There can be no doubt that Christian education and home schooling is a growing part of the evangelical world. Influential evangelical, David Barton, has made a name for himself with his books and videos by marketing them to Christian schools and parents who home school.
I was once a Christian school board member who helped start two Christian schools. I was a true believer. Now, I think Christian schools can be an option for some parents, but I do not think it is the default position for evangelicals. I believe that public education is a critical aspect of a free and democratic society and these schools should be supported.
Even though I was once a strong supporter of Christian schools, I was a schizophrenic one, according to Gary North and Rousas J. Rushdoony, father and son to the reconstructionist movement. North explained in 1982:
As a tactic for a short-run defense of the independent Christian school movement, the appeal to religious liberty is legitimate. Everyone who is attempting to impose a world-and-life view on a majority (or on a ruling minority) always uses some version of the liberty doctrine to buy himself and his movement some time, some organizational freedom, and some power. Still, nobody really believes in the whole idea. Politics always involves establishing one view of the “holy commonwealth,” and excluding all other rival views. The Communist Party uses the right offree association to get an opportunity to create a society in which all such rights are illegal.
The major churches of any society are all maneuvering for power, so that their idea of lawful legislation will become predominant. They are all perfectly willing to use the ideal of religious liberty as a device to gain power, until the day comes that abortion is legalized (denying the right of life to infants) or prohibited (denying the “right of control over her own body,” after conception, to each woman). Everyone talksabout religious liberty, but no one believes it.
So let us be blunt about it: we must use the doctrine of religious
liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political, and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God. Murder, abortion, and pornography will be illegal. God’s law will be enforced. It will take time. A minority religion cannot do this. Theocracy must flow from the hearts of a majority of citizens, just as compulsory education came only after most people had their children in schools of some sort. But religious anarchy, like “democratic freedom” in ancient Greece, is a temporary phenomenon; it lasts only as long as no single group gets sufficient power and accepted authority to abandon the principle. Religious anarchy, as a long-term legal framework for organizing a society, is as mythical as neutrality is. Both views assume that the institutions of civil government can create and enforce neutral law. They are cousins, and people believe in them only temporarily, until they make up their minds concerning which God they will serve.
The defense of Christian education today is therefore schizophrenic. The defenders argue that there is no neutral education, yet they use the modern doctrine of religious liberty to defend themselves – a doctrine which relies on the myth of neutrality in order to sustain itself. As a tactic, it is legitimate; we are jockeying for power. We are buying time. But anyone who really believes in the modern doctrine of religious lib.erty has no option but to believe in some variant of the myth of neutrality. Those who have abandoned the latter view should also abandon the former. (24-25, Intellectual Schizophrenia of the New Christian Right, in The Failure of the American Baptist Culture)
You can imagine what the reconstructionists think of the First Amendment and pluralism. And given that reconstructionist organizations such as American Vision and Vision Forum continue to be a part of the Christian Right, I think critics raise valid concerns.
In almost every book on Christian education I read through the 70s and 80s, Rushdoony was cited. Rushdoony’s works, based on the apologetics of Cornelius Van Til, were standards and considered foundational for Christian school teachers. It must be amnesia that explains why current Christian right commenters don’t remember this.
Those in the current Christian Right who say that dominionism (Christian reconstructionism, theonomy, dominion mandate, seven mountains teaching) doesn’t exist are either unaware of their heritage or have selective memory. Even though they complain that non-reconstructionists are schizophrenic, reconstructionists have been on board in various ways all along, especially as a part of the move toward Christian schools and home schooling.