Christianity Should Have Bigger Part in U.S. Schooling, Trump's Education Secretary Says

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (right) with incoming Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (left) at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.Reuters

The billionaire philanthropist chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to be his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has expressed her preference in the past to give Christianity a bigger part in schooling in the United States.

Politico was able to obtain a copy of a recording where Devos and her husband spoke about Christian values and American education during a meeting in 2001 called "The Gathering," an annual conference of some of the country's wealthiest Christians.

In the recording, the Devos couple reportedly discussed how they are motivated by the Christian faith in pushing for reforms in how the youth are educated in the U.S.

The incoming education secretary, in particular, even used a term from the Holy Bible to describe her efforts for reforms: "Shephelah," which is a place where battles were fought in the Old Testament, including the one between David and Goliath.

"Our desire is to be in that Shephelah, and to confront the culture in which we all live today in ways that will continue to help advance God's Kingdom, but not to stay in our own faith territory," she said, as quoted by Politico.

The Christian couple also maintained that choosing schools in the U.S. should lead to "greater Kingdom gain." They also lamented how public schools have supposedly "displaced" the church as the center of communities.

Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, however, expressed concerns over the incoming education secretary's earlier statements. His group earlier described DeVos as a "four-star general in a deceptive behind-the-scenes war on public schools and church-state separation."

"It's very alarming," Boston also told Politico. "People support school vouchers for different reasons. Some make a free-market argument because they are opposed to public schooling. Others want to prop up sectarian teachings with taxpayer money. DeVos has a foot in both camps, which does not bode well for our public schools."