Thursday, April 10, 2008

Loyalty to God, Not State

I don't live in a secluded cave. I read about the California homeschooling controversy in the news last month. I just didn't have anything to add until my wife brought up what the presiding judge said. Actually, it's more like what the presiding judge cited, which was a statement from a 1961 case, also from California. The oft-quoted quote is underlined, with some of the surrounding verbage provided for context's sake.

"In obedience to the constitutional mandate to bring about a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence, the Legislature, over the years, enacted a series of laws. A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare. [Citation.] The Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 [45 S.Ct. 571, 69 L.Ed. 1070, 39 A.L.R. 468], held that: 'No question is raised concerning the power of the state reasonably to regulate all schools, to inspect, supervise and examine them, their teachers and pupils; to require that all children of proper age attend some school, that teachers shall be of good moral character and patriotic disposition, that certain studies plainly essential to good citizenship must be taught, and that nothing be taught which is manifestly inimical to the public welfare.'...(In re Shinn (1961) 195 Cal.App.2d 683, 686-687.)

The whole text of the court ruling is here, if you want it.


As a Christian, my primary loyalty is to God. Everything is else (or should be) far behind. To someone who's not Christian or otherwise areligious, perhaps the underlined statement is not a big deal. After all, what's so wrong about patriotism and loyalty? For Christians, not much, unless it supercedes your loyalty to God.

This primary purpose is incompatible with our goal, which is to glorify God and become more like Him. Which is why, barring death, dismemberment, or other dire circumstances, our future children will never receive compulsory education from the government. And that's only one of the reasons ;)

As a Christian, I try not to be blinded by loyalty to earthly entities. During my drive home, I listen to the biggest local talk radio station, since it has the best traffic reports. Also on during this time is conservative radio host Sean Hannity. Hannity is my archetype for the typical conservative who is so in love with America that he believes America can do no wrong, except for obvious token cases like slavery. But I know that America is a nation composed of sinful people (myself included of course); in that respect, it is like every other nation on earth. Because it's filled with sinful people, it is no less likely to do wrong than other nations. I don't "blame America first." I blame America when it deserves the blame. I don't believe that blame is discretely EITHER this country's OR that country's...who says nations don't share blame?

(BTW, I don't understand when Christians talk of capitalism like it's THE Biblically mandated economic system. Here are my thoughts on capitalism and Christianity.

Of course, this is just one Christian's opinion. What do you think about the issue of loyalty to state?

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3 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Ginny

    Loyalty to the state, for me, comes after loyalty to God, my husband, my church family, my blood family, my home, and probably some other things that I can't think of right now. In that order.

  • Ginny

    P.S. What is that picture of? Just curious...

  • JunkMale

    I believe that is a picture from the movie "1984." (I've never seen it) I figured the post could use a picture to spruce it up a bit, and that movie was the first that popped into my mind. Thus, that would be none other than Big Brother in middle of the picture.