Monday, January 19, 2009

Coby's book

In Kyle's sermon yesterday, he used a third-grader named Coby to make a powerful point about conviction. Students in Coby's class were allowed to read a book in class. And Coby chose "The Three Trees"-- about trees that were made into a boat, a table, and a cross-- all used by Christ. His teacher and the principal initially refused to allow him to read the book. But then they relented after the Mom pushed back (and the kid was interested enough to persevere). Independent of the merits of the "push" (more below), it was an impressive example of conviction, especially for a 3rd-grader.

Kyle's use of Coby (the 3rd-grader with the book) was also interesting in light of the principles we covered yesterday in my Sunday School lesson on economic principles.

First, we have to speculate because we don't know what was being done in that classroom previously. But assuming a relatively consistent, neutral, restrictive set of book choices (nothing controversial like Coby's book, "a book on Satan", etc.)-- what are the "opportunity costs" of allowing a broader set of books to be chosen by kids. Interestingly, would Christians be happy with the new regime-- or upset that their kids were not being protected from books they find objectionable. Kyle touched on this but didn't elaborate. In any case, it seems to me that many (more?) Christians would have complained to learn that Coby was being exposed to a book on witchcraft (or even Harry Potter), a book lauding Islam or Mormonism, or "Heather has two mommies".

Second, the key problem in this example is the government monopoly-- with its resulting lack of choice. If people were (much more) free to attend a variety of schools-- rather than just the government-run school in their neighborhood-- then competition and choice could take care of this conundrum. If you want XYZ at your school, fine. If you want ABC at your school, the market is likely to provide that-- or at least something closer to your preferences-- as well. We often talk about the tyranny of the majority or the tyranny of the minority. But really, it's the tyranny of the monopoly that is at the root of the problem.


At January 19, 2009 at 9:47 AM , Blogger Bryce Raley said...

Great point that wasn't discussed in the sermon. If I had to guess the kid who brought a book on Wicca or Islam by some type of reverse tolerance would be allowed to share the book. If you agree to allow the Christian book then you would have to stomach the other books, but you last point is the answer above all debate.

If tonight someone prayed on stage with Obama to Allah or to any other God aside from Jesus Christ- we wouldn't hear much tomorrow morning from the ACLU or any atheists. They don't seem to be as offended if it's not the name of Christ. The name of Jesus tends to offend way more than any other.

Your last point is so true. I grew up in Catholic school where they taught exactly what they wanted. Once again a Monopoly especially a government one, is to blame.


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