The Ironic Curtain by Allan C. Carlson

Quodlibet

The Ironic Curtain

This past May, my wife Betsy and I spoke at the third biennial Global Home Education Conference, attended by homeschoolers from 35 nations. The locale might come as a surprise: it was a two-city event in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia. While the "liberal democracies" of Germany, Sweden, and Norway have recently criminalized home schooling, jailing offending parents and seizing their children, "authoritarian" Russia has legalized the practice as a recognition of "natural" parental rights.

Prominent members of the Duma attending the event praised home education as the best way to rear "spiritually strong" children grounded in Russia's Christian heritage. This mode of education, parliamentarian Inga Yumasheva declared, also grows out of the very purpose of human marriage: to bear children and rear them as moral beings. Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, chairman of the Patriarchal Commission on Family Matters of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular television host (he has been called Russian Orthodoxy's "Fulton J. Sheen"), also addressed the gathering. He lauded home schooling as the "recovery of a natural, God-given" thing. Nothing is sweeter and nobler, he said, than for parents to teach their children and build "the image of Christ" within them. "Because this movement now exists in Russia," he confided, "it is easier for me to fall asleep."

Viewed through a wider lens, the event reveals again the growing divide in Europe, and in the world. As the Irish vote for abortion and as the whole of Western Europe submits to LGBT masters, expressions of Christian moral values grow stronger in most parts of post-Communist Eastern Europe as well as among the Christian lands of Sub-Saharan Africa. In short, the Culture War is global and is being cast in ever-sharper relief.

Allan C. Carlson is the John Howard Distinguished Senior Fellow at the International Organization for the Family. His most recent book is Family Cycles: Strength, Decline & Renewal in American Domestic Life, 1630-2000 (Transaction, 2016). He and his wife have four grown children and nine grandchildren. A "cradle Lutheran," he worships in a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He is a senior editor for Touchstone.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

Online
Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.


more on education from the online archives

18.6—Nov/Dec 2005

Lesson Plan

on Fifteen Principles of Christian Parenting by Paige Patterson

25.5—Sept/Oct 2012

Easy Burden

on the Blessings & Challenges of Homeschooling by Graeme Hunter

31.1—January/February 2018

Ivy League Advice Worth Repeating

by Robert P. George


more from the online archives

26.1—Jan/Feb 2013

The Destroyer of Peace

on Abortion as a Matter of National Welfare by W. Ross Blackburn

21.6—July/August 2008

The European Disunion

Benedict XVI on the Crisis of Faith & Reason by Samuel Gregg

22.4—May 2009

Take & Give

on Two Words That Describe the Workings of Love by Bruce Brander

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

00