Home / Education / The Classical Christian Curriculum: Marriage to a Corpse
Print Friendly and PDF

The Classical Christian Curriculum: Marriage to a Corpse

Written by Gary North on July 16, 2014

To understand Christian homeschooling today, you must understand the work of R. J. Rushdoony. You need to understand two things. First, he saw education as a war of the worldviews. Second, he utterly rejected the underlying concept behind the so-called classical Christian curriculum: religious syncretism. The second position was an extension of the first.

What is syncretism? This dictionary definition is accurate: “The amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.”

From the 1960’s through the 1990’s, the homeschool movement in the United States faced an escalating battle with state governments. The movement was overwhelmingly made up of Protestant fundamentalists who had decided that they could no longer cooperate with the educational philosophy and programs of the tax-funded schools, K-12. State by state, regulation by regulation, these were the front lines of the war of the worldviews. The states did not want students to escape from state control over the state’s curricula and teaching philosophies. Also, because state funding of local districts depends on enrollment, every child pulled out of the schools cuts the income of the school district.

Throughout this period, Rushdoony was the premier spokesman for the religious rights of parents in this war against humanistic state education. This culminated in 1994 with a Texas Supreme Court decision, in which the school districts in Texas were dealt a massive blow against their control over homeschooling parents. The educational bureaucrats never recovered.


The states varied in their threats against homeschooling families. In Texas, the showdown came in a court case: Leeper v. Arlington. A Google search reveals hundreds of articles on this case. A total of 80 families in the state were prosecuted by school districts for criminal violations of a 1985 compulsory attendance law. In 1985, attorney Shelby Sharpe filed a class action suit against all 1,100 school districts. The result came after nine years of litigation. The initial decision came in 1987.

The Tarrant County District Court ruled that home schools are indeed private schools. On April 13, 1987, presiding Judge Charles J. Murray issued a decision (binding on all 1,100 school districts) which was a complete vindication of the rights of parents to educate their children at home in the State of Texas.

The state appealed. In 1991, an appeals court upheld the local judge’s decision. The state appealed. In 1994, the Texas Supreme Court voted 9 to 0 in favor of the parents. At that point, the state was definitively beaten. The districts were fined several hundred thousand dollars. That threw the fear of the state into them. That ended the school districts’ authority or willingness to interfere with parental rights in education.

In 2013, the Texas Commissioner of Education reminded the school districts and parents of state policy.

The issues surrounding students schooled at home continue to be of significant interest to parents and school districts. Because of the number of inquiries the Texas Education Agency (TEA) receives regarding this matter, I am providing some general information with respect to the Agency’s position on home schooled students.The decision rendered in Leeper et al. vs. Arlington ISD et al. clearly establishes that students who are home schooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement to the same extent as students enrolled in private schools. Students should be disenrolled by school officials when they receive written notice either by signing withdrawal forms or a letter of withdrawal. It is not necessary for the parents to make a personal appearance with school officials or present curriculum for review.

The school districts’ defeat had been total.

That decision sent a memo to school districts across the United States. They began to back off after 1994.

The key witness in the Leeper case was Rushdoony. He was brought in by attorney Sharpe because he was the most recognized defender in the United States of Christian education. After the victory, Sharpe said this: “His testimony was way beyond anything I’d hoped for. It was one of the few times in my career that I ever saw a witness destroy the attorney who was trying to examine him.” Rushdoony’s complete testimony is here.


To understand Rushdoony’s position on the right of parents to educate their children, you must understand his position on education in general. He saw it as a matter of religion. He saw parents as agents of God. He saw state education as humanistic and deeply religious. He presented his case in the name of religious liberty. He saw Christian education as inherently at war with the supposed neutrality of state education. State education is part of a rival religion, he argued: the religion of humanism.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

Continue Reading on www.garynorth.com

Print Friendly and PDF

Posting Policy:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse. Read more.

4 thoughts on “The Classical Christian Curriculum: Marriage to a Corpse

  1. Homeschooling should be first and foremost about glorifying God in successive generations of our posterity and teaching the truth of His Word, including how it applies to America's 1600 Christian founding and the United States of America's late 1700s Enlightenment founding.

    For any one interested, we've produced a home school curriculum for the 85-page "Primer" of "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective." You can find it at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/Store.html….

    For a free copy of the "Primer," take our Constitution Survey at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/Constituti….

  2. Phillip the Bruce says:

    Sellers of "Classical Christian" curriculi may be ignorant and deceived, or they may be deliberately deceptive. Either way they are Sodomites. The naive Christians who buy their products are catemites.

  3. To boil it down, reading the article brings to mind the scripture, “Do not be deceived “. But the question for concerned parents who are sincere Biblical Christians who hold firmly to what we desire as a Christian Worldview is, “how do we clearly and easily recognize and understand all the differences is education types when our own education, if public or private, were tainted?”
    Do we go back to school? Will churches start having “parent education classes”? But, how will church leaders even clearly know and understand the differences in types of education?
    I suppose each of us, regardless of where we were educated, most of us in public schools I’m sure, must learn to question everything and filter out the chaff from the wheat so to speak, by squaring all things against the Scriptures.

  4. Hopefully you are referring to one publisher …
    Our children teach [and have their children attend] Classical Conversation which is a one day a week curriculum as part of their homeschooling. Their is absolutely nothing contrary to fundamental Biblical doctrine and tenets in their courses.
    I challenge every parent who loves their child to seriously consider Homeschooling. There are so many support groups and cooperatives to help. Understandably many loving parents can not do this but then pray that you will be able to supplement their secular indoctrination with teaching Biblical values and science,
    If you question the authority or veracity of God word, please visit this single page proof: http://www.GodAuthoredBible.com.