the mis-education that most Americans received in government schools,
they now commonly believe that the only activities that can be legitimately
pursued are those that are specifically enumerated in state or federal law.
In other words, the mindset of parents and most people is, “The state
giveth, the state taketh away, blessed be the name of the state.”
People today, including many Christian parents, unconsciously believe
that it is illegal to exercise any conviction (no matter how basic or natural)
unless government officials first enact a law that specifically sanctions
a particular activity, e.g., home education. It is frightening to think how
many Americans fail to recognize that they do not need to request special
permission from the state before they exercise a fundamental right
already granted by God and secured under the U.S. Constitution.
It is easy for U. S. citizens to forget that their Founding Fathers fought and
died to give them a government whose primary purpose was to defend
and secure the rights of the people—not the rights of government
bureaucrats. The original intent of the framers of the Constitution was to
limit the size, scope, and jurisdiction of the state and federal governments.
For this reason, the only just powers that government officials were
supposed to possess were those that the people themselves decided to
grant them. The American system succeeded in empowering its citizens
with an unprecedented degree of liberty precisely because it was built
on the premise that government was to be of the people, by the people,
and for the people.
In order to prevent anarchy, the constitutional/republican form of American
government did provide through the legislative process a means whereby
laws could be enacted at the state and federal levels limiting certain
specific privileges of American citizens. However, it was never the framers’
intention to grant legislators unbridled power over the rights of the people.
Legislators are, after all, nothing more than representatives of the people,
elected to protect and uphold the constitutional rights of the citizens
they serve. Perhaps President Ronald Reagan stated it best when he
reminded the American people during his first inaugural address,“We are
a nation that has a government—not the other way around.”
Indeed, as one reads the Declaration of Independence, it is plain to see
that the Founding Fathers believed that if any form of government in
America became destructive to the cause of individual liberty by engaging
in consistent efforts to undermine the rights of the people, it was “the
right and the duty of the people to throw off such government, and to
provide new guards for their future security.” The right of U.S. citizens to
rebel against tyrants informs and precedes all of the rights enumerated
in the Constitution. As Abraham Lincoln once said,“We the people are the
rightful masters of both Congress and the courts—not to overthrow the
Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
The right of parents to teach their own children does not come frommen,
but from God. That is why it is rightly classified as an inalienable right,
for it was not established by man’s law, but God’s—from the beginning
of human history. The men who wrote the Declaration of Independence
genuinely believed that men were“endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights.” To them, fundamental rights were not to be subject
to the whims and fancy of fickle politicians, so the framers placed these
rights above and beyond the reach of civil government officials.
If the right to home school is to remain secure for future generations,
parents living in the early part of the twenty-first century must be willing
to boldly stand up for the sacred liberties that God has ordained for man.
Parents who are unwilling to stand up for their God-given liberties do not
deserve them. As the faithful minister the Reverend Levi Whisner once
stated, “He who will not use his freedom to preserve his freedom, does
not deserve his freedom.” May Almighty God, the only wise Lawgiver,
grant His people the courage to stand fast as those who have been set
free to serve King Jesus.
For over thirty years, Michael McHugh has worked as a
teacher, lecturer, home school programadministrator,
and textbook author/editor for the Christian Liberty
Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Mr. McHugh is
also the founder and director of a publishing ministry
known as Great Light Publications. Over the last three
decades, he has written numerous articles that have
appeared in newsletters and scholarly journals across
the US and abroad.
Michael McHugh is a graduate of Whitefield College, and holds a BS degree in
the field of Christian education.
As a home school father, Michael lives in the Chicago area with his wife and
seven children. Mr. McHugh and his wife weremarried in 1984 and have been
actively engaged in homeschooling their children since 1988.
Visit us at
REVIEW • 7