Alliance for the Separation of School & State
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The Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 3, April 1996

Proclaimer Profile

Each month, we will profile individuals who have signed the Proclamation for the Separation of School & State.

Government cannot help our children 'walk in truth'

On March 4, 1995, World magazine ? a newsweekly in the format of Time or Newsweek, but with reporting and commentary from a Christian perspective ? endorsed the goals of the Separation of School & State Alliance. "It should be just as distatesful (and alarming) to see state involvement in the local Jones Elementary School as it is for the state to serve as a sponsor of the local First Baptist Church," the magazine editorialized.

Joel Belz, World's publisher, says he had no hesitation about coming out in favor of Separation. He disagrees with his fellow Christians who say that going back to the 1950s, when public schools started each day with a prayer, would make everything all right. "At best you would just get a lot of quasi-Christian trappings. Even if you got prayer back, it wouldn't be what you would want your children to pray."

A native of Iowa, Belz moved to Tennessee in 1964 to work for Covenant College, eventually becoming headmaster of what is now Chattanooga Christian School. He moved to Asheville, NC, in 1977 to work for the Presbyterian Journal, which was founded by the father-in-law of Billy Graham. In 1981 the Journal's publishing company began producing a series of children's magazines which now reach nearly a third of a million young people. Reflecting a shift from "an ecclesiastical to an educational mission," the company no longer publishes Presbyterian Journal, but has found success with World. Started in 1986 and available only by subscription, World's circulation is now at 50,000 and well on its way to Belz's goal of 100,000. (For information, call 800-951-NEWS or write Box 2330, Asheville, NC 28802.)

The father of five daughters, Belz reaffirms his own father's thinking on the subject of state schooling (see Max Victor Belz quote, front page). "I love where the apostle John writes, 'I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth.' That resonates with every parent. And what greater distress do you have than to discover that your children are not walking in truth? The government has demonstrated that it doesn't know how to do welfare, doesn't know how to deliver the mail, doesn't know how to get international trade right. Why on earth should I expect it to educate my children the way I want them to be educated? That's why the work of the Separation Alliance is so important."

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