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Special to the JTA U.S. Department of Education Mailing Deplores Erosion of ‘christian Values’ in Pu

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The Department of Education’s regional office director for western states, Thomas Tancredo, last month circulated in a mailing to Christian schools, and apparently, inadvertently, to some Jewish schools, a speech which deplored the erosion of “Christian values” in America’s public schools.

The 12-page speech, whose author was not identified, was attached to a cover letter written on DOE stationary and addressed as “dear friend.” It was signed by Tancredo. While lamenting the necessity for the establishment of Christian schools, the speech questioned how this could have happened in “this land of freedom, this Christian nation.”

The mailing of the speech on DOE stationary sparked an investigation by Rep. Patricia Shroeder (D. Col.), who will seek to determine whether the distribution of the letter at federal expense violated federal law. The mailing is believed to have been a “one shot deal.”

Shroeder’s action was hailed today by Dennis Rapps, executive director of the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA), who provided a copy of the document to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Where and when the speech was delivered is under investigation, Rapps said. He said COLPA obtained the letter from unidentified sources who had received the mailing. COLPA has written a letter protesting the mailing to acting Education Secretary Gary Jones. According to Rapps, the DOE has publicly justified the action claiming that it was limited to Christian schools, although some Jewish schools received the materials.

“What has happened to our Christian system of values,” the speech asks. It asserts that the Christian schools are being established because of the lack of Christian teaching in the public schools. The speech further stated that “it is important for Christian educators not to forget why our schools are here– to educate our children in Christian principles and to shield them from the pernicious religion of secular humanism.”

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