Sleeper Cell Schools and the Mandate to Rule

The Role of Education in Shaping a Hostile Culture

In a recent American Reformer essay titled “Fortress Building in a Negative World”, Timon Cline and Clifford Humphrey presented an argument assembled on the foundation of Aaron Renn’s Negative World thesis that the conservative Christian path forward in the ongoing culture war is to take up the minority position and subsequently build institutions that act as fortresses or redoubts of conservative Christian thought and practice. This is a change from the 1980s and 90s moral majority strategy of trying to “Take Back the Country for God” and is modeled on other minority groups (namely Roman Catholics) who built similar institutions in early 20th century America.

And while building fortresses seems fine in red-state redoubts of Texas or Florida, where the state government is tangentially supportive of conservative Christian aims, fortresses are still targets and as we learned from the historical and now extinct kingdoms of Antioch, Edessa, Tripoli, and Jerusalem, buttresses and walls invite invasion and domination. So where does that leave those of us who are Christian conservatives in liberal or progressive communities? How should we then proceed?

I argue that the example of the sleeper cell is actually the path forward for those Christians and can be promoted most effectively through Christian Schools passing on the mandate to rule. 

So what is a sleeper cell? Functioning with utmost discretion, a sleeper cell operates covertly, concealing its true identity and intentions from the outside world. Its members blend seamlessly into their surroundings, adopting cover identities and maintaining a low profile to avoid detection.

Yet beneath this facade of normalcy lies a network of dedicated operatives, diligently working to advance their agenda and achieve their objectives. Through careful planning, strategic coordination, and patient waiting, a sleeper cell lays the groundwork for its eventual activation, preparing to unleash its full force when the time is right.

The strength of a sleeper cell lies in its ability to remain undetected, operating beneath the radar of its adversaries while quietly amassing resources, gathering intelligence, and recruiting allies. Like a dormant seed waiting to sprout, a sleeper cell patiently awaits the signal to awaken and spring into action, catching its enemies off guard and executing its mission with precision and efficiency.

In essence, a sleeper cell embodies the principles of stealth, patience, and resilience, operating in the shadows until the opportune moment arises to emerge into the light and fulfill its destiny.

A conservative Christian school can function as a sleeper cell in a highly progressive area by operating as a bastion of traditional values and beliefs within a larger cultural landscape that may be hostile or indifferent to those principles.

Like a sleeper cell embedded within enemy territory, a conservative Christian school infiltrates the progressive environment by offering an alternative worldview and educational experience. While outwardly conforming to legal and regulatory requirements, the school subtly undermines the prevailing progressive ideology by instilling conservative values in its students.

Modern conceptions of sleeper cells draw our minds to the GWOT and the operations of Al Qaeda or to the current soft conflict with China and their Confucius Institutes, but the idea of a front organization that supports the aims of an outside group is a historically common project. The Fenian Society acted as a public-facing political entity organizing on behalf of Irish independence while simultaneously being an information distribution network and military operation financially supported by Clan Na Gael from America and even foreign nations like Germany in WWI.

This public image, though open to criticism, was kept separate from its private workings and its creation led eventually to the IRB and eventually to home rule in Ireland. Now, looking at Ireland today, one might say to themselves that it is a lost place, captive to liberalism, but that liberalism itself was imported into Ireland through the establishment of “all-denominational” state education. 

In such a way, local churches, para-church organizations, and even outside state actors who fund and support the Christian school trapped in blue hell are allowing the teachers to operate basically a legitimate public-facing organization while indoctrinating and inculcating students into a traditional Christian vision for the future. Refusal to fly the LGBT colors. Refusal to comply with DEI requirements. Refusal to embrace the psycho-babble of the left. All these stances are open to critique from outside, but the real work is being done in the lives of the students and the financing of their basedness is being done by aligned interests far away.

Just as a sleeper cell relies on covert alliances to advance its objectives, a conservative Christian school may form strategic partnerships with other conservative organizations, churches, and community groups to amplify its influence and reach. By collaborating with like-minded allies, the school can leverage its resources and connections to promote conservative values and initiatives in the broader community. More importantly, the sleeper cell could function with support from outside state and non-state entities that abide by federal law though contravening state law through their support for these schools. 

Imagine the following scenario: The Christian governor of Florida decides to direct state funds to the support of an aligned Christian school in Harlem that is advancing a Christian nationalist agenda in the hearts and minds of the majority Salvadorian immigrant community, a community already attuned to that rhetoric, and is doing so under the guise of supporting “underfunded communities”. In this way, we use the liberals’ own desire for equity to undermine their position in the hearts and minds of the very community they draw their constituencies from.

Like any effective sleeper cell, a conservative Christian school takes a long-term view of its mission, recognizing that meaningful cultural change takes time and persistence. By investing in the intellectual, physical, and spiritual development of successive generations of students, the school lays the groundwork for the gradual transformation of society according to conservative ideals. It serves as a counterpoint to the flabby, morally bankrupt landscape of public education, where students languish in a quagmire of mediocrity, moral relativism, and spiritual malaise. This is contrasted by the Christian student’s inculcation of the natural virtues of courage, justice, self-control, wisdom with the spiritual virtues of faith, hope, and love. This comes with the understanding that true leadership emanates from a foundation of moral excellence rooted in the teachings of Christ.

Through its curriculum, teaching methods, and extracurricular activities, the school subtly indoctrinates its students with conservative principles such as respect for authority, traditional values, and reverence for religious faith. Values that are incidental or even opposed by liberalism’s “freeing from every prior obligation”. By immersing students in an environment that reinforces these beliefs, the school shapes their worldview from an early age, preparing them to uphold conservative ideals in the face of opposition.

A conservative Christian school fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among its students, parents, and faculty, creating a tight-knit network of like-minded individuals who support and reinforce each other’s beliefs. This sense of belonging strengthens the school’s identity as a bastion of conservatism within the larger progressive culture, allowing it to resist external pressures and maintain its ideological integrity while giving them the right to rule. As ones who see the way forward clearly among a sea of the lost, the well-trained Christian student will naturally feel it is incumbent on them to chart a path forward for the surrounding culture.

That right to rule is reflected in the exterior realities of the Christian school student’s physical fitness. In the arena of physical education, the disparity between Christian schools and public schools is equally glaring. While America’s obesity epidemic continues unabated, public school students increasingly succumb to a sedentary lifestyle. Despite years of mandatory physical education, their physical readiness plummets amidst a culture of convenience and indulgence. On the other hand, Christian school students are challenged to honor God with their bodies, recognizing that physical health is a sacred stewardship to be nurtured and maintained.

Christian schools instill in students a sense of purpose and destiny, challenging them to be catalysts for change and transformation in a world besieged by moral decay and spiritual apathy. As they say in the public schools, “Be the Change You Want to See”. So while public school students flounder in a sea of aimlessness and apathy, Christian school students are emboldened to confront the cultural zeitgeist head-on, armed with the unassailable truths of Scripture and fortified by a resolute commitment to Christ’s lordship.

As such, any Conservative Christian institution or state actor that wishes to see the proliferation of traditional Christian norms and a rising up of the future generation of Christian leaders to take back liberal America for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ should be identifying and funding these very institutions that undermine the power structures of the current ruling regime. 

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Mark Freeman

Mark Freeman is an educational administrator and editor from California.

2 thoughts on “Sleeper Cell Schools and the Mandate to Rule

  1. But where is the mandate for Christians to rule in the New Testament? Are we not called to imitate Jesus in His 1st coming? And didn’t Jesus come to serve and sacrifice Himself in His first coming? Didn’t Jesus tell us to go on when people do not accept our preaching of the Gospel? Didn’t Jesus tell us not to be like the heathen who love to lord it over others? Didn’t Jesus tell Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world? And how does this mandate to rule not replace the Great Commission?

    If one cannot please God without faith, how is our mandating and imposing our Christian values on others causing them to please God? And what about Freeman’s attitude toward liberals, progressives, and the left? Does he not sound like the Pharisee from the parable of the two men praying? And by telling us to rule over others, is he not telling us to imitate that Pharisee from the parable of the two men praying? When Marx called for a proletariat dictatorship, Marx was calling for the proletariat to seize the role of the Pharisee from that parable.

    Finally, when Paul tells us not to conform to the world, shouldn’t we see at least a few red flags rising when we start borrowing approaches taken by groups like Al Qaeda, the Confucius Institutes or the Fenian Society? Were those groups involved in preaching the Gospel so that unbelievers could hear and come to faith? Did Al Qaeda tell its followers to turn the other cheek when struck and to love its enemies? If the mandate to rule cannot be found in the New Testament, then where is Freeman’s desire to preach the mandate to rule coming from?

    1. Where is the condemnation of Christians wanting to rule? There is none, you are trying to make a sin that which has not been declared sinful. We are not owed success, but to suggest that even trying to attain it is sinful is absolutely wrong.

      We are not trying to conform to the world, we are trying to make the world conform to Christ. That is the Great Commission, something that those of your ideological persuasion have failed to do.

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