Are Public Schools Teaching Our Children New Age Religious Views? – Program 2

By: Johanna Michaelson, Craig Branch; ©1992
Are public schools teaching children according to your values? Does there need to be a standard for everyone, or should everyone form their own values?

Teaching Our Children New Age Religious Views?”> Contents

Why is “Values Clarification” Dangerous?


Announcer: Many parents used to ask their children without fear: What did you do at school today? But now, many, many parents are experiencing shock when they find out what their child is being taught in their local public school.


Eric Buehrer: We need to warn parents today that education has taken a dangerous turn. There are those in the public schools who want to turn the child against the values of the parent; turn the child against the values of the church; even turn them against the values that we have as an American government. Our system of democracy and freedom – those things are being destroyed by some in education and we need to be aware that occultism, Eastern mysticism, even socialism are being taught in the public schools today. Parents need to know what’s going on.
Announcer: So, are the public schools teaching our children New Age occult and religious views?
Johanna Michaelsen: Picture if you will, a scene where little children are stretched out on the floor, told to take deep breaths, and are taken in their minds to a special place – a temple where they meet a holy, wise person, a guide, their own wise person, who will give them the meaning of life. Picture a place where little children are introduced to those spirit guides, where they’re taught the basics of astrology, chanting “Om,” the basics of yoga. Your local ashram? No! These things, under the guise of the latest educational psychology, are being taught to your children in the local schools.
Announcer: If you are concerned about your children and what they are learning at your local public school, then I invite you to join us for today’s program.

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. Are the public schools teaching your children the same kind of values and standards that you’re teaching them at home? How would you feel if you found out that the schools were teaching values directly opposed to what you hold? Well, today, many of our school courses are filled with a philosophy entitled “values clarification.” Now, almost all values clarification classes, courses and curriculums state that their purpose is to encourage students to develop their own set of values and standards rather than being forced to accept adult standards. But what are the end results of such curriculums? I think that this program today will prove to you that most values clarification programs result in undermining the parents’ moral standards, the idea of family, and the student’s own religious beliefs. Eric Buehrer outlines the basic assumptions underlying these classes and tells why they lead so easily into New Age religious beliefs. Eric is the author of the best-selling book, The New Age Masquerade: The Hidden Agenda in Your Child’s Classroom. Listen:
Buehrer: The curriculum throughout the country is rife with values clarification. In fact, in the early 70’s values clarification was an actual course or a book that would be used. Now it has permeated our sex education courses, our drug education courses, our self-esteem courses, almost any course that deals with some value system is permeated with values clarification which says that man is basically good, that all you need to do is go through a rational step-by-step process to come to a decision about what kind of value you want and it will be a good value because you are basically a good person. The designers of values clarification, in fact, admit that if a child has gone through looking at the consequences of their decision and cherishing it for their own, then you have to support that value. And it simply is not good because if a child goes through 12 years of that and then goes out and acts on their own value which is breaking the law of some type, they go before the judge, they find out, hey, there are some values that I need to conform to. I can’t just create my own value structure. So the schools are doing a disservice.
This is from Fredericktown, Ohio. The parents were talking to the administrators one summer about the sex education course that was coming into the schools the next fall. And it transitioned then into a discussion on values and what values should be taught. The junior high administrator looked at the parents and said, “Well, I can’t impose my values on the children in my school.” And he went on to illustrate his point by saying if a child in my charge wanted to commit suicide, it would be immoral for me to tell him that he shouldn’t. Immoral. Not just that, well, I might not say the right thing and he might commit suicide. But I would be wrong to tell a child he shouldn’t because you know the Japanese, that’s a very honorable thing, and so I would be imposing my Western value on this child.
That’s how confused we have become in our schools. And that’s in a small town where you would think that good traditional American values are still being taught. So, in this type of thing, again in drug education courses, there is a program called “Here’s Looking at You Too,” which teaches that all drugs are of equal value; that your parents smoke, that’s nicotine. Or they drink, that’s alcohol. So they’re all wrong, or they all could be bad for you. It’s not a matter of abuse or use; it’s just how you use it. And, so it’s an important “decision.” That program says it’s an important decision and one that you need to make. Period. That’s all it says. It doesn’t say they are wrong.
Ankerberg: Now, what are the dangers for our society if we raise an entire generation of children shaped on values clarification courses? Well, I asked Eric Buehrer to share with us the insights that he learned when he taught values clarification to inner city students, in particular, his experience about trying to teach them stealing is wrong. Listen:
Buehrer: I went to a Christian university, got my degree in history, learned how to be a teacher, went on to teach in an inner-city school in Seattle. I learned values clarification as the approach to teach decision-making skills to my kids. I had a rude awakening the first year of teaching when I said to the kids, “Okay, we’re going to do a little values clarification exercise here. How many of you think stealing is all right?” I was shocked. Half the class said, “Sure. Stealing is fine.” I said, “Okay, let’s clarify those values.” And they clarified for me what their values were, and they had all kinds of justifications for why stealing was right. Of course, I was tremendously frustrated because I was a Christian and I thought that this would be a way to lead them to good values. What I found was, to be a good values clarification teacher you can’t bring your value judgment into the process. So I would remain quiet on what I really thought about all of this. I was affirming to them that it was okay to believe that stealing was all right. Well, that was the one and only time I ever tried that.
I began searching to find out: Can we really teach our kids in the public schools absolute values and I concluded that we must. If we don’t, then we can write off all these other issues, whether it’s abortion or euthanasia or promiscuity or drug abuse; it doesn’t matter. If at the root of it the child believes that whatever he chooses is right simply because he chooses it, then we’ve lost the battle.
Ankerberg: Next, what do you think values clarification classes are teaching your children about love, sex and marriage? Do you think your children are learning the same standards and values that you hold dear? Well, Eric Buehrer comments on this:
Buehrer: What I emphasized was the hypocrisy of our educational system in saying, “Well, we really want to be value-neutral when it comes to sex education, we can’t impose our values. That wouldn’t be good education.” And yet on the other hand, when it comes to smoking or drug abuse or even classroom decorum or healthy eating or all kinds of things, we moralize to the kids. We tell them, “Don’t smoke. Don’t do drugs. Don’t drink and drive. In fact, you shouldn’t be drinking because you’re under age. Eat right. Get exercise. But make choices about sex.” And it really is a double standard and hypocrisy. It is only the education establishment in its current mindset about sex education that can come up with all kinds of morality; all kinds of moralizing on different issues and then fudge and cough and choke and not be able to come up with an adequate answer when kids say, “Should I or shouldn’t I sleep with my boyfriend or girlfriend?”
Ankerberg: Now, values clarification classes have taught our children to base their values on how they feel about a particular situation or behavior. That’s why, when it comes to sexual behavior, the students tell their parents it can’t be wrong because it feels right. Josh McDowell, who has talked face-to-face with more university and high school students than any other lecturer in America, explains why values clarification courses and students are mistaken to base decisions only on feelings. Listen:
Josh McDowell: See, what we often see progress here in the past is that they came along and said, “We need values clarification.” My first complaint with that is, how can you clarify your values before you’ve determined what your values are? And I believe that must first start in the home. And then I believe the schools should reinforce the values of the home. But when it comes to a values clarification, they’ll say, “Do what feels good.” On junior high and high school and university campuses, this is the “in” thing.
But this is how I deal with that. Our feelings have absolutely nothing to do with what’s right or wrong. Let’s say they do. Let’s say as a values clarification, “If it feels good, do it,” is right. First question: How good does it have to feel to make it right? On a scale of 10, if the girl feels 9 and the guy feels 3, does it make it right for the girl and wrong for the guy; so it’s half wrong; so you flip a coin to see what you do? That’s your morality? A coin flip?
Second question with this whole concept that “if it feels good,” how long does it have to feel good? For ten minutes after the orgasm? For 20? For 30? Or if it feels good, it makes it right; until you found out that she gave you herpes? Then it’s not good? Well, if it feels good, it makes it right until you find out you’re pregnant. Then it’s not good? Well, if it feels good, it makes it right, until all of a sudden she just dropped you and there you are. She said she loved you. You gave her yourself and now you feel used and abused and hurt. Then it’s not good?
And I put it this way: I believe rape is one of the most violent acts ever committed, but every rapist I ever talked to said it felt good. Well, if the concept, “If it feels good, it makes it right,” is right, that would justify rape, one of the most violent acts that can be committed on a person. No, I believe that is wrong. If it feels good does not make it right.
Ankerberg: Now, why do these values clarification classes go against the values and beliefs of millions of Christian parents? Well, my good friends Dr. Charles Stanley and Dr. D. James Kennedy express the beliefs of all Bible-believing Christians. Listen:
Dr. Charles Stanley: Well, the Bible is very clear about sexual immorality. He says, “This is the will of God,… that you abstain from sexual immorality” [1 Thess. 4:3]. There’s no question about it. He didn’t say anything about safe sex. He said all sex outside of marriage is against His law. And then He says, if we sin against Him we injure ourselves. And one of the very deceitful things that is going on is the implication that it’s okay to have safe sex. You’re going to be all right, when God says very clearly, “You sin against Me, you injure yourself” [cf. 1 Cor. 6:18].He’s clear about all sexual immorality and He’s clear also about the fact I will suffer the consequences.
Dr. D. James Kennedy: I heard a minister recently make this very interesting statement. He said, “Your sex is not safe until it passes the bar of the judgment of God.” And in all of the discussion that we hear today on the media about “safe sex,” so called, one subject which is never mentioned at all is, what does God have to say about this? What He has to say is very clear and very unequivocal. He says, “No adulterer, or fornicator, or perverted person has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God” [I Cor. 6:9-10].
Stanley: My personal opinion is that much of the so-called sex education is a very subtle form of abuse to our children. They’re being abused legally in school listening to this, abused emotionally and spiritually.
Ankerberg: Now, there’s another objection that all of us in America should have concerning values clarification classes, and that is, research shows that we cannot survive economically as a country if our children live out their lives according to the values of these programs. Listen as Josh McDowell explains:
McDowell: There are those who constantly confront me with this message: “Josh, you have no right to regulate the morality of someone else. The church, the school, the government, society has no right to legislate morality when it comes to sex.” And then they’ll say something like this: “What happens behind closed doors between two consenting adults” – and any 12-year-old kid will tell you he’s a consenting adult – “what happens between two consenting adults behind the closed doors, the state, the government, the church, society, the culture, the school, the university has absolutely nothing to say about it.”
Now, that sounds good, but if that’s true, then when they walk out from behind those closed doors, why do they demand millions upon millions and now billions of taxpayers’ public dollars for AIDS research, for sexually transmitted disease research? Why does Planned Parenthood ask for millions of public funds for abortion and condoms and everything else if the government has no say-so as to what happens behind closed doors?
I always thought, “No taxation without representation” and the whole culture is involved. Is it a private act between two individuals behind closed doors? If it is, then you have to explain a way that I was able to take all the different government figures and work out that for aid to dependent children and things from teenage pregnancy, for sexually transmitted disease expense of the government and taxpayers, for AIDS expense, research and the cost to society and everything else is costing the U.S. taxpayer right about 73 million dollars a day. Our culture, our economy cannot survive that, especially when you add the cost of drugs onto it. Just drugs and sexually transmitted diseases can destroy this economy. It’s too much of a drain.
Ankerberg: Now, the philosophy of values clarification is also affecting how we study other world cultures. Almost all of today’s global education courses and classes embrace the assumptions of values clarification. Eric Buehrer explains:
Buehrer: Global education says that we are all one on this planet. And we need to learn to get along together. Yes, it was fine that we had nations starting 400 years ago that we all separated into individual nations, states, and so forth. But now we must move on to the global society where we are all one and eventually we may have to come under the authority of the United Nations as our government. That’s really what global education is all about. And the way that values clarification or the situational ethics that relativism fits into all of this is by saying that we are one culture and if you try to say that I am right and you are wrong, well, that’s going to cause conflict. And that is not going to cause world harmony. So the best way to have world harmony is to say, “Well, you may be right. And I may be wrong. I certainly can’t believe that I’m right too strongly, so, well, just kind of be ambiguous about it.
In fact, the problem with this on a world scale, if you will look at it in a global education setting, is that take for instance apartheid in South Africa. Here is the hypocrisy of it all. The same people who are saying that we can not impose our values on the world and no one can tell if their culture is right, are desperately trying to impose their culture value on South Africa. South Africa has practiced apartheid and apartheid is abhorrent. I’m totally against it. However, they practiced that for the last 300 years making it a part of their culture, their custom. But we have no problem saying change that, that’s wrong, that’s evil. And yet the same people who are crying the loudest will turn right around and say, well, we can’t say that we are right or wrong about our American culture.
Ankerberg: Now, as a parent, what can you do if you discover that your children are being taught the basic assumptions of values clarification in their courses? Well, Eric Buehrer gives this advice:
Buehrer: Well, fortunately the educators don’t speak with one voice on this. And many school teachers personally want to enforce right and wrong in the classroom because they have to deal with the disciple of the kids every day. But they are working with programs that say that everything is relative. So you can go to the teacher and show them how they can teach right and wrong. So talk to the teacher, they want to support right and wrong. Then you can change the program. There are many good programs. Drug and alcohol programs, sex education programs that are beginning to say, “Hey, there are absolutes, there are character education programs now that teach there is an absolute right and wrong when it comes to morality, honesty, truth.” For instance, in California, liberal California, the law says that it is the duty of the teacher to teach right and wrong, morality, truth, justice, temperance, patriotism, as so forth. So investigate your own state laws and then get administrators to enforce those codes so that teachers are teaching the moral thing.
Ankerberg: Now, I hope that you’ll join me next week when we’re going to talk about those curriculums which are unknowingly subjecting students in the public schools to hypnosis and other psychotherapeutic mind-altering techniques.

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