Not All Evangelical Christians Are Cool with Those Creationism Textbooks

This is a point that I’ve tried to make before: just because they’re evangelical Christians doesn’t mean they’re fundamentalists. It also doesn’t mean they’re idiots. While it’s true that the majority of families home-schooling their children are doing so for religious reasons, it’s often more about being able to teach religion as part of a daily lessons, and avoid the perceived sinfulness of the world. It’s not all about hostility toward science. If only textbook publishers were on board:

It’s no secret that the majority of homeschooled children in America belong to evangelical Christian families. What’s less known is that a growing number of their parents are dismayed by these textbooks [designed for Christians homeschooling their children].

Take Erinn Cameron Warton, an evangelical Christian who homeschools her children. Warton, a scientist, says she was horrified when she opened a homeschool science textbook and found a picture of Adam and Eve putting a saddle on a dinosaur. “I nearly choked,” says the mother of three. “When researching homeschooling curricula, I found that the majority of Christian homeschool textbooks are written from this ridiculous perspective. Once I saw this, I vowed never to use them.” Instead, Warton has pulled together a curriculum inspired partly by homeschool pioneer Susan Wise Bauer and partly by the Waldorf holistic educational movement.

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She’s not alone.

For many evangelical families, the rationale for homeschooling has nothing to do with a belief in Young Earth Creationism or a rejection of evolutionary theory. Some parents choose to homeschool because they’re disenchanted with the values taught in the public school system. Others want to incorporate more travel into their children’s education. Still others want to implement specific learning techniques they believe are more suitable for their children.

The movement appears to be relatively small so far, however. And people homeschooled using young earth textbooks do end up matriculating at real colleges. And even most evangelical Christian colleges do not teach, and do not accept, an Adam-and-Eve-riding-dinosaurs view of world history. Explaining real biology to home school graduates is apparently a common feature of the first few biology classes at Christian colleges.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer