Kunzman is very concerned in the book with whether homeschooled kids get to encounter what he calls "ethical diversity". It's not enough in his view to merely expose kids to differing beliefs; he wants parents to:
"present conflicting perspectives- that they themselves reject -in the strongest possible light, to allow their children the opportunity to genuinely consider them as potentially reasonable alternatives."He criticizes homeschoolers who
"emphasize why [they] believe those alternate worldviews are wrong".Rather, home educators ought to
"provide the best case for [other worldviews], showing that they have points worth considering, even though at the end of the day you feel they're incomplete or even wrong?"First of all, I don't believe for one second that government-run schools in this country present Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular in the strongest possible light or provide the best case for it. Just look at the treatment of the Church in the typical world history course. So it's hypocritical to criticize homeschoolers for not presenting alternative worldviews in a positive enough manner.
But leaving aside the bias in government-run schools for the moment, I take issue with Kunzman's basic premise. There's a difference between recognizing that we live in a pluralistic society where people are free to believe what they choose, and saying that all those beliefs are equally valid & should be presented as such. I reject moral relativism and I am going to teach my kids through the prism of our family's Catholic faith. I don't consider other worldviews to be "potentially reasonable alternatives" with "points worth considering" as if I'm merely choosing between different flavors of ice cream. This is eternal salvation that's on the line.
Do I fully support others' freedom to hold a different worldview? Absolutely. God gave each of us free will, and we have the liberty to choose our own paths. Christ warned us that the way is narrow and that only a few would find it. We should therefore not be surprised that there are so many competing worldviews. The Founding Fathers in their wisdom granted us Americans the legal protection to follow whatever religion we choose for ourselves. Respect for pluralism, however, does not mean that I don't consider other worldviews to be, quite simply, wrong.
I'm not going to be all wishy-washy and pretend that there is no objective right or wrong, just whatever's right for each of us individually. In Kunzman's chapter on the Protestant "Generation Joshua" youth civics program, he makes it clear that he disapproves of such an "adversarial", "narrow", and "dogmatic" view and he prefers one filled with "moral shades of gray", where "reasonable disagreement might exist on important issues." Christ, however, framed things in black-or-white terms: "He who is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). That's the lens through which I'm going to teach my children.
Kunzman's book was published by Beacon Press, which apparently is the publishing arm of the liberal Unitarian Universalist Church. I'm not sure if Kunzman is Unitarian himself [Updated: he appears to be a member of the UU Church of Bloomington] but certainly he shares their enthusiasm for "ethical diversity" and dislike of moral absolutes. It may strike him as "adversarial" for me to teach my worldview as right and all other worldviews as wrong. But Jesus came into this world in order to be the adversary of sin. My responsibility as a parent is to do the best I can to raise my children to be Christ's disciples. As St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."