Government schools have been the focus of much controversy in recent months. Critical race theory and the acceptance of homosexuality and transgenderism are just a couple of the realities found in government centers of education.
Private schools can offer a refuge from these things. However, there remains the possibility that these errors undermining the foundation of a solid education can creep in. Sometimes these things creep in slowly, other times they seem to come all at once, in response to the cultural norms at play.
Even Christian schools, established to honor Christ and apply the Bible, are susceptible to these dangers.
An example close to home is Lancaster Mennonite School.
The purpose of Lancaster Mennonite School is “to change our world through innovative Christ-centered education.” Founded in 1942, the school aims to infuse a Christ-centered faith into learning and understanding. However, developments within the school are raising concerns that it may be veering away from its supposed Christian roots. At the very least, the school needs to do some serious soul searching.
In 2018, the school hosted a five-week anti-racism training seminar, according to a news release from the school. “For three hours over five evenings, 35 people from faculty, staff, and administration met to talk and learn about what it means to be an anti-racist institution,” the release reads. “We learned a lot about our own implicit biases and how those biases can impact students.”
Further attempts to address racism led the school to create the Anti-Racism Taskforce. As part of the anti-racism campaign, a group of students and teachers discussed Robin DiAngelo’s video, “Deconstructing White Privilege.” They also toured the school, looking at posters, bookshelves, and bulletin boards “to see what visual racial representations appear to our students, and then actively removed images that might create negative racial associations in the classroom and added positive images and items to create empowerment,” according to an article written by Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider in the Fall 2019 edition of the Lancaster Mennonite Magazine.
In 2020, the school posted a webpage with recommended books and resources on racism from the taskforce. The page remains available today and states that it is an optional resources page for parents. It states that the school “chose to reflect the message of the greater Mennonite church, who has identified undoing racism as one of the core components of peacebuilding.”
Recommended books include “Antiracist Baby Board Book” by Ibram X. Kendi and “Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham.
Kendi is an “antiracism scholar…who doesn’t believe it’s possible to be ‘not racist,’” according to The Harvard Gazette. In a TED interview, Kendi said, “the heartbeat of racism itself has always been denial, and the sound of that heartbeat has always been ‘I’m not racist.’ And so what I am trying to do with my work is to really get Americans to eliminate the concept of ‘not racist’ from their vocabulary and realize, we’re either being racist or antiracist.”
Kendi’s antiracist baby book garnered headlines when Republican Senator Ted Cruz held up a copy of the book during the Senate confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and asked, “Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids that babies are racist?”
Another book by Kendi, “How to be an Antiracist,” is recommended by the Mennonite Church USA.
According to Fox News, Higginbotham’s book “contains a scene where a demonic figure offers the main character a ‘contract binding you to WHITENESS.’” The imaginary terms offer “stolen land,” “stolen riches,” and “special favors.” It adds that “WHITENESS gets” “your soul” and “to mess endlessly with the lives of your friends, neighbors, loved ones, and all fellow humans of COLOR.”
It does not appear these books are required reading at the school, but the fact that they are being recommended as quality resources is concerning. Racism is evil, but the solution is to address it with biblical truth, not by resources steeped in Critical Race Theory.
Faculty Member Allegedly Ran Tarot Card Reading Business
Parents sending children to private, Christian schools are right to expect the teachers to embody a Christian worldview, both inside and outside the classroom. However, recent social media posts have indicated that some community members are concerned that one faculty member allegedly runs a tarot card reading business.
Brightwing Tarot is a tarot card reading business that offers services in downtown Lancaster. Both the business’s Facebook page and Yellowplace page have been removed or disabled within the past few weeks. However, a listing on FindHealthClinics.com describes the business as “the work of Beth Weaver-Kreider.” The site explains that consultations are offered at Radiance in downtown Lancaster. “In a consultation, you will be reminded of synchronicities in your life, those magical coincidences that the Universe seems to create just to wake you up,” the description of the business explains. “We will look for messages from animal totems, spirit guides, angels, ancestors, and Goddess or God. We will keep open to dreams and omens and messages and what your own body tells you about who you are.”
A 2020 social media post from an account named Beth Weaver-Kreider stated, “Empathy, of course, is a kind of magic, says this witch.” Another online post from 2020 states that Weaver-Kreider allegedly purchased a book entitled “The Witches Wisdom Tarot.”
Divination is the practice of attempting to gain insight by reading portents or omens or trying to communicate with spirits. Such practices have traditionally been recognized as incompatible with Christianity. Most importantly, the Bible expressly forbids the use of such practices in Deuteronomy 18:9-12.
It is alleged that the Beth Weaver-Kreider behind Brightwing is the same woman that was listed on the school’s faculty page as Elizabeth Weaver-Kreider. Up until a few days ago, Weaver-Kreider was listed as an English teacher at Lancaster Mennonite School.
Her image and name were allegedly removed from the school’s public webpage that includes staff members sometime within the past few days. The reason for this removal is unclear. The Lancaster Patriot reached out to Lancaster Mennonite School for comment, but the school did not respond to requests. Attempts were also made to contact Weaver-Kreider, but none were successful.
Due to the lack of comment from the school, it is unclear if this is a case of the administration seeking to address this issue from a biblical worldview. But one thing is clear: parents cannot let their guards down when it comes to sending their children to school—even private, supposedly Christian schools.