by Al Benson Jr.
Regarding the situation in Kanawha County, West Virginia from 1974-76, I have several observations that were clinchers for my wife and I as to why our kids would never cross the threshold of a government school building.
While in West Virginia, my brother and I attended quite a few school board meetings for Kanawha County, which were held in Charleston. Any time we were able to go, the school board meetings always ended up being “standing room only” affairs. If you wanted a seat you got there early. People, once the textbook protest started, showed up for school board meetings because they felt it was a chance to express their frustration at what the school system was trying for force on their kids. Little did they realize at the time, to paraphrase a saying used during the global warming scam, “the agenda is already settled.” And some of the school board members that spoke at these meetings were, shall we say, slightly less than candid. You always got straight, honest answers from Alice Moore. From some of the others it was a toss-up.
There was one meeting I recall, where one of the board members got caught in an untruth, and was called on it right during the meeting. He just laughed it off and continued on with whatever charade he was trying to peddle. At another meeting, one of the parents attempted to read a passage out of her daughter’s 8th grade literature book. She hadn’t gotten very far into it when the moderator informed her that “You can’t read that in a public meeting!” To which the quick-thinking mom replied “If I can’t read this in a public meeting then why is it required reading in my daughter’s eighth grade class?” Excellent question! No answer was forthcoming. It seems the content of the book was so profane it could not be read in a public meeting but apparently it was not too profane to be read in an eighth grade literature class. Does that give you just a slight idea of where the government school system was (and still is)?
As an aside–I noted how full the school board meetings always seemed to be. In the town I live in now, when I was in better health, I used to go to the town council meetings regularly. Usually there was hardly anyone there. The only time anyone ever showed up was when citizenship awards were handed out to kids in the local government schools–and after that was done, parents and kids all departed, not bothering to stay for the rest of the meeting. I often wondered if it was just apathy or what. I reflected on that a bit–until a particular issue came up in town a couple or three years ago, which involved a referendum the townfolk had to vote on. The referendum passed–but only by 11 votes, which, to me reflected a basically split town. After that event I started looking at non-attendance at council meetings from a different perspective. It came to me why no one hardly ever went to town council meetings. Those who were satisfied with the status quo in town didn’t need to be bothered going. They were going to get what they wanted anyway. Those who were not had realized that no one was going to listen to them anyway. They had already been to meetings to express their feelings and the town council, from the mayor on down, didn’t seem to want to hear it–so why bother. As in Kanawha County, West Virginia–“the agenda was already settled.” This all exhibited one thing to me. Beyond a certain point, many just get fed up with trying. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy–and the discontent over not being heard will break out somewhere, at some time, just like it did in Kanawha County, West Virginia when it became entirely clear that the school board already had an agenda they were going to pursue and they were not about to let the parents’ wishes get in their way. After all, all the parents did was to furnish the kids for the government school’s noble experiments in humanism and pay for it all! Why should anyone have to have any regard for what they wanted?
I noticed something else in West Virginia (this event was a pivotal point in our lives) about the book protest. It was the fundamentalist Christians that seemed to be the most concerned about the raunchy stuff in the proposed textbooks. Folks in liberal (socialist) churches seemed, in the main, to have no problem with the secular humanist content of the books. Folks in most of the evangelical churches basically just sat the protest out. I’m not sure what they believed about the books, but whatever it was, it didn’t reach them enough to get them mad enough to go out and try to do anything about them. To me, that was a sad situation, but it was not the last time I was to see such a situation.
I am not a fundamentalist Christian (and I don’t say that to knock them by any means). I am a Presbyterian Calvinist, yet I saw major problems with these books, and with the concept of a government-run education system that sought to undermine the values Christian parents taught their children. In that instance, the fundamentalists and I were on the same page. Again, I reflected on all this and wondered why the evangelicals just sat this protest out, given the stakes involved regarding their children. It wasn’t until we left West Virginia and moved to Indiana and attended an evangelical Presbyterian church there that I got my answer.
To be continued.