IndoctriNation and the Blame Game

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

 Have you heard about a newly released movie called "IndoctriNation"?

According to its promoters, it is a “90-minute documentary film that takes the audience on a panoramic exploration of one of the most important and controversial issues in the history of mankind, the issue of education.  Traveling all over America with his family in a big yellow school bus and conducting a series of candid conversational interviews, Colin Gunn, a Scottish filmmaker, actor, and homeschool father of seven children living in Texas, is on a quest to discover the origins of our modern educational system.  What he discovers is a masterful design that sought to replace God's recipe for training up the next generation with a humanistic, man-centered program that fragmented the family and undermined the influence of the Church and its Great Commission.” (link)

To give you an idea of the documentary's focus, here are some quotes from the trailer which you can view at the above link.

“When you send that child off to school today, you’re sending them into a pagan society.“  Charles Stanley

“And when the studies are showing that there is virtually no difference between the church and the world, at what point are Southern Baptists gonna rise up and say enough is enough.”
  Roger Moran

“They are stealing our children, but because they are leaving the body of the child with us, we don’t even know it’s happening.”  Erwin Lutzer

“If I had my way government education would be brought to a halt.”
  Howard Phillips (father of Doug Phillips)

“Trying to fix public education is like trying to teach a pig how to dance. You get dirty, and the pig gets mad.”  E. Ray Moore

“Turning your children over to total strangers and having those strangers work on your child’s mind, it’s a mad idea.”
  John Taylor Gatto

“Public schools have become a criminal enterprise.” 
Samuel Blumenfeld

“Parents are willing to admit that there are these problems and yet believe that their children will somehow escape. They won’t.”
  Luci McLeod

After seeing the trailer, I would have difficulty watching this documentary.  In my ever to be humble opinion, this is propaganda at its worst.  IndoctriNation begins by stating that ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to public schools.  And, of course, it's the "government schools" that are responsible for the decline in Christianity, right?  There can be no doubt that this video was produced to scare parents into following the advice of the homeschooling gurus featured in the documentary. 

Here is a partial list of the cast members (not sure why all the names were not included).

CAST: Col. John Eidsmoe, David d'Escoto, David Goetsch, Erwin Lutzer, Gary DeMar, Gary North, Geoff Botkin, Herb Titus, Israel Wayne, Joe Morecraft, Ken Ham, Kevin Swanson, Mike Metarko, Ray Moore, Sam Blumenfeld, Voddie Baucham

Doug Phillips promotes the IndoctriNation video on his blog and shares the names of additional cast members, including himself and his father.  (link)

"Hear from Samuel Blumenfeld, Col. John Eidsmoe, John Taylor Gatto, Ken Ham, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Doug Phillips, Howard Phillips, Bruce Shortt, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Kevin Swanson, and many more."

It seems that Ken Ham had a tremendous influence on one of the movie's producers, Colin Gunn.  Here is some background information provided on the movie website:

“Ken Ham had a tremendous impact on the Gunn Brothers as young men. His influential tours to Scotland and England encouraged both of us to consider the long term impact of evolutionary thinking and the unparalleled harm it has caused. A big part of our motivation to make IndoctriNation is to draw attention to this deep legacy of evolutionary philosophy within the public school system.”

Isn't it interesting that Ken Ham seems to show up in controversial documentaries.  Remember the video we reviewed last month called "Divided"?   Not only are certain individuals featured in both videos, namely Ken Ham, Doug Phillips, Kevin Swanson, and R.C. Sproul, Jr., but they are highly critical of organized institutions.  The Divided documentary condemns the traditional church (family integrated churches are promoted) while IndoctriNation condemns public education and glorifies homeschooling.  And these people profess to have all the answers? 

What speaks volumes to us is that Christian Reconstructionist Gary North is interviewed in the IndoctriNation documentary, claiming that public schools teach "the religion of Humanism." Here is a brief history lesson.  Gary North is the son-in-law of R.J. Rushdoony, who is credited with founding the Reconstructionist Movement.  North warned in the video, "Jesus Christ made it clear when He said, he who is not with me is against me."

Rushdoony, who is deceased, developed a loyal following during his lifetime.  Interestingly, a couple of men who appear in the IndoctriNation video are mentioned in an article which addresses Rushdoony turning eighty. (link)

Here is a quote from that article that troubles us:

"Home schooling and home churches allow for the literal isolation of Reconstructionist families from sinful realms of secular existence."

That seems to be the goal of those who produce these controversial videos — to isolate families through homeschooling and home churches.  That's when the INDOCTRINATION can really take place.

Here is our recommendation.  If someone approaches you with this video or tries to convince you to order it online (Vision Forum and the Creation Museum offer it for just under $20), just tell them that you are not interested.  When it comes to indoctrination, these people have the public schools beat hands down!

Please understand, we know that there are problems within the public education system, but we have found that parents seem to have the most profound impact on their children.  Our children are now grown, and over the last two decades we have known families whose children were homeschooled, attended private schools (both secular and Christian), and attended public schools.  We can assure you that none of these educational opportunities guarantees success. 

Please remember that some of the homeschooling gurus mentioned above have built lucrative businesses and ministries on the backs of families who trust them.  We must never forget that they have much to gain ($$$ and influence) if families abandon the public education system and follow them.

Lydia's Corner:    2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14     Romans 9:1-24     Psalm 19:1-14    Proverbs 20:1


IndoctriNation and the Blame Game — 31 Comments

  1. Here on the East Coast it’s now October 22, 2011. Looks like Harold Camping, the Doomsday Prophet, was wrong again…

    Of course, California has several more hours to go.

    Sorry, just couldn’t resist πŸ™‚

  2. Q: What did Harold Camping’s friends say to console him, after he was proven wrong about the day of judgment?

    A: “Don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world…”

  3. Retha
    Thanks for the laugh. This guy needs to be have his car keys taken from him. His ability to read directions is obviously impaired.

  4. My daughter is a Christian AND a teacher in a public school. I sent her this link to review, because I’m very proud of her, and ashamed for some christians who think she’s in a criminal enterprise, stealing children, and teaching them the religion of humanism. But IF she had (lots of) children of her own, and isolated them from secular existence, they’d think her the model educator.

  5. I wouldn’t be able to watch this movie… the message is so overpoweringly negative and has such terrible consequences for those who get caught up in this… for their kids, mainly.

    Where and when this fear of public education got so virulent, I don’t know, but it certainly is the exact opposite of what I was given to understand as a child – namely, that public schools and public libraries are for the good of all, and that they give people a chance who would never have been able to get an education under the “rich get school, the rest don’t” system that was true in the UK, and, to a lesser extent, here as well.

    (fwiw, I’m not even going to try and tackle the actual problems in public education systems here – am saying that the idea used to be understood in a far different way than it is now – by some, at least.)

  6. I haven’t watched the clip yet but want to say thank you for this post. I appreciate your fairness, objectivity, and observations of how these movements and their “leaders” are connected.

    I know a few homeschool families who, unfortunately, are very dogmatic in their beliefs and shout them from the rooftops. They align themselves with politicians and Christian leaders who want to abolish public education. As you mentioned in a recent post, they believe capitalism is one of the ten commandments, and thus, education should opened up to the free market. I seriously wonder why they think this is a great idea and and how they believe that could be accomplished. These folks are intelligent. They surely know that most families in public schools can’t pay for their children’s education, and working parents can’t homeschool. So, do they just not care? Do they have a survival of the fittest mentality?

  7. Thanks for this article. I agree with Wendy above. I remember hearing Kevin Swanson, I believe, (in an interview about homeschooling and working parents) saying something to the effect of–if need be a man should work 2 jobs so the wife can stay home and homeschool… and also consider moving to a smaller home (he mentioned a trailer home) instead of your current home. That is how much they care. About their agenda…not about people.

  8. After homeschooling 2 of my children for a few years, we pulled the plug and sent them to our public schools….best decision we ever made. As far as I am concerned, the homeschooling movement uses cultic techniques and revisionist history to justify it’s anit-public education stances.

  9. Doubtful,

    I have several homeschool friends who don’t seem to judge those of us who choose public education for our kids. They do a great job homeschooling, and we respect each other’s decision. But then there are those who clearly despise our choice and want to shut down all “government indoctrination centers” as they love to call them. Thank you so much for your perspective on this. It’s nice to hear from previous homeschoolers about their experiences and hindsight.

  10. Diane,

    Wow, thanks for sharing that. It does seem they care more about their agenda, their influence and power, and their own, instead of truly caring about other children and families. I wonder what Kevin Swanson would say to single moms or single dads or grandparents who are raising children. Or to parents who are ALREADY working three or four jobs between the two of them. Or parents who are already living in trailers or cheap housing and still have to work to support their families.

  11. Wendy & others,

    When I hear about how these folks would love to have power over the rest of us, I bless Providence that the humanists & enlightenment thinkers who founded this country built in safeguards so that they cannot.

  12. Wendy-

    I hear you-I know of some wonderful families that raised intelligent, caring children who are well educated from homeschooling….that said, so much of the “pitch” of homeschooling is old fashioned scare tactics, along with a hefty price tag for all those curriculums….never mind that so many of the materials are simply awful in their educational accuracy (especially the History texts I reviewed).

    I also witnessed quite a few familes whose children were ill-prepared for college and the workplace because of the limitations and sometimes lax attitude towards their child’s education.

  13. Sigh when I read something like this. Since I do homeschool, I cringe when I see this type of propaganda. Even though I homeschool, I don’t believe it is some biblical mandate. I just enjoy teaching and having the flexibility, freedom and beyond textbook learning that homeschooling allows our family. We have a great public school and if the time comes to put our kids there, that’s okay. Thankfully most of the families in my homeschool community do not promote a homeschool agenda-in fact several use a mix of homeschooling some of their kids and sending some to public school.
    I have really enjoyed the thought provoking entries on this blog since first coming across it (while trying to research teaching creation from a more scientific view than what the YEC books provide-I was trying to see if there were any Christians out there who believed that the earth was old). Your entries often do a much better job of articulating my own thoughts on this pop-culture American Christianity we live in and esp. the tendency in its ranks to vilify whatever they don’t agree with.

  14. Zech
    Welcome. I hope you have a had a chance to research these websites: Answers in Creation, Reasons to Believe and Biologos. As for Christians who believe in something other than typical YEC- some stats seem to indicate we may be in the majority rather than the minority.

  15. I once heard a talk show host in my area state that parents who sent their children to “government schools” were guilty of child abuse. This particular host isn’t a Christian, he’s a Libertarian. What he doesn’t seem to understand–and what the “rabid” homeschool advocates don’t seem to get–is that sometimes parents have no choice but public schools.

    My son has autism. To be honest–although I would do it if I had to–I don’t think me homeschooling would be helpful for my son. It’s a question of who would kill the other first. πŸ™‚ We can’t afford private school. Since the law says I must educate my child, the only option I have is public school.

  16. I homeschooled for many years and my children are generally turning out well in spite of rather than because of the homeschooling.

    All of us agree with respect to this one.

    And, trust me, I have a lot to brag about but not because I homeschooled.

    Some of these separatists will be surprised who they’ll share heaven with someday.

  17. I homeschooled for several years. There were some things I saw in the movement that concerned me.

    I saw a strong need in many homeschool parents to control every aspect of their children’s life: if I just do it perfectly, my kids will turn out right.

    There was an “us versus them attitude.” We were doing it right. They were doing it wrong. We had all the answers to raising our children right. They were getting it all wrong and would pay the price down the road.

    All of this made me increasingly uncomfortable. In the end, I put my children in school. The unspoken pressure from the home school community was hard to take, but I’m glad I made that choice.

    Great site! Great commenters!

  18. Hmm…I really liked school. Especially high school. And I’m still a Christian. I think that perhaps they are hyper-alarmists about the “secular” influences. I never found school to be any worse than movies or TV, really. And though I’m not advocating lust, I can’t say I minded the throngs of really pretty girls. :-)I don’t know…I liked school, what can I say? Color me pagan, I guess…[sigh]

  19. Argo-

    “And though I’m not advocating lust, I can’t say I minded the throngs of really pretty girls. :). . .” — Funny

    I would in no way think that “looking at pretty girls” equals lust (I’m not saying you do think that, but MANY do). I look at pretty women AND men and sometimes comment on their beauty for whatever it is I see . . . much like admiring a magnificant sunset or the stunning wonder of a certain landscape, or the way God made the hummingbird to flutter in mid-air. Now, I don’t worship any of creation but I do admire it. God certainly created a wonderful world and all it contains for us to live in and I can’t wait to see it all in it’s glorified state!

  20. So, on topic, I wonder what these anti-public school groups think that God thinks about public education? Is it totally evil? I mean, we’re not talking about the public school system bringing salvation to children, right? Does homeschooling guarantee salvation – no? Did God not care that many people did not have the means to be educated until the public school system began? Argo went to public school and he’s still a Christian. I think freedom to choose is important and I’m not against homeschooling. I homeschooled different children for different amounts of years. But, homeschooling does not equal the HS taking up residence in your child. I also don’t believe that public education is evil and wrong and should be abolished (I’ll admit to it probably needing to be overhauled and run better though).

  21. If I may here Bridget2? These people are not the slightest bit interested in the “freedom to choose” anything. They do not believe in the rights of man as set forth by the 18th century thinkers who founded our nation.

    A careful reading of this current post by Deb reads almost like a who’s who in the dominionist/reconstructionist movement and what their aims are.

    They want a sort of “Biblical” feudalism in which theocrats do the deciding for you, all enforced by the power of the state. The parallels with Islamic Sharia are striking.

  22. I live in California where there is definately a move afoot by liberal and progressive types to indoctrinate kids into the liberal/progressive worldview. They OWN this state legislatively and have a big say the cirriculim. Having said that, my kids go to public schools and my wife is a teacher in the local school system. Public schools WILL teach your kids stuff you don’t agree with as a Christian, that’s why we stay informed and engaged with what our kids are learning and we explain the differences between the secular and Christian worldview whenever they arise. They have to learn to deal with those differences and keep their faith; just like they’re going to have to do when they grow up and get jobs in the real world. I wouldn’t do them any favors by sheltering them.

  23. Bridget2 said:

    “So, on topic, I wonder what these anti-public school groups think that God thinks about public education? Is it totally evil?”

    First of all-the term is “government schools” ’cause that sounds so much more evil don’t ya know–’cause we all know that dirty rotten government is always up to no good. Nope- can’t trust it.

    Anyway, Voddie Baucham has an answer for us and it is –yes. In a youtube clip of him speaking at the Oregon Home Education Conference this past spring he addresses these government schools and tells the audience (as if he is God speaking)–look at what we have here…what do you know—public schools… now why didn’t I (God) think of that?…9paraphrasing very loosely) in a rather mocking tone. So I surmise he thinks God would think it is not something God would EVER envision.

    Like Muff said above–their definition of freedom to choose means their freedom to choose for you what is the ‘biblical, godly and gospel” way. And if you don’t agree about government schools–you are out and out wrong and not doing your best for your child. At least that is what I am discovering in my researching groups like Vision Forum, CBMW, FIC and the teachings of various men who belong to and promote them.

  24. It’s ironic that the people who are convinced that public schools have the ability to indoctrinate a liberal agenda into the youth of this country are the first people to point out what a terrible failure and how powerless those same schools are in trying to teach a child basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics.

    Well, which one is it? Either they can infuse young minds with whatever they see fit, or they can’t…it isn’t broken down by subject matter for pete’s sake!

  25. Jerry

    I sent my kids to a Christian school. They were taught that the earth was 6,000 years old, that Jesus drank grape juice, etc. I had to teach them our perspective on the issue. We have to choose our poison. All systems run by men are flawed. I am very grateful for the education my kids received and the system worked well for my family. But, one size does not fit all. Some of the smartest, godliest kids I know went to public schools and some of the wildest kids I have met were home schooled.

  26. Muff, et al
    I am furiously reading on the dominionist stuff and am looking forward to the debates once I can wrap my arms around the subject.

  27. Bounded Reality,

    That’s interesting – I hadn’t thought of that. You’re right – either public schools are so darn effective that they can indoctrinate kids with their so-called liberal agenda, or the public school system is a huge failure and can do nothing. I suppose the haters of “government indoctrination centers” would say the only thing they can do effectively is indoctrinate kids. But to be indoctrinated, kids have to be taught some basic skills. I like your rationality. πŸ™‚

  28. I’m just saying that in 12th grade I shared a sixth period with the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. We were good friends; just friends is all, and again, not advocating sinful thoughts, but man, what a way to end a school day. I can’t see depriving my son of such an opportunity! πŸ™‚ Ha, ha.

  29. It is very possible to do a better job at indoctrination than basic education and a prime example is ultra conservative homeschoolers. I was homeschooled through all 12 grades and I received a very good education which enabled me to do well in a secular college. However, some of my friends’ parents felt that christian character was more important than academics. These friends should have had no problem learning something beyond Algebra 1 and maybe some science too, but that wasn’t important and their parents never even ordered textbooks.

    Public schools deal with different issues than your typical home-school and there is significant diversity of issues within the public school system. However, the average teacher isn’t all that concerned with ensuring indoctrination occurs. They have more pressing and important things to worry about and may even disagree with the bias of the curriculum and skim it to focus on academics. That being said, the curriculum can have a bias in any direction. My parents pulled their textbook choices from a broad range – they all had a bias (though why a math textbook needed a bias always eluded me, but it was frequently there), the trick was to learn to identify the bias and then make a separate decision as to whether I agreed with the bias. In all types of schooling, students can graduate, or fail to graduate, more indoctrinated than educated. The level of academic achievement is not related in any way to the level of indoctrination.