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This Physical Education Textbook Chapter on ‘Riflery’ will Blow a Liberal’s Mind

What’s happened in America with guns? Why is it that tens of thousands of high school students took riflery classes for decades and there was very little gun violence in the United States?

I came across a Physical Education textbook that included chapters on riflery and archery – implements that shoot pointy projectiles.

PE_Rifle_CoverThe book Physical Education for High School Students was originally published in 1955 with a revised edition in 1960 and a second edition published in 1970.

Here’s the opening paragraph from the chapter on “Riflery”:

The United States of America was built, it is said, with three implements: the axe, the plow, and the rifle. The axe, in the hands of the stalwart pioneer, felled trees to clear the way for fields of grain. It also provided timber to build the houses, barns, and fences of our farms. The plow cut into the virgin soil of our foothills, plains, and prairies to grow the food for a young and hungry country. The rifle brought down the deer, bear, and other game to give the hardy frontiersman and his family food and clothing. It also stood as the only means of defense against his enemies, both savage and civilized.”

Throughout the chapter on Riflery there are very good instructions on how to use a rifle properly and safely. There’s even a picture of an “assault weapon.”

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The chapter ends by declaring “Shooting is probably the safest of all sports. . . . By practicing a few simple rules every shooter can become a safe shooter.” This next sentence will make a liberal’s head explode: “One of the greatest sources of pride for the National Rifle Association is the splendid record in the safe handling of firearms set by their junior members.” The NRA is praised by a public school textbook!

The issue is not only the safe handling of firearms but the character of the person handling a firearm. Moral relativism is the operational worldview of the day. Everything is up for grabs. It’s OK to kill unborn babies, redefine marriage, and even change your sex. In fact, you don’t even have to change your sex; you can just declare yourself to be whatever sex you want. It’s topsy-turvy morality, and if you say so, then you’re a racist and a homophobe who does not have the right to express your opinion.

Bill Nye “The Science Guy” and resident Village Atheist recently said that death is the end of everything. This means there is no Ultimate Judge of our deeds in this life. So what is the moral objection to killing someone? Who says anything is ultimately morally wrong? No atheist can account for objective morality.

There was a time when people believed that one day they would be judged for the deeds done in this life. God was considered to be “the Supreme Judge of the world.” Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse Monticello in 1822:

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.

2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.

3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

Not anymore. Even the views of Thomas “Separation of Church and State” Jefferson would not be welcome in our nation’s government schools.Evolutionary atheism is the operating religion of our nation’s elites and the institutions they control. This new religion promotes “survival of the fittest,” “nature, red in tooth and claw,” with the benefits of rape thrown in for good progressive measure.

Evolutionary atheism is the operating religion of our nation’s elites and the institutions they control. This new religion promotes “survival of the fittest,” “nature, red in tooth and claw,” with the benefits of rape thrown in for good progressive measure.

Barbara Reynolds, former columnist for USA Today, writes about the effect of evolutionary dogmatism in our nation’s schools:

“Prohibiting the teaching of creationism in favor of evolution creates an atheistic, belligerent tone that might explain why our kids sometimes perform like Godzilla instead of children made in the image of God.

“While evolution teaches that we are accidents or freaks of nature, creationism shows humankind as the offspring of a divine Creator. There are rules to follow which govern not only our time on Earth, but also our afterlife.

* * * * *

“If evolution is forced on our kids, we shouldn’t be perplexed when they beat on their chests or, worse yet, beat on each other and their teachers.”1

Reynolds’s comments are reminiscent of what C.S. Lewis wrote: “We make men without chests and we expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and we are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”2 We strip men and women of the certainty that they are created in the image of God, and we are surprised when they act like the beasts of the field.


  1. Barbara Reynolds, “If your kids go ape in school, you’ll know why,” USA Today (August 27, 1993), 11A. 

  2. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan, [1947] 1972), 35. 

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Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar was raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1979). He has served as researcher and writer at the Christian Worldview ministry American Vision since 1980 and President since 1984. Today he serves as Senior Fellow at American Vision where he lectures, researches, and writes on various worldview issues. Gary is the author of 30 books on a variety of topics – from "America’s Christian History" and "God and Government" to "Thinking Straight in a Crooked World" to "Last Days Madness." Gary has been interviewed by Time magazine, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the BBC, and Sean Hannity. He has done numerous radio and television interviews, including the “Bible Answer Man,” hosted by Hank Hanegraaff and “Today’s Issues” with Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders. Newspaper interviews with Gary have appeared in the Washington Times, Toledo (Ohio) Blade, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Chicago Tribune.

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