Right to an Education vs. the Religion of Evolution
Taken from a 90 minute Springfield Missouri School Board presentation in 2006 (the online book) School Choice Video
By: Swayne Benson Loftis (Blue means "Quick Read", about 15 min)
The world is full of people that whine but do nothing. Jesus said:
"You are the light of the world..." and "let your light shine before men…” Mathew 5:14, 16
By His help and grace, I choose to let His light of truth and rational thinking shine through me on Tuesday night, November 21, 2006. I was nervous as I waited for my turn to speak to the Honorable Springfield (Missouri) School Board. God had sent me. I so much felt like my physical body was a sacrificial lamb being offered up for God’s work. People would have to look at me as I spoke. There was no way around it. I had no guarantee that the Board, other school officials, and the audience would rally beside me as I articulated the brutal discrimination being done to my sweet children, and to others, by the Springfield School Board and Administration.
I felt unworthy in life in a number of ways - the struggles of living life and raising children. But friends, what moved me forward was this truth: All children, including mine, have a right to an education without being coerced into denying their faith in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Bible.
I gave a five minute introduction to the about 90 minute presentation titled, MY CHILDREN HAVE A RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION EVEN IF THEY WON'T ACCEPT THE RELIGION OF EVOLUTION. I had the room assistant place a printed copy of my presentation that also included audio and digital text versions of the presentation into the hands of each Honorable School Board member and anyone at their main table.
The Board politely listened to my introduction then my family and I left the meeting. A year and a half passed and I had not received so much as an email or postcard from the Springfield Public Schools (SPS) Board of Education or Administration. (I had included plenty of contact information.) No one called and said, “Mr. Loftis, your children are important and state law gives us very substantial money and requires us to give every child, including yours, a reasonable opportunity for education without discriminating against their race or religion. Let’s get together and see what we can do.” So on April 9, 2008 (a year and a half after my presentation) I emailed the Board Secretary inquiring if I had accidentally overlooked a response back from the Board. The polite secretary emailed me back and confirmed that the Board had made no attempt whatsoever to respond back to my very detailed and pressing written grievances that I had personally delivered to them. She did confirm that the records showed that I had made a presentation to the board on November 21, 2006.
If you read or listen to this full presentation (now a nine chapter online book that you are currently reading, Right to an Education v. the Religion of Evolution) then you will see what I deem as inexcusable, abusive, and illegal conduct done by the SPS against many, including Christian children and their parents. My children, their mother and I had the wrong color of religion thus making us, in the eyes of the Springfield School Board and Administration, unworthy of our share of educational resources for k-12 education. We weren’t even worthy of a response back from the Board. Our wrong color of religion was our faith in Almighty God and in the Holy Bible which compels us to love our neighbor as our selves as well as compels us to be honest about Science and History and to only give the recognition for creation to Almighty God.
Receiving absolutely no response from the SPS Board or Administration, my former wife and I continued to send our beloved children to private school sometimes and home school sometimes, depending on the state of our financial resources. It has been painful, difficult and an up close look of what illegal religious persecution from a school board looks like.
My former wife and I could have purchased another home with the resources, time, and cash we were unfairly forced to come up with because we, in the eyes of the SPS, have the wrong color of religion. We would not let our children be forced to confess with their mouths and in the clarity of ink on school test that Evolution is their true creator and consequently that God and the Bible are false as is done by official policy in the SPS. The Holy Bible says that to do such confession and consequential denial puts a person’s immortal soul at risk of eternal punishment. (Mark 8:38.) In my presentation I illustrate that the coercion and forcing is indeed done from at least 2nd through the 12th grade in the SPS.
Interestingly, time continued on. It was now September, 2009, and I was attending a bi-monthly Pachyderm meeting on a Friday afternoon. (Pachyderms are an educational arm of the Republican party hosting speakers as attendees eat lunch.) This is almost three years after my presentation to the SPS Board and Administration. The speaker that day was SPS Superintendent Norman Ridder. .Dr. Ridder first spoke about how through clever wording he and the Board had persuaded the voters to raise their school taxes yet higher. Mr. Ridder seemed jubilant about the higher taxes. Then Dr. Ridder began to boast how the Springfield School Board and Administration are extremely sensitive to all the parents and children in the district, quickly responding to and addressing even the slightest grievance or problem that is brought to their attention.
You might imagine what I was thinking as I was listening to Superintendent Ridder describe the SPS generous and timely responses to the grievances of parents and students as these elected officials and other VIPs looked on at this Pachyderm meeting. Finally it was time for questions. I raised my hand and mentioned that I had personally experienced a very different response from the Board and Administration almost three years earlier and I described my presentation and that the issue had to do with the SPS by official policy coercing the children from at least 2nd through the 12th grade to confess with their mouths and in the clarity of ink on school tests that Evolution is their true creator and consequently that God and the Bible are false. Superintendent Ridder then said, “Yes, I remember you. I read your presentation and you were wrong.”
I reiterated to Superintendent Ridder and to those present that not only was my statement accurate but that my entire presentation to the Board was available online at RightToAnEducation.org for their own review. Superintendent Ridder then raised his voice and spoke back and said, “No, we can’t do what you are saying we do. That would be illegal!” With politeness I verbally withstood Dr. Ridder one more time insisting that my statements about coercion were completely accurate. At this Superintendent Ridder raised his voice again and while pointing at me declared to the crowd, “This man is wrong!”
Dr. Ridder was Superintendent when I made my 2006 presentation and out of the three previous years that the Board and Mr. Ridder had the opportunity to respond back to my very documented and detailed written grievances, both he and the Board choose not to. Ironic since he was boasting of how very responsive to parents’ complaints the Board and Administration are. He had three years to point out what part of my quoting of the SPS curriculum was "wrong”. Out of what appears to me to be amazing arrogance and intoxication with power, Superintendent Ridder chose to publicly shame a good father that has devoted his life to his children and has lived a difficult financial life in an effort to prevent his beloved children from risking the eternal punishment of their immortal souls. Eternal punishment because the SPS indeed use curriculum that forces our children under their care to confess with their mouth and in the clarity of ink on school test that Evolution is their true creator and consequently that God and the Bible are false, because, as I illustrate in my presentation, the two are so diametrically opposed and can not coexist as both being true.
I have never received an apology or a late response to my presentation from Superintendent Ridder or the Board since that day of unnecessary and hurtful public slander. Why should they? Obviously for ethical and legal reasons they should, and because my children are actually human beings and not just numbers. They, in a general distributed way, already had my children’s state allocated school money in their possession. It was my vulnerable children and I that needed something to change.
They had money, staff, attorneys, and influence entrusted to them. Children and parents who's dictates of their own consciences compelled them to only embrace honest Science and honest History were viewed as non-citizens unworthy of reasonable education opportunity and even unworthy of a civil response to carefully written and detailed grievances. This abuse of power displeases Almighty God and is the substance of tyranny. The good news is that we can quickly fix this problem by having the humility, grace and honesty to speak the truth and embrace fairness.
This runaway train of arrogance and abuse must stop. School Choice via ESAs (Education Savings Accounts similar to what is being used in other states is the simplest and most efficient way to end this problem. Our constitutional laws provide for equality of opportunity without unreasonable oppression. AZ Example. Dignity demands that we enforce our God given and constitutional rights for all. It is the duty of the School Board and Administration to do so and for parents and tax payers to insist on the same.
Almighty God Himself orders those in power in all levels of life to enforce justice which includes equal opportunity without unreasonable oppression. James 2:9. Says,
"But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law [God's] as lawbreakers.”
Furthermore God gave us this formula if we are ever wondering what to do in a situation. Christ said:
“Do to others what you would have them to do to you.” Mathew 7:12
Thank you for reading and for insisting on safety and equality in education opportunity for all of our Missouri children.
Please go on to Chapter 1 if you would like to read my 90 minute presentation to the Springfield School Board I have now titled, "Right to an Education v. the Religion of Evolution".
Swayne Benson Loftis