The study of religions is being reintroduced through “Core Knowledge” curriculum and is now being taught in public schools and in choice schools. Core Knowledge Foundation was created by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Core Knowledge is not part of Common Core State Standards. Because Hirsch is a proponent of Common Core Standards and because his books align with those standards, his textbooks are being used in classrooms across America.
Many believe that one cannot understand governments and civilizations unless one understands the influence religions have on shaping those governments and societies. Therefore, students using these books are required to study Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism and the role religions play in shaping civilizations and governments. This is an excellent opportunity for all citizens to assure that the Judeo-Christian principles that shaped our Constitutional Republic are again being taught and are done so accurately and respectfully.
Citizens must monitor this curriculum carefully to be certain that all biases are removed from the instruction and that there is no proselytizing of any religion. Each religion and the government shaped by that religion must be given equal treatment and emphasis. The absence of these requirements has many parents objecting to the series. However, parents could and should see this as an opportunity. If students compare and contrast the basic tenets of each religion with the civilizations and governments influenced by those religions, Christianity will compare very well.
It is important for citizens to note the change in the definition of religion. Buddhism is considered to be a religion even though belief in a single God/deity is not part of the religion. Secularism is considered a religion by many including human secularists. It is essential that parents require schools to include the study of secularism and the civilizations shaped by secular governments.
For too long, American academic standards did not require teaching students the difference between a constitutional republic, a republic, and a democracy. Now, parents are being given an opportunity to insist that these differences be made clear. Our American Constitutional Republic is based on Judeo-Christian principles, and people take an oath of allegiance to the freedoms granted in that constitution.
Originally, a republic was a form of government where the citizens govern in the best interest of the people. In Book III of his Politics, Aristotle defined this form of government practiced by the Ancient Romans. The Ancient Roman Republic failed when republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period with civil wars becoming a common ritual. America’s founders tried to address the flaws in the Roman constitution which shaped their republic in hopes that the American Constitutional Republic would serve our people longer.
Democracy was rejected by our founding fathers because it is inherently flawed with the “share the wealth” philosophy. Aristotle referred to democracies as a government ruled by the poor. Madison wrote the Federalist paper No. 10 which described the basic problem of a democratic government as curable by creating a Constitutional Republic which would limit the ability of special interest groups to organize factions within the government that would undermine the purpose of good government. Democracies often allowed factions comprised of a “majority” to strip freedoms from the minority which limited the ability of those minorities to prevail. Madison also warned that “democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” Madison also addressed the fact that democracies generally experience “short lives and violent deaths”.
Once school curriculums presented religious principles to be studied, citizens gained the opportunity to require the curriculum to be fact centered. Citizens may demand that all proselytizing or bias be removed from lessons. With the guidance of local citizens, our children can again learn the historical significance of our Constitutional Republic shaped by Judeo-Christian principles. Students will have an opportunity to be cautioned about the secular forms of government that many legislators are trying to achieve through transforming America into a democracy. This knowledge will empower our children to understand why it is important to protect and defend the American Constitutional Republic.