A couple from Texas lost their case in court last week after they argued that their religious freedom was violated by the state because they didn’t educate their children.
Back in 2004, over-obsessed “Christians” Michael and Laura McIntyre yanked their nine kids from the private school they had been attending in order to homeschool them instead. But rather than actually provide their children with a proper education complying with the state curriculum, these parents decided not to bother because they believe the rapture is coming.
The rapture is most associated with the fundamentalist “Christian” belief that believers will be snatched up by God while everyone else is left on Earth to face suffering. It appears the McIntyres read the ‘Left Behind’ book series one too many times, so they neglected giving their kids the schooling they need to function in society.
The star witness against the McIntyres was Michael’s twin brother, Tracy. Tracy McIntyre let the family use an empty room at his place of business so that his nieces and nephews would have a place to learn. But they weren’t learning anything. According to Tracy McIntyre, the children were singing and playing musical instruments all day instead of science, math, reading, and history. He also overheard the reason why the children weren’t being educated like they were supposed to be. According to court documents:
Tracy overhead one of the McIntyre children tell a cousin that they did not need to do schoolwork because they were going to be raptured.
One of the children was even so hungry to actually learn something that she escaped her parent’s home and enrolled herself in school to continue the education her mom and dad failed to give her. But when El Paso Independent School District called her parents to figure out where to place her, they outright refused to help.
El Paso School official Mark Mendoza fought back by filing complaints against the McIntyres, and they responded by filing a lawsuit claiming that their religious freedom was being violated by educational regulations. Of course, and as it always should be in these situations, the McIntyres were basically laughed out of court. The ruling states:
No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home, completely free of any state supervision, regulation, or requirements. They do not have an ‘absolute constitutional right to home school.’
While parents are allowed to homeschool their children, they must meet state education requirements so that the kids do not fall behind their peers. Plus, it provides oversight that helps ensure children who are homeschooled are learning what they need to learn. What the McIntyres did amounts to child abuse. They willfully chose to keep their kids ignorant because they believed the rapture was coming. And they taught their children this dogma rather than teach them facts they would need in the real world.
Unfortunately, many conservative “Christians” want to see this kind of teaching not just in a homeschooling environment. They want to see it forcefully applied to all schools as well. The “Christian” owners of Hobby Lobby recently convinced an Oklahoma school district to teach a bible course. The Green family hope to implement the course in thousands of schools across the country by 2017.
This is precisely why lacing religion with education is dangerous. If teachers had to find time to indoctrinate their students, it would sacrifice important materials that students should actually be learning. There’s hardly enough time in a school year to cover an entire curriculum as it is. Adding religion to the equation would cause valuable learning time to be lost. That’s why religious teaching should remain in church and continue to be banned from the classroom and education in general.