Greetings, Geneva families!
In this column you will see short pieces from myself or other teachers, a few articles, and I hope a number of writings from local pastors. Sometimes I give updates on current school issues. Since there are a few news items, I will refrain from a longer reflection this week.
The first item I’d like to mention is the closing of Little Wellspring. We’ve had many calls urging Geneva to step into this pressing local need, and it’s a compliment to our program that people hope we’ll do something. Will we? How does the school address such a thing? As you might guess, this is a Board level decision because it involves the mission and vision of the school. We started a daycare once before and closed it in the Covid lockdown days. There is a Board meeting tonight, and the topic is on the agenda. I will only add here, that it may be easier to run a K12 school than a large daycare program, and the government hurdles to operation are many. It is a daunting task, very time consuming, and expensive.
Next, families have heard about UVC and Little Wellspring receiving OSHA complaints almost immediately upon opening. We expected our own, and indeed we received it last Thursday morning. The timing was suspicious. I made a quick reply and expect to hear in the next several days if a further response will be necessary. Please pray that the Oregon Department of Education and their fired up enforcement agencies (Oregon Health Authority and Occupational Safety & Health Administration) would respect the efforts we’ve made to mitigate the spread of COVID and will leave us alone to do our work.
In regard to OHA/OSHA, I think it is important for school families to understand how the Governor is using these agencies. She “directs” OHA to write rules to embody her public policy or pandemic policy decisions. The OHA then uses OSHA to enforce the rules. As you know, the penalties for violations have gone from steep fines, to extreme fines, to loss of livelihood or even the ability to operate. The OHA/OSHA paradigm acts as a complete and separate government: it effectually legislates, it enforces, and it adjudicates. It’s rules touch on personal liberty, livelihoods, the operating of business or organizations, personal property, matters of conscience. No elected official can intervene on a citizen’s behalf if he falls afoul of OSHA. My Sheriff, my Commissioner, my State Representative, my City Councilman...none have any sway or power over OSHA.
This system is, I believe, unconstitutional. “A false balance is abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 11:1). A standard that can be manipulated to fall with power upon citizens without proper redress is a false balance. Though it may only be “temporary” to deal with a pandemic, we’re going on two years now, and Governors, and even the President of the United States, are using this separate OSHA system to force their mandates on citizens. We don’t know what the next crisis might be that “forces” the Governor to claim new emergency powers and send OHA/OSHA out to compel compliance to new mandates.
If you find yourself confused over whether our duty as Christians should be to comply out of love for our neighbors, or to not comply out of love for our neighbors, to comply out of obedience to God, or to not comply out of obedience to God, I suggest doing some careful research. A good starting point is by watching a series of sermons by local pastor Jeff Scott. You can find them on the Covenant Grace Media channel on YouTube. I recommend the sermons “Speaking Truth in a World of Lies”, “Standing for Truth in a World of Lies,” and “Freed to Serve the Lord.” (You can fast forward to the sermons). These will help you avoid being mushy in your understanding of the relationship between Biblical imperatives and political freedoms.
“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1
Praise God! Our school year has started!