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I highly recommend Abigail Shrier’s piece in The Wall Street Journal today, “The Transgender Language War.”Her lede likens Fairfax County school bureaucrats to “Orwellian” bullies. That is gratifying to this Fairfax mom who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other moms and dads against this corrupt school board.And her overall critique of the centerpiece of the Transgender Movement is spot on.Forcing kids (and adults) to use certain words—in this case, to use the wrong pronoun for the sex of someone else—is forcing them to declare a creed they don’t believe in and to embrace an opinion they disagree with. How is this not government-mandated religion and thought?On religion, Shrier writes: For those with a religious conviction that sex is both biological and binary, God’s purposeful creation, denial of this involves sacrilege no less than bowing to idols in the town square. When the state compels such denial among religious people, it clobbers the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion, lending government power to a contemporary variant on forced conversion.On freedom of thought and speech:But individuals need not be religious to believe that one person can never be a “they”; compelled speech is no less unconstitutional for those who refuse an utterance based on a different viewpoint, as the Supreme Court held in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943). Upholding students’ right to refuse to salute an American flag even on nonreligious grounds, Justice Robert H. Jackson declared: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, religion or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” This is precisely what forced reference to someone else as “ze,” “sie,” “hir,” “co,” “ev,” “xe,” “thon” or “they” entails. When the state employs coercive power to compel an utterance, what might otherwise be a courtesy quickly becomes a plank walk.
In light of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s impending confirmation battle, Family Research Council conducted an overview of his record and explained how he would likely rule on the issues we are concerned about. From that review, here are three ways in which Judge Kavanaugh has defended religious liberty:Judge Kavanaugh Has Defended Religious Believers from the HHS MandateIn Priests for Life v. HHS, he dissented from the D.C. Circuit’s denial of rehearing en banc, arguing that the HHS mandate substantially burdened the organization’s exercise of religion, pursuant to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. This is a very important conclusion on an important issue and shows Judge Kavanaugh to have a right understanding of the religious freedom burdens that RFRA guards against in this context. While his assertion later in the same case that Hobby Lobby “strongly suggests” that the government has a compelling interest in ensuring broad access to contraceptives seems unnecessary, he did conclude that RFRA protected the claimants because the HHS mandate was not the least restrictive means of achieving any such interest.Judge Kavanaugh Has Defended Religious Expression in the Public SquareIn Newdow v. Roberts, atheists had argued that “so help me God” in the presidential oath violated the Establishment Clause. The D.C. Circuit rejected their argument, and Judge Kavanaugh wrote a concurrence stating that such “longstanding practices do not violate the Establishment Clause as it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court.”More recently, in Archdiocese of Washington v. WMATA, the Archdiocese of Washington attempted to purchase advertising space on the Washington Metro during the Christmas season, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to sell what it deemed a “religious” message for a religious organization. During oral arguments in this case, Judge Kavanaugh told WMATA’s lawyer that this was “pure discrimination” and an “odious” First Amendment violation, showing a keen awareness of potential violations of free speech and free expression with a religious basis.[In addition], [h]e helped set up a voucher program supporting religious schools in Florida, and also represented the Adat Shalom Jewish group in their legal battle against a Maryland county that was trying to stop construction of a synagogue.Judge Kavanaugh Has Defended Religious Expression in SchoolsDuring his time in private practice, Judge Kavanaugh chaired the Religious Liberty Practice Group at the Federalist Society, and worked pro bono to write amicus briefs in support of religious expression in schools. He wrote briefs in Good News Club v. Milford Central School, and Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, in which he argued that a public school must allow religious student clubs to use its facilities in a similar manner as other clubs, and that student-led prayer at football events did not violate the establishment clause, respectively.For more, see: https://www.frc.org/issueanalysis/why-judge-kavanaugh-should-be-confirmed-to-the-supreme-court
Since the Ark Encounter has now been open for two years, the Grant County News wanted to know what expansions were planned and how we would attract new guests.
Last week at the Republican National Committee’s Summer meeting in Texas, the nation’s parents were finally given the respect they deserve. A resolution requiring parents’ prior written consent for sex ed passed unanimously.Offered by Virginia Committeewoman Cynthia Dunbar, the resolution (full text below) states the fundamental principle that no school should expose a child to sexual material without prior written consent from his parents. The resolution encourages legislatures to pass laws to this effect.Who would disagree with this? Well, many school districts fight against having to get parents’ permission for their increasingly graphic, age-inappropriate, controversial sexuality education. Even at the RNC there was pushback in the Resolutions Committee, which passed it out of committee by a vote of 5-2 before a unanimous vote in the full body.Committeewoman Dunbar said she was thrilled that it passed. “This should not be a partisan issue. Parents everywhere deserve the right to know what their children are being taught, and afforded an opportunity to consent to it.”This is an important paradigm shift in the Sex Ed Wars. The ultimate goal, of course, is to correct the controversial, age-inappropriate, needlessly graphic content in so many sex ed programs, and to shift from a sexual risk reduction to sexual risk avoidance education model. Instead of encouraging risky sexual behavior, teens should be taught age-appropriate messages that encourage them to avoid sexually risky behavior, just as they are taught to avoid alcohol and drug use, and other risky behaviors. Until then, it is important to establish the fundamental premise that children should not be exposed to controversial sexual material without their parents’ prior consent.As it is, too many school districts assume consent on the part of parents, automatically enrolling their children in sexually-graphic lessons unless parents take steps to make them to stop, often via an “opt out” form. But the “opt out” form has long lost its use; it is completely inadequate for today’s radical sex ed.Leftist school boards routinely use the “opt out” to shield themselves from criticism (“don’t blame us, you can always opt out”) and as a sword against concerned parents (“since only X number of parents opt out, that means most families agree with us!”). In reality, parents have no idea the poison schools are pouring down their kids throats. What’s worse, schools mislead parents about the true content of their sex ed lessons. Many comprehensive sex ed courses that encourage risky behavior even employ abstinence messaging to hide the majority of their curriculum. A lesson labeled “abstinence” in the Fairfax County curriculum, for example, is not really about abstinence at all – it tells kids to refrain from sex until their next steady sex partner. Another labeled “Middle School Changes” is about encouraging children to consider LGBT orientation and identity.The sheer amount of material is daunting. In Fairfax County, there are more than 80 hours of sex lessons for every child – imagine the mountain of lesson scripts, slides, and videos a parent has to review to make an informed and educated decision about whether to opt out.“Opt out” allows school boards to take advantage of parents, especially working parents, single parents, recent immigrant parents. How many parents expect their school to give their son a lesson with 18 mentions of “anal sex,” suggest to their daughter that she might have been born in the wrong body, talk about oral sex with their 12-year old, or recommend daily sex drugs for their high schooler to support a lifestyle of multiple sex partners of unknown HIV status? As I say, parents have no idea what their schools are teaching; they trust their local schools, and schools take advantage of that trust. Teaching kids to engage in risky sexual behavior not only fails to reduce the negative consequences of such behavior, but to do so without their parents’ informed consent is downright wicked.Prior written consent respects parents. “Opt out” says: Catch us if you can! Forty years ago, when Sex Ed was 2 hours in 6th grade on the basics of human development and reproduction, an “opt out” procedure might have made some sense. Today it is woefully inadequate.This is why the resolution passed in Texas is so important. It shifts the burden away from parents having to say “no,” to schools having to get a written parental “yes”! Parents and children deserve no less.RESOLUTION PROTECTING STUDENTS FROM EXPOSURE TO POTENTIALLY UNSUITABLE CONTENT BY SUPPORTING A PARENT’S RIGHT TO GRANT PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT FOR SEX EDUCATIONWHEREAS, parents are a child’s first and foremost educators, and have primary responsibility for the education of their children. Parents have a right to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing;1WHEREAS, education is much more than schooling. Education is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a cultural identity; 2WHEREAS, American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces from outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. This has done immense damage;3WHEREAS, school administrators routinely ask parents for their prior written permission for students to participate in various school-related instruction and activities, including, but not limited to: field trips, sports, and distribution of medicine;WHEREAS, parents and their students should be afforded the same respect with regard to the increasingly sensitive and controversial nature of human sexuality instruction;WHEREAS, much of the content in human sexuality instruction centers on contentious and sensitive issues, including but not limited to: abortion, birth control, sexual activity, sexual orientation, transgenderism, and/or gender identity;WHEREAS, the content often includes a personal analysis or survey that reflects or influences the student’s opinions on sensitive topics such as religious beliefs and practices, sexual orientation, and/or sexual activity;WHEREAS, most states grant an obscenity exemption that allows content that would otherwise be deemed harmful to minors to be disseminated for educational purposes, creating the potential for inappropriate content to be included within human sexuality instruction;WHEREAS, such information, content, or ideology is most appropriately placed within the discretion of the parents or guardians;WHEREAS, the current opt-out paradigm assumes parental consent to student participation, allowing schools to automatically enroll students in potentially explicit, sensitive, and/or controversial human sexuality instruction without prior written permission;WHEREAS, human sexuality instruction frequently places the wishes and concerns of the parents and/or guardians at odds with those of the school district; andWHEREAS, the wishes and concerns of the parents and/or guardians are preeminent to those of the School District and should be acknowledged by simply affording parents and/or guardians the right to grant permission for such instruction; thereforeRESOLVED, that public schools must disclose the content contained within human sexuality instruction to the parents and/or guardians of all unemancipated students and shall only enroll those students whose parents and/or guardians provide prior written permission to opt their student into human sexuality instruction;RESOLVED, that the default shall be that no human sexuality instruction shall be provided to any student not yet emancipated without prior written consent from their parent and/or guardian, making an opt-out default an insufficient protection for either the safety of the student or the rights of the parent;RESOLVED, that all state legislatures are encouraged to enact legislation that implements these notices and safeguards to protect students from exposure to potentially inappropriate and salacious content and to acknowledge the right of the parents and/or guardians to direct their children’s education, care, and upbringing, including their right to protect them from exposure to content they find unsuitable.Adopted by the Republican National Committee, _______________________ 1 Platform of the Republican Party, Issued by the Republican National Committee, page 33 (2016, Cleveland, Ohio).2 Id.3 Id.
Council members voted 4-1 to opt out of a state law prohibiting law enforcement from working with ICE.
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