homeschool our son.
The decision for us was an easy one, because contrary to popular opinion among some Christians, public school was not an option. I would argue that if we are Christian, God-fearing parents, giving our kids a distinctively Christian education is something we must do, and unless parental circumstances warrant it, willingly choosing to subject our children to a secular and godless education is doing the opposite of what God requires.
What does God require? We know the familiar verses that tell us we are to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1–4) and that we should diligently teach our children the things of God when we rise up and when we walk along the way (Deut. 6:7). Maybe those verses have become too familiar. Perhaps we should broaden our thinking of what God means when He tells us what to teach our children.
When you take the Bible as a whole and think about how God views the people He created in His image and for His glory—people that He commanded to be fruitful and multiply—when you consider what we know of this God through Scripture, would He really be obscure or vague or unclear about what He wants His future image bearers to think and believe? Would the way in which His people are taught be a little thing to Him? Would He desire that the future generations of His own creation be handed over to unbelievers and filled with the vain philosophies of this world in order that they become of little use in His coming kingdom?
This is what God requires:
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Psalm 78:1–7)
I read these verses right about the time I finished teaching our oldest how to read, and we were considering a nearby school for her first grade. After reading and rereading them, I was convinced that God was commanding us to build in our children an understanding of who God is by recounting His “glorious deeds” and the “wonders” He’s done (verse 4) and by instilling a “hope in God” to “remember” Him so that they “kept His commandments” (verse 7). It was clear she needed a distinctively Christian education. They were beautiful verses to me—they are still, and I felt strongly while reading them that the Lord had answered my prayer.
A government school will do none of the above. None. A government school—a place in which the majority of the people instructing your child likely do not know God, do not want to know Him, and actively work against Him—will not instill in your child anything of the knowledge of God. They will instead present a false god with a comparatively twisted set of false doctrines, and it’s that god that your child will be getting to know.
And it’s because of the indoctrination of students to this false god that many young people, by the time they approach college or soon thereafter no longer believe in the God of the Bible; they have “forgotten” Him—as Psalm 78 warns against.
It is worth noting that there are some Christians who attended public schools that go on to a public university and graduate with their faith intact, but that is not the norm. In 2018–2019 a comparative study was conducted by the Association of Classical Christian Schools (ACCS) in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame’s Sociology Department. The study was conducted with 24–42 year old alumni from public schools, religious homeschool, and classical Christian schools (among other educational models), and the primary goal was to determine the “life outcomes” of the alumni. In other words, how have they fared as adults after having graduated? In the Christian Commitment outcome, alumni who graduate from a classical Christian school were still very committed to their church communities, to Bible studies, and to placing their own children in Christian schools 90% more than the median. However, the number of those who began their education in public schools have a negative result to any kind of Christian commitment.
Certainly there are unique situations where a family or a single parent literally has no other option than to choose the nearest public school for their kids. In that case, God’s grace is sufficient, and He is merciful and kind and can provide for His people. And God also works through His Church to provide! What if local churches had a fund that church members could contribute to regularly so that homeschool materials or tuition to a Christian school could be provided for the families that need that help and Christian parents could then avoid “the system” altogether? What if we got serious about raising up more Christian schools in the cities where only failing government schools are the option? Public education in Minnesota, particularly within the MN Department of Education, has been an abysmal failure and is becoming a bastion of woke ideology. Students in these government schools aren’t being taught to read properly, do math, and some schools go so far as to restrict teachers from teaching American History. But there is Hope! Planted in the low-income area of South Minneapolis is a thriving Christian school called Hope Academy that accepts 70% of their student body from families that are at or below the Federal poverty level. Tuition for Hope is largely funded by outside Christian investors who are aware of the absolute necessity of Christian children receiving a distinctively Christian education. We need more schools like Hope Academy across the country, and I would encourage believers to work with their churches to help those among them who have precious children that need to be built up and educated in the LORD but have no options outside of the godless government system.
2. I use the word “distinctively” Christian because there are some Christian schools that have grossly accommodated the culture, and have embraced theological liberalism, and that is what they are passing on to the students in their charge.
Remember: we are building something. We are moving toward something. Pastor Doug Wilson rightly asserts, “If we really begin to educate our children as the Bible requires, the future is hopeful for us and our children. If we do not, the future remains hopeful—but not for us. [The] consequences of both obedience and disobedience flow downstream. More than once in history, God has withdrawn His blessings from people who ceased to fear Him and given those blessings to those who worship and serve Him in everything.” What we do in this life will be carried on generations into the future, and obedience is better than sacrifice.