Is Teaching Patriotism Bad?
There is a vital battle over education in our day. And if we lose it, we could ultimately lose the country.
It would seem that the left views the idea of teaching children a love of country as an undesirable goal.
In the Federalist, Joy Pullman called attention recently to a critique from the left of classics-oriented charter schools. The Washington Post wrote the critique, and it implies that teaching patriotism is suspect.
According to the Washington Post, schools that focused on personal responsibility, love of God and country, America’s founders, and the like, are “designed to attract Christian nationalists with specific imagery and curriculum.”
The newspaper cites one example: “‘Back to basic schools’ use red, white, and blue school colors, patriotic logos, and pictures of the Founding Fathers, and use terms such as virtue, patriotism and, sometimes, outright references to religion.”
Talk positively about America’s founders, and you are sending a bad message—especially to our youth, according to the left.
I have studied much about the settling and the founding eras of American history and the American experiment. I have written books and produced documentaries on the subject. The sacrifices of so many of those who created this great country are so amazing. We should be grateful for the freedoms they bestowed to us.
They famously wrote in the preamble to the Constitution, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”
George Washington led a ragtag army of farmers and merchants who were determined, with God’s help, to defend their God-given rights. And to teach the next generation of their many sacrifices on behalf of freedom should be curtailed?
During the American War for Independence, George Washington and his army had to flee from Philadelphia. They spent the winter of 1777-1778 in Valley Forge, about 25 miles away. Many of them had no shoes or boots in the freezing cold. Some of them left bloody footprints in the snow. George Washington led them and prayed for them. And his prayers were ultimately answered.
But to tell future children about these sacrifices of our nation’s founders are essentially, according to the Washington Post, part of “a strategy by right-wing Christians to undermine secular public education”?
Why do so many elites hate America?
Because of slavery at the beginning of our country? It was indeed a great evil. But it was an evil that existed virtually everywhere in the known world to that point. What’s truly astounding is not that America had slavery like everyone else, but that it got rid of it. Even now—today—there are an estimated 50 million people in slavery around the world. But in America, slavery is long gone. The founders enshrined the principles of God-given rights that ultimately overthrew slavery. And it was those principles to which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appealed to during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.
America’s founders declared that our rights come from the Creator. In 1955, President Eisenhower said, “Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—the most basic—expression of Americanism.”
Even when America doesn’t live up to its creed that our Creator has endowed us with certain unalienable rights, it’s still a good creed. As Dr. King said in his classic speech: “I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’” Surely, we have made great advances since he uttered those words in 1963.
In a different context, the great British Christian writer, C. S. Lewis, observed: “In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
If we mock love of country, then we shouldn’t be surprised to see so many young Americans basically hating America.
And yet, think of those who literally risk their lives to try and get here. Some will risk their lives to leave Cuba, going through shark-infested waters, to reach America and her freedoms.
Those who would discourage teaching patriotism to future generations are ultimately sowing bad seeds, the fruit of which we see in many burned out cities overrun by crime, homelessness, and chaos.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the executive director of Providence Forum, a division of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air contributor. He has written/co-written 33 books, including (with D. James Kennedy), What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? and (with Dr. Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire.