On Oct. 4, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote a memorandum threatening to mobilize federal law enforcement because parents are expressing their opinions at taxpayer-funded school board meetings. (I apologize for knocking you off your feet.) This provocation crosses a line rarely – if ever – seen on American soil. Missouri parents, bet you never thought you would be on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list.
Alas, this should not surprise us. The God-dishonoring, collectivists have been laying the groundwork for decades and have now arrived at a key moment. The destruction of the family has always been at the center of Marxist desire. In chapter two of The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engles maintain that the destruction of private property will never be complete until the “abolition of the family” is accomplished.
So what is the justification for this confrontational move by the attorney general? Columnist Roger Kimball explains: “Because parents across the country have suddenly woken up to the wokeness haunting their schools and poisoning the minds of their children. The school boards, many of which are staffed by leftists, are pushing the Marxist ideology of critical race theory, virtue-signaling mask mandates, and forcing noisome gender identity politics on primary and secondary school students.”
Alarmed parents are attending school board meetings – many for the first time, disgusted with what their children are being taught. Some yell. Some wave their arms, others carry signs. All are protected by the First Amendment.
Yet Garland threatens to crush such activity. He appears to be doing this at the behest of Biden administration stakeholders. In early September, these stakeholders – the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – complained to the Biden Administration that they were unable to chill and prevent parents from exercising their Constitutional rights. These complaints led Garland to take his action, using the Patriot Act as justification. But the Patriot Act was passed by Congress following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in order “to protect innocent Americans from the deadly plans of terrorists dedicated to destroying America and our way of life.” By invoking the Patriot Act, Garland’s action means that parents at school board meetings could be labeled “domestic terrorists” – and subjects for the FBI.
Let me pause there to say that not all school teachers agree with their unions. Many do not. My sister is a public school teacher and I have many friends who are as well, and they are frustrated and concerned. We need to raise them up in prayer.
Sadly, there is more stench to this saga. Garland’s daughter is married to Xan Tanner, the founder and president of Panorama, a multimillion-dollar company that is accused of selling critical race theory to schools around the country. This raises serious conflict of interest questions.
Meanwhile, parents had best just shut up. Garland’s action is more than just criminalizing dissent. It is an attack on the family. As Mary Chastain notes at Legal Insurrection, “(T)hey want to figure out how to deal with parents who have the nerve to be involved in their child’s education.” The answer? Intimidate parents, even prosecute some to invoke fear.
Thank God for people like State Rep. Craig Fischel of Springfield. He has demanded the local school board hand over all documents pertaining to critical race theory. As you can imagine the school authorities are balking and it may take public pressure – or a court order – to make them comply.
For Christians, and our Missouri Southern Baptist family, this ought to deeply concern us. This strikes at the heart of God’s plan for parents to be responsible for the education of their children – not the government or teachers unions. God made this clear in Deuteronomy 6:5-7, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, obey your parents.”
Parents are the primary authority and have the responsibility of directing the upbringing and education of their children – whether in public school, private schools or home schools. Parents are the first – and foremost – teachers and the state undermines the parental role when it becomes totalitarian as we are witnessing. School curricula should never undermine parents as they teach their children moral and spiritual values. Sharing restrooms with the opposite sex and teaching kindergartners to use gender-neutral language undercuts parents.