Recently a homeschooling friend of mine told me that the establishment of compulsory public schooling by the federal government was unconstitutional. Being that she is more politically savvy than me, I suspected that she could be right. I have a lot more research to do on this. I'm sure it is covered in The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. This is a huge tome which will require much time to wade through, but you can begin with his youtube videos. I found this link to the issue of constitutionality that makes for another good start: http://www.newswithviews.com/Stuter/stuter9.htm. The author cites the violation of religious liberty as the basis of the unconstitutionality of public schools. This is interesting, since government schools claim to protect religious freedom by eliminating any references to God.
Yet it can be argued that government schools actively teach secular humanism:
NounHumanism, with regard in particular to the belief that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without belief in God.
Is secular humanism a religion? Religion does not only refer to one's beliefs in God but relates also to beliefs about God. The origin of the universe, questions of morality, and the meaning and purpose of life are tied up in religion, whether or not one believes in God or feels that God is necessary. Atheism is a religion. Humanism is defined as a belief in relation to morals, self-fulfillment, and the existence of God. Sounds like a religion to me, and one of its primary tenets is the philosophy of moral relativism, which you can read more about here: http://carm.org/moral-relativism. The basic idea is that morality is based upon no absolute truth, but is always relative to personal opinion, the particular situation, popular culture, historical time period, and the like. This is the religion taught in government schools.
"The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a 'system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.' " (Wikipedia)
Darwin's theory of evolution is also a tenet of secular humanism. Is creationism even taught as a scientific theory anymore in the public schools?
Secular humanism, moral relativism, and Darwin's evolutionary theory fit Geertz's religious criteria. As the HHS mandate attempts to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of the people of the United States, we need to be especially vigilant to guard against further violations of religious liberty in the public schools and in relation to homeschooling laws. Give the dragon an inch, and he'll take the whole highway.