At a recent Creation meeting, someone brought a rather inflammatory article to my attention, called ‘Answers’ Does Not Have the Answers by David D’escoto. D’escoto is co-author of “The Little Book of Big Reasons to Homeschool.”
The introduction, by Karl Priest aka the Insectman, stated that in the article in question was written as a “reply to a Christian leader who was trying to defend Answers in Genesis’ double-minded position on public schools.” The introduction goes on to reference a particular article by AiG, Children Are the Key [ http://answersingenesis.org/articles/au/children-are-the-key ], which provoked D’escoto’s scathing criticism of AiG “position” on public school attendance.
D’escoto’s entire article is really, really unfortunate. The Bible warns that “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” [Proverbs 18:13] With that in mind, I decided to email him to see what was really on his mind.
The author’s entire beef with Answers in Genesis is mischaracterized as an objection to a policy AiG allegedly has in regards to public schools. D’escoto leads his readers to believe that he objects to what he sees as a lack of policy in regards to whether parents should send their kids to public schools or not, though he certainly knows better.
Throughout this “article” [I’m sorry. It’s really little more than a hateful screed], D’escoto shamefully accuses Answers of “leap-frogging over” parts of Scripture to protect their charitable income and overall popularity. Seriously, D’escoto paints AiG in traitor’s colors, warning us that they’re “yet another ministry that continues to lull the Church back to sleep on one of the most important issues facing us today,” of being “yet another ministry that has caved into the world’s ways” and of base hypocrisy to protect their bottom line: “What I see Answers in Genesis doing, in a sense,” D’escoto charges, “is condemning today’s modern child sacrifice because of fear of losing dollars. Lord knows that keeping that fantastic museum open is expensive…”
He claims that AiG is effectively calling home school, Christian school and public school “morally equivalent.” Yet in the very article he objects to, Ken Ham notes: “About 90% of children from church homes go to public schools. Monday through Friday they are taught an atheistic belief system in regard to the history of the universe.” Anyone who has ever read a book, article or heard a presentation by Ken Ham or any other member of AiG’s staff knows that they most certainly do not teach that public schools are just as good as home schooling or sending your child to a Christian school. And D’escoto knows this. He admitted in an email that he finds AiG’s position on education “disingenuous” and characterizes their position as, “Christian schooling good, Homeschooling better, but Public Schooling bad SO if you MUST send them there then please make sure you prepare your kids hearts and minds with our handy-dandy Bible study materials.” So he definitely doesn’t think that AiG thinks those three options are “morally equivalent.” So why lead his readers to believe this when he knows it’s a complete and total misrepresentation of their views? What’s his agenda?
Here’s what D’escoto did. He took ONE ARTICLE that didn’t expressly say “kids should be anywhere BUT in today’s godless public schools” and tried to make a case from the contents of that ONE ARTICLE that AiG had committed the Great Omission, that they were being politically circumspect when they should’ve been bold. He led his readers to believe that the article was even about public school simply because it mentioned them once [in a decidedly bad light] instead of about what the Church [not parents necessarily] has been doing wrong: namely, Sunday school.
At first, I thought he’d made the mistake of not checking his facts. Of jumping the gun. Of answering a matter before he’d heard it.
The article D’escoto wrote certainly gives the impression that he assumed by this one particular article that AiG had no problem with sending their kids to public school or at the very least that they were reluctant to say anything officially on the matter. As a result, he falsely accused them and led some home schoolers who respect him to believe that Answers in Genesis was refusing to make any sort of stand on this issue to protect their charitable income.
But the truth is he knows that AiG professes that Christian parents should only send their kids to public schools if they must. So he used this one article to misrepresent AiG as a bunch of vaccilating cowards only concerned with their bottom line, knowing many home schoolers would simply take his word for it.
Ironically, D’escoto suggests that he believes “that all Answers in Genesis should do is simply speak the truth about what is occuring to millions of children’s worldviews in today’s public schools. It’s ironic on two counts:  Because the very article he based his indictment on, as mentioned, Ken Ham does just that [“About 90% of children from church homes go to public schools. Monday through Friday they are taught an atheistic belief system in regard to the history of the universe.”] and  because a quick search of AiG’s site turned up a gem of an article called, Back to School “the Temples [ http://answersingenesis.org/articles/au/back-to-the-temples ], Answers in Genesis was on record as advising:
- Consider homeschooling or a good, non-compromising Christian school as an alternative.
- If you believe—due to your situation as a single parent or disagreement with your spouse, etc.—that you must utilize public schools, obtain and use lots of faith-building resources from Answers in Genesis so that you and your children will be equipped to retain and defend the Christian faith in today’s secular world.
“If you must…” [And, yes, the emphasis on that word was in the original article.] In other words, if you have no other choice. That might not be worded as strongly as D’escoto would like, for he wants AiG to veto the public school option under any circumstances, but AiG’s policy reflects reality rather than “crazy-eyed fundamentalist” idealism. To give examples, foster parents in most US states aren’t allowed to send their foster kids anywhere but public schools. Single parents often cannot afford to send their children to Christian schools and the cost of home school curriculum is often [shamefully] prohibitive. [Let’s just say if I was gonna accuse someone of greed, it wouldn’t be AiG…] Parents of children with special needs do not often find Christian schools who are equipped and trained to handle their kids and many do not themselves feel adequate to the task of educating their children on top of a mountain of doctor and therapy appointments.
D’escoto doesn’t see it that way. He sees no reason why parents should send their kids to public school. Well, not quite. In an email [in which D’escoto likes Answers in Genesis to Saul holding the garments of those who stoned Stephen], he protests, “Who are these parents that MUST do this…single parents? If so, then ask yourself where is the support of the local church for these parents who MUST drop their kids of at the local pagan school because the Church will not help. I reminded of how most Christian ministries and churches are failing miserably in this area of helping parents that are looking for alternatives to public school.”
So he admits that some folks must send their kids to public school, but then turns around and blames the church for not providing a financial means to help parents home school or send their kids to private Christian school. [Hey, David, how’s about you and the Exodus Mandate stop jawing about and pointing fingers and instead start doing what you claim everybody else ought to be doing? Honestly, I don’t see where these guys are doing anything except talking, passing blame and selling books.] The point is: when pushed to the wall, even D’escoto reluctantly admits there are those who MUST send their kids to public schools. He just can’t seem to forgive AiG for hopnestly pointing out what he reluctantly admits with a great deal of dissembling and finger pointing.
Ideally, no Christian parent would be in a position where they had to send their children to what are effectively “godless evolutionary indoctrination centers” [D’escoto] where “they are taught an atheistic belief system in regard to the history of the universe.” [Ham – AiG] Ideally, public schools wouldn’t be hostile to the faith to begin with! But the reality of the situation is that some folks have no choice in the matter and AiG advises that if you must send your kids to public schools, then make sure you know what they’re teaching your kids and how to answer the anti-biblical teaching they’ll try to indoctrinate our children with.
D’escoto’s rant againt AiG was shameful and, as it turns out, baseless. It was rather like trying to make the Bible say something because of what a single verse says [or does not say!] rather than taking into account the context of the passage and the rest of Scripture.
But what makes it more pernicious, to my mind, is that we Biblical Creationists are something of a minority. We need to stick together. We need to work together and build one another up. We need to encourage and embolden one another. We need to cast off petty jealousies and this sense of proprietorship that’s infected our culture, where we do not support and promote other Creationist efforts if they are not a part of our specific ministry. Our opponents are not so divided. They are unified virally though they have no acknowledged head; we allegedly have Christ as our Head. They are engaged because they care about the outcome of this culture war for our children. And they pursue this conflict with a bold zeal that people once associated with disciples of the living God.
My prayer is that David D’escoto will apologize publicly for erroneously accusing Answers in Genesis in this matter and thereby turning many against AiG without cause. He has told me not to expect an apology of any sort, but perhaps good manners will overcome his misplaced zeal. If not, well, Romans 16:17 warns us to mark them that cause division. Let us not trouble ourselves with these troublemakers but rather rise above these nitpicking schisms for the glory of the Kingdom of God.
Rev Tony Breeden