Can Public Schools Define “Family”? (Spoiler: They Already Do)

Can Public Schools Define “Family”? (Spoiler: They Already Do) July 8, 2015

Will Saletan, a writer for Slate, posted this to Twitter this afternoon.

Just so we’re clear: A state sponsored entity (school) used its punitive measures (grades) to enforce a particular definition of “family” on its students. Now you might think “enforce” is too strong a word there. After all, it’s not like Saletan’s child was threatened with jail time unless he got the correct, state-endorsed definition of family. But let’s switch the details around. Let’s say that the teacher replaced option E with this:

A family is a group of related persons, normally bound together by marriage between a husband and a wife.

Now imagine that the teacher marked incorrect every student who chose a different definition of family than this one. What would the response by the community be? By lawmakers? By the media?

What we have here is the explosion of the utter delusion that public schools are value neutral and don’t teach religious or philosophical normatives. And thus we must confront yet again the crucial role of religious liberty. The punishing of students who disagree with a secularistic definition of family is simply a microcosm of the Sexual Revolution’s continuing stampede on soul freedom. I hear a lot from friends on the Left about keeping religion out of public schools. Such rhetoric would be more persuasive if it included state-sponsored religion.

No one should have to check their religious beliefs at the door of public life. That includes students, bakers, florists, and churches. And don’t try to convince me that Saletan’s son was trying to “force” his religious or conservative beliefs on anyone. He was asked a question about his beliefs, and he gave a wrong answer. That’s something I would hope conservatives and progressives could agree is unacceptable.


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