|A group dedicated to getting Christians to leave public schools has launched a new offensive. This time, it’s “A Call to Dunkirk.”
The Exodus Mandate Project, which helps Christian families exit the public school system, is using a famous incident from World War II to sell Christians on the idea that staying in “government schools” endangers their future.
In a new online five-minute video, “A Call to Dunkirk,” EMP founder and retired Army Reserve chaplain E. Ray Moore, Jr. retells what happened at the French coastal town of Dunkirk in May and June 1940, when roughly 300,000 allied troops were rescued from a German advance by an armada of small vessels like fishing boats and pleasure yachts.
Disaster was avoided, Moore says in the video, by this “mass exodus” from the beaches of Dunkirk and away from danger.
“Just as British soldiers were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, today 75 to 80 percent of Christian children are trapped in the state-run public schools,” says Moore in an effort to create an analogy between the “miracle of Dunkirk” and U.S. public education in 2009.
Underneath Moore’s comments runs footage of children being evacuated from a building, their hands in the air and under apparent law enforcement direction.
The video also features Bruce Shortt, author of The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, and Voddie Baucham, author of Family Driven Faith. Shortt and Baucham submitted a resolution to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2008 calling on Southern Baptists nationwide to support expansion of Christian schools, homeschooling and other alternatives to public education.
“The glamour and apparent power of politics attract conservatives, but the driving force behind politics is culture,” says Shortt in the video. “And culture is shaped by how we’re educated. So why should we be surprised that we’re losing culturally and politically when we continue to offer up our children as living sacrifices to the Molech of government schools?”
“Molech” refers to an ancient Near Eastern god usually associated with human sacrifice.
Shortt’s comments are illustrated with footage from Nazi Germany showing Hitler on parade and being saluted by school children.
Baucham says in the video that children spend 14,000 hours in school between kindergarten and 12th grade, and that whoever controls those hours will control the child’s worldview. He goes on to echo Shortt, who says schools teach “cultural Marxism and secular humanism.” Baucham refers to the “Marxist educational system,” then refers to public schools as the “Christ-dishonoring, academically inferior, soul-killing, government indoctrination centers.”
At video’s end, Moore doesn’t mince words either: “My ‘Call to Dunkirk’ proposal is very simple. We want all families, churches, pastors, major Christian ministries and organizations to concentrate for one year on extracting Christian children from the pagan, godless public schools.”
“Rally your troops, get your vessels ready and answer the Call to Dunkirk,” says Moore. “The future of America depends on it.”
The last minute and a half of the video is devoted to more information about EMP.
Robert Parham, executive director of the Nashville-based Baptist Center for Ethics, said the anti-public school activists in the video “show marginal understanding of history and limited discernment about evil.”
“When Christian Right leaders claim that our public schools are morally equivalent to Nazis,” said Parham, “they wrongly discredit the Holocaust and demonize public school teachers and parents.”
“Comparing public schools to ‘Soviet collective farms’ and slamming schools as ‘soul-killing, government indoctrination centers’ discloses the extremism of the anti-public school movement, which unfortunately has a home in conservative evangelical churches,” he said.
“Left unchecked such fanaticism becomes acceptable,” said Parham. “That’s why goodwill Baptists and other Christians need to speak up for public education, supporting school leaders and blessing school parents. With schools restarting in January, clergy would do well to restate the great value of public education and to find ways to invest in good outcomes for school children.”
“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” the Ben Stein documentary on intelligent design released last year, used historical imagery to argue that certain ideas (like intelligent design) were being systemically kept out of the academy. Stein’s “Berlin Wall” metaphor—the idea that some ideas must be sealed off—played throughout the film. Stein also took criticism for linking Darwinism to Nazism; his use of Nazi imagery led some to complain that he had misappropriated the Holocaust.
While EMP uses Nazi imagery in the video and calls upon the World War II incident, it also uses biblical imagery to make its case more generally.
Moore, capitalizing on the narrative found in the book of Exodus, refers to public schools as “pharaoh’s schools” and speaks of Christian schools and home schooling as the “promised land.”
EMP’s catch-phrase, and the title of Moore’s book, is “Let my children go”—a play on Moses’ “Let my people go” when demanding that Egypt’s pharaoh free the enslaved Israelites.
More than 30,000 people have viewed “The Call to Dunkirk” on YouTube.
Cliff Vaughn is managing editor for EthicsDaily.com.