Interview Gene and Robin Newman - EC389

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Interview Gene and Robin Newman
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 81
Length: 0:56:56
TapeCode: ec389
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 389, June 16, 1997.

This evening Andrew Sandlin is out of town so is not with us, but Douglas Murray and Mark Rushdoony and I have the privilege of chatting with Eugene and Robin Newman. The Newmans are from Michigan. They are home schoolers. I will let them tell you about their family. Gene is a corporate executive. He has been exceedingly active in the home schooling cause, in Christian Reconstruction and a variety of activities for Christ in Michigan.

Gene and Robin, it is a pleasure to have you with us.

[R Newman] Thank you.

[Rushdoony] And it has been a marvelous thing the last few days to visit with you and to share in stories and experiences. Why don’t you start in, Gene, and just tell a little about yourself, your family which is a very important subject to me, your children, who are remarkable, all of them and what you and Robin have been doing?

[G Newman] Well, we have been home schooling for 11 years. We have 10 children, six boys and four girls. Our oldest is 24 and our youngest is four. We started home schooling five of our children when Michael, our oldest, was in fourth grade.

[R Newman] Sixth grade.

[G Newman] Sixth grade? Sorry. And we continued to home school them throughout the high school years. We now have three in college. Sarah has really excelled in the area of music composition and she has gotten scholarships at various schools. Michael is in a business program and Sam is in a prelaw program. And in addition to that, being home schoolers, we also felt that it was necessary to in the east part of the state of Michigan, which is the more populous part of the state, we were able to form a home school federation of home school support groups which became known as Christian Home Educators of Michigan. And we formed for the explicit purpose of supporting home school support groups by way of sponsoring seminars. And there has been some pretty exciting things that we have done. [00:03:03]

Our structure is unique...[edit]

Our structure is unique. We are a federation. We have a constitution with by laws. It is almost similar to a representative form of government, almost Presbyterian. CHEM might be considered a session where the representative to CHEM represents the home school support group.

One of the more exciting things that we have done not only is that structure to the best of my knowledge unique in the country, because most state wide home school associations are really sole proprietorships, but we also have a calendar of events. We do more than just sponsor an annual convention. We were... we are told we are the only group in the United States that a non creation science group that sponsors an annual creation science convention. We sponsor this in late January, early February and we have had three conventions in total. We are in the planning stages of our number four. And it has been a real blessing and I think a wake up call to our community to keep creation science in front of home schoolers.

We have had people like Ken Ham and Dr. Gary Parker from Answers in Genesis, Dr. Clyde Billington who is one of the outstanding biblical archaeologists in the country from Northwestern College. We have had Ian Taylor who is a lecturer originally from Canada and he wrote In the Minds of Men: Darwinism and the New World Order. And Ian is ... is English. He worked for the BBC as well. And one of the great successes he had is that Darwin in the... in the minds of many is a thick book. It is probably 500 or 600 pages. And he wrote it without any reference to the Bible, to religion, Christianity whatever so that it would be published hopefully in all of the public schools in Canada as well as the universities. And that is... that is exactly what happened. This book which was an attack on Darwinism and the entire evolutionary thesis, was published throughout Canada and he became quite well known. And he is an excellent speaker.

So he... so what we have managed to do is to invite these speakers to come in and that is what CHEM is all about. We want to support and enlarge the experiences of home schoolers, because it is very easy to get cloistered and... and so on and so forth.

So I have been elected the president of the board of directors. We have a seven person board that have one year and three year terms. They are concurrent. And this keeps continuity on the board as well as fresh faces. And we have ... we have been very blessed by the number of seminars that we have been able to do in addition to a curriculum fair and a separate annual convention, the creation science convention. And this year we debuted a ... what will become a conference on economics. Our first one was called a business and career conference where the emphasis is on calling. We want ... and we advertise it as such. [00:06:32]

It is... this particular year we started out like a career conference where we had colleges and universities come and set up tables and pass out their information and so forth. We also had seminars done by local businessmen on how important it is for Christian students to have a sense of calling, not just a job, not just a career. And we were very .... we ... we got a lot of support on that. The conference itself didn’t attract a lot of numbers for the first year, but we did get an awful lot of support in terms of Christian home school families saying, “I hope you continue to do this and when we are ready to attend it, we want to... we want it to be there so that we can gain access to this information.”

But our vision is to make it an economics conference, with the career aspect sort of a subset of Christian economics, because we feel it is very important that that is really what we are talking about. The... the... the choice of what am I going to do in terms of a livelihood, a profession, a career, a business is ... is one of the most important and one of the most basic decisions you can make with respect to the broader picture of... of how does God expect us to understand economics, stewardship. You know, this is... the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. He is the one that determines all economic criteria and standards.

And CHEM largely through the influence of the board has wanted to really promote this idea in... in... in eastern Michigan. And we reach out to about 2500 hundred families. And so we have been very exited about how CHEM has evolved. It has grown every year. We are a profitable organization. There are no dues. We accept no donations. CHEM makes its revenues strictly from running seminars on a profitable basis and that gives us money to do things which are not inherently profitable, such as we had this... just a few weeks ago we sponsored a commencement exercise where we had 27 home school graduates and we had 400 people in the audience. These are the families of the graduates and so forth. It was a wonderful opportunity. This is cap and gown. There was a charge to the graduate by a speaker. And it was such a wonderful thing to see the mothers and fathers come up to the stage, giving their graduate a diploma. Many of them had Scriptures to share. Many of them said blessings over the graduate in front of all these people. It was a great testimony. [00:09:23]

And, of course, many of the people in the audience...[edit]

And, of course, many of the people in the audience are family. We assume that probably half if not more are not even Christian. So there is a... there is a ... an exposure there. And ... and an opportunity to show the ... the outside world that when Christian... Christian families take responsibility for education it isn’t just a question of teaching. It is truly a family event. It is something that a mother and father actively support and... and there is some real fruit that emerges from it.

So we re very excited that the Lord has given us an opportunity to serve his people in terms of Christian home education and in terms of this organization.

[Rushdoony] Robin, you want to add something to what Gene said.

[R Newman] I think I would just like to, for the sake of people in the audience, let them know the breakdown of the children in the family a little bit more clearly. Gene and I have been married for 25 years. Last October we had a big family celebration and so we praise the Lord for ... for that. And Michael is 24. Sarah is 21. Samuel is 19. Jessie, the one who recently graduated is 17. Elizabeth is 15. And then we have a five year gap and then we started with our Mary pride children and Daniel now will be 11 soon and Benjamin is nine. Jeremiah is seven. Abigail is five and a half and Rachel is just about four. So that comprises the 10.

[G Newman] We will be home schooling for a while, won’t we?

[R Newman] Yeah, we will.

[Rushdoony] I thought it was interesting what you reported a few years ago, just commented, incidentally, that when the children go into the classroom you are not mom. You are Mrs. Newman. Do you still do that?

[R Newman] No, we dropped that. We are a lot more informal. We used to have a... a classroom set up downstairs in our basement.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[R Newman] And we had to do a remodeling. And when they remodeled they had to knock out or cover up some of the basement windows. And when we lost the light it kind of got depressing to be downstairs. So we have done a lot more schooling at the kitchen table upstairs over the last few years. And we are in the process now of remodeling the basement again and trying to brighten it up and we are going to rethink school and sort of reconfigure things and stuff. We had much better success in our school when we worked in terms of a classroom than we do at the kitchen table. It has been very noticeable, the difference in the routine and the structure and the ... and the response of the children. [00:12:12]

[G Newman] Do you want to go back to Mrs...[edit]

[G Newman] Do you want to go back to Mrs. Newman?

[R Newman] Your mother is Mrs. Newman.

[G Newman] So you want to keep it more informal.

[R Newman] Oh, they call me mom.

[Rushdoony] Well, Gene, since you have gotten involved, the news out of Michigan is victories for the Christian school movement instead of defeats. Michigan used to be a bad news state for both home schools and Christian schools. Some of the old line schools there were—without mentioning names—much given to compromise. These were, to an extent, parochial, totally church related schools and unwilling to make a stand. But in recent years it has been one victory after another for Christian schools and home schoolers. And from all that I have heard, you have had an important part in that victory, a central part.

[G Newman] Well, we have... we have had to... we were unwilling participants, if you will, Rush, in the sense that we... Michigan has always been sort of a divisive state. The western part of Michigan is dominated by Grand Rapids, a Dutch Reformed heritage. It is more agrarian and... and so forth. The eastern part of the state is Detroit. It is Motown. It is industrial. It is far more liberal. The western part is more conservative and so forth. The oldest home school association and the largest one started in the west, in the western... from the Grand Rapids area. And so CHEM by its very existence was sort of seen as divisive in some respects, but we ... we always tried to minimize that.

What happened recently was a legislative battle which really pitted, unfortunately, in some respects, and exacerbated this division between the west and the east. CHEM actually ended up on the opposite side of the issue which I can explain a little bit, because I think it has some relevance to other state Christian homeschool organizations. But what happened was that we ended up not only opposing the position that was taken by the other home school association with respect to state entanglement in the lives of Christian families, but we also were able to reach out and create some alliances with non Christian home schoolers. And I think that there was a great blessing in that. [00:15:02]

To be brief, you want me to just give a little bit...[edit]

To be brief, you want me to just give a little bit of the background?

[Rushdoony] Sure. Take your time.

[G Newman] What happened is that Governor Engler several years ago decided to rewrite the State Education Act and in that rewriting, of course, all... he opened up all the cans of worms and... and he allowed people to suggest all kinds of new legislation that should be included. There was a senator that decided to put some wording in to protect home schoolers.

Before I go on, let me say that Michigan used to be a very onerous state for home schoolers. In fact, Michigan, prior to 1993 was very hostile to Christian home schoolers, home schooling in general and we had one series of losses after another until 1993. We kept appealing these cases. We went to the Supreme Court and in 1993 there were three decisions that made Michigan, as a result of those... as a result of those decisions, one of the freest states in all of the country. And home education became a constitutionally protected right as a freedom of expression of religion and so forth. It was a marvelous decisions. And we were able to really shirk the yoke of the state.

Well, this was in 1993 and for two years there was... there were no suits. There was no harassment of any... of any real significance. It was very, very peaceful. And until the governor decided to rewrite the education bill. The Republicans had gained a majority in both the senate and the house and so they saw this as an opportunity.

Well, a senator decided to put in some home school legislation.

[R Newman] To protect us.

[G Newman] To protect us. And here was the statement that he wanted to insert in... in the... in the act. He said, “A... a... a home school child is exempt from the compulsory attendance act if the child is being educated by his or her parent or legal guardian at the child’s home,” unquote. That is it, a very brief, succinct statement that we could all get behind and... and so forth. Well, that was in the senate and the senate is more conservative and so forth.

That language ... the... the people that understand what the politics of Michigan... no one expected that language to survive in the house and it didn’t. And what happened is that when this bill passed the senate and came to the house, there were people gunning for the home school part of it. And there was a couple of state representative from the west side of the state that wanted to put all kinds of onerous burdens on ... on the Christian home educators in Michigan, all kinds of entanglements including possible state testing for psychological purposes and so forth. [00:18:06]

We did not know all of this was happening...[edit]

We did not know all of this was happening. Michigan has three state representatives that are Christian and are home schoolers. Apparently what happened at the 11th hour is that one of those representatives whose motivation, I think, was... was good... in other words, he didn’t want the onerous legislation, so he proposed to substitute the onerous legislation with wording that he had been successful with in the probate code.

Well, first of all, we as an organization don’t take political stances, but we are free to do that individually. We didn’t want any legislation being proposed without the home school community talking about it and the... and affirming it and something that we could get behind.

Well, this representative decided to substitute is new language from the probate code which basically said if you were teaching your children at home, that in itself was not sufficient evidence for child abuse. And in the probate code that is what they were trying to do. They were trying to say you are guilty of child abuse or neglect. The department of social services would have to come in if you were teaching your children at home. No other evidence of abuse or neglect.

Well, this particular representative was very instrumental in inserting language to protect only those cases that come in front of probate. Well, that is a very small number. If you take the same language and insert that into the education bill, now that covers every child in the state of Michigan, not just the ones that are in ... in the probate.

Number two, home schooling was never defined in the state of Michigan. And this was a great advantage. All of the sudden there is language that is being inserted. Instead of this person simply saying, “Well, we don’t want any language at all. We will just leave it the way it is. It is not broken, well, you know, why try to fix it?” Instead here is what he inserted.

The child... this is ... this legislation was an exemption to the compulsory school attendance act. And here is what the language said.

“The child is exempt if the child is being educated by his or her parent or legal guardian at the child’s home in an organized educational program that is appropriate given the age, intelligence, ability and any psychological limitations of the child in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing and English grammar,” unquote.

Now I think everyone at this table and our listening audience will immediately see that there is so much room. This language is so fraught with interpretation. What does it mean? What ... what does it mean to have an organized educational program? What does it mean that you are to teach it appropriate given the age, intelligence, ability? Who is going to measure this? And, what is more, assuming you could even define these terms with any kind of legal specificity, it was far more onerous than what currently exists for the public schools. [00:21:31]

The public schools wouldn’t ever go for this...[edit]

The public schools wouldn’t ever go for this. Teachers don’t want this kind of responsibility and accountability. And yet this language was imported and... and... and inserted.

Well, let me tell you what... this was very amazing, because when... when we found out about this, I wrote a letter to the CHEM members telling them this is what we have... this is what we think has happened. Please find out and so forth.

Well, what we thought happened did happen. And they took this letter and copied it and sent it out all over the state. Well, by the time hundreds of home school support organizations found out about it, they were besieging their representatives in Lansing and they nearly shut down the entire city, because of all of the... all of the outcry as a result of this legislation.

And what is ironic is that the people that were responsible for this exemption, this new language, had convinced the legislators in Lansing that they had the support of all the home schoolers in the state of Michigan. And when they got hundreds of phone calls, if not thousands, saying exactly the opposite, they were furious.

Well, to make a long story short, CHEM was able to align itself with other non Christian home schooling groups to oppose this and we even ... we were successful enough that we were going to split the Republican caucus. And ... and what we were told is that the governor insisted that a compromise solution be implemented. And what we wanted, first of all we wanted repeal, but we didn’t think that repeal was going to fly and so what we wanted to do was at least to strike out the offensive language having to do with appropriate given the age, intelligence, ability and psychological limitations. And we were able to get that passed as an ... as exemption F and then we added something else. Exemption A in the code already exempted home schoolers under the non public school code. Like all the private schools in the state of Michigan operated under this. Home schoolers were operating under it as well, but now we had a home school exemption, but it was fraught with problems.

So here is what we have ended up with. We now have in the state of Michigan exemptions which you can either be exempt under the secondary school or the private school act or you can be exempted under this language or both. And you... and the fascinating thing about it is that exemption A and exemption F are largely contradictory. So now you have in the statute you can be exempt under A or F or both at the discretion of the parent. And now lawyer will touch this at all and we ... we were able to salvage the situation, but at a price. [00:24:30]

I want you to know that...[edit]

I want you to know that... that the stand that individual CHEM members took and myself in particular, was ... was one that was assailed bitterly and with... with a great deal of venom, especially by Christian home schoolers in the state of Michigan, because they were ... they did not want to see anything change in this legislation and they did not take the same view that this was going to entangle the state in the lives of Christian home school families. So we were... there was a very great victory that ... that we had. And now Michigan is... is one of the finest states, the most... one of the freest states now as far as home education. And I think... and I praise God that CHEM had a very important part to play in no small part because we were Christian. It had never happened that the Christian community was... was divided along this... this statist interventionist idea. And when CHEM took the position it did, it really sent an important message, that what we were after was Christian liberty. We wanted to be free from state entanglement. We were not interested in taking the state’s money and having the state analyze our kids and... and certify them and all of that sort of thing. And we were given an opportunity, I believe, by the Lord to really demonstrate that. But there was a price that was paid.

[Rushdoony] Any questions before we go further? Mark? Douglas?

[Murray] Well, I had one question not relating directly to what you were discussing. But one of the apprehensions of many people that home school their children is how do we make the transition at the point when they can no longer be home schooled? How do you arm them with the armor of God to go out to the college level or to the high school level?

And many people jump into the home school thing at the, you know, K through eight level and don’t see this problem looming in the future, because they are so consumed with the immediate task of home schooling their child. But many people, in fact, Andrea Schwartz wrote an article in the Chalcedon Report about the difficulties that she had with her son when he went to a public school. Just, for instance, expressing his opinion on abortion and got a bloody nose in this... in the... when he walked outside the classroom. So how do you arm kids for that so that they can stand up against that? [00:27:18]

[R Newman] I would just like to comment...[edit]

[R Newman] I would just like to comment. First of all, that it is not... I don’t think people are so preoccupied with the elementary grades that they don’t think of that. When we work our conventions, I was telling Rush a little earlier that it is not unusual to have people coming through that are newly married and asking questions about home schooling and they don’t have a child yet. We will ask them, “How old is your child?”

“Oh, we don’t have one yet. We are just trying to get information. Oh, we have a two year old.”

And we are seeing more and more of this. And usually one of the first questions that comes from somebody who is considering home schooling, even if they haven't stated yet, even if they have four year old or a five year old is: What do you do about high school? What do you do about college? They don’t have to worry about it for 12 years. That is one of the first questions.

[Murray] Yeah.

[R Newman] ....that they ask. It is kind of funny. But to... to honor them I think solid instruction in Christian doctrine, discipline. Gene has done an excellent job with our children in that regard. They have to be able to ... to stand. They will be different from the other kids, just the fact that they were home schooled.

[Rushdoony] Robin, would you comment on the frequent complaint by non home schoolers that home schooling doesn't permit the proper socialization of the child?

[R Newman] Well, socialization is ... is one of those big questions that always comes up. And it is interesting to note that children are not socialized by their peers. What they do is they pick up their peer’s bad habits.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[R Newman] And what I think we really want for our children is a phrase that you used a little earlier, the social graces. We want our children to be well mannered. We want them to be respectful of authority. We want them to know how to behave and what is appropriate behavior in given situations, common courtesies, common sense. All of those things are really the social skills that our children need. Socialization, I think, is the process that we see all this peer pressure and the peer influence. That is definitely not healthy. That is certainly not something that is desired for our children. It is like the blind leading the blind.

[Rushdoony] Yes. The best socialization of the child is the family.

[R Newman] Oh, absolutely.

[Rushdoony] And certainly your children are clear cut evidence of how powerful and beneficial that is. It does give a child a better ability to meet the world. He knows how to deal with personal relationships and he feels more secure as he confronts the world. [00:30:07]

What do you want to say about it, Gene? You are well...[edit]

What do you want to say about it, Gene? You are well experienced here.

[G Newman] Well, we are going through something we may have a wedding with our oldest daughter in about a year. We are not sure yet, but one of the big movements within the Christian home school community is the idea of courtship versus dating. And in some of the... some of this even goes so far as arranged marriages and so forth and when I think about it, it is really not such a bad idea if it can be done. I used to be very much against it. And, of course, when Robin and I were married, it was... we weren’t even Christian. I mean, it was the furthest thing from arrangement. It was total convenience.

But what is happening now is that as a result of our ability to expose our kids to home schooling and the sort of independent thinking that... that can emerge out of this, they are very supportive of the courtship idea and that is exactly where we are right now. They... my daughter is... is insisting on courtship, which means that number one it is... it is an exclusive relationship between her and what would otherwise be her boyfriend. Well, one of the biggest differences... and this is new for us. Robin and I are going through this for the first time and there is not a lot of models out there, but one... one of the distinguishing characteristics of courtship is that it gives me now the right to talk to what could be my future son-in-law as to what is... what are his views on marriage? What are his views on, you know, providing for his family? It gives us an opportunity to meet his family, of his family to meet our family and to get to know each other and... and so forth in a more or less structured environment.

And it is... it is so wonderful to see this coming voluntarily from my oldest daughter. My prayer is that my next daughter who is 15 is going to follow suit. My oldest daughter, I think, is setting a good example and it has been really... it has been a blessing. It has been very gratifying that our kids are trying to take what they have been taught at home, especially when it comes to more traditional and biblical morals and really trying to apply it. And I think the home schooling... I pray that the idea that we are a home schooling family and we have that contact with our kids on a more intimate basis, a more daily basis, I really do credit that environment as... as adding to the success of us transmitting these values without the kind of negative peer pressure and socialization that kids get from the public schools. [00:33:11]

So we... we are not binding as experts, but are having an opportunity to go through this and...

[R Newman] Experimentally.

[G Newman] ... and kind of experiment a little bit. But it has been... it has been exciting and a little scary.

[R Newman] There is... what should we name him? Should we... I don’t know what. How should we refer to him?

[G Newman] Oh, husband to be?

[R Newman] Husband to be, shall we say?

[G Newman] Ok.

[R Newman] ... has been willing to have lunch with Gene on numerous occasions so they can kind of get to know each other a little better, share views. Gene has been able to disciple him a bit.

[G Newman] He has been... he has been ... he comes from a Presbyterian background, but not a theonomic background, not a Reconstructionist background, not a very reformed background. And... and he has more than just open. He is really changing views. And it is ... and it is in part due, I think, to the influence of his wife to be, possibly, who is very much like this. She is a composition major and she was even offered a... a 50 percent scholarship if she would switch her major to philosophy, because she is very good at philosophical disputations and... and they are really ... they are really... they really like her.

[Rushdoony] Her field is music.

[G Newman] Yes. Music composition. But I think that having me as a dad and... and we catechize our children. We... we... I try to train them in... in apologetics, using many of the... the... the materials that, Rush, you have written and others. And she has really taken it seriously. And our children are beginning to take it seriously.

We want them to engage the culture. We do not want to escape.

[R Newman] The problem we have is when you have one that wants to do it and is not equipped.

[G Newman] True.

[R Newman] We have a couple of those who desperately would like to be able to really defend their faith and they are at the point where they are out with friends and something comes up in conversation and they realize they don’t have the answers.

[G Newman] Right.

[R Newman] They just don’t come. They... they get stopped short. And then they will come back and ask, “What do I say when someone says this? What do I say when someone says that?” And we are beginning to see more of that take place now as the kids are actually out and experiencing challenges.

[multiple voices]

[R Newman] They have the desire to want to be able to be equipped. And sometimes {?} they have to fall a few times before they realize that is what they need.

[G Newman] Well, we... for example, one of the things that happened as a result... it was a byproduct, really, of how our kids approach is that I had the opportunity to have a discipleship group for a year. We had... it was a closed group. It began open and then there was a point where I announced we are going to go through a systematic... we used Berkhof’s Christian doctrine. [00:36:13]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[G Newman] That little blue book that he wrote for college students. Summary of Christian Doctrine. And at the end they were going to write... they all had to write a 1500 word essay on ... on one of 11 doctrines. And we went through it.

[R Newman] {?} college freshmen. They were either high school age or college freshmen.

[G Newman] Yes. College freshmen. And Sarah had a part to play in that. My son who is 24 had a part to play in this. And in terms of arming them, you really ... home schooling already gives them this differentiation. They are not in a conventional school, whether private or public. So right away they are different, so right away they are questions and so right away they have to start defending various kinds of things.

And Sarah and her friends and the... the group eventually was, I believe, six, six young college age kids that stayed for an entire year and took notes and we went though the whole thing. But we did it from a... the standpoint of defending the faith. What do you say when they say this? And what do you say when you say that? And you can’t do that unless you are willing to get into some of these doctrinal areas.

And those... they were excited about it.

[Rushdoony] I know. Excuse me.

[G Newman] Go ahead.

[Rushdoony] Last year in Virginia Sarah was asking question after question with an amazing insight into key areas. It was really very refreshing.

[G Newman] She is...

[R Newman] She is quite a student.

[G Newman] She is... she is the most of all her brother and sisters, she is by far the... the most advanced in... in that area. She has a... she has a love for this kind of thing and... and I have... I thank God for that. Not all our kids are ... are like that.

[R Newman] ...are like that. She has had the amazing ability to always ask the correct question or to {?} to ask the question. She had the opportunity to go to Interlochen music camp for three years. And throughout the course of the study there through the summer time they had certain performances that students were required to attend. And one of the performances that Sarah was required to attend was one of all this modern atonal music. And afterwards they went back to class and the professor said, “You know, well, what did you think of the concert?”

Sarah raises her hand and says, “I have one question.”

He says, “Yes.”

She said, “What is the definition of music?”

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[R Newman] And that is exactly how she thinks.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[R Newman] And she was not going to render an opinion on this concert until she knew exactly what the definition of music was supposed to be.

[G Newman] Now that either gets you some respect or it gets you some...

[multiple voices]

[Rushdoony] Douglas, you were going to ask something. [00:39:03]

[Murray] Well, both my sons graduated from University...[edit]

[Murray] Well, both my sons graduated from University of California. And one of the things that they brought to my attention is that there is animosity directed toward people who excel. I mean, it is part of our culture. It is almost a cliché, nowadays. For instance at University of California the ... the students from the Pacific rim countries, Korea and so forth, Japan, who do really well because they are highly motivated and their parents are, you know, pushing. But they draw a lot of fire, you know, from the other students, because they are pulling the curve up. And it would seem to me part of the training to learn the finesse of deflecting that anger on the part of Christian home school children who do really well, who excel. Rather than letting fester, be able to address it so that it diffuses it and goes away. How do you do that?

[R Newman] Something {?}

[G Newman] I don’t... I don’t really know. I think that ... I think our experience with our own kids and with others is ... I mean, pride is pride from that standpoint. And excellence, home school kids can often accelerate faster because you don’t have a lot of these institutional barriers. And they do have to... they do have to acknowledge that every good and perfect gift is from the father of lights. It isn’t... they have nothing to boast over from that standpoint. They really need to be grateful. And it is as big a challenge, I think, for home schoolers as it is for anyone else. If there is an advantage it is ... the advantage is that the parents in a home schooling situation have a lot more, have the potential of having a lot more credibility with their own kids, because they are a... a much more visible example of self sacrifice, a more visible example of dedication and commitment. And that carries a lot of weight. And I say it is potential, because unfortunately too many parents miss that. Home schooling is not equally understood and accepted by home schoolers and so forth. And so you do have, for example, a lot of dads who do not endorse the home schooling idea, but they put up with it, because their wife wants to do it. So you have a lot of... you have tensions there. That is destructive. That is not a good situation for the kids. One of our biggest jobs is to get dads to buy into home education and to support what their wives are doing. There is a lot of resentment there, because sometimes wives give up a job that they were earning money to stay home full time to teach their children. And some of these short sighted and stupid husbands don’t realize what a ... a great gift that they have in their wife wanting to do this and they actually throw obstacles and hostility towards their life in doing this. So you will find in ... in just about every Christian home school association, you will find an emphasis on trying to get dads to do ... to buy into this and so that potential can be realized. [00:42:39]

But we do have, I think, an advantage in deflecting...[edit]

But we do have, I think, an advantage in deflecting those kinds of things in teaching our kids, because of the home schooling that tutorial one on one family type of environment.

[Murray] Well, I think one of the methods that I have seen work is that network, study groups. Universities tend to be pretty ruthless places. And the faculty, you know, extols that. It is survival of the fittest, really. And if kids buy into that, it gets to be a pretty ruthless world. Some even commit suicide, because they can’t handle the pressure. They are not equipped for it. And I think that Christian school kids could probably go a long way at helping by forming study groups, you know, among the kids who really want to get somewhere and help deflect some of that animosity that is directed toward the high achievers.

[G Newman] Well, I know that Sarah, for example, has been successful in her philosophy classes at putting forth a biblical world view, but not jamming it down the throat of her professors.

[R Newman] There is a fine line there.

[G Newman] There is a fine line. And Sarah and I ... I have had wonderful conversations with her as we ... as she was given a paper to do, for example on Kant. And, of course, if your professor is Kantian he doesn't want to see all this kind of criticism, you know, thrown. So how do you ... and Sarah’s attitude is: Look. I have got to somehow get a biblical worldview inserted in here, but I don’t want to flunk the class. So there is the tension, because I tell Sarah, “You are not there to change the university. You are there to get an A. And then you can change and so forth. But you are there to ... you are not there to fight... You are not the Joan of Ark of the philosophy department at this particular university, especially when you are a freshman or a sophomore,” something like that.

So we have had a lot of fun with that and I think a lot of this has to do with the willingness of the student to... to engage and to kind of experiment a little bit. This is kind of uncharted waters in many respects. I don't know too many models. [00:45:04]

[R Newman] I think you bring up something else interesting...[edit]

[R Newman] I think you bring up something else interesting, too, which is the fact that there is animosity for a high standard. The quality of the other students that are going there should be striving for the same. Right? Why would they have animosity? They should be...

[Murray] Well, the... the...

[R Newman] There is that leveling.

[Murray] Yeah.

[R Newman] going on in our society, that dumbing down that...

[Murray] Because of the ... this ruthless attitude that is engendered by the faculty who will get up in front of the new class and say, “Half of you won’t be here two weeks from now.” You know, that is pretty tough talk for a freshman some kids just out of high school, you know, who has got... got to get through this some how. If they are not equipped to handle that, handle it with some grace as most kids are not going through the public school, it is ... it causes them a lot... a lot of them an enormous distress.

[Rushdoony] We are used to thinking of professors as persons with the position and dignity and stature. And we forget how many of them are coarse, crude and downright evil. And they take a delight in using their power over the students.

[R Newman] Our son Michael is going through that right now.

[G Newman] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[R Newman] Except in a class it is nothing but the agenda of this particular professor. And it is terrible.

[Rushdoony] Well, one of our biggest problems—and that is why I have had Andrea Schwartz write about the experiences that Antony is having, because most parents are convinced that the university or college is a place of dignity and fairness and so on. Well, that is not true. It is a very ugly place. A campus magazine which represents the conservative students across country in every issue documents things that make Antony’s experiences sometimes look like child’s play. And the sad fact is that Christian colleges are not much better. They are church related and they are compromisers. They want to please the universities and so they are ugly places.

I really am appalled at the simple minded approach of so many Christians, even this second article about Antony’s experiences drew some critical phone calls and Andrea reported them to me. And it was amazing. They are not able to communicate with their student children so their college student children are not telling them the truth or else they have surrendered and gone to the other side. [00:48:15]

One of the things that Christians have to do is to...[edit]

One of the things that Christians have to do is to create a Christian academic community and they have to recognize that some of the most highly respected evangelical colleges which are regarded as strong in the faith are compromisers to the nth degree. And you can document that at great length, but the alumni or the parents refuse to admit that it can be true.

[G Newman] Well some... there... a lot of the Christianity that ... that we see is very superficial.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[G Newman] And I think that is ... it comes really as a shock to students as well as families when ... when, you know, the faith is being assailed. They aren’t being armed. A lot... a lot of times, Douglas, they are not armed because they don’t want to be armed.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[G Newman] They want to somehow love, accommodate, assimilate, compromise. They are not being taught to contend with error. They are not being taught that it is righteous and good to oppose evil intellectually and ... and so forth. They really don’t believe that, that somehow the New Testament sort of either did away with that or inverted it and the turning of the cheek, they do that in... at every opportunity even if it means to sacrifice the name of our Lord and... and everything that he stood for and everything he tried to do.

[Rushdoony] One of the great evils is ... of our time are the accreditation committees. And they insist that you are not truly a college unless you meet their approval. And their standards tell you that step by step you are going to have to be like the state colleges and universities to please them.

Now this is something directed against the independent school. For example, Harvard is not accredited. And that is true of other big universities.

[R Newman] Is that right?

[Rushdoony] Oh, yes. Yes.

[R Newman] I didn’t know that.

[Rushdoony] They are not going to have any council of professors come in and tell them you are ok, you are really a university. The idea is incredible to them. Those committees are for the idiot groups like Christians who decide to pour millions into a... start a new college and so they call in the accreditation committee to approve them. Well, the accreditation committee is very happy to approve them just given a few little adjustments, because they are now inside the fold. [00:51:26]

And each time the committee visits them it tells them...[edit]

And each time the committee visits them it tells them, “Well, you have this to do and that to do,” until step by step they have made them the same as the state colleges.

We have ways of getting around that. I know here in California if it is a church related college or seminary it is not subject to any such regulation.

[G Newman] Well, you know, it is interesting. I mentioned CHEM’s creation science convention. One of the largest and most successful Christian schools in eastern Michigan determined that they would not teach creation science as a valid alternative. Actually they teach their theistic evolutionists. And I know this because several of the teachers came up to me from that particular school and they came to the creation science convention to arm themselves with the scientific evidence and all of the great work that creation scientists are doing. And the reason why these schools are not open to teaching creation science and affirming the Word of God is because of accreditation. They are more interested in getting accredited by these important accreditation associations then they are in teaching the truth.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[G Newman] And it is... it can be pretty disheartening.

[Rushdoony] Well...

[G Newman] ... to see that.

[Rushdoony] In this state...

[R Newman] That is very interesting. It is not necessary, because there are plenty of home schoolers that put together their own transcripts and the kids go on to college and do very well and nobody has accredited anyone.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Well, in this state even though a church related college or seminary need not seek accreditation, they do. That is how brainwashed and stupid they are.

[G Newman] Yeah, they do. They... they look of it.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[G Newman] When they don’t...

[Rushdoony] They boast of it.

[G Newman] Our kids... our kids ... we... our kids have never had a problem applying to college. They take the SATs if they want to apply to college. It is a nationally normed reference test. We give them a college transcript. They take an interview and they get accepted or rejected on that basis.

This whole idea of accreditation and certification and all of this stuff is a myth.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[G Newman] It is really used to control, not to further standards and ... and educational {?}

[R Newman] It is really control.

[Rushdoony] We have just a few minutes left. Does anyone want to make a ... a statement or ask a question in that time? [00:54:11]

[M. Rushdoony] Could you briefly comment on your ... what... do you use a traditional curriculum or do you ... are you a more free in what materials do you use?

[R Newman] We basically use a traditional curriculum. The kids pretty much have English, math, science, history, language phonics kind of thing, reading, every... every year all the way through every grade. We have used a lot of... I like Abeka for the early grades. What else have we used? Well, we have just taken other text books.

[G Newman] We have used Saxon.

[R Newman] Yeah.

[G Newman] There is... there is a lot of good material.

[R Newman] Saxon math.

[G Newman] ... out there.

[R Newman] And... what is the constitution book that I did? Gary DeMar has got in government with the older kids.

So we... we are a little bit eclectic, but for the most part routine and structured.

I don’t use a lot of unit studies, per se. We probably do one per year simply because it is an awful lot of work when you have six kids that you are schooling at any one particular point in time. They have to do all the groundwork, all the research and put everything together for everyone. For me it is just more time consuming than the results that... that I have gotten from it. I... I do each of the kids has their own math book and their own, you know, English book, et cetera. And we do Bible together. And we usually do one unit study of some kind per... per year. This year we did some kind of things were more medieval studies and...

[G Newman] When we got...

[R Newman] A lot of the kids wanted to do that.

[G Newman] When we got started, Mark, we did use a off the shelf organized program A to Z because we needed to get started. That is not a bad way to get your feet wet.

[Rushdoony] Any other comments or questions?

[R Newman] I would like to comment and just thank you and Dorothy and all the other family here. How wonderful you have been to Gene and I as we have been here visiting.

[off mic voice]

[R Newman] We have had a wonderful time and you have been so gracious and giving to us.

[Rushdoony] Well...

[R Newman] Thank you very much.

[G Newman] We are very appreciative.

[Rushdoony] We are privileged that you did come and we hope you will come again and soon. And it has been about, let’s see, your baby was just how old when you were last here?

[R Newman] Six months.

[Rushdoony] She was less than a year as I recall it.

Well, our time is up. Thank you all for listening. And thank you, Gene and Robin, for being with us. God bless you always.