Independence

By Lauren Gideon

It is that time of year again. Grills are lit, parades are attended, and picnics and fireworks have brought families and communities together. July 4th elicits my mixed sentiments. Inevitably, we are drawn into the topic of comparison. Side by side, we attend to the world leading up to 1776 and the world in which we now reside. How are they the same? How are they different?

Directly or Indirectly Opposed to Tyranny?

What is Independence?

So then, what is independence? And how is it related? To understand and appreciate independence, we must also attend to its inverse as well. If independence is what we love, the inverse is the threat to that object of our love. Some have even postulated that we have an obligation to hate the thing that is a threat to what we love. And what is this imminent threat? Dependency.

The founding generation were students of historical patterns. They realized that these lines run parallel. To be free, one could not be dependent. Thus, they reluctantly resolved to pursue, teach, and propagate independence as their door to freedom.  

The scary reality is that the path they walked has room for two-way traffic. If independence is the path toward freedom, dependency is the path back toward tyranny and totalitarianism. So, what does state dependency look like? In its simplest form, it is the public’s tolerance of the use of collective, regulated resources to supply individual needs. Our generation’s oversight is that the threat of dependency is not fresh in our minds. We have grown ignorant, distracted, apathetic, and negligent in keeping our guard up against the threat of dependency. Ideas of entitlement, “school choice,” “public-private partnership,” subsidies, and government grants are all modern manifestations of our collective, tacit-yet-obvious approval of state dependency.

The Cost of Independence

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

Civil liberties, freedom, and responsibility

Civil Liberty & Responsibility—A Reflection On Freedom

By Lauren Gideon

            “Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights.”

Benjamin Rush

Don’t Take Liberty for Granted

Civil liberty and air travel have something in common. They are both widely taken for granted.

Have you ever considered what the advent of air travel was like? No longer were people bound by the limitations that accompanied ground and water travel. Moreover, for this to be possible, there required a great deal of compounded disciplines. Consider geology and meteorology, as well as the laws of gravity and motion all have great authority in this sphere. This type of freedom didn’t spontaneously develop itself, and it isn’t independent from the laws that govern it nor the responsibility to know and apply those laws.

Civil liberty isn’t much different. In some regards, modern Americans were born into this freedom in the same way that they were born into the age of air travel. We can easily take for granted all the education and application that liberated humanity in both manifestations of “freedom,” but just as there will be consequences if our society neglects the laws of nature as it pertains to air travel, there are consequences when free people neglect the laws that govern freedom and civil society. 

Not only is this a civil and ethical issue; it is also a moral one. We know the laws written in nature come from the ultimate Law Giver. We know humans are blessed with dignity by merit of their imago Dei. To deny the laws of liberty, which require us to respect individual dignity, is to deny the authority of The Law Giver.

Consider the Creator’s Acknowledgment in our Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Don’t take your freedom for granted. Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat (“Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse”). At the end of the day, we, too, want to be good stewards and benevolent citizens to our neighbors and our posterity. How well do we each understand and take responsibility for spreading this knowledge?

           “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more”.

Luke 12:48b ESV

Read Lauren’s other articles.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship I.Q. on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

A young boy and girl concentrate on their homework, writing together at a table

Oklahoma Bill HB 4130 – A Deeper Analysis

By Elise DeYoung

In recent months, Oklahoma and Michigan, two states that have historically had low regulation on homeschool freedoms, have sought to pass restrictive laws. These states both claim to be passing homeschool registration and oversight laws to prevent the abuse of home-educated children.

Since homeschooling became legal in 1992, many states have tirelessly attempted to oversee and regulate a parent’s right to home education. If you wish to learn about your state’s homeschool laws, you can do so by visiting HSLDA’s website.

You can learn more about the specifics of Michigan’s proposal and its problems here.

In Oklahoma, Rep. Amanda Swope has introduced HB 4130, which would require homeschool parents to send in a letter to the Department of Human Services requesting to homeschool their child, provide the information of every adult involved in the child’s education, and go through biannual background checks performed by the DHS.

While the intentions of Swope may sound noble at first (who wouldn’t want to put an end to the abuse of children?), this bill is founded on a false premise and represents a trend of state aggression towards homeschooling. For these reasons, Americans, especially in Oklahoma, must strongly oppose Swope’s bill to restrict and regulate homeschooling families.

The Narrative is Fabricated

The entire reason for the bill rests upon the premise that there is an epidemic of abuse among homeschooled children, and we need new legislation to address it. Sadly, for Swope and her bill, the statistical facts strongly contradict this narrative.

First, all of the evidence available shows that “homeschooled children are abused at a lower rate than are those in the general public, and no evidence shows that the home educated are at any higher risk of abuse.”(Ray, 2018) What’s more, a Gen 2 Survey found that homeschooled students are actually 257% less likely to be sexually abused than their government-schooled peers.

It is ironic that Swope’s proposed solution to the fallacious low abuse rates among homeschoolers is government regulation. This has yet to help public schoolers who experience constant state oversight. What makes her think it will help the homeschoolers in any way?

Additionally, according to the statistics, if Swope were truly concerned with addressing child abuse in her state, she would turn her attention to the place where children suffer the most—government schools.

Even if there were high rates of abuse among homeschooled children, there are already nationwide laws on the books that protect all children from abuse, including homeschoolers.[1] There is no reason to pass another bill. Oklahoma simply has to enforce the ones it already has in place.

So why do Swope and those who support HB 4130 want to pass it so badly? The answer is increased government oversight and regulation on homeschooling.

Government Overreach

To understand the extent of the government overreach within HB 4130, we must examine the document ourselves.

Letters of Intent

Paragraph F. reads, “On or before the school district start date, parents making the decision to choose homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling shall submit a letter of intent to the Department of Human Services.”

A Letter of Intent can easily be dismissed as “normal” because many states require homeschooling parents to write a letter outlining their intent to homeschool. However, most states require parents to submit it to their local school district or to their state. The purpose of this is to inform their state schools that it is not responsible for their child’s education.

The difference is that with this bill, Oklahoma parents must submit their letter of intent to the Department of Human Services. Later in the bill, the letter of intent is referred to as “a request to homeschool” and may be denied by the DHS. Denial of a fundamental right to educate one’s child is an egregious abuse of power. Since when did the DHS (the civil government) have the right to determine whether a family has the right to homeschool their children?

The bill continues by explaining what information parents are required to surrender:

  • The names of the homeschooling parents
  • The social security numbers of parents.
  • The names of all the homeschooled children
  • The home address of the family homeschooling
  • The names of all individuals living at the home address
  • The names of “any associated individuals or organizations assisting with the child’s or children’s schooling.”
  • Along with “A brief statement for the decision of schooling”

Furthermore, this bill requires you to “reapply” for homeschooling by sending in a “subsequent letter of intent” every time you make a change in your initial decision to homeschool, whether it is “a result of a move or otherwise.”

Background Checks

Paragraph H. says, “When the Department of Human Services receives a letter of intent, it shall perform an initial background check on parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children’s schooling.”

The fact that the DHS wants to perform background checks on parents to decide whether or not they have the right to home-educate their children is Orwellian. It also begs a fascinating question:

Why does this bill not include background checks for the parents of public school students? Those students are home, with no government supervision, for three whole months. Why isn’t Swope concerned about abuse in those homes?

Background checks on “parents, other adults within the home, and any adults assisting in the children’s schooling” is both a disturbing invasion into the homes of home educators and will also cause a multitude of issues for tutoring programs and independent educators who will now be subject to background checks by the DHS.

Biannual Checks

Moreover, parents must repeat all the regulations examined so far biannually. “The Department shall maintain a system to conduct biannual checks of the database and compile a database of individuals, facilities, and organizations that perform and assist with homeschooling, podschooling, or microschooling.”

This regulation means that by the time an Oklahoma homeschool student has graduated, the DHS will have made 24 reviews on that child’s security information, address, family members, homeschool organizations, and teachers.

The bill concludes that the DHS may deny “requests” to homeschool and will deny them if any adult involved in the child’s education has a “pending child abuse or neglect investigation” against them.

Constitutional Home Educators explains the danger of this vague wording: “There are so many loopholes here that could allow DHS to deny your request to home educate. It does not say just an abuse or neglect conviction; it includes a pending investigation. All it takes is an accusation.”

Oppose HB 4130

This bill represents an outrageous abuse of government authority and power. First, it is completely unnecessary and will be totally ineffective. Regulation does not reduce abuse. Second, the bill is designed to empower government-run agencies to dictate a parent’s right to home educate and to regulate that right if it is “approved” by the state. This bill is a blatant abuse of power and must be ardently rejected by the citizens of Oklahoma before it is instated and enforced.

Homeschool freedom is a right that many before us have fought to win. We cannot allow the state to deceive us into surrendering this right for a fabricated narrative and a false promise. All Americans must stand in support of Oklahoma citizens as they fight on the front lines for educational freedom.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. Elise is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!


[1] (n.d.). 2022 Oklahoma Statutes Title 21. Crimes and Punishments §21-843.5. Child abuse – Child neglect – Child sexual abuse – Child sexual exploitation – Enabling – Penalties. Justia US Law. https://law.justia.com/codes/oklahoma/2022/title-21/section-21-843-5/

A man with a beard and glasses taking his hat off and scratching his head, looking upward out of frame

Can You Define Fascism?

By Elise DeYoung

Fascism. It is a term widely used but hardly understood.

Are you aware of the history and philosophy surrounding this term? Can you define it?

When these questions arise, men like Benito Mussolini are often accredited with the philosophy of fascism, and words such as “authoritarianism” and “right-wing extremism” are frequently given as synonyms. Armed with these ambiguous and frightening words as arrows in their quiver, left-wing politicians commonly use the word fascism to attack their right-wing opponents. We are all familiar with CNN anchors referring to Donald Trump as a right-wing, MAGA fascist.

Where did this term originate? Is fascism really right-wing extremism? Are there fascists in America today?

By exploring each of these questions, we will come across three misconceptions of fascism that have distorted our understanding of this powerful word.

These misconceptions are:

  1. Benito Mussolini founded fascism.
  2. Fascism is a radical right-wing ideology.
  3. The modern Left is anti-fascist.

Misconception One: Mussolini and Fascism

Contrary to popular belief, Benito Mussolini was not the founder of fascism. Instead, he explicitly recognized the real founder of fascism as Giovanni Gentile, and gave him the title, “The philosopher of Fascism.”

Gentile lived from 1875 to 1944 and was an extremely prominent Italian philosopher, politician, and educator. He established the idea of fascism, and with his ideology, he paved the way for the dictatorship of Mussolini, which lasted from 1922 to 1943.

Gentile, like Marx, sought to create a form of government that resembles the family unit. What would this look like exactly? Well—if you think of the family unit, who is the head of the household? Traditionally, it is the father. And what is the role of the father? It is to provide for and to protect his family.

Likewise, Gentile ordered his fascist ideology in such a way that the government would be the father of civilization—its sole provider and protector. With this structure, personal responsibility and individual liberty, which Gentile condemned as “selfish,” are thrown out the window and replaced by slothful dependence and security through submission to Father Government. It is obvious why authoritarianism is so closely attributed to fascism; they have many similarities. Now that we understand Gentile’s philosophical intention, we can define his term.

Fascism is a political movement that seeks to establish an authoritarian system of government that resembles the family unit.

There is one final fact about Gentile that must be understood to have a well-rounded understanding of his philosophy of fascism. That is—Gentile was a Leftist. This may come as a shock because fascism has been attributed to the right for many decades, but when we consider the philosophy of fascism in relation to the modern right and left, it begins to make sense.

Misconception Two: Fascism and the Right

As I said before, fascism has been viewed as the end game of radical right-wing politics for many decades. Republican politicians have seemed to accept this abuse of language and have allowed it to continue all these years.

However, a brief comparison of conservatism and fascism will expose the ridiculous claim that fascism is rooted in the right. Allow me to ask this simple question: Do conservatives want big government? The answer is an obvious and resounding no.

If there is one thing that has not changed in the Republican party, it is the desire for small government. To claim otherwise is folly.  

Additionally, what true conservative wants to surrender personal responsibility and individual liberty to Father Government? The answer is none.

For fascism to work at all, liberty and responsibility must be discarded and replaced by a far-reaching, powerful, all-consuming government that rules its complacent society with an iron fist. That is what happened in Italy under Mussolini’s fascist reign, and that is precisely what conservatives are actively fighting against.

Misconception Three: The Left and Modern-Day Fascists

So, if Republicans are not undercover fascist dictators, are there fascists in America at all?

I am not here to make the argument that all leftist politicians and Democrat voters are fascists. Because that is not the case, however, there are clear-cut agreements between the two political movements that we must acknowledge.

PragerU makes this comparison in their video, “Is Fascism Right or Left?”,

“At the 1984 convention of the Democratic Party, the governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, likened America to an extended family where, through the government, people all take care of each other.”

They continue by saying,

“Nothing has changed. Thirty years later, a slogan of the 2012 Democratic Party convention was, ‘The government is the only thing we all belong to.’ They might as well have been quoting Gentile.”

The left has taken Gentile’s idea of collectivism under Father Government and applied it to their political philosophy. We must be aware of the left’s implementation of this core fascist ideal in its policies and plans for our country.

Fascist Philosophy Embedded in Leftist Policies

Just to name a few, the Welfare system has resulted in a complete dependence upon the government by large swaths of the American public. In addition, the left’s movement to ban assault rifles would instantly create a total dependence on Father Government for protection. These two examples prove that the left is furthering our dependence on the government for provision and protection; Gentile would be proud.

The most glaring example, however, of fascist philosophy embedded in leftist policies was the effort by Democratic politicians to instate federal mask and vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. This would have exponentially multiplied the scope and influence of the state and greatly increased our submission to it in the name of security. Gentile’s philosophy continues infiltrating institutions today, such as education and healthcare, through Democratic policies.

It is abundantly clear that there are extreme misconceptions surrounding the term and ideology of fascism. Thankfully, we can know the facts behind the philosophy. With a newfound clarity of the origin and political affiliation of fascism, we must now boldly oppose all efforts to instate Father Government in our fascist-free country.

You can read other articles written by Elise here.

Elise DeYoung is a PR & Communications Associate as well as a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

a closeup of a microphone on a stage

Freedom of Speech and the Modern Public Square

By Elise De Young

James Madison embedded the freedom of speech in American society when he penned the Bill of Rights in 1791.

The free speech clause in the First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or the press.” Abridging can be understood simply as “to impose a restriction on.” If I may be so bold as to reconfigure Madison’s words, he wrote, “Congress shall make no law… that imposes a restriction on freedom of speech or the press.” It is abundantly clear that the right to freedom of speech is absolute. The government may apply no restrictions on speech without violating the First Amendment.

How was this right exercised by the early Americans? 

Historically, before the internet and social media, even before mass-produced papers and articles, the public square was represented by a physical space where citizens would gather to reason with one another. It was a place of persuasion. The idea was that you would come with your belief, and I would come with mine, and we would discuss and debate our differences until the best idea won.

Consider the masterful debates between “Honest Abe” and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. These debates would gather large crowds who would eagerly attend the speeches that were known to span three or four hours.

Why?

The answer is that Americans loved and respected their public square. They yearned for truth and wanted their views to be challenged and improved. This era embodied Romans 12:2 (ESV) when it says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Of course, this does not represent every individual; there are always those who are too proud to listen. But this accurately represents the posture of the 19th-century American mind.

In short, freedom of speech is the right of an American to express any idea or belief without imposition from the government; the public square is where this right is exercised freely.

With these definitions in mind, we can now examine our modern day.

The Modern Public Square

In 2017, the Supreme Court made the case in Packingham v. North Carolina that “social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are now the “town squares” of America where the right of freedom of speech is exercised.” They officially titled this phenomenon the “modern public square.”

I believe you would agree with me when I say that today, our modern public square has regressed far from its original model. Rather than hosting serious, intellectual, and reasonable discussions, social media has become a war zone that wields mockery, foolishness, and manipulation as its weapons.

In recent decades, the term “hate speech” has gained traction among Americans as we label opposing perspectives as dangerous, violent, or harmful. Terms like misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic rhetoric (I am probably missing a “phobic”) and ultra-MAGA speech have been thrown around on platforms like X and TikTok to describe speech that disagrees with a mainstream position on culture, politics, or religion.

These developments have profound implications because freedom of speech cannot flourish in a public square where people are shamed and mocked for speaking. So, we must ask ourselves: how can we change the status quo?

The Solution

I believe the solution is Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Freedom of speech is essential because it ensures that language, thought, and expression cannot be controlled by and conform to the ruling power of this world.

Today, the world is racing towards mass control and conformity to a specific set of ideas and beliefs. They are achieving their objective by silencing and shaming specific speech before the debate has even begun. Thankfully, Romans 12:2 gives us two ways to fight against conformity to the world.

The Romans 12: Strategy

First, renew your mind. One of the reasons why our modern public square is suffering is because ignorance has taken over the conversation. Ignorance of history, logic, and truth have all blended to confuse and anger both sides of the debate. We need well-educated individuals to enter into places of confusion to provide clarity and understanding. And this begins with you and me. By educating ourselves on the topics of the day, we will know the truth more fully and be prepared when our positions are challenged.

Second, discern the truth through testing. Another reason why our public square is in disarray is that we have forgotten how to test ideas through debate. Our public square echoes with the screaming of political slogans, but this is not a debate. These statements are only childish expressions of emotional opinions. If we wish for productive conversations to flourish once more, we must learn to discern ideas and put them to the test together. When we allow the opposing argument to confront our ideas, we will grow in both humility of mind and wisdom in opinion. Without this vital testing process, how can we arrive at the truth? 

The right to freedom of speech has been the bedrock of American society since our founding, and it must remain the bedrock of our modern public square today. So, let us learn to converse with one another, and may the best idea win.

Elise DeYoung is a Public Relations and Communications Associate and a Classical Conversations graduate. With CC, she strives to know God and make Him known in all aspects of her life. She is a servant of Christ, an avid reader, and a professional nap-taker. As she continues her journey towards the Celestial City, she is determined to gain wisdom and understanding wherever it can be found. Soli Deo gloria!

the Argentine flag blowing in the wind on a sunny day

Liberty in Argentina

By Lauren Gideon

It has been about a month since the 2023 elections. As is typical of any election in my lifetime, there was much enthusiasm, effort, passion, and good intentions leading up to the big vote. The races with the most attention in my state were the school board races. You can read my thoughts about those races here. While this election cycle had notoriously low turnout, the results were still jolting to those who had invested so much and anticipated more favorable results. 

Temper Your Election Expectations

Elections always carry this sober-‘day-of-reckoning’-aura for those invested in the civic process. The time for head scratching commences. “Where was the red wave?” “Where is that ‘silent majority’?” “Do they not care enough to vote?” “Do they even exist?” “If they do exist, does it even matter if they don’t care enough to participate?” 

Unfortunately, I’m usually the person who brings the wet blanket to the party. Despite the narrative at the cheerleading events, I don’t anticipate any significant change in one election. I don’t believe in a silent majority or a “take back our schools” mantra. Why? Those are collectivist slogans employed by those who usually have one primary objective; “How do ‘we’ out-muscle our political opponents.” Since we know power takes numbers, we prefer empty collectivist battle cries to the substantiative truth claims that can be divisive and hurt our potential democratic control. Conservatives claim to be anti-Marxist, while many have also reduced the human experience to a binary power struggle. 

Both Parties Want the Same Thing

Recently, I was across the table from a successful activist. He pulled open his laptop and pointed to all the areas shaded red on this U.S. map. He enthusiastically told me how several locations had flipped colors but cautioned my enthusiasm because the margins were tight everywhere. “Do you know what this means?” he asked with optimism in his eyebrows. 

“Yes,” I replied. “It means that what these two colors offer is not that different from the other if people are so easily swayed back and forth.” His eyebrows fell. “You know, I hadn’t thought about it that way before.”

To overly simplify, both parties are out to dominate their political opponent through means of political power. The real question is, “What flavor would you like your tyranny?” Because we, Americans, leverage our tyranny through democratic processes, we have given it our blessing because of our nation’s misplaced loyalty to democracy ahead of the preservation of individual liberty. The tyranny of the majority is a cruel reality.

Did Argentina Beat Us to the Punch?

Simultaneously happening in the opposite hemisphere, Argentina has decided to elect a self-professing libertarian (or liberal in Argentine vernacular). Javier Milei, who takes office December 10, is the president-elect who ran a campaign on promises to reduce the scope and size of the Argentine government and “lead the country with a plan of free-market reforms.” 1 Milei says,  

“Liberalism is defending the right to life, liberty, and property. The institutions of liberalism support private property, labor mobility, the division of labor, social cooperation, and free markets with limited state intervention. It is serving your fellow neighbor by offering better goods and services. This is what we believe.” 2 

While published smear ads are a dime-a-dozen, Milei’s success does invoke a measure of curiosity. Why was this message successful? Is it merely because of Argentina’s economic crisis, or is there a degree of attractiveness to this different political tune? 

Now, it is too soon to draw conclusions about Milei himself. There are plenty of reasons to be cautious. However, if we take the human element out of the picture and assess the principles at play, is there a chance that a new (or, dare I say, “old”) theme is brewing? A theme where people are tired of choosing their flavor of political control. Could minds be opened to an alternative paradigm?  


Suggested Resource from Cato Institute: Is Javier Milei, Argentina’s Next President, A Libertarian?


Individual Liberty is the Unifier

I think a case could be made that there is a new opportunity for a bipartisan unifier—individual liberty. Could the idea of self-governance be attractive once again? Can both sides lay down their commitment to control and “fixing” their fellow human? Could we settle for the timeless virtues of justice, civility, and freedom of conscience? Could we promote a paradigm where citizens have the freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail, the right to pursue their happiness, and the right to reap the consequences of their actions? That would be a tough bridge to cross for both political ideologies. 

Christian conservatives need to remember that while we do have an obligation to seek justice in this life (Micah 6:8) with historical and biblical principles to guide us, there is a higher court. In this court sits the Judge of Judges, who decides what injustices will be made right. In our misguided effort to bring heaven down to earth, we often take on responsibility that isn’t ours to bear. In doing so, we trespass into the life, liberty, and conscience of our neighbors—the very things our founding documents were established to protect. 

In the book of Daniel, we read about Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king who ruled Babylon. After witnessing the miracle of the salvation of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar makes a decree regarding the speech, the expression of the conscience, 

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” (Daniel 3:28-29)

However, this chapter began with King Nebuchadnezzar mandating that all Babylonians worship the Idol he had set up, 

“You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.” (Daniel 3:4-5)

Which mandate was to honor the king’s appropriate sphere of governance? Answer: neither. 

In both scenarios, Nebuchadnezzar trespassed beyond his sphere of authority into the private property of the human soul. Juxtapose this paradigm with Joshua’s invitation,

And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Now, before a whistle-blower calls foul—no one in our present moment is blatantly mandating a religion or religious practices. Consider how political ideologies have gone beyond their appropriate spheres. Consider where boundaries of life, liberty, property, and conscience have been trespassed. No matter how well-intended, is justice being upheld? Consider that at the beginning of time, when all things were as they ought to be, humanity was given three things: breath in their lungs (life), a beautiful garden (property), and choice—choice so critical it could save their souls or send their souls to hell (liberty). 

Who afforded them these things? God himself. If we don’t afford the same to our fellow man, we have elevated our judgment above God’s and made ourselves god in His place. We have trespassed onto a throne that does not belong to mere mortals and have violated the first commandment, “Thou shalt not have any other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

In the twenty-first century United States, are the parties, the politicians, and the people still loyal to the idea of Liberty and Justice for all? 

Lauren Gideon is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

  1. Schotgues, Marcus. “Five Things to Know about Argentina’s New President.” The Epoch Times. November 21, 2023. https://www.theepochtimes.com/article/5-things-to-know-about-argentinas-new-president ↩︎
  2. Peterson, Michael. “Javier Milei: The Argentine Economist Who Could Become the First Libertarian President in Modern History.” Foundation for Economic Education. August 18, 2023. https://fee.org/articles/javier-milei-the-argentine-economist-who-could-become-the-first-libertarian-president-in-modern-history/ ↩︎

Does School Choice Mean Education Freedom?

By attorney and reporter Kevin Novak

Published August 27, 2022, in The Western Journal

Kevin Novak poses legitimate questions regarding school choice. He ponders lowered taxes, privatized education, and educational freedom in his op-ed piece published in The Western Journal on August 27, 2022.

“Consider these inquiries. If a legislature has the present ability to pass ‘school choice’ legislation, why does it not instead pass legislation that lowers taxes? In conjunction, if a legislature has the present ability to pass school choice legislation, and it being the case that many children have escaped the civil government school system, why does it not instead decrease spending on civil government education? And how would passing more school choice laws produce more financial freedom for people or more thought freedom for children?”

Read the full article here.

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