Bumper Stickers, Vanity Plates, Hearings & Worldview

Bumper Stickers, Vanity Plates, Hearings & Worldview

2021 | Week of September 20 | Radio Transcript #1430

When it comes to bumper stickers and vanity plates, Madison rarely disappoints.

Take for instance the car I saw when I was leaving the capitol recently. It was in the legislators’ parking area; so I knew it belonged to an elected official. This car sported a pro-homosexual equality sticker, an Automatic Voter Registration sticker, a Vote Climate 2020 sticker, a No Vouchers stickers, a farmers’ union sticker, and a Holy Mackerel pro-Tony Evers sticker. I fully expected an “I support Planned Parenthood” sticker. I’m quite sure its omission was just an oversight. This car proved my theory that people in Madison, including legislators, wear their brains and their emotions on their bumpers. What they are really expressing is a worldview.

Then just a couple of weeks ago, I followed a car in Madison with an intriguing vanity plate. It basically was a French expression: Toujours Moi, which translates as “Always me.” That was my laugh for the day. It just so captured how so many people live today—it’s always me, always about me, always for me. Hello, worldview.

But things we hear in Madison aren’t always so innocuous or entertaining. In a hearing last week on Assembly Bill 562, we heard a statement that was frighteningly honest. This bill requires public school districts and independent charter schools to notify parents in advance of any program or instructional materials related to sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression.

The bill is on a very fast track, and the hearing was held on very short notice. I mention that because that makes it hard for people from outside the Madison area to attend but pretty easy for people in Madison to show up—and they did. Only two people spoke in favor of the bills—our sister organization Wisconsin Family Action provided testimony in favor, as did the representative from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference. Many were there to speak in opposition.

One person who spoke was a teacher. She quite bluntly said, “Parents don’t know what is in the best interest of their children, but I do.” That’s a stunning statement, and it’s an admission of what so many educators think.

You don’t have to be in Madison to hear such statements. When I was on the school board in Watertown, I was appointed as the board’s representative to an ad hoc committee that was considering adding K-4 to the district’s offerings. In the course of the first meeting, I quickly realized this was a done deal; but I raised objections anyway. I said at one point to the advocates for the program, “So, if you had your way, you’d take the kids starting from the hospital nursery?” One of the county officials responded, “Yes, that’s pretty much right.”

These statements from a teacher and a county official who deals with children and families make a much more profound impact on me than liberal bumper stickers and self-centered vanity plates. Just as what shows up on bumpers or license plates reflects a worldview, so do these words—a worldview that does not include understanding that parents are the rightful guardians of children or more importantly that children are gifts to parents, given by a benevolent and gracious God.

The worldview expressed by these statements believes children are, from the moment of birth on, wards of the state and that state workers, supposedly trained experts in their areas, know far better what is good for children than do their parents. Parents are seen more as legal impediments that have to be dealt with and worked around than as the child’s rightful and legal guardian, caregiver and more. Too many educators don’t view parents as partners in the educational process. They too often really do think they know more than parents about what is best for the children.

To be sure, there are many educators in the public sector for whom this is not true, and parents whose children have these teachers should be grateful and as involved as they can be in their children’s education.

The point here is worldview matters, and it shows up everywhere on bumpers, on license plates, in hearings, in meetings, in classrooms. Over 85% of Wisconsin’s school-aged children attend public schools right now. That means many Christian families have their children in these schools. Knowing the worldview that could easily be part of these schools is important as parents take responsibility for the children God has given them.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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