Christian Education Awareness Network (CEANet)
Presents a New Book:
Let My Children Go
Why Parents Must Remove Their Children From Public Schools NOW
by E. Ray Moore, Jr., Th. M.
Chapter One -- The Family School (Part 2 of 2)
Exodus Mandate: Beginnings
Exodus Mandate -- or as I then called it, Exodus 2000 -- was born on February 12, 1997, the day I attended a Goals 2000 briefing in Washington presided over by Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Congressman Henry Hyde.
This briefing was sponsored by a number of Christian groups including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Heritage Foundation, the Christian Coalition, the American Family Association, the American Association of Christian Schools, the American Conservative Union, and the Traditional Values Coalition, all in addition to the Eagle Forum. These Christian groups are the main organizations responsible for maintaining a conservative Christian presence in both education and public life.
The main topic was the danger posed by Goals 2000 and the new School-to-Work agenda working to undermine Christian faith and freedom. There was a lot of "wailing and gnashing of teeth," and calls for "conservative reform of the public schools," but no real plan except to fight the Goals 2000 legislation and try to have it repealed. The problem was that Christians -- even Christian leaders -- were operating reactively and not proactively.
I listened to speaker after speaker all day and realized that no one had a plan to deal effectively with the problems raised. I left that meeting intending to create a plan that would be proactive and not simply reactive. It would be called Exodus 2000 -- a name I chose deliberately as a counterpoint to Goals 2000. (I would change the name to Exodus Mandate in January of 2001.)
The plan would be to remove as many Christian children as possible out of public (government) schools. It already was obvious that public education, so called, could not be "reformed," and that Christians shouldn’t try. It was clear from my studies of Scripture that God had intended education to be in the hands of families with assistance from the Church, and not under the control of any branch of government. This became the touchstone proposition of Exodus Mandate that distinguished it from any other Christian education movement.
Securing the Escape of Millions of Christian Students
What I wanted to do was nothing less than secure the escape of millions of Christian children and youth from the yoke of government schools. Remember our Old Testament history from Exodus? "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph" (Exodus 1:8). This Pharaoh took power over the Israelites. And so it is in our own day. A secular education establishment has take power over our children. It has the backing of legislation and the court system. This establishment barely even acknowledges the existence of our rich Christian heritage in law, government and education.
The public schools long ago abandoned many traditional practices such as teaching pure phonics and basic math, and have substituted programs such as the look-say method and the so-called "new math" -- both notorious failures. Seriously flawed theories of reading, such as the look-say and whole-language methods, became standard decades ago, and have produced levels of illiteracy higher than at any time in the modern era. As a result, not only are children being harmed spiritually and morally in the government schools, they are very simply not being taught how to read, write and do basic arithmetic at the same levels of earlier generations!
The secularization of public schools has a long history, as seen in the next chapter. The U.S. Supreme Court was a primary culprit in taking this secularization into high gear during the past half-century. In 1962, with Eagle v. Vitale, the Court banned prayer in public schools, citing no law or precedent, under the misguided reasoning that prayer in public schools constituted an unconstitutional endorsement by government of religion. (What the First Amendment actually banned was the establishment of a state church by the federal government along the lines of the Church in England.)
The next year, with Abingdon School District v. Schempp, the Bible was removed. The highest court in the land wrote, "If portion of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and had been, psychologically harmful to the child." In 1980, the Ten Commandments followed. In this case, Stone v. Graham, the court opined:
"If these posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate the Ten Commandments; this is not a permissible objective."
With God almost nowhere to be found in public schools, morality was left with the false foundations of secular humanism which offers only various forms of relativism. The primary values in public schools have become the tragically false concepts of self-esteem and tolerance, with the latter having application for every belief system except Christianity. Even witchcraft is permitted!
In this environment, youth crime is widespread at schools and neighborhoods. With a variety of forces working against the best interests of strong families, including both parents often having to work to make ends meet, many children are growing up without the kind of moral and spiritual guidance they need.
The Reform Effort that Failed: The Greenville, S.C. Story
Buy why should Christians abandon the public schools? Wouldn’t that leave them entirely in the hands of secular humanists? Indeed it might. The important point is that our mission is not to throw secular humanists out of public schools. It is to remove ourselves from the public schools and our children from the influence of the secular humanists. This removal, we shall argue throughout the book, is the only viable alternative.
"Reforming" the public schools simply will not work, and efforts at "reform" may deal the cause of Christian education tremendous setbacks with the waste of time and the waste of many young Christian children’s futures.
Christians attempting to work within this system to initiate "reform" face enormous barriers. One such example involved the school board in Greenville County, South Carolina, in November of 1996, when three Christian incumbents for the school board, Julie Hershey, Joe Dill and Bill Brooks, were defeated in their bids for re-election. This case is worthy of consideration because it points to the real direction the future of education in that state, in other states, and the nation itself, is probably headed.
The Greenville County School System had maintained a statewide reputation as an island of educational and moral sanity amidst a statewide public school system characterized by education reform in the wrong direction: Outcome-Based Education, radical sex education, stagnant SAT and BSAP test scores and a general educational malaise that seemed almost irreversible. Many Christians looked to Greenville County as a model of what could be done to correct the decades-long liberal educational misadventures and experimentation on our children by working within the system.
The Campaign Against Christian Candidates...and Krystallnacht
In the school board election of November 1996, and incredible campaign against Julie Hershey, Joe Dill, and Bill Brooks occurred. It was unlike anything ever seen in South Carolina for normally routine school board elections. Liberals had invested huge amounts of money and time in their efforts to defeat the Christian incumbents. There was also significant coordination between media and other liberal interest groups, including even some in the business community.
These incumbents must have been either awfully bad -- or awfully good. I suggest that they were doing something very right and very good, and had become a serious threat to the domain of darkness and the pall of grief that has fallen over our precious children.
Jesus said as he was being escorted to the Cross, "...Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" (Luke 23:28b, 31).
If the left can do this in Greenville County, one of the most conservative and Christian counties in South Carolina, which in turn is one of the most conservative states in the nation, it can savage the Christian community with impunity anywhere. Greenville County is home to a large body of informed and courageous conservative Christians willing to lay their energy and resources on the line.
They had made progress in implementing models of conservative Christian reform capable of serving as models for school districts everywhere. In most districts Christians are allowed to complain but not to govern: in Greenville County, voters had allowed them to govern. The results were obvious to all.
I believe this election might have been a test that was similar, on a much smaller scale, to Krystallnacht (Crystal Night) in Nazi Germany in 1938. Nazi and Nazi sympathizers went on a rampage throughout Germany, breaking windows in Jewish-owned shops. More than 100 Jewish German citizens were killed; thousands of others had their businesses destroyed.
It was an attempt to intimidate not just the Jews but also the entire German public. The Nazis wanted to see if there would be a public outcry -- if anyone would come to the defense of the Jews. Almost no one did. A new threshold was crossed, and with this event the campaign of hatred and terror against the Jews escalated.
I might add that many Jews realized the danger they were in and emigrated to America and other secure places at that time. Others remained in denial, and eventually paid the price in concentration camps.
Am I calling the groups allied against Christian conservatives in Greenville County "Nazis"? No. But two things should be noted. First, it is clear to me that many with a secular worldview do have a similar mindset. In their own minds, they believe they know what is best for our children and out culture. They will stop at nothing to dominate both. Second, this is because they and the Nazis who came before them share the secular humanist belief that man can be substituted for God, and a functional man-centered society can be created.
Why People Easily Accept Lies and Why Placating an Enemy Never Works
These truths about secular humanism are not easy to assimilate. People will believe lies about good men before they will believe the truth about evil ones. Hitler openly practiced that if someone tells a lie often enough, people will believe it. This is because man is a fallen creature with an innate tendency toward sinfulness. He does not naturally accept the truth, especially about his own nature. If we are able to seen any truth at all, it is only by God’s grace.
Some Christians failed their Lord in the school board races. Other Christians believed the lies and calumny spread against Hershey, Dill and Brooks. And of course, any errors they made were magnified, while their excellent service and results were overlooked.
Others were afraid of the controversy that had arisen die to their heroic efforts to protect our children. Many decent, God-fearing people even supported their opponents, thinking that the controversy would then go away and that the attacks against Christians would cease.
Such efforts to placate the enemy always fail. The attacks on the Jews didn’t cease when a few protested the destruction of Krystallnacht. They only intensified -- for the Nazis had further plans for the Jews.
The children of Israel faced a similar crisis in Egypt, as recounted in Exodus. Pharaoh was not willing to change. He was not going to give up his humanist agenda (It was humanist in that Pharaoh had set himself up as the human equivalent of a god), Pharaoh was determined to make humanist Egyptians out of godly Israelite children. He was going to convert them even while he forced their godly parents into the bondage of becoming makers of mortar and brick for humanist sites and institutions.
Finally, the protective shield provided by the heroic leadership of Hershey, Dill and Brooks has been removed. The children of Greenville County are exposed and vulnerable again. Remember in Exodus, God said He hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that the Israelites would have no choice but to escape Egypt. The humanists in Greenville County showed the Christians the door, and they kicked the Christian leadership out of the public school system.
With the rejection of Christian school board members, could Christian teachers and administrators be far behind? The same God who delivered Israel from bondage to Pharaoh and thereby set the Israelites on the path to the Promised Land has providentially, set us up in similar fashion.
The humanists have hardened their hearts; and perhaps God has hardened their hearts. Thus they cannot be placated. It is important to realize: the secular humanists are not going to change. They are only going to get more intolerant of Christians. Our very existence convicts them and provokes them. This should be a watershed moment when pastors and Christian leaders of our communities finally rise up and say to our modern humanist Pharaoh, "Let my children go!" As I would phrase it later in the Exodus Mandate vision statement:
“Exodus Mandate is a Christian ministry to encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh’s school system (i.e., government schools) for the Promised Land of Christian schools or home schooling. It is our prayer and hope that a fresh obedience by Christian families in educating their children according to Biblical mandates will prove to be a key for the revival of our families, our churches, and our nation.
The Birth and Goals of Exodus Mandate
In short, the goal of Exodus Mandate is to solve the problems created by Outcome-Based Education, Goals 2000, the School-to-Work movement, and other government-school initiatives, not by reforming them or trying to repeal legislation but by taking as many Christian children as possible out of the reach and placing them in the safe sanctuaries of Christian schools and home schooling.
I first announced this plan during the week the Promise Keepers met in Washington in October of 1997. Out of my list of contacts, including a number of people I met at that meeting, I started to organize a volunteer network. It was centered in South Carolina where I live (in Columbia), but soon expanded to include other states. Within a fairly short period of time, a new movement was born, and it started receiving favorable coverage.
The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The State, based in Columbia all published stories on this movement when it was still called Exodus 2000. The Southern Baptist Convention gave it more that a passing look.
I took to the radio circuit and gave hundreds of interview broadcasts by networks on some 4,500 radio stations all across the country. Soon, Exodus Mandate was receiving support from a number of highly visible Christian leaders, including Dr. Jerry Falwell of Liberty University and Dr. James Kennedy, president of Coral Ridge Ministries, which reaches several million people every month.
The Burden of David and Ann Drye: An Exodus Mandate
In Early 1999, Exodus Mandate came to the attention of David and Ann Drye, at the time among the leading Christian educators promoting home schooling and Christian schooling in North Carolina. Based in Concord, N.C., David Drye had founded Classical Covenant School of Concord.
He was a successful Christian businessman, owner of the David Drye Company that built apartment complexes and extended-stay hotels in the Southeast. Moreover, he and his wife Ann had followed a path of homeschooling similar to Gail’s and mine. He was the kind of Christian who quickly acted on the truths he discovered in the Word of God and followed the paths of obedience wherever they might take him. He was also a man with a strong prayer life. I had met him years before and knew his reputation for Christian service in North Carolina.
In the spring of 1999, David heard me speak about my vision and agenda for Christian families and churches, and invited me to address the staff, faculty and upper grade levels of his Classical Covenant School. This was the beginning of a new Christian friendship, and I grew to admire David’s bold aggressive manner and financial support for projects and ministries that helped build the Kingdom of God.
One of the most important results of our friendship was David’s offer to supply the funding for the Jeremiah Films video Let My Children Go. Because of his business successes, God enabled David to give large sums of money to support Christian schools, missionary projects, home schooling, the pro-life movement, and other Christian projects that built the Kingdom of God.
He financed the entire development and production of the Let My Children Go video. God has used this video all over the nation in the last two years to warn Christian families of the dangers of government-run schools. Without his financial support, guidance, and encouragement, this video would not exist today. David himself speaks in the video several times expressing his concern about Christians allowing their children to attend state or government schools.
Because David and Ann had a great burden that Christian families become obedient to Biblical mandates in the education of their children, they thus strongly supported both Christian schools and home schooling.
David and Ann fully practiced what they preached, and home schooled or provided Christian schooling for their own children and 12 grandchildren. He was, to many, "Mr. Christian Education in North Carolina." He would promote and talk about Christian education every opportunity he got. No one could be with him long before he would ask about that person’s own family and children’s education.
David and Ann Drye were also people of prayer. They were indeed intercessors. David was known to sequester himself for a day or two and fast and pray in some secluded place. How a businessman with a large company of over 300 employees could afford the time to do so causes one to wonder. But David had his personal priorities in order. He knew his tremendous success in business was due to God’s blessing. So he could find time to get alone with his Lord and Savior just to talk, worship and pray.
His burdens were heavy for revival in the churches and in the entire nation. This was such a strong burden of concern that he took parts of two summers with his family and drove to each state capitol in the 48 contiguous states to beseech God for each state and its people from the state’s capitol city. He asked God to bring revival in all the states, to help the churches, and turn back the forces of evil that had become so prevalent.
He was asking God for a fresh "Great Awakening" in the nation when he was suddenly taken away on June 14, 1999. The tragic loss of David and Ann Drye occurred when their plane crashed in Concord on a business trip. They were both killed along with a coworker and their pilot. It has been two and a half years since this sad moment, and the Christian community would do well to consider the lives of this notable couple again.
"Beloved and Pleasant in Their Lives"
King David (2 Samuel 1:19-27) lamented the loss of his friend Jonathan. We could paraphrase this text in similar fashion about David and Ann Drye: "The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places. How the mighty have fallen. David and Ann Drye were beloved and pleasant in their lives and in their deaths; they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions... How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle."
In one of my last visits with David Drye, he said in his characteristic fashion, "Ray if you would pray more, more would happen." So simple, yet so profound. It was one of those times when I knew I had received a word from the Lord.
I have grown in my faith as a result of our short friendship and association, and I will remember them. "How the mighty have fallen in the midst of battle..."
Taking the Exodus Mandate to the Public Forum
The Exodus Mandate Project has continued to grow, and its mission has continued to spread. Just this past year I participated in a forum on Beacon Hill at the State Capitol in Boston, entitled "Can Christians continue to use the Public Schools?" Dr. Ron Crews of the Massachusetts Family Institute, who also participated in the forum, argued that each set of parents needed to answer for their particular children and their particular situation, on where to send their children to school. He agrees that standards of decency and righteousness are under sustained attack in the public schools, but believes that Christians should remain present as salt and light of the earth in whatever arena God sends them.
I see the situation very differently. I told The Massachusetts News, which covered the event:
"You’re facing some rather serious questions here in the Massachusetts area with the crowding in of the homosexual agenda into the public schools. Society seems to be helpless to prevent it. The families are desperate, and they can’t seem to forestall it. So we think that Christian people should be looking at Christian education as the only Biblical option for educating their children at the K-12 level."
The salt and light of the earth theology is laudable, but misapplied in education because small children simply don’t have the experience to be evangelicals for the Christian faith, given the onslaught of secular humanism, political correctness and the demand for conformity in the public schools.
Confronting humanist adults is work for Christian adults. Christian families should not be sending in children as surrogate evangelists before they are old enough and mature enough in their own faith to handle the pressures of the hostile environment now represented by the pagan school system.
The difficult point for conservative Christians is that the choice to send their children to public schools is based on a theological mistake. It follows naturally that Christians are not going to be able to "fix" the secular public schools.
The Path Ahead
It has been 25 years since Gail and I first started home schooling our first-born son in West Lafayette, Indiana, on the banks of the Wabash River when I was finishing up at Grace Theological Seminary in 1977. We were told at that time by the State Department of Education we were the first home schooling family in Indiana in the modern era.
We describe those early experiences as taking our little first-born son and placing him safely in his little home school papyrus basket down at the river. One day some years later we came to check on him and saw thousands of little papyrus baskets floating in the river. Other families were discovering this wonderful way to care for and educate their children. Gail and I look back on our early discovery of home schooling and God’s giving us the grace to carry it forward for 17 years and the subsequent provision of Christian schooling for our children in the upper years as one of the most soul-satisfying experiences we have had.
The prospects for home schooling have never been brighter in the USA than now. In some regions we are seeing 15-percent growth per year. Two to three percent of all children now being educated at the K-thru-12 level are being educated at home and 70-percent of those are evangelical Christians. Most of the rest are traditional Catholics with whom we have many shared views. Estimates indicate that there are 1.8 to 2.0 million children now being educated in home schools at the K-12 level.
We are getting favorable articles on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, making Peter Jennings’ World News Tonight, winning both the National Spelling Bee and National Geography Bee in back-to-back years, and seeing our children selected for some of the top colleges in the USA on full scholarships. Two hundred thousand former home schoolers are now enrolled in colleges or universities in the USA.
Acceptance of home schooling is increasing even among some who were previously skeptical. We have won most of the legal battles, thanks to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Although we must be forever vigilant about our rights any time a legislative body meets anywhere, we have cause for optimism about the future of home schooling in America. We have finally come of age!
Greater opportunities for excellence and service await Christian home schooling families. We still have the children, the teachers and the facilities to organize a bona-fide, Bible-based school system at a national level. We have the financial resources as well. In the past, we have lacked the vision -- and the nerve. Many of our churches are not used five days a week. It’s not too late. We can do it. The Lord will be with us as He was with the children of Israel.
The Lord’s Command
The Lord has commanded that we "... bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). This means more than Sunday School. What it means is building up a new educational system consisting of networks of home schooling parents and private, Christian schools, imparting a Christ-centered education to their children. Leaving aside the possibility of Christ’s Second Coming, such an effort alone can reverse the moral and educational decline of the nation. A Christ-centered educational system will contrast markedly with the secular humanist one.
In the next chapter we will review how secular humanism came to control public schools, and why. We will also see how we were warned very shortly after the takeover began. Then, in ensuing chapters we will develop the various aspects of our Christian alternative. We will show how home schooling or placing children in Christian schools is a Biblical and spiritual requirement.
It is still not too late to heed the warnings and reverse the threat to our children by removing our children from Pharaoh’s school system!
5. See e.g. Rudolf Flesch’s classic Why Johnny Can’t Read (New York: Perennial Library Press, 1966) and the more recent Why Johnny Still Can’t Read (New York: Harper Trade, 1983).
6. 370 U.S. 421 (1962).
7. 374 U.S. 203 (1963).
8. 449 U.S. 1104 (1980).
9. E. Ray Moore, Jr., "A Call to Service in the Memory of David and Ann Drye," Raleigh World, June 8, 2001.
10. Ed Oliver, "Should Christians Stay in Public Schools? Debate on Beacon Hill Shows Differing Views," The Massachusetts News, June 2001, p.7.
Exodus Mandate Vision Statement:
Exodus Mandate is a Christian ministry to encourage and assist Christian families to leave Pharaoh’s school system (i.e., government schools) for the Promised Land of Christian schools or home schooling. It is our prayer and hope that a fresh obedience by Christian families in educating their children according to Biblical mandates will prove to be a key for the revival of our families, our churches and our nation.
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Title: Let My Children Go
by E. Ray Moore, Jr., Th. M.
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Copyright (c) 2002 by E. Ray Moore, Jr.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.)
U.S. Army Reserve Ret.
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