Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 22, 1962
NUMBER 41, PAGE 2,11b

The Problem Of Dancing In Public Schools

Warren Rainwater, Plainfield, Indiana

In recent years we have been busy fighting the problems of institutionalism and modernism with its kindred problems until we have overlooked some of the very basic evils among us. The problem of dancing has engulfed us in our way of life and many of us are not doing anything about it from the pulpit or otherwise. The evil of the modern dance has been known for many years by those who would not oppose it on the ground of religious teaching but on the ground of morals alone. In this article I want to discuss with the reader the problem of dancing in our public schools.

The public school system has been devised as perhaps the very best way to educate our children in our time. However, in recent years we have seen the public schools move from the basic principle of teaching the three "R's" into a more complex system which actually has become a system which is working well toward setting the moral standards of this generation. The schools, with the local PTA, have moved into an area of activity which should be confined to the home. In order to make every student 'socially acceptable," dancing and other activities have been introduced into the curriculum of the public schools and pressure brought to bear upon boys and girls to participate.

When I was preaching in another state, it was necessary for me to write several letters to the local High School in order to get girls of the congregation who were dedicated Christians excused from taking dancing. It is a sad state of affairs when a father or mother cannot inform a school official of their opposition to dancing and have that request honored without the preacher having to write a letter regarding the matter. I am convinced our public schools are moving into a very dangerous error when they take upon themselves the right to speak and act in such ways as described.

Another alarming thing concerning this menace is the lack of concern from Christians who are forced to send their children to these schools. In the aforementioned state, some of the preachers decided to try to bring pressure upon the school to get them to stop such practices and we made an attempt to get a petition signed by members of the church to use in this battle. Some congregations cooperated by allowing the petition to be placed on the bulletin board for signatures. Many members of the church signed but some congregations didn't encourage the effort at all and refused to allow the petition to be displayed. This shows how we have drifted into this condition. Dancing has become one of the greatest moral issues among us and as long as we allow our schools to teach our children without putting up a fight for what is right, we are going to see more and more ungodly things come into the schools. If every person who claims to be a Christian would go to the officials and complain and work to do something about it, in many cases dancing could be stopped. But as long as we stand by and do not speak up first for our rights as a citizen of this great country, we are inviting trouble for our children. This doctrine of being "socially acceptable" is going to off-set the work done in the home and church unless we fight it on every hand.

Someone might say, "What can I do?" Go to the principal and talk to him about the problem and express your views on the matter. As a rule you will find him most cooperative and willing to help in the matter. In most places they have come to the conclusion that dancing is not contrary to the thinking of the parents because of the failure of the parents to express themselves and complain. Also many of the most highly regarded members of the church engage in the dances in one way or the other. On one occasion, I was able to get assurance from the principal that no child would be allowed to take dancing without the expressed consent of the parents. In fact, they had to ask for the right to take dancing. This was far different from the policy of the other school mentioned before in this article. We must take the initiative in this matter if we expect to get it stopped. It can be done in many ways but the way most effective, in my experiences, is to show that you firmly believe they are moving in on the ground of religious freedom because dancing is involved in those things forbidden as the lusts of the flesh, and for a school to promote something that is contrary to the principle of right taught in the Word of God is the same as teaching a child a false doctrine. In fact by engaging in teaching dancing, they are setting themselves up as interpreters of the Scripture. What is the difference in teaching him to disregard some parts of the Bible and teaching him to wink at the restraints placed upon us by the Word?

I contend it is not right under the constitution of the United States of America for a public school teacher to become the interpreter of religious truth even indirectly by teaching activities contrary to beliefs of students formed by religion's conviction. It is high time we awaken to menace while we have the time. Unless there is a change, we will soon find it common place for the eldership to endorse such and the pulpit to be as silent as the tomb on the subject.