Pronouns and the War on Parental Authority

Increasing, pronouns create contention in modern culture. Incredulously, words like “he” and “she” confuse many people;  Perhaps more alarming is how leftists use possessive pronouns, like “yours” and “ours” to power a collectivist machine, perpetually assaulting the individual’s conscience, property, personal responsibility, and most recently, parental authority. Narratives of “public safety,” “social justice,” and “community health” seek to condition many to value the collective over the individual, and often yield harsh judgement (by both the right and left) of any individual making a different choice. This devaluing of individual rights should send a chill up the spine of every person who believes that rights are given equally to all people by their Creator. This threat pales in comparison, however, to the dire long-term consequences of individual families and parents yielding their God-given responsibility to the collective state.

Those who view all children as “ours”—as the responsibility of society—may present themselves as well-intentioned, but in reality, they seek to socially engineer your children and end individual freedom.  Earlier this month, the Michigan State Board of Education met and adopted a resolution that supports teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and stereotypes based on race and gender to children as part of social science curriculum. Over 650 parents testified in opposition during public comment and argued that parents play a vital role in determining what is taught to their children, especially in matters of moral philosophy. Despite historic public outcry, the Board passed the resolution, which included a statement on the “right and responsibility” of teachers to address such issues.  Shortly after, one of the state’s major political parties published a social media post decrying the peaceful advocacy of parents. The post contained a graphic with the phrase, “The public school is the best defense of a democratic nation” and was captioned:

Not sure where this “parents-should-control-what-is-taught-in-schools-because-they-are-our-kids” is originating, but parents do have the option to choose to send their kids to hand-selected private school at their own expense if this is what they desire. The purpose of a public education in a public school is not to teach kids only what parents want them to be taught. It is to teach them what society needs them to know. The client of the public school is not the parent, but the entire community, the public.

The collectivist agenda is no longer hidden, and the disrespect to parental involvement is blatant. According to this ideology, parents, who already support public education through their tax dollars, should sacrifice more of their private property in order to buy access to a quality education. Otherwise, they should realize that their child is really the property of the state, and should not think of impeding the state’s social programming of their child or question what the state says is best for the community. The individual child, the parent’s intimate knowledge of their learning style, the traditionally understood role of parent to autonomously raise their child, and even our state law seem to bear little wait with those setting policy.

            Interestingly, Section 380.10 of the Michigan Revised School Code specifically protects the right of parents to guide the education of their child, even if that child attends a public school. The law states, 

“It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil’s parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil’s intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment.”

This mirrors long-standing U.S. Supreme Court precedent recognizing that the right of parents to direct and control the upbringing of their children serves as a limit on the exercise of government power (especially in the area of education). The law is clear, but the State School Board chose to disregard this protection of parental rights in favor of what they view as the duty of the collective.

            The irony is that Critical Race Theory is all about the collective, too. CRT focuses on identifying people as part of larger groups, and labels all group members as either the oppressor or the oppressed, in order to justify redistributing wealth, assets, and even educational opportunities to preferred constituents. Fundamentally Marxist in origin, CRT openly assaults the welfare of the individual, the exercise of parental rights, and the existence of the nuclear family while promising a more “equitable and fair” outcome for everyone. If these policies go unchecked in our schools and children are falsely taught that they and their families are either oppressors or victims of oppression, and that they must surrender all their personal liberties in order to bring about social justice, they will never know freedom. Just like that, a generation will become slaves of the collectivist state, and the generations that follow will never know the liberties so many of us take for granted. We must reclaim lost ground and defend our Creator-endowed rights before it is too late.

As Christians, we understand parenting as a sacred stewardship from the Lord, wherein mothers and fathers disciple their children in the faith and train them to be self-controlled, productive members of society.  Children do not belong to the state or the “public.” They are a heritage from the Lord and a blessing to their parents. Parents are instructed over and over in the Scriptures on the importance of transferring truth to the next generation and are entrusted with the task of raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 6:5-9, after the Lord gives His law to the people, He commands them,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

The business of teaching the next generation of the love, wisdom, and Word of God was of paramount importance.  Psalm 78:4 speaks of teaching children the history and heritage of God’s providence:  “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.” The importance of godly education continues in 1 Timothy 4:10-11: “This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.”

            Our hope is not in the collective. Our hope is not in man. Our hope is in the Living God, and each of us must teach our own children to know Him and delight and in the freedom He brings. We must teach our children that there is equality at the foot of the cross, that all people are worthy of respect and dignity because they are made in His image, and that each individual person has a distinct God-given identity and purpose. Most of all, we must teach our children that where the redeeming love of Christ is embraced, there is no oppression-just victory in our Savior. Pronouns still matter. He is still our God, He still reigns on the mercy seat, and He has equipped you with all you need to raise your family in accordance with His Word.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and excellence.” —2  Peter 1:3