Ken Klukowski: Controlling Children’s Minds
This column originally appeared on Townhall.com on September 5, 2009.
Most people have now heard that President Obama is going to address America’s school children on September 8. He’ll be speaking to them directly, without their parents there to serve as a filter.
Taken with an outrageous situation unfolding in New Hampshire, where a home-schooling mother has been ordered to put her daughter in public school because the daughter is too outspoken in her Christian beliefs, a terrifying truth emerges: If you can force a child into government schools, you can control that child’s mind.
On Tuesday, around the nation, millions of children will be in a setting where they’re expected to accept what adults tell them, and where they are required to obey.
Many teachers will carry out White House instructions (now officially modified) to give writing topics to their students. The original theme: How can I help President Obama? Children are also encouraged to read books about Obama, and even kindergarteners will be asked, “Why is it important that we listen to the president?”
Meanwhile, a new video is circulating entitled “I Pledge,” wherein popular celebrities lend their voices, saying “I pledge” this and that. While some of those pledges are harmless or even helpful, and others silly, some carry a far-left message.
The most disturbing part is when one speaker says, “I pledge to be of service to Barack Obama.” In case you missed that, toward the end actress Demi Moore adds, “I pledge to be a servant to our president.”
Oh my word.
No citizen in a free country pledges to be a servant of the president. We pledge our allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands, never to the president. He is our servant, not the other way around.
This is the kind of adoration given to dictatorial leaders in totalitarian regimes, unlike in America, where it’s our civic duty to question our leaders and hold them accountable.
And what is the most disturbing fact about this video? It’s being shown in some public schools.
For those who think they can simply keep their children out of government schools, there is an unfolding story that every parent should know. In New Hampshire, a family court judge has ordered a divorced mother, Brenda Voydatch, to place her home-schooled 10-year-old daughter in a public school. The girl’s academics are excellent, but the non-custodial father sought a court order to force her into public school.
Why? Because the court order expresses the judge’s concern that the daughter shares “her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith.” In other words, the girl is a devout, evangelical Christian. The court wrote that she must be exposed to “multiple systems of belief,” and so must attend a secular school.
Where, evidently, she will watch Barack Obama and write papers about how to help the president advance his leftist agenda.
To be fair, it must be noted that the divorced parents agreed to joint decision-making as part of their divorce. This is yet another example of how children all too often pay the price in domestic disputes.
But the court tipped its hand. If this were about meeting a child’s educational needs beyond academics, that might be another discussion. But the court references the girl’s Christian faith, and the mother’s faith, and cites that as a crucial factor in ordering the girl into a secular public school.
The court overstepped its bounds, violating both the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom and the rights of conscience of both the mother and daughter. The Alliance Defense Fund has taken this case to contest the order.
Controlling the learning environment allows you to control a child’s mind. When children are in school at a young and impressionable age, they know that they’re there to learn. They’re told by their parents to listen to the teachers, to do what the teacher says, to trust what they are told. In this environment, children can be taught to believe almost anything. Communist and fascist regimes have taken advantage of this for decades, indoctrinating children to become obedient servants to the government, to adore the head of state and to fanatically follow that leader.
This New Hampshire situation is frightening, especially in the context of public schools being told to channel in Barack Obama.