by Marlee Tomlinson and Jorge Gomez • 5 min read
In a recent speech, former Attorney General William Barr expressed what he sees as the greatest threat to religious liberty today: “The increasingly militant and extreme secular-progressive climate of our state-run education system.”
Barr hit on the surging trend of the Left using schools to indoctrinate young minds not only by removing religion, but by substituting and replacing it with the Left’s “woke” ideology, which teaches godless society, hostility towards religion, “liberation” in gender identity and sexuality and Critical Race Theory. And in this woke worldview and curriculum, there is no tolerance for people of faith or anyone who disagrees.
This slow and steady infiltration, this twisting and tweaking of America’s fundamental values is incredibly dangerous and—as history has repeatedly shown—it will take America toward censorship, loss of freedom and totalitarianism.
A Battle Happening Right Here, Right Now
The battle for freedom in America’s schools is a constitutional, legal and moral fight happening right here, right now…everywhere in the country.
For example, a physical education teacher in Virginia was put on administrative leave because he stated that affirming a student’s gender identity as different from sex at birth directly contradicts his religious beliefs.
And the attacks aren’t limited to educators. Look at the school district in Iowa pushing a curriculum on transgenderism and homosexuality that runs afoul to the religious beliefs of thousands of students and parents. Students at all grade levels, including preschool, are given coloring books with a page that allegedly “encourages” them “to choose if they want to be a girl or a boy or both or neither or someone else.”
Some school systems now prohibit parents from exercising their freedom to object and exclude their children from this kind of instruction. The Board of Education in Orange County, CA stated: “parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”
The state forcing this curriculum sends a clear message: If you disagree with the state-imposed, popular orthodoxy on gender based on your religious beliefs, then you’re declared an enemy, an outcast. There can be no tolerance for those with religious convictions or objections.
Censorship for Thee, But Not for Me
At the same time that the far Left preaches about “equal” treatment for all under the Constitution, its political agenda and ideology reduces religious people to second-class status.
Recall Elizabeth Turner and Savannah Lefler, two high school seniors whose rights First Liberty defended when they wanted to include references to their faith in their graduation speeches.
However, while Elizabeth and Savannah found themselves in legal battles for expressing a religious viewpoint, another high school valedictorian, Paxton Smith, received national praise for going off-script and delivering a graduation speech to criticize a restrictive Texas abortion law:
Consider the media chaos that would have occurred if Paxton been censored by her high school principal, or if her microphone had been shut off or someone interrupted her in the middle of her speech. But because she voiced the “correct,” state-approved viewpoint, there was little, if any, chance of her speech being silenced, or her platform being removed.
The stark difference in treatment shows a destructive double standard. It elevates and gives special privilege to those who speak in alignment with the Left’s cultural ideology.
The end result is nothing short of what many fear in America: dictatorship and tyranny. This hijacking of public schools will create a whole class of citizens who are militant, hostile to differing viewpoints and to people whose ideas differ from the cultural majority. It will create a whole generation of young people who are not only blind to freedom but who hate religion and persecute those associated with it.
Vladimir Lenin—the Russian socialist and totalitarian revolutionary—summarized it best himself:
“Give me your four year-olds and in a generation I will build a socialist state…Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.”
Like never before, we must open our eyes to the urgent battlefront happening in our schools, in our workplaces and in our country in general. The attacks are only not only increasing, but they are getting closer and more personal.
That’s why we need YOUR support like never before to help stop these attacks. Because when you stand with First Liberty, we stand for you, defending your freedom and your right to religious liberty—for your lifetime and generations to come.