How Our Anti-American Education System Made Riots Inevitable

Rioting social justice warriors are remaking the world as they see fit, consistent with what they’ve been taught from K-12 to the highest echelons of learning.

How Our Anti-American Education System Made Riots Inevitable

By Inez Feltscher Stepman

The past fire-lit weeks in America’s cities have made clear that the protests, and the riots that attend them, have little to do with the condemnable alleged murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.

Even in the non-violent demonstrations, protesters can be seen burning the American flag, an act that just 30 years ago engendered such outrage it spurred Congress to pass an unconstitutional law, but doesn’t even warrant coverage today. In broad daylight, protesters have defaced and toppled statues dedicated to any and all figures of America’s history.

Lest anyone think the mob’s Year Zero behavior stopped with the slaveholding Confederacy, in Boston a monument to the 54th Massachusetts, an all-black Union regiment during the Civil War, was among those vandalized. Matthias Baldwin, an early abolitionist, got the same treatment in Philadelphia, as did the lesser-known Rotary Club founder Paul Harris, whose plaque in Washington D.C. was marked simply with an ignorance-acknowledging “probably a racist.” The monument to the author of the Emancipation Proclamation on the National Mall was likely spared only because of the protection of the National Guard.

As John Daniel Davidson has noted, toppling statues is not a good sign for the future of the republic; it looks a lot less like a policy conversation about police reform than it does regime change and revolution.

Nor are revolutionary sentiments limited to the youthful protesters. Much as they have in newsrooms and corporate boardrooms, the cultural revolutionaries find only willing kneelers among their elders in the Democratic Party.

After presiding over several nights of free-for-all looting, beatings, and police deaths, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said “400 years of American racism” excused the violence and social distancing violations. In Fairfax, Virginia, known as a moderate county, the Democratic Party put out a tweet praising rioting as an “integral part of this country’s march towards progress.”

Teaching Americans to Hate Their Country

At the heart of the unrest is the belief that the United States is a uniquely bad country, instead of an exceptionally free, prosperous, and powerful one. It’s the same message that the Pulitzer Committee endorsed when it crowned The New York Times’ 1619 Project: the United States is, always has been, and likely always will be, a deeply racist society.

Ibram Kendi, a leading promoter of what is euphemistically termed “anti-racism,” suggests as a solution to America’s alleged systematic racism an amendment that would gut the Constitution and its commitment to equality under the law and freedom of speech. “Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principles: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials.”

It should be clear from Kendi’s view, which replaces the equality of individuals based on natural right with “equality” of collective racial groups, that what the left innocuously now terms “anti-racism” requires the total destruction of the American system.

The narrative that systematic racism has been embedded in America’s DNA from her founding is a dangerous lie. Escaped slave turned statesman Fredrick Douglass, no stranger to harsh and righteous criticism of his country, called it “a slander upon [the framers’] memory.”

America Is Not Systemically Racist

No one denies America’s original sin of slavery, including the Founders. But slavery and racism are not at the heart of the American experiment or its documents and institutions.

Injustice, unfairness, and bigotry are, indeed, an ineradicable part of life. But America is not a systemically racist society. Far from being fruit of a rotten tree, America’s founding principles form the best recipe for racial harmony, and rebuke to inequality, yet devised by man.

Where does this poisonous anti-American idea, acceptance of which seems to be toppling institution after institution, come from, especially after the United States has advanced so far in living up to the promises of its birth?

As many of us warned years ago, the radical ideas born on campus have already metastasized across society. Today, K-12 public schools across the country increasingly teach some version of the lie.

The error-ridden, America-hating 1619 Project, and its associated Pulitzer-endorsed, Common Core-compliant lesson materials, is already being taught in more than 3,500 schools across the country. Anecdotally, ever more superintendents are responding to the current unrest by promising to adopt the 1619 curriculum. The problem will get worse before it gets better.

Most ‘Educational’ Institutions Indoctrinate

Well before protesters spilled into the streets in 2020, the largest national teachers’ union gave its official stamp of approval to Black Lives Matter and to indoctrinating teachers with the concept of “white fragility” and its supposed cause, “white supremacy culture,” as part of professional development. The effort to re-educate the nation’s teachers in the left’s radical image will also likely be accelerated due to the protests.

The same national union runs a division solely dedicated to advancing Black Lives Matter and encouraging identity politics in schools. During that same meeting, the National Education Association failed to pass a resolution pledging to “re-dedicate [the union] to the pursuit of increased student learning,” ostensibly its purpose for existence.

Out of the 100 largest school districts, precisely none have the words “America” or “patriotism” in their mission statements. This fact is even more shocking when one considers the public school system was originally created to teach American citizens how to preserve the republic they had been bequeathed.

Noah Webster, one of the country’s earliest textbook publishers and education advocates, wrote of a future American public school system: “begin with the infant in the cradle, let the first word he lisps be ‘Washington.’” Now the public school system teaches students to view the “indispensable man” as, foremost and unforgivably, a slaveholder.

Marxist College Grads Descend Upon Society

If elementary and secondary schools lay the foundation, colleges and universities, now attended by 40 percent of young Americans, provide the activist training to turn passive beliefs into action. The cultural revolutionaries produced by our education system then advance into corporations, tech startups, Hollywood, sports, and of course, media.

If conservatives ever believed the canard that safe-space social justice warriors would implode on impact with the “real world,” now’s the time to forget that happy notion. They’re not John Mayer, waiting on the world to change; they’re remaking the world as they see fit, consistent with what they’ve been taught from K-12 to the highest echelons of learning.

Where the right finds itself today is a direct consequence of its appalling failure to take culture, and the institutions that shape it, at least as seriously as it takes tax cuts, deregulation, and economic growth.

Is it any surprise that we’re now seeing 1619 in the streets? The anti-American ideas of the radical left have already won nearly everywhere else.

Where the right finds itself today is a direct consequence of its appalling failure to take culture, and the institutions that shape it, at least as seriously as it takes tax cuts, deregulation, and economic growth. I like taking home more of my paycheck as much as the next person, but minor economic reforms will not change the overall trajectory of the country if its schools and academies continue to preach disunion instead of e pluribus unum.

Two thirds of millennials believe that America is a racist and sexist country and close to 40 percent think the United States is “among the most unequal societies in the world.” Not just racist and sexist, but uniquely so: this is the historically-illiterate worldview of the graduates of our nation’s education system.

Some Americans might comfort themselves with the notion that this is a passing madness, but it is instead the inescapable consequence of what is being taught from kindergarten through graduate school. A nation that teaches its children to hate their country cannot endure. A nation that pays out $700 billion a year, and trillions in taxpayer-financed student loans, to train future citizens to see their country as hopelessly and irreparably racist cannot continue.

If the justice at the heart of the American project is no longer taught in the education system, there will be no peace.

Inez Feltscher Stepman is a senior contributor at The Federalist. She is also a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum and the Thursday editor of BRIGHT, a women’s newsletter. Find her on Twitter @inezfeltscher.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/16/how-our-anti-american-education-system-made-riots-inevitable/

Four Pillars: Educating for America

December 2019 • Volume 48, Number 12 • Larry P. Arnn

 

Larry P. Arnn
President, Hillsdale College

Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American EducationThe Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 6, 2019, during a Christmas Open House at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

This Fall at Hillsdale College, we did something strange, stranger than if we had found a unicorn and built a zoo to show it off. We celebrated, with a whole heart, the founding of our College 175 years ago. Yes, most of our founders were white. Yes, most of them were male. All of them are now dead. What can we be thinking, to celebrate people like that in this day and age?

There are two reasons, one particular and one general.

The particular one has to do with these founders themselves. They were human, sure enough, but they were very good humans. The earliest of them were classically educated New England preachers. They thought liberal education was the road to good living, good citizenship, and good statesmanship. They thought to get this liberal education it is better to read the classic books in the classic languages, Greek and Latin, and those were prerequisites for admission to the College.

These founders were patriots. The first line of the College’s Articles of Association of 1844 commits the College to perpetuating the “inestimable blessings” of “civil and religious liberty and intelligent piety.” We obscure the fact these days that the Americans who founded our country were mostly Christians, and they were devoted to both civil and religious liberty with the same intensity that they held their faith. They thought that the Christian religion, the first universal religion not to provide government to the faithful, would therefore have to be practiced in many countries—and that those countries should provide for the right to do so, or else be wrong. Claiming that right for themselves, they also respected it for others. “Do as you would be done by.”

These founders thought that liberal education should cultivate the practice of the moral alongside the intellectual virtues. College is about thinking, and the refinement and informing of the intellect is its first purpose. This requires in turn the education of the whole human being. Humans not only think, but also do. Their doing and their thinking work together to form their characters. If their characters are not courageous, moderate, and just, then not only will they be craven in action, but their thinking will be impaired.

These founders thought that liberal education required thinking about God, known to reason and in philosophy as the perfection of all being, known to these founders’ faith as Jesus Christ. They followed the classics in thinking that all of our judgments of good and bad, better and worse, implies some standard that is complete or perfect. In philosophy properly pursued, the subject of God cannot be neglected. Their Christian faith was grounded partly in the fact that the Christian God, of all revealed deities, is the most open to thinking.

These founders believed in freedom. They were grateful, as I say, for the inestimable blessings of civil and religious freedom. These two kinds of freedom were combined and wholly supported for the first time in America. These founders were proud of this fact. They dedicated the oldest building on our campus, still standing, on the Fourth of July with a speech about freedom and learning. They respected both the Declaration of Independence and its partner, the Constitution. In their noble and significant opposition to human slavery, they helped to devise the platform upon which Abraham Lincoln was elected president. That platform called for an end to slavery by constitutional means only, specifically to bring an end to it by forbidding it to spread any further into the vast area not yet incorporated as states. And when the Civil War came, no college had a nobler record: our campus was emptied of young men. Several dozens of them would fight with distinction at Gettysburg. Three would win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

These are the four chief elements, the four pillars, of the founding of Hillsdale College: learning, character, faith, and freedom. The College’s founders saw these things not as items on a discrete list, but as a description of the complete human being and of the well-lived human life. Of course colleges proceed by argument, evidence, and proof, and here at Hillsdale we argue about anything, including these elements. We preserve them as well because they lay the ground for that argument, for its continuing civility and probity, for the advancement of learning, and for the preservation of the freedom to do it. They are a prescription for civilization.

I will say personally that these four elements brought me to Hillsdale in the year 2000. I had avoided all employment in colleges for the first two decades of my adult life. I did not think that colleges were a good place to serve, given what most of them had become. But I came upon Hillsdale’s founding document, and I thought it beautiful. I noticed that it was written by people who served in the cause of Lincoln. I reflected that Lincoln, and also (to name the best examples) Churchill and Washington, were able to command allegiance, not to themselves, but to a cause. They could describe this cause in beautiful language. They could make themselves a conspicuous example of obedience to it. Only then could they legitimately ask others to join them. Of course I can look up at them “only at a steep angle” (to quote the great Mark Helprin). But their example shows the way.

These elements are also principles. The word “principle” comes from an old word that means first. When we speak of the principle of a thing, we think of how it began. Yet it has to mean more than that. If a thing changes its principle, then there is a new “first” and therefore a new thing. That is why when we think of principle, we think not only of the beginning, but also of the essential something that makes a thing what it is. Principle means first but also essence. Thinking like this, we felt that we could celebrate the beginnings of the College with a whole heart. The beginning was good, and it has been the same College all the time since, despite many changes. If the College were not the same in principle, then it could not be 175 years old, and there could be no celebration.

The principle or essence of a college begins with the fact that it is a partnership, a kind of community. That is what the word “college” means. Communities are grounded directly in the essential element of human nature, reason, which is a synonym for speech. We are the thinking beings, and we can share our thoughts by talking.

Any kind of close community can be a college, but chiefly the word denotes an institution of higher learning. Higher learning is not learning about means but ends. Ends are higher than means, and the highest ends are the best and most beautiful to know. Such ends are indicated in authoritative American use by the expression, “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” That phrase is used in the Declaration of Independence to justify the nation itself. In a simple way, the expression refers only to the things we know by reason. But nature is a pregnant word, and so is God, and so is law. To learn deeply the meaning of those words requires years of study of the greatest books, old and new.

This is what our College was founded to do, and what it does still. That is the particular reason for our celebration of our founding and of our founders.

***

The general reason for our celebration can be seen in the nature and ground of the contemporary aversion to such things. What are the objections?

In former times, the most thoughtful people valued the old or the new only insofar as they gave a clue to the eternal and transcendent. In seeking the transcendent, they believed that old things did have a certain dignity on their face: they have the advantage of persistence, which is one part of virtue. Things that have been thought good for a long time are worthy of attention, respect, and study. New things are harder to judge. Nonetheless, both old and new things must meet the test of permanence and transcendence.

To the modern ear, that sounds antiquated. Today the theme is not permanence, but change; not transcendence, but presence. Change is the master key to everything. Change can be eternal only in the sense that everything changes. But if everything changes, nothing is permanent, and nothing is transcendent. Today we are trying to make a transcendent good out of the one thing that cannot transcend.

These doctrines, growing up in modern philosophy, have had disastrous effects upon the academic world. Colleges can barely, if at all, preserve the civility to think and talk. Rather than partnerships, they become increasingly collections of hostile identity groups, each clamoring against the crimes of the other. Students are not invited to step outside themselves, to step outside their own time, and to look at things as they have been understood by the best over time. If they did that, they would find that the great books are not a parade of agreements but attempts to approximate truth that frequently differ from one another. They would see that some are more successful than others, and they would then learn and grow not by invention but by discovery.

This departure from the old idea of a college is having disastrous effects in politics, too. Recall that our liberty in the Declaration of Independence is justified by a rational standard, the “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal.” This means a sort of tautology: all men are men. This simple observation gives rise to a world of consequences: one may govern a horse or another kind of beast without the consent of that being. Horses are not capable of giving consent. But one may not govern human beings without consent. This is a thing recognizable by ordinary human common sense.

Americans have enjoyed more freedom and justice for more people, and for a longer time, than any people. A major reason for that is the dignity and compelling nature of the principles in the Declaration of Independence. If freedom and equality are established in the nature of things, then they may not be violated rightly by anyone, even if he is the King of England or the totalitarian dictator of Germany. These people may be powerful, but they cannot be in the right.

If, on the other hand, everything is change, who can say that new purposes of government might not arise and that a new status for the human being might be found? We live in the age of technology. Technology comes from two old words that mean knowing how to make. If technology is the ultimate standard, then the society itself becomes an engineering project, of which we become the subjects. Here, recall that Hillary Clinton has famously spoken of “redefin[ing] who we are as human beings in this post-modern age.”

We are facing a situation like the ones our forebears faced in the American Revolution and the Civil War. The claim in the first was that some or one, specifically King George III, is born to rule others. The claim in the second was that some of one skin color are born to rule others. These were abnegations of the Declaration of Independence, which means that the divisions in the land were deep—as they are again today.

Modern liberalism in America begins with two ideas: one, everything is change; two, we should use science to get control of the process of change and make the society into what we want it to be. This is the engineering project that has significantly changed the way we are governed. It threatens to change our way of life decisively and for all time.

To put these points in the language of classical philosophy, the Declaration of Independence states the final causes—which means ultimate purposes—of America. Something must be added to that in order to keep freedom safe. There must be a constitution, which is a form of government. There must be established rules by which citizens give their consent. These must be somewhat flexible, but more than that they need to provide a stable and abiding structure. This is the formal cause of any government—it is what any government looks like. The form or formal cause of our government is the Constitution of the United States, which provides long-term rules for how we go about giving our consent. It is the most successful document of its kind ever written.

Today, the form of our government is fundamentally altered—the Constitution has been largely replaced with an alternative form. The simplest way to explain the alteration is also the key to the whole situation: the great majority of our laws at the federal level are not made by Congress anymore. This means that the people we elect to make the laws delegate that work to someone else. Actually they delegate it to many people, collected in independent executive agencies numbering about 150. These agencies make a very great number of laws, and there is no ready way for the people to correct those laws. Those who founded our nation and the thinkers upon whom they drew believed that such an arrangement would destroy the accountability of the government to the people, and therefore destroy the ground of government by consent.

In recent years these developments have taken a new and dangerous turn. Today we know that people in law enforcement and intelligence at the federal level have acted in partisan ways. We know this because they have said so. Meanwhile the president is accused of obstruction of justice—for a time he was accused of this because he told the director of the FBI what to do. But where does the director of the FBI get his authority? He works for the attorney general, and the attorney general works for the president, with the consent of the Senate for his appointment only. The authority of those who hold these unelected offices is made legitimate by the fact that they are under the control of people who are elected. But is it clear any longer that the holders of these offices understand this? If the modern idea is correct—if it is true that experts should rule in order to guide us scientifically toward a better future—then maybe the unelected people who hold these offices are more legitimate than the president and the Senate.

That is where we are headed. What to do? As long as we still have free elections, the key, as usual, is understanding.

***

Hillsdale’s Four Pillars Campaign, launched this Fall in conjunction with the College’s 175th anniversary, is named for the four purposes of our mission—learning, character, faith, and freedom. The money will go to improve our pursuit of these things on the campus and make that pursuit radiate across the country on behalf of liberty.

Hillsdale decided several decades ago to share what we do and learn. Just as at the founding of the College, we have sought to benefit, as we benefit from, our fellow citizens. Imprimis was sent free of charge to about 1,000 households and businesses when it began 47 years ago. The number had reached 900,000 when I arrived 20 years ago. It will soon rise to over five million.

Hillsdale offers online courses and makes them available, free of charge, to any citizen wishing to learn. Already we have well over two million online students, and we are confident that this will be a mighty engine to help us reach many millions more.

We now have 23 Hillsdale-affiliated classical charter schools in eleven states, as well as two private schools operating under Hillsdale guidelines and with Hillsdale’s assistance. These schools have 15,000 students enrolled and 7,500 students on wait lists. New schools are opening each year, and we can’t find teachers and principals fast enough to meet the demand.

In an age of confusion that has become dangerous, Hillsdale offers the only thing that can ultimately dispel it: understanding. It was to provide that understanding that the College was born 175 years ago. God and our many friends around the country have been providing us the means to do so on an increasingly large scale. We will continue to work tirelessly, and with our fellow citizens we are determined to save our Constitution and our country.

We at Hillsdale College have not found a unicorn, but something infinitely more valuable. Not human completion, but the lamp by which to seek wisdom and the reason to strive for courage and all the moral virtues. Not comprehension of the divine, but a way to think about God and understand Him better. Seeing our freedom in danger, we have found a way to justify it against the mighty powers that gather in opposition.

We have found in short the principle, and therefore the essence, of the human. Created in the image of God, humans are meant to know, to be free, and to love the best things. These things are not automatic: they must be cultivated. This cultivation gives the College, as it gives all human life, the purpose that makes it what it is. We think we and all others have a right to pursue this cultivation. It is the ultimate human right, and it must be defended.

This is why we are grateful for the blessing of the College, for the length of its life, for the good that it calls us to find. We will do our utmost to preserve and improve it so that another 175 years will be possible. Join us, as so many of you have and do, in that work.

Original here

VIDEO President Trump Protecting Constitutional Prayer in School

January 16, 2020 by sundance

Earlier today President Trump held an oval office event focused on protecting every student’s constitutional right to pray in school. The president is updating Federal guidance regarding protected prayer and religious expression in public schools (not updated since 2003).  The new guidance makes clear that students can read religious texts or pray during recess and other non-instructional periods, organize prayer groups, and express their religious beliefs in their assignments.  [Video and Transcript Below]

The president also answered questions from the attending press pool:

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[Transcript] – THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. A couple of things happened today that are very exciting. The USMCA passed the Senate. It’s one of the biggest trade bills ever made.

And then, yesterday, as you know, China passed, and that’s something that is extraordinary. And it’s going to have tremendous far-reaching effects, including our relationship, long term, with China, our farmers and manufacturers and bankers, and everybody. It’s jobs. It’s jobs like we’ve never seen before, and that’s going to be something very special. And USMCA today, which just passed by a very comfortable vote — a very high vote — we are very proud to have that.

So we’ve done two of the biggest trade deals. They are the two biggest trade deals in the world ever done. And we’re honored to have done them in a short period of time.

We are gathered in the Oval Office for the National Religious Freedom Day — something very important and very special, and special to me and the people that are gathered around me.

This afternoon, we’re proudly announcing historic steps to protect the First Amendment right to pray in public schools. So you have the right to pray. And that’s a very important and powerful right. There’s nothing more important than that, I would say.

We’re joined by the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos; Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen; and students and advocates from across America. And advocates they were. They’ve been calling and writing by the thousands. And you’re representing that large group of people.

In a sacred principle of our Republic that government must never stand between the people and God. Yet, in public schools around the country, authorities are stopping students and teachers from praying, sharing their faith, or following their religious beliefs. It is totally unacceptable. You see it on the football field. You see it so many times where they’re stopped from praying. And we are doing something to stop that.

Tragically, there is a growing totalitarian impulse on the far-left that seeks to punish, restrict, and even prohibit religious expression. Something that, if you go back 10 years or 15 years or 20 years, it was un-thought of that a thing like that could even happen — that anybody would even think of something like that happening.

That is why, today, my administration is issuing strong new guidance to protect religious liberty in our public schools. The right of students and teachers to freely exercise their faith will always be protected, including the right to pray.

So we call this the “Right to Pray.” Is that a good idea? Good? Right? You like that, right? (Laughter.)

Nine federal agencies are also proposing new rules to roll back discriminatory regulations. So we have rules to roll back discriminatory regulations on religious service organizations. And earlier this afternoon, my White House released a new memo to make sure federal funding is never used to violate the First Amendment — which is a very big deal.

With us today is Hannah Allen, a high school freshman from Texas. Hannah, would you tell us what happened at your school with respect to you and prayer? Hannah?

MS. ALLEN: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, darling. Right here.

MS. ALLEN: So, me and a group of students from our school wanted to pray for our former classmate’s brother who had got hurt in an accident.

After the prayer, our principal told us, “Don’t do that again.” So the next day, parents had called and complained. He told us that we could pray, but he said we had to hide in the gym or behind a curtain, or somewhere away from everyone else.

And I know that if this can happen in a small town in Texas, it can happen anywhere across America, and that’s not right. No one should feel ashamed of their faith, especially in school or anywhere.

THE PRESIDENT: Well —

MS. ALLEN: And —

THE PRESIDENT: So what ultimately happened? How was that resolved?

MS. ALLEN: So we got with First Liberty. They’ve been amazing. They supported us the whole way. And they sent the school a letter, and the school complied with the letter, and they changed the — yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: And now you’re able to do that?

MS. ALLEN: We are.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, now it’s going to be much easier yet. Okay? All right? Thank you, darling. That was beautiful. Thank you very much.

We’re also joined by Marilyn Rhames, a former teacher and the founder of Teachers Who Pray. Marilyn, if you could, let us know — where is —

MS. RHAMES: I’m right here.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Thank you very much. Maybe you give us a little bit about what happened?

MS. RHAMES: Yes. So, thank you. I’m Marilyn Rhames. I’m the founder and president of Teachers Who Pray. And I founded Teachers Who Pray because I, as a teacher, believe in the beauty of every child and the unlimited potential that resides within. However, the students that I was getting weren’t set up for success because they were so significantly behind grade level. And I taught in Chicago public schools for 14 years. And during that time, we were losing students every year to gun violence. And one year, it was like 30, 32 students getting killed.

And I was overwhelmed with the heaviness of the work, so I thought about quitting, and I decided not to. I was going to fight. And I was going to pray and uplift my spirit so that I can do the job that I knew God had called me to do.

So I began praying with other teachers in the building who were like-minded, and we really supported each other, built community, built more hope, built more joy in the work despite it being so difficult. And we grew. Like, right now, there’s over 150 chapters of Teachers Who Pray because teachers need that spiritual support and guidance.

And today, I believe it’s super important because there is a myth out there that what Teachers Who Pray does and other organizations do for teachers, spiritual wealth is not legal. And it absolutely is.

And I’m here to tell teachers that we need to pray for your faith. We need to pray. We need to buckle and just do what we have to do for our kids because they need us and they’re depending on us. And if we’re not strong, we can’t make them strong. So that’s why I’m here.

THE PRESIDENT: That was really beautifully said. Thank you very much. That was beautiful. Thanks, Marilyn.

So, while I’m President, which will be hopefully for five years — and, I don’t know, maybe we’ll work on, with the media, we’ll work on a major extension of that. Right? (Laughter.) But we will not let anyone push God from the public square. We will uphold religious liberty for all.

And I want to thank you all, and God bless you all for being here. It’s a great time in our country. We’re doing things that nobody thought was possible.

I’d like to ask, if I might, Secretary DeVos and Deputy Attorney General Rosen to say a few words about our actions, if you don’t mind. Please.

SECRETARY DEVOS: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, Betsy. Please.

SECRETARY DEVOS: Thank you for your leadership, your courage, and your friendship to people of faith, especially our nation’s children. Too many misinterpret a separation of church and state as an invitation for government to separate people from their faith.

In reality, our Constitution doesn’t exist to protect us from religion; it exists to protect religion from government. The First Amendment affirms our free exercise of religion, and we don’t forfeit that first freedom to anyone or in any place, especially in public schools.

After all, it’s been noted that as long as there are final exams in schools, there will be always be prayer in schools. (Laughter.)

Thanks to your leadership, Mr. President, today we remind schools of the law with respect to religious expression — something that hasn’t been done in more than 15 years. And where there are violations, we now make clear that the law requires states to establish a clear process for students like Hannah and Michael —

MR. MCLEOD: William.

SECRETARY DEVOS: William — parents and teachers like Marilyn to report them.

It also notes that the law directs states to tell us about any and all complaints as well.

This administration and you is, and always will be, committed to ensuring all believers have the freedom to learn, to pursue our passions, to use our talents, and to live in accordance with the unique purpose that God has called us each to do.

If we embrace that freedom, our faith will be a light no darkness can overcome. Thank you again, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY DEVOS: — for your leadership.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you, Betsy, very much.

Jeff?

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSEN: Well, thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for your leadership on this really critical issue. There are — the fundamental freedom that you’ve been supporting for Americans to practice their faith is so important and is so appreciated by millions and millions of Americans.

And at the Department of Justice, we remain firmly committed to enforcing Americans’ constitutional rights, including this one. So that’s part of why I’m very honored and privileged to be a part of today’s announcement on the new guidance document about prayer in school.

I think sometimes people don’t appreciate that there are many, many Americans who feel called to pray during the day, and our First Amendment to our Constitution protects that. And sometimes I think there’s a confusion about this issue as to whether it’s trying to force people to pray who don’t want to, but that’s not what this is about. This is about protecting the rights of those who do to have the liberty to do that on school grounds. And that is protected —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSEN: — by the First Amendment.

So today’s guidance reaffirms and clarifies and spells out for Americans what that freedom is with regards to prayer and religious expression. And I really think that the courage of people of faith, such as the folks we have here today, is really a reminder of how important our constitutional liberties are and of the great action that your administration is taking to ensure that they remain legally protected.

So again, Mr. President, I thank you —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Jeff. Good job.

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROSEN: — and the Secretary DeVos and the whole administration for the efforts to make this happen.

THE PRESIDENT: Very good job. Thank you very much, Jeff.

Paula, would you like to say something? Go ahead.

PASTOR WHITE: Yes, sir. It’s such an honor to stand here with you, President Trump, and with this amazing team. And the policy and everyone who had made this — this is a huge thing. So we said it is a constitutional right, a First Amendment right. And, President, you continue to be such a fighter for people’s freedoms, for their liberties. As you often say, “We worship God, not government.”

Perceived and perception has often been — people have been bullied, harassed, stopped from practicing their faith. You have so many people that have walked out here, very brave, with horrific stories of being persecuted because they simply wanted to pray. And prayers, we know, makes a huge difference. So thank you for standing for all —

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Paula.

PASTOR WHITE: — religious liberties.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. Thank you very much.

Would anybody like to say anything? Go ahead.

MR. MCLEOD: Can I tell my story?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, go ahead. (Laughter.) Go ahead.

MR. MCLEOD: So it all started when I walked in the classroom. I was — it was Ash Wednesday and I had my ashes on my forehead, and all the kids in the classroom was like, “Is that dirt on your forehead?” Because they don’t know, because they aren’t Catholic and they were all Mormon.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh.

MR. MCLEOD: So — because I was like — they’re — that was like — I was like the only Catholic in that school. So then the teacher came up and was like, “It’s unacceptable. Wipe it off.” And I told her four times, and she didn’t listen and she made me wipe it off in front of all the kids.

THE PRESIDENT: Wow.

MR. MCLEOD: That’s my story. So, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s not going to be happening anymore. Okay?

MR. MCLEOD: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: All right?

MR. MCLEOD: I just don’t want anyone to feel like that.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s a beautiful — it’s a beautiful story. Well told, because it sets such a good plate out there for people. I mean, you hear a story like that, it’s such a shocking — Jeff, that’s a shocking story, right? You were the only Catholic in the school?

MR. MCLEOD: (Nods head.) Well, I think there’s one more.

THE PRESIDENT: But they didn’t have any idea. It was just — and the teacher did not treat you properly, right?

MR. MCLEOD: (Nods head.)

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. We’re changing that. Okay? Great job. That was beautiful.

Come here. Give me that hand.

Anybody over here? Anybody? Sure.

MR. WINDEBANK: Mr. President, thank you so much for the opportunity to be in the Oval Office. So much history has taken place here. It’s surreal. Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MR. WINDEBANK: My name is Chase Windebank. I started a small group of students praying in high school during a free period. And by my senior year, it had grown to a community of 90 students. It was so encouraging. But later in senior year, the administration wound up banning us from praying during school hours — not even during lunch.

And so I remember thinking I didn’t want to file a lawsuit at all, but after many meetings unsuccessful with the administration, I wound up realizing it was the only way to secure future students’ rights to pray. And so thank you, sir, that now I get to have the opportunity to tell students to live out their faith in big and small ways —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s right. That’s right.

MR. WINDEBANK: — in the future. And you guys are making sure that the Founding Fathers are living on in our nation. So thank you, sir, very much.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you very much. That’s very nice.

MR. WINDEBANK: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes?

MS. HIJAZ: I pray five times day. Oh, my name is Malak Hijaz. I pray five times a day and I have to pray at lunch. And I would bring the hijab to cover my hair and kids would make fun of me, harass me, and attack me. And I would tell the principal, and the principal actually blamed everything on me. At the end, me and my mom complained so many times, and I didn’t have a good education at the end. So, yeah, everything was blamed on me.

THE PRESIDENT: And we’re going to take care of that, right?

MS. HIJAZ: Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, darling.

MS. HIJAZ: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you very much.

MS. HOBLIN: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, we’ll I want to thank everybody for being here.

Did I hear somebody else? Yes, please. Go ahead.

MS. HOBLIN: Hi, my name is Ariana Hoblin. I’m a high school student in South Florida. And in my middle school, I was the only Jewish person and I was very open with my religion. I would announce when I would have Shabbat plans, which is a day of prayer and rest.

And when we started our Holocaust unit, it ended with everybody being nice to me because I spoke out about it. And I wanted to inform people and I wanted to help people learn. And the students started to write swastikas on my belongings, on my arms. I was pushed and shoved in the hallway.

They even went so far as to take my face and put it on Anne Frank’s body. And it was sent around to three different schools. And I was terrified to say I was Jewish. And that should never be in anyone’s mind. Anyone in school should be able to say, “I am what whatever religion I am. And I practice this and I believe this.”

And it’s been three or four years since middle school. I’m a junior in high school and I have continuously fought for anyone to have the right to exercise their constitutional rights in school.

And I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done, and for Israel and for everything that you’ve truly done for all of us.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. So beautiful. Thank you. It’s working out better now? Or is it sort of similar?

MS. HOBLIN: Yes, my high school is extremely supportive of me. I go to Wellington High School.

THE PRESIDENT: Good.

MS. HOBLIN: And they’ve helped me be a leader in the Jewish community now.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is going to help too.

MS. HOBLIN: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

MR. KENNEDY: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, please.

MR. KENNEDY: Coach Kennedy.

THE PRESIDENT: Coach.

MR. KENNEDY: We talked a few times. I coach up in Bremerton High School —

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. KENNEDY: — in Bremerton, Washington. And I was fired for praying after football games.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. KENNEDY: And it’s just so nice to have First Liberty representing me and having a President that has the guts to stand up for us. So, I appreciate you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Coach.

MR. KENNEDY: Oorah. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Good coach, too. He’s a good coach.

MR. KENNEDY: Thank you.

MS. CHANEY: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much.

Yes?

MS. CHANEY: My name is Emily Chaney. I’m a sophomore at East Ridge High School. And I started a prayer locker at my school, and it really helped a lot of people who had different prayer requests. Just —

THE PRESIDENT: Where do you come from with that beautiful accent? (Laughter.) I love the accent. Where do you come from?

MS. CHANEY: Pikeville, Kentucky.

THE PRESIDENT: Kentucky. Oh, we love Kentucky. (Laughter.) We love Kentucky.

MS. CHANEY: I started a prayer locker at my school and it helped a lot of kids who have many different prayer requests just to let them know that someone was there for them and cared for them. And Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to our board of education that the prayer lockers needed to be taken down.

And whenever my teacher told me my school was notified that I had to take my prayer locker down, I was heartbroke, because I had like 10 prayer requests a day. And that was — I just feel like it really helped move in our community, in our schools. And I just — I’m just so thankful for you and all you’ve done for our country.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

MS. CHANEY: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Say hello to everybody in Kentucky for me, okay? (Laughter.) And beyond. And beyond Kentucky.

MS. CHANEY: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay? We’re all set?

DR. RICHBURG: Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, please.

DR. RICHBURG: I come from a heritage and from a faith persuasion that every day of my life, from childhood to now, was grounded in faith. And it is my belief that, had we not had that freedom to exercise that faith, we would not be where we are today.

And so, for that reason, we look at this moment as epic, and an opportunity to return to where we have one time been — the opportunity to freely express ourselves and to share with others, who might feel the same way, how far we’ve been brought and how far we must come through faith.

THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. So nicely stated. Thank you very much.

You were going to say something?

MR. BUEHRER: Yes, Mr. President, I wanted to thank you. Eric Buehrer, with Gateways to Better Education. And these guidelines haven’t been updated and reissued since 2003.

THE PRESIDENT: Right.

MR. BUEHRER: And when we saw that and contacted the Department of Education, we were so gratified of the response from Secretary DeVos and others on your staff that said, “Yes, we need to address this and update these.” Other administrations should have done it every two years, and it hadn’t been done.

So thank you so much for stepping up and really supporting religious freedom in schools.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we covered a lot of territory in here, as you know, because, you’re right, it’s been many years since they were updated.

MR. BUEHRER: It has.

THE PRESIDENT: So I think it’s very important.

Well, thank you all very much. Go ahead.

Q Yeah, Mr. President, tell me a little bit about what many folks, especially folks of faith, view as a cultural war out there. Prayer, a lot of things going on in society — what are your views on this cultural war that we hear so much about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is a cultural war, and you have two sides. And you have a side that believes so strongly in prayer, and they’re being restricted, and it’s getting worse and worse. And I think we’ve made a big impact. And we’re loosening up a lot, and I want to loosen it up totally.

But you do have — you have things happening today that 10 or 15 years ago would have been unthinkable, what’s happening. Taking the word “God” down, taking the word “Christmas” out. You know, I think we’ve turned that one around very good. I think we’ve turned both of them around very good. But we’re not going to let it happen. We’re never going to let that happen. And we’re fighting it hard. You know better than anybody, we’re fighting it very hard. And we’re opening it up, and we’re opening up again.

So stories like you hear — but so many other stories — hopefully, in the future, you’re not going to be hearing too much about that. Okay? Thank you. Good question.

Q Mr. President, what is your response to Lev Parnas, who says that your efforts in Ukraine were all about 2020 — that you just wanted Joe Biden out? What’s your response to that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know him. I don’t know Parnas, other than I guess I had pictures taken, which I do with thousands of people, including people today that I didn’t meet. But — just met them. I don’t know him at all. Don’t know what he’s about. Don’t know where he comes from. Know nothing about him.

I can only tell you: This thing is a big hoax. It’s a big hoax. We call it — this is the current hoax. We’ve gone through the Russian witch hunt. We’ve gone through a lot of them — from probably before I came down the escalator, but certainly since I came down the escalator. You take a look at what’s happened.

Q But he says that —

THE PRESIDENT: And, in the meantime, our country —

Q He says that you know what you were —

THE PRESIDENT: It doesn’t matter what he says. He’s trying to probably make a deal for himself.

Q But he says that you knew what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, that you knew what he was doing —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t even know who this man is, other than I guess he attended fundraisers, so I take a picture with him. I’m in a room; I take pictures with people. I take thousands and thousands of pictures with people all the time — thousands — during the course of the year. And, oftentimes, I’ll be taking a picture with somebody. I’ll say, “I wonder what newspaper that one is going to appear in.”

No, I don’t know him. Perhaps he’s a fine man; perhaps he’s not. I know nothing about him. But I can tell you this —

Q He described a situation that was more than just taking pictures, Mr. President. He says that —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know him. I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken with him.

Q — he was with Giuliani when you were on the phone with Giuliani. And he said that there was a —

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t believe I’ve ever spoken to him. I meet thousands of people —

Q — that there was a pressure campaign on the President of Ukraine.

THE PRESIDENT: I meet thousands and thousands of people, as President. I take thousands of pictures. And I do — and I do it openly and I do it gladly. And then, if I have a picture where I’m standing with somebody at a fundraiser — like, I believe I saw a picture with this — this man. But I don’t know him. I had never had a conversation that I remember with him.

Certainly —

Q So when he said Mulvaney knew about this —

THE PRESIDENT: Let me just tell you: You just have to take a look at the polls.

Q — that Bolton knew about this —

THE PRESIDENT: Quiet. You just have to take a look at the pictures. You just have to take a look at the polls. You see I don’t need anybody’s help. We’re doing phenomenally well. The economy is the best it’s ever been in — we have never had an economy like this in history. We just made the two best trade deals in the history of our country. We are doing well.

I don’t need the help of a man I never met before, other than perhaps taking a picture at a fundraiser or something, if that’s where it was taken.

Q He makes it sound like this was just about taking out Joe Biden.

THE PRESIDENT: So — go ahead.

Q Are you still going to Davos? And if you are, what’s the message you want to send being —

THE PRESIDENT: I will probably be going to Davos. I’ve been invited. We have tremendous world leaders, and we also have the great business leaders. And we want those business leaders all to come to the United States. Some of the businesses left the United States because they were disgusted with what happened. And now they’re all coming back.

We are booming. Our country is the hottest country anywhere in the world. There’s nothing even close. Every world leader sees me and they say, “What have you done? This is the most incredible thing that we’ve ever seen.”

I understand the stock market, today, broke 29,000. When I came in, it was a fraction of that. It was a number that, frankly, would have gone and it would have been cut in half had the other person or the other party won. The number would have been cut in half.

We are doing so well. And I want to get more. We have tremendous room for growth in our country, in terms of the economy. We have tremendous, powerful room for growth.

So I’m going to be going to Davos. I’ll be meeting the biggest business leaders in the world; getting them to come here. I’ll also be meeting with foreign leaders. Okay?

Q Mr. President, you’ve been talking about prayer and faith today. What’s your message to the millions of Catholics in the United States? Why should they vote for you in the upcoming election — Catholics?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have a great relationship with Catholics. I’ve done so much for Catholics. You take look at the abortion issue. You take a look at many of these — you have Mexico City; you take a look at so many of the different issues. My relationship with Catholics and the Catholic Church has been very, very good, as you know very well.

Jeff, go ahead.

Q Mr. President, Rudy Giuliani wrote a letter to Zelensky requesting a private meeting, and he said it was in his capacity as private counsel to President Donald J. Trump — this was before the inauguration. Did you authorize him to write that letter? And what was your understanding of what the meeting was supposed to be about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know anything about the letter. But certainly Rudy is one of the great crime fighters in the history of our country. He’s certainly probably the best over the last 50 years. He was also the greatest mayor in the history of the city of New York. I think Rudy was truly an outstanding mayor.

As an example, his endorsement of Bloomberg — he got Bloomberg elected. He wouldn’t have even been mayor. But Rudy was the greatest crime fighter. And Rudy is somebody that, frankly, having him on my side was a great honor for me, and it has been a great honor for me.

Rudy Giuliani — Rudy Giuliani did a phenomenal job over a long period of time in fighting crime. And frankly, he’s a very legitimate guy, a very straight shooter. I didn’t know about his specific letter, but if he wrote a letter, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. Rudy was always in — it was very important to Rudy that I be a great President, and that’s okay with me. It was very important to a lot of people, because our country was going to hell and now our country is on a path that we haven’t seen in decades and decades. We’ve never done better.

Go ahead.

Q What was —

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. Not you. Go ahead.

Q The trial is starting next week. What’s your view on how long it should take and what witnesses you —

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it should go very quickly. It’s a hoax. It’s a hoax. Everybody knows that. It’s a —

Q And witnesses? What about those?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a complete hoax — the whole thing with Ukraine. So you have a perfect phone call. This is a call fortunate- — it was actually two phone calls. You people don’t report that. There were two calls. They were both perfect calls. In fact, probably among the nicest calls I’ve ever met — made to foreign leaders.

Now, so you have these perfect calls, and everybody says it now. Before they knew they were so good — because, fortunately, they were transcribed — you had other people saying terrible things about the calls. You had a fake whistleblower that wrote a report that bore no relationship to what was said. Everything was false.

You have now the Ukrainian President and the Foreign Minister of Ukraine saying there was nothing done wrong. In fact, they said there was absolutely no pressure whatsoever. Everything was perfect. And they impeach. It’s totally partisan. We had 195 to nothing, Republican votes. I guess we got a Democrat actually came over to the Republican side. We had 195 to nothing.

This is a hoax. It’s a sham. I did the biggest deal ever done in the history of our country yesterday in terms of trade — and probably other things too, if you think about it: the deal with China. And that was the second story to a total hoax.

Today we just had passed the USMCA. It’s going to take the place of NAFTA, which was a terrible deal. And the USMCA will probably be second to this witch-hunt hoax, which hopefully everyone knows is not going anywhere. There was nothing done wrong. This was a perfect phone call. Think of it: The President of the United States, who’s led the greatest growth — the greatest — the greatest economic revival of any country anywhere in the world is the United States, as big as it is. We’re doing better than any other country, by far.

Our unemployment numbers are the best they’ve been in over 50 years. African American, Asian American, Hispanic American unemployment, the best in the history of our country. And I’ve got to go through a hoax, a phony hoax, put out by the Democrats so they can try and win an election that hopefully they’re not going to win.

It was put out for purposes of winning an election. Our country is doing great. Our country has never done better. So they figure the only thing they can do — they failed on the Mueller report; that was a bomb. After two and a half years, they failed. Now they said, “What can we do?” And they pick up a phone call that was perfect. But they didn’t know it was perfect. They only found out later. They made up a phone call.

What they did — look, what they did — you have a corrupt person — he’s a corrupt politician named Adam Schiff, and he made up a phone call. He went out — you’ll hear about this as you grow older. (Laughter.) He went out and he said things that — “He said quid pro quo eight times.” It was no times. He said, “Don’t call me; I’ll call you.” That’s a mob statement. I never said that.

Fortunately, I released the transcript of the call. The transcript was perfectly accurate. And now everybody agrees because it went through a lot and they said, “Well, could you add one word here?” Our lieutenant colonel said, “Well, I think they should add…” — they added the word. Everything — everyone agrees the transcript is perfecto, done by total professionals, right?

But I released that after they had done these fraudulent acts. And you get impeached on this.

We have the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have the highest job numbers. Today, it was just announced, we have more people working in the United States than ever before in the history of our country — almost 160 million people. We’re doing an incredible job.

And for absolutely no reason —

Q Mr. President, during that call, you said Marie Yovanovitch was “going to go through some things.”

THE PRESIDENT: — and for absolutely no reason, I got impeached.

Q Can you address that?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a disgrace and it’s a hoax. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

[End Transcript]

President Trump Delivers Remarks on Constitutional Prayer in School (W/ Presser) – Video and Transcript…

Hiding Behind The Supreme Court Won’t Stop Beto O’Rourke’s Crusade To Punish Orthodox Religion

In addition to showing the left’s trajectory on religious freedom, O’Rourke’s comments also reveal why conservatives are faring so poorly on the LGBT front of the culture war.

Hiding Behind The Supreme Court Won’t Stop Beto O’Rourke’s Crusade To Punish Orthodox Religion

Oct 17, 2019

In 2003, the Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia made a rather prophetic statement in his dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), a Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-sodomy laws across the country. After excoriating the majority for simply waving away the long-held notion that sodomy was a form of sexual immorality that the state had a legitimate interest in prohibiting, Scalia wrote:

One of the benefits of leaving regulation of this matter to the people rather than to the courts is that the people, unlike judges, need not carry things to their logical conclusion. The people may feel that their disapprobation of homosexual conduct is strong enough to disallow homosexual marriage, but not strong enough to criminalize private homosexual acts — and may legislate accordingly. The Court today pretends that it possesses a similar freedom of action, so that that we need not fear judicial imposition of homosexual marriage. … Do not believe it.

In other words, Scalia was declaring, “It’s not within the nature of courts to remain neutral on moral issues. By declaring that the government can’t prohibit homosexual acts today, the court is guaranteeing that the government will be celebrating homosexual acts tomorrow.”

A mere 12 years later, the Supreme Court, via Obergefell v. Hodges, declared every state prohibition against same-sex marriage unconstitutional, with Justice Anthony Kennedy justifying the majority’s opinion by lauding the beauty of homosexual relationships. While Scalia’s words did indeed prove prophetic, they were not perfectly so.

Legalizing gay marriage may have been taking the court’s logic to the next logical step, but it wasn’t the logical conclusion of declaring that the state can’t punish those who engage in homosexuality. Rather, the logical conclusion of the court’s judgment in Lawrence is saying the state must punish those still clinging to the former orthodoxy.

O’Rourke Shows Left’s Trajectory on LGBT Issues

This is something presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke demonstrated in a recent CNN forum on LGBT issues. When Don Lemon asked him if churches and religious organizations that oppose same-sex marriage should lose their tax-exempt status, O’Rourke replied with a firm “Yes.”

Then O’Rourke explained his position by stating, “There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us. So as president, we’re going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”

While one might dismiss O’Rourke as an outlier, it’s worth noting that his response met cheers from the audience and tepid disavowals from a few of his fellow would-be Democrat nominees who couldn’t sufficiently explain why they disagreed, indicating the former congressman’s position is more mainstream among leftists than we might think, even if many on the left recognize it’s not wise to state that view publicly.

Quite simply, O’Rourke’s plan to tax religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage is not merely the hard-left pandering of an unserious candidate trying desperately to bring his poll numbers above negative-400 percent. It’s the logical conclusion of the illiberal philosophy embraced in Lawrence.

Yesterday the state said homosexuality is neutral. Today the state says homosexuality is good. Tomorrow the state will say opposing homosexuality is bad and must therefore be punished. While O’Rourke’s position may be too hot for the eventual nominee to embrace right now, don’t be surprised if it becomes the official platform of the Democratic National Committee the moment it becomes clear they can win the presidency while giving churches, synagogues, and mosques the sin tax treatment.

In addition to showing the left’s trajectory on religious freedom, O’Rourke’s comments also reveal why conservatives are faring so poorly on the LGBT front of the culture war.

While most Americans would probably describe their general approach to human sexuality as “live and let live,” most Americans also intuitively understand that the “live and let live” doctrine gets complicated when people’s sexual practices and identities follow them into public places. When that messiness arises, both conservatives and progressives have the chance to convince people that their respective solutions will get things tidied up. Why, then, are conservatives losing so many of these battles for the hearts and minds of the general public?

The Folly of ‘Live and Let Live’

To answer that question, consider transgenderism. “Live and let live” flies out the window the moment a man identifying as a woman shows up in the ladies’ bathroom and makes the women in the room uncomfortable. Likewise, how do you solve the problem when public schools demand that teachers use students’ preferred pronouns and some teachers object?

Progressives promise to clean up this mess by carrying their beliefs to their logical conclusion. Transgenderism, they argue, is a perfectly valid identity the state should celebrate and defend. And because it harms people to have their identity rejected, the state must therefore compel others to acknowledge it — thus, force institutions to have transgender bathroom policies. Force taxpayers to subsidize transgender surgery. Fire teachers for refusing to use students’ preferred pronouns. Follow Canada’s example and remove children from their parents if they refuse to embrace their kid’s trans identity.

Conservatives, however, have shown little willingness to follow their own principles likewise to their logical actions. By and large, we assert that transgenderism is, at best, a phase and, at worst, a form of mental illness, so it should follow that the way to clean up the mess is to use the state’s power to hinder those who would do physical and psychological harm to those struggling with a false sense of identity. Yet we are largely unwilling to urge the state to do this.

We aren’t willing to say that mothers who shove their supposedly gender-nonconforming children in front of TV cameras should have their children removed from their homes. We aren’t using the power we have in red states to pass laws promising revoked medical licenses and perhaps even jail time for doctors who prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to minors and chop off perfectly functional sex organs. When trans students show up at schools and demand that teachers use their preferred pronouns, we aren’t willing to say, “The solution to this problem is to forbid males from coming to school dressed as females and vice versa while they get the help they need.”

In all of this, we refuse to clean up the “live and let live” mess by carrying our beliefs to their logical conclusion, which frequently convinces the undecided public that they should probably side with the people who will. That’s why Sen. Elizabeth Warren didn’t consider it political suicide to cheer the bravery of a 9-year-old girl living as a boy. That’s why we’re losing.

Conservatives Need More Than a Supreme Court Ruling

It is, of course, important for conservatives to keep defending those dragged into court for refusing to accept the new LGBT orthodoxy. And God bless those florists, bakers, and educators who have refused to acquiesce to the state’s demands, but not everyone has the mettle or the ability to wait five years for a favorable Supreme Court ruling.

For their sake, it would behoove conservatives to remember that you don’t win culture wars by refusing to fight until you get to the courthouse steps. Likewise, it’s also worth remembering that those who lose culture wars will eventually lose the constitutional protections in which they’ve sought sanctuary.

Sure, O’Rourke’s vindictive tax policy would likely be ruled unconstitutional by today’s Supreme Court. But the more comfortable our culture becomes with the idea of destroying dissenting churches via the power of taxation, the less confident we should be that future justices will maintain today’s understanding of the First Amendment. After all, if the Supreme Court, high on elitist zeitgeist, can stick its hands into the void and invent a constitutional right to abortion or to marry anyone, it can also invent a constitutional right to a clean conscience, which can only be preserved by silencing those repentance-preaching pastors and priests.

Quite simply, conservatives need to win converts to prevent progressives from devouring us. And that won’t happen if we refuse to carry our beliefs to their logical conclusions. So at the risk of rekindling the Ahmari-French debate, when conservatives express discomfort with the concept of obscenity laws, see drag queen story hour as a “blessing of liberty,” and won’t scream in defense of gender-confused children who are being abused by the people who are supposed to protect them, we aren’t clinging to our first principles. Rather, we’re forgetting the very first principle — namely that earthly governments are instituted by God to punish the wicked and reward the good in order to give us a peaceful and quiet life.

Because of this, we shouldn’t hesitate to use the state’s power to defend ourselves and our children from the kind of metastasizing libertinism that rots every brick of the public square it touches. If we don’t, as the journey from Lawrence v. Texas to Beto v. Traditional Christians, Jews, and Muslims shows, those who have gotten comfortable using the state to impose their perverse morality on us won’t tire of doing so any time soon.

Hans Fiene is a Lutheran pastor in Illinois and the creator of Lutheran Satire, a series of comical videos intended to teach the Lutheran faith. Follow him on Twitter, @HansFiene.
Photo LifeSiteNews

 

https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/16/hiding-behind-the-supreme-court-wont-stop-beto-orourkes-crusade-to-punish-orthodox-religion/

Bullying and Children with Disabilities and Special Health Needs

Oct 10, 2019

Children with disabilities—such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities—are at an increased risk of being bullied. Any number of factors— physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments—may increase the risk. Research suggests that some children with disabilities may bully others as well.

Kids with special health needs, such as epilepsy or food allergies, also may be at higher risk of being bullied. Bullying can include making fun of kids because of their allergies or exposing them to the things they are allergic to. In these cases, bullying is not just serious, it can mean life or death.

Creating a Safe Environment for Youth with Disabilities

Special considerations are needed when addressing bullying in youth with disabilities. There are resources to help kids with disabilities who are bullied or who bully others. Youth with disabilities often have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 plans that can be useful in crafting specialized approaches for preventing and responding to bullying. These plans can provide additional services that may be necessary. Additionally, civil rights laws protect students with disabilities against harassment.

Creating a Safe Environment for Youth with Special Health Needs

Youth with special health needs—such as diabetes requiring insulin regulation, food allergies, or youth with epilepsy— may require accommodations at school. In these cases they do not require an Individualized Education Program or Section 504 plan. However, schools can protect students with special health needs from bullying and related dangers. If a child with special health needs has a medical reaction, teachers should address the medical situation first before responding to the bullying. Educating kids and teachers about students’ special health needs and the dangers associated with certain actions and exposures can help keep kids safe.

Federal Civil Rights Laws and Youth with Disabilities

When bullying is directed at a child because of his or her established disability and it creates a hostile environment at school, bullying behavior may cross the line and become “disability harassment.”  Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the school must address the harassment. Read more about federal civil rights laws.

Bullying Prevention for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Having special health care needs due to neurological, developmental, physical, and mental health conditions can add to the challenges children and young people face as they learn to navigate social situations in school and in life. While bullying and cyberbullying is an unfortunate reality for many young people, children with special healthcare needs are at greater risk for being targeted by their peers.

One reason children and young adults with special health care needs might be at higher risk for bullying is lack of peer support. Having friends who are respected by peers can prevent and protect against bullying. Ninety-five percent of 6- to 21-year-old students with disabilities were served in public schools in 2013. However, children with special health care needs may have difficulty getting around the school, trouble communicating and navigating social interactions, or may show signs of vulnerability and emotional distress. These challenges can make them be perceived as different, and increase their risk of aggression from peers.

Young people with special needs may benefit from, both individualized and class-wide approaches to address the specific effects of their condition and prevent them from becoming the target or perpetrator of bullying. Teachers, school staff, and other students need to understand the specific impairments of a child’s health condition, so that they can develop strategies and supports to help them participate and succeed in class and with their peers.

Potential Perceived Differences

Children and youth with special needs are impacted by their conditions in a variety of ways. Every child is unique, and so are the ways that their health condition affects them. Some impairments, such as brain injuries or neurological conditions, can impact a child’s understanding of social interactions and they may not even know when they are being bullied. Here are a few ways that disabilities may affect children:

  • Children and youth with cerebral palsyspina bifida, or other neurological or physical conditions can struggle with physical coordination and speech.
  • Brain injuries can impair speech, movement, comprehension, and cognitive abilities or any combination of these. A child or youth with a brain injury may have trouble with body movements, or speaking in a way that others can understand. It could take them longer to understand what is being said or to respond.
  • Children and young people with Autism Spectrum DisorderAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Tourette’s Syndrome may have difficulties with social interactions, sensitivities, impulsivity, and self-regulating their behavior or effectively communicating.
  • A child or young person who experiences anxiety or depression or who has a mental health condition may be withdrawn, quiet, fearful, anxious, or vulnerable. They may exhibit intense social awkwardness or have difficulty speaking.
  • Children who have epilepsy or behavioral disorders may exhibit erratic or unusual behavior that makes them stand out among their peers.

Supporting Special Needs and Preventing Bullying at School

Strategies to address student’s special needs at school can also help to prevent bullying and have positive outcomes for all students, especially tactics that use a team approach, foster peer relationships, and help students develop empathy. Some strategies include:

  • Engaging students in developing high-interest activitiesexit disclaimer icon in which everyone has a role to play in designing, executing or participating in the activity.
  • Providing general up-front information to peers about the kinds of support children with special needs require, and have adults facilitate peer support.
  • Creating a buddy system for children with special needs.
  • Involving students in adaptive strategies in the classroom so that they participate in assisting and understanding the needs of others.
  • Conducting team-based learning activities and rotate student groupings.
  • Implementing social-emotional learning activities.
  • Rewarding positive, helpful, inclusive behavior.

Peer Support Makes a Difference

Here are a few examples of innovative strategies used by schools to promote peer-to-peer learning, foster relationships, and prevent bullying:

  • One high school created a weekly lunch programexit disclaimer icon where student’s with and without special healthcare needs sat and ate lunch together. Several senior students led the group, and invited their friends to join. All kinds of students participated. The students got to know each other through question and answer periods and discussions over lunch. They discovered things they had in common and formed friendships. A group of them went to the prom together.
  • Youth at one school held a wheelchair soccer nightexit disclaimer icon. Students with special healthcare needs that used wheelchairs coached their peers in how to use and navigate the wheelchairs to play. The students helped another peer who used a wheelchair who was interested in photography by mounting a digital camera on her chair so she could be the game photographer.
  • Another schoolexit disclaimer icon created a club rule that required clubs to rotate leadership responsibilities in club meetings so that every member had a chance to run the group. This allowed students with special health care needs to take on leadership roles.

Peer support is an important protective factor against bullying. By working together, teachers, parents and students can develop peer education, team-building, and leadership activities that foster friendships, build empathy, and prevent bullying to make schools safer and inclusive for all students, including children with special healthcare needs.

Bullying and Children with Disabilities and Special Health Needs


Cartoon Bully intimidating a man. Isolated

Related

Study links gene to children with physical and intellectual disabilities

Increase in Developmental Disabilities Among Children in the United States

 

Growing numbers of parents are taking a stand against moves to impose lessons on LGBT issues on primary school children

by Godinterest

Parkfield Community School

Parkfield Community School

Protesters against LGBT teaching at a primary school have been banned from gathering outside the gates of Anderton Park Primary School by a High Court injunction which was granted on the basis that the risk to children became “too serious to tolerate”. Birmingham City Council said the behaviour of demonstrators was “increasingly unacceptable” and that they pursued the injunction in order to protect staff and pupils when they return from their half-term break on Monday.

After months of demonstrations outside Anderton Park Primary School Birmingham City Council decided to pursue the legal action. The Council leader Ian Ward said “common sense had prevailed”.

The school had to close early before half-term due to escalating action.

The council said it sought the urgent injunction after the risk to children became “too serious to tolerate”.

Birmingham City Council

Protests have been held outside Anderton Park School for several weeks

Nazir Afzal who is in charge of steering talks between the council, parents and teachers, told Sky News that six weeks of discussions have been unsuccessful.

Protests have been held outside Anderton Park School for several weeks

Protesters were not made aware of the High Court application but told the BBC they still intended to gather next week on a street further away from the school.

How did it all begin?

No outsiders in Our School Teaching the Equality Act In Primary Schools, by Andrew Moffat

The No Outsiders project was the brainchild of Andrew Moffat, assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham and based on a book written by headteacher Andrew Moffat.

In an attempt to teach equality amongst children in school irrespective of gender, sex, race or religion. The project aim was to change attitudes towards South Asian and Muslim homosexuality by teaching children about the Equality Act 2010 and British values. He also wanted pupils to “be proud of who they are while recognising and celebrating difference and diversity”.

When did controversy begin to unfold?

The Government intends to introduce compulsory Relationships Education at primary school level from 2020, which will teach children as young as five about “different types” of families.

Parents at seven primary schools in Greater Manchester have contacted school management to complain about proposed LGBT lessons.

In January this year a parent whose child attends Parkfield school raised a petition, claiming the teaching contradicted the Islamic faith.

How did the school respond to the growing anger?

The No Outsiders lessons were paused to allow teachers to “re-engage with our parents”, Mr Moffat said.

What do education chiefs say?

Ofsted has backed the No Outsiders programme, with its chief inspector Amanda Spielman saying all children must learn about same-sex couples regardless of their religious background.

Respecting parents

The Christian Institute’s Education Officer John Denning said respecting parents is “essential”.

“The protests reflect the lack of confidence parents have that schools are observing the proper boundaries of their role.

“The law is clear that teachers must respect the range of views amongst parents and not undermine them with one-sided propaganda.”

“It is being justified by claiming that it is required by the Equality Act, but the Act is explicit that it does not apply to the school curriculum.”

 

Original here