Removing God From American History
During a recent mission’s conference, missionary Mike Patterson recounted how his father-in-law went to Tlapa, Mexico as a missionary over 50 years ago. The culture of that time was that men worked hard during the week and drank hard on the weekends and lived immoral lives. While he was able to lead some of the adult men to Christ, they were so entrenched in that culture that he realized these men were not fit for leadership roles in the church. His solution was to build a Christian school where the unsaved could send their children for an education. While living at the school, these children were taught the Bible and many become Christians. 50 years later, there are over 7,000 graduates, many of whom now serve as pastors in churches across Mexico. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This missionary used the biblical principle for good, but the secular humanists of the late 1800s and early 1900s used the same principle to remove God from America. When these philosophers and politicians presented their ideas, they met with resistance by Americans who had been raised using the New England primer and Blue Back speller which used Bible verses and spiritual principles to teach reading and writing. The humanists needed another method to get the American people to accept their ideas as truth and the method they knew would have the most success, was in education.
But why focus solely on American History? It is in history that the philosophers have been able to do their greatest work in removing God from this country and in replacing Him with philosophies of feminism, racism, environmentalism, and even socialism. Geoffrey Botkin in his article, “The History of History Textbooks,” says it well, “God’s providence, which refers to His work in carrying out His plan for History, must be attacked in order to abstract God from reality and leave humanistic man ‘free’ to operate on his own.”[footnoteRef:1] If God’s providence is not seen in the past, then it is easier to say there is no God. [1: Collin Gunn and Joaquin Fernandez, IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the decline of Christianity, (Masters Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012) p. 187]
R. J. Rushdoony, a Calvinist philosopher, wrote in his book, The Nature of the American System, that it is necessary for liberals to re-write history with no regard to the facts in order for the government to completely take control of the American people.[footnoteRef:2] While American history had already begun to be re-written before John Dewey, he is considered one of the greatest influences on the changes being made to school curriculums. He felt that school should be used to bring about social change. As stated in Molding the Good Citizen, “Dewey also held the view that an individualistic, competitive, and capitalistic America was radically and fundamentally defective. He believed that it should be (and inevitably would be) replaced by some form of democratic socialism, albeit gradually and without violence.”[footnoteRef:3] (continue with ideas of teacher schools and more history of what has been done) [2: Rousas John Rushdoony, The Nature of the American System, (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Press, 1978), 170.] [3: Robert Lerner, Althea K. Nagai, and Stanley Rothman, Molding the Good Citizen: The Politics of High School History Texts, (Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT, 1995) 15-16.]
So, how is worldview seen in textbooks today? A comparison was made between textbooks recommended by the Florida Department of Education and the U.S. History textbook used in 8th grade at Pensacola Christian Academy. Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, was a failure. In the abeka textbook, America, Land I Love, several reasons are listed for the failure of this colony: the swampy land (prone to disease), hostile Indians, and lazy men. But most of all, the failure of the colony is attributed to “The common-store system established by its charter.”[footnoteRef:4] The textbook explains why this system would have caused the colony to fail: [4: Kurt A. Grussendorf, Michael R. Lowman, and Brian S. Ashbaugh, America Land I Love in Christian Perspective, 3rd ed. (Pensacola, FL: abeka, 2018), 18.]
This communal (belonging to the community) system meant in reality that the industrious man must provide for the idle. Many yielded to their sinful nature and spend their days in idleness or searching for gold. With everyone benefiting from the common storehouse but few contributing to it, the food supply was quickly depleted. Thus America’s first experiment with a form of socialism failed miserably.[footnoteRef:5] [5: Grussendorf, Lowman, and Ashbaugh, America Land I Love in Christian Perspective, 18]
Contrast that with how the failure of Jamestown is used in the textbook, Of the People.
Poor planning and bad luck placed the colonists on swampy ground and with bad water. The salty water of the James River could be poisonous, and in summer it became a breeding ground for typhoid and dysentery. Some historians have argued that these diseases left the survivors too weak to plant food, whereas others note that many of the healthy seemed to prefer prospecting for gold.[footnoteRef:6] [6: James Oakes et al., Of the People: A History of the United States vol. 1, to 1877 (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013), 63.]
You can see how this textbook avoids showing the downside of socialism. If students today don’t see how socialism has failed in the past, then they are much more inclined to accept socialism today as a better way of life.
What about the portrayal of Puritans and religious freedom? The textbook, Of the People, claims, “It is sometime asserted that Puritans came to New England in search of religious freedom, but they never would have made that claim. They wanted the liberty to follow their own religion but actively denied that opportunity to others.”[footnoteRef:7] Contrast that with how this same thought is portrayed in Abeka Book’s¸ America Land I Love: [7: James Oakes et al., Of the People: A History of the United States vol. 1, to 1877, 83-84.]
The Pilgrims also set an important example of religious liberty. In its early years, Plymouth had no established churches which all the colonists had to attend or support financially. The people were free to attend the churches of their choice. The Pilgrims were dominated by biblical principles, and their political and religious institutions were able to operate separately but in harmony with one another.[footnoteRef:8] [8: Grussendorf, Lowman, and Ashbaugh, America Land I Love in Christian Perspective, 24-25.]
Such a different perspective. For those who want to portray Christianity in a negative light, the puritans were an intolerant group of people, rather than a group who wanted to worship God freely according to their principles and to allow others to do the same. These are only a few examples of how a distorted history is taught to children in public education.
Today, over 100 years later, the devastating influence these philosophers have had on American history is obvious. E. Merrill Root points out that parents are not excused from blame when they do not get involved with what the schools are training their children. “Parents are morally obligated to instill at home the spiritual basis and the moral values of life; and parents should object militantly when they find their children being indoctrinated and brainwashed with the relativism, the collectivism, and the nihilism of the hour. The parents are culpable both in what they fail to give their own children and in what they allow the schools to give their children.” What does the future hold for a nation that does not know its past?
- Oakes, James, Michael McGerr, Jan Ellen Lewis, Nick Cullather, Jeanne Boydston, Mark Summers, and Camilla Townsend. Of the People: A History of the United States, Vol. 1, to 1877. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2013.
- Grussendorf, Kurt A., Michael R. Lowman, Brian S. Ashbaugh. America Land I Love in Christian Perspective, 3rd ed. Pensacola, FL: Abeka, 2018.