For Christian parents, few issues are as important as the education of their children. Unfortunately, evangelicals are sharply divided between those who support Christian schools and those who choose to keep their children in public schools. As firm believers in the importance of Christian education, my wife and I enrolled our children in private Christian schools from kindergarten to college. We have never regretted it. But I have never once voted against a tax bill for the support of public schools, for I also believe in them. I want to live in a community of educated people and, therefore, I gladly support good public schools. Separation of church and state does not mean that public schools must be delivered over to atheism and immorality. It does mean that the religion of one particular group cannot be advocated by the public schools. That poses a problem for evangelicals who are deeply concerned about moral and spiritual issues; at the same time, it is also a terribly important protection for evangelicals. In a pluralistic society there is no simple solution to this problem. In certain situations, private Christian schools are part of the solution (we shall have an article on this in a forthcoming issue); in other situations they are no solution at all, and they are never the whole solution. In this issue, “Teaching the Bible in Public Schools” and “Parish Support for Public Schools” suggest practical ways in which the church in North America can relate itself to public education.1
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