Bishop Butler Addresses Academy Students

Keith Butler
Word of Faith International Christian Center

Keith ButlerA former Detroit city councilman, Keith Butler and his wife Deborah began the Word of Faith International Christian Center in 1979. They have brought Christ’s living word to a congregation that now numbers more than 14,000 in the Detroit area. Their ministry has also expanded to churches in Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Arizona and reaches ever-increasing audiences through television and radio broadcasts.

This October, a new multimillion-dollar facility for the Hillsdale Academy was dedicated. Established in 1990 by Hillsdale College, this K- 10 (soon to be K-12) school has become a model for Americans seeking true educational reform. Nearly 1,500 copies of its innovative curriculum outline, the Hillsdale Academy Reference Guide, have been sold or distributed, and more than 200 private schools and scores of home school parents and home school networks use the Guide in the classroom. Here are Headmaster Scot Hicks’ dedicatory remarks.


Why build this Academy? Why spend millions of dollars? Why devote all the time and effort? There are at least five reasons that come to mind and that explain why this particular institution at this particular college is crucial, not just for the children who attend it, but for the entire United States.

First, we need more than anything else to provide more quality education that emphasizes the mastery of basic skills. Children must know how to read, spell, compute, and think. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But you would be surprised how many schools are failing to teach these skills and stubbornly refuse to admit it.

Second, we need to reaffirm certain basic values, especially since the current culture seems to place little value upon them. These values should not be controversial—they are all about honesty, hard work, self-discipline, charity. They should be backed up by reasonable but firm disciplinary policies and strong adult authority. I believe there is no substitute for Judeo-Christian values in the classroom. These values do not constitute an assault on anyone’s civil rights—history reveals that they are the source of the only true protection of civil rights. They tell us we are all equal in the sight of God; that we all have a responsibility to treat others as we want to be treated; and that we must all seek truth and justice.

Third, we need to make parents and teachers partners in rearing the next generation. What children learn at home and at school must be consistent. And they need mental, physical, and spiritual (that is, moral) instruction from all the interested adults in their lives. Remember: These children are the leaders who could turn our nation around in the 21st century.

Fourth, we need more alternatives to public school education to keep competition alive and to encourage reform. Parents need to have choices. They need schools they can trust to teach their children the right lessons.

Fifth, we need schools that will encourage patriotism. Tragically, there are literally hundreds of schools in this country that have abandoned not only school prayer but also the Pledge of Allegiance. These are usually the same institutions that teach their charges that America is a terrible place to live and that our national past is shameful. Well, I have been a student of history and I have traveled the world, and the reality is far different. For over two centuries, America has been and continues to be the greatest nation on earth. There is no other place that offers so much freedom or so much opportunity or that aspires to such lofty and worthy goals.

Certainly, America has serious problems, and there are many injustices that occur every day. This is part of the nature of human existence. But America is still the light of the world, and it is fortunate that the Hillsdale Academy exists, if only to remind students, parents, and educators of this important fact.