"...and a child shall lead them"
by Berit Kjos - 2001
Update, April 24, 2006: "[Supreme] Court Won't Hear Fight Over Jesus Poster"
It was a poster which included Jesus, not a "Jesus poster" as the Washington Post says.
Antonio Peck didn't know his New York school wanted to change his values. So when his teacher told him to make an environmental poster for parent's day, the kindergartner simply combined what he had learned in class with the message on his heart. He drew:
People picking up litter.
Children holding hands around the globe.
A white-robed man kneeling in one corner.
His poster failed the test of political correctness. Antonio didn't tell anyone that the man in the corner was Jesus, but his teacher guessed. Later, when his poster hung on a wall along with nearly 80 others, his picture looked different. One corner had been folded up, hiding the kneeling man and part of Antonio's name.
Antonio felt embarrassed and confused. Why shouldn't Jesus who created the world be in the picture? It didn't make sense.
His parents agreed. They hired a lawyer and sued the school for violating their son's constitutional right to express his Christian beliefs. According to the CNS article "Poster With Picture of Jesus Lands Kindergartner in Court,” the unrepentant school denied any injustice.
"This is simply a case of requiring students to be responsive to the educational curriculum," explained Paul Battaglia, the attorney who represents Baldwinsville Elementary School in Syracuse in the First Amendment lawsuit. "It is not at all a case of great religious significance, but simply a case where a student was asked to... perform a particular lesson and give back certain material and failed to do so."
But Antonio did fulfill the assignment. He included the environmental vision of earth stewardship and unity. His only "failure" was his refusal to exclude Jesus.
"He didn't follow the teacher's instructions despite given two opportunities to do so," Battaglia said. "It's unfortunate, but the school has particular curriculum standards it must enforce."
Curriculum standards with no flexibility -- even in kindergarten? Why?
In the minds of educational change agents, kindergarten is not too early to teach world citizenship and obedience to a global ethic. In fact, many educators would love to start sooner. So when the states finally usher children into public classrooms at age five or six, school officials -- held accountable to the new affective assessments (testing feelings and beliefs) -- have little time to lose. Before a child’s home-taught beliefs are too firmly implanted, teachers must begin to...
- instill the new global values
- break down resistance built by traditional values.
The new vision of the world includes planetary servants who recycle and reuse the earth's resources (that's good), clean up any litter found (I learned that as a child in Norway) and see themselves as members of a global bio-family (that's not good). The pantheistic spirituality taught in schools through multicultural myths and "experiences" helps build a religious foundation for this envisioned oneness. Politically correct assignments that force students to retell the latest lesson in global unity through journaling, storytelling and drawing pictures help seal the new vision in the student's mind.
Naturally, Jesus doesn't fit this image of the world. His presence blurs the vision. It could confuse students who have already learned to conform their faith to more appropriate models for a global spirituality.
Dr. Brock Chisholm, the first chief of the World Health Organization, a UN agency, summarized this hostility toward Christian values in a 1946 article. Pointing to the psycho-social strategies that now permeate our elementary schools, he wrote,
"If the race is to be freed from its crippling burden of good and evil, it must be psychiatrists who take the original responsibility. ...
"Can such a program of re-education or of a new kind of education be charted? I would not presume to go so far, except to suggest that psychology and sociology and simple psychopathology, the sciences of living, should be made available to all the people by being taught too all children in primary an secondary schools, while the study of such thing as trigonometry, Latin, religions and others of specialist concern should be left to universities. Only so... can we help our children carry their responsibilities as world citizens...."
Today, students who refuse to conform to the global indoctrination planned over 50 years ago often face increasing pressure, intimidation and censorship. Such punishment works well on most children. In a nation trained to crave human praise more than God's approval, few will endure exclusion or rejection for Jesus' sake.
But Antonio stood his ground and passed the test -- twice. He would not remove Jesus from his picture of the earth. While Jesus' friend and disciple Peter denied His Master three times, a little boy in New York chose to face humiliation and reproof rather than compromise his faith and deny His ever-present Lord. So Jesus stayed and Antonio won.
May we be as brave.
1.Jason Pierce, Poster With Picture of Jesus Lands Kindergartner in Court, CCNS News, April 3, 2001.
2. See "Saving the Earth."
3. G. Brock Chisholm, "The Re-Establishment of Peacetime Society," Psychiatry, February 1946.
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