What if tomorrow it was announced by the IRS that any school maintaining a doctrinal or philosophical statement against same sex relationships would lose its non-profit status and be subject to the same taxes any for-profit business is expected to pay? For some people that may not seem like a big deal. For some it may seem like a justified change. But for Christian schools and the families sending their kids to them, it’s a disconcerting thought. What would happen to our schools? What would it mean for our children?
The Supreme Court is still deliberating what many are calling a landmark case about same-sex marriage. At the end of last month, during verbal arguments, the Solicitor General in charge of making the case in defense of same-sex marriage stated that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, when it comes to religious schools and tax-exempt status, “It is going to be an issue.”
What does that mean? Does it mean that all schools with doctrinal statements opposing same-sex relationships will be brought to heel? Does it only mean that there would be some complicated hoops to jump through? Who will this affect, and how?
Some might call it a slippery slope argument to say that churches running grade schools and high schools will be threatened; right now that discussion is focused mainly on religious colleges with married student housing. But the trend has never been in the direction of more religious liberty when it comes to this issue. Is it that far-fetched to think that the people who want to fundamentally change the mindset of a nation would come after institutions where children are molded?
So let’s run with the possibility for a moment and consider what we might do if Christian schools were forced to pay taxes as for-profit organizations. How would this affect their futures? Sadly, many schools would probably be rendered inoperable; the cost of running them, coupled with a drop-off of support due to the lack of tax-deductible gifts, would force many schools to shut their doors. Or come up with a completely different way to operate.
None of this should worry us, of course. Christian parents who want to raise their children to be disciples of Jesus don’t need a Christian school to do so. See, no matter how much pressure the world puts on us, they can’t really take away Christ or his Word. Parents are still the primary spiritual teachers of their children. They’ll still bring their children to the cross. They’ll still read the Word. They’ll still pray for and with their children, and encourage them in their faith. Even if parents are the only way children will know their Savior, that is enough.
Of course, I sincerely hope and pray that it doesn’t come to this. The ability for parents to put their kids in a Christian school is a great blessing, and a resource that we are very thankful for. But we don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what God will allow.
However, parents shouldn’t wait until we lose the blessing of Christian schools to be making a conscious effort at home. Parents are still the primary spiritual teachers of their children. It’s still important – necessary, even – for them to bring their children to the cross, to the Word, to pray for and with, and to encourage their children, even if their children go to a school where these things happen. Parents, let’s act like the only way our children will know their Savior is through us – even if it isn’t the only way.