Death Education

"Death education" is another avenue through which certain favored spiritual influences have been infiltrating public schools. Tara Becker is a former student of Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado, the school where the horrible student-on-student mass murder occurred. At a pro-family conference in 1985, Becker told of her exposure to death education at Columbine. According to Jayne Schindler, a conference attendee, "Tara explained that the subject of death was integrated into many of the courses at her high school. She said that death was made to look glamorous, that living was hard and that reincarnation would solve their problems. Students were told that they would always return to a much better life form. They would return to the Oversoul' and become like God."

The next part is shockingly worse. Schindler related Tara's description of a "suicide talking day" that the school arranged following the suicide of one of the students. That day teachers and students talked about death in every class. Teachers assigned students the task of writing their own obituaries and suicide notes. "They were told to trust their own judgment in choosing whether to live or die." Largely as a result of this orientation, Tara said that she began to contemplate suicide as an option, to end her problems. Suicide, she thought, would liberate her spirit from being enslaved to her body. It would also help to relieve the world's population problem. That qualifies perhaps as the ultimate in politically correct education: suicide to relieve global overpopulation.

Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum produced a two-hour video on Tara's experiences, which led to an ABC-TV 20/20 program on the subject. On that program Tara explained that she never would have considered suicide prior to the class instruction on death education because she wasn't brave enough. But the things students learned in class, she said, "taught us how to be brave enough to face death." "We talked about what we wanted to look like in our caskets." 20/20 reported that ten percent of public schools offer death education, but since there is no approved curriculum, teachers often receive their entire training in a one-day workshop. Robert Stevenson, an expert in counseling and education, confirmed this, noting that "anyone with a teacher's license can walk in off the street and start teaching death ed. Some people teach these courses as their own form of self-therapy."

As far back as 1988, the Atlantic Monthly reported that thousands of schools across the country offer courses treating death and dying explicitly. Many schools, however, "blended some of the philosophies and techniques of death education into health, social studies, literature, and home-economics courses." The formal death education classes, according to the article, were widely varied in form and content. Some lasted just a few days. Others, however, were full-semester classes "that systematically explore the physical process of death, students' feelings about death and bereavement, the social rituals that surround death, the causes of suicide and its prevention, euthanasia, the right to die, the economics of funerals, and methods of interment and cremation."

One writer related a disturbing story of death instruction in a Massachusetts school that provides a glimpse of the attitudes that teachers in this field are imparting to students. An inordinate number of students at this particular school had committed suicide, which led to an investigation by an educational consultant. He met with the teacher of the school's death education course and was shocked when the teacher told him that fewer suicides at the school would not necessarily be an improvement. The death teacher "reasoned" that if students made the decision to commit suicide on their own, it would be a tribute to their courage in making "an independent decision."

The Atlantic Monthly unearthed the roots of death education in a National Education Association report entitled "Education for the '70s." The report stated: "Schools will become ethics clinics whose purpose is to provide individualized psycho-social treatment for the student, and teachers must become psycho-social therapists." It also quoted from a 1977 piece in The School Counselor magazine, which argued that schools should offer death education because "Americans handle death and dying poorly and we ought to be doing better at it Change is evident, and death education will play as important a part in changing attitudes toward death as sex education played in changing attitudes toward sex information and wider acceptance of various sexual practices." But why is "changing attitudes toward death" and "changing attitudes" to a "wider acceptance of various sexual practices" a legitimate function of a public school? That is, why should thoughts about death, suicide, and sexual activity that are at odds with Christianity have a privileged place of instruction in the public schools? Why is it that explicitly Christian teaching about death and suicide and sexual activity would be prohibited by most schools for fear of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, yet what is at essence antiChristian teaching is not only allowed but promoted as necessary to "change attitudes?" The First Amendment was never intended to mandate anti-Christian teaching and shouldn't be used as a defense for it.

This chapter has documented many of the anti-Christian and non-Christian values American public schools readily endorse. Chapter Four details more of them, with a particular emphasis on those being promoted by homosexual activists. While they usually profess the innocuous goal of mere equal rights, respect, and dignity, their methods involve an unmistakable push to ostracize Christian thought and traditional Judeo-Christian values. The mere expression of Christian belief, in some cases, is deemed to be harassment and hate speech. It is especially in this context that the secularists' notion of tolerance is exposed as the fraud that it often is.

chapter Four

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