|A proverb often attributed to George Washington states: “Government … Like fire, is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master.”
While it’s uncertain that George Washington really spoke those words, the proverb still rings true and captures the challenge that has faced humanity since the first governments were formed in history. Government can not only allow us to protect ourselves from external aggression but can also be used to oppress and coerce citizens.
Unfortunately, history demonstrates that governmental oppression has been far more common than liberty – and this fact proves painfully true in the realm of education.
Last month, a parent from Sweden emailed a pastor named John Piper with a concern that struck close to home. In his email he described a national education system overtaken with the radical extremes of modern Marxist thought, specifically with ideas that teach that maleness and femaleness is defined by how you feel about your body rather than biology. He added that Sweden has placed so many restrictions upon Christian and private schools that they are forced into the position of teaching that same ideology. In Sweden, an attempt to remove your child from such indoctrination by teaching them within the home is grounds for the government to remove them from home and force them into foster care.
Such stories are rightly shocking to families in America, but we have to understand that it is a clash of worldviews that creates stories such as these. Central to the clash is the question of whether families or governments should have the primary responsibility of raising children.
There is no doubt that families can benefit when government supports the family structure. Also, government and civil society receive tremendous benefit from the traditional family. The clash comes when some view government as the prime authority deciding what is best for the child.
That mindset is popular among some within the government and in academia. And because of that mindset among the liberal elites, Americans face growing pressure to bow to certain “experts” within the public school system. These “experts” teach ideas such as “Critical Race Theory” and the gender spectrum (including a “non-binary” gender in which someone is neither a man nor a woman). They teach that boys should be allowed to play in girls’ sports (disregarding the very real physical advantage boys have), and they instruct our children that the whole world is subdivided by a Marxist narrative of “The Oppressed” and “The Oppressor.”
When such ideas grow within a government, that government is on the cusp of changing from servant to master. Having recently fought against that change here in Wyoming, I ask all of you to stand firm in your calling to speak the truth in love as Christians and as American citizens.
Because of your help, Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming has been blessed to provide a greater voice in speaking about these crucial topics as they surface in Wyoming. Thank you for standing with us to ensure that the government is a source of protection, not tyranny.