Professor, Punished for Not Using Preferred Pronouns, Appeals After Judge Dismisses Case

A professor at an Ohio university is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that he contends compels him to say something he doesn’t agree with.

“Professors don’t give up their First Amendment freedoms simply by choosing to teach,” said Travis Barham, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group that represents the professor.

Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, says he was “illegally disciplined” by his employer because he chose not to adhere to a male student’s insistence on being referred to with female titles and pronouns.

“Dr. Meriwether received a written warning … threatening him with ‘further corrective actions’ if he does not start expressing the University’s desired message,” Barham said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:


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These further corrective actions could include suspension without pay or termination. He is still employed at Shawnee State University, though he has this black cloud hanging over his head all the time. This punishment is illegal because it violates his First Amendment rights.

On Nov. 5, 2018, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on Meriwether’s behalf, maintaining that he should not be forced to use feminine pronouns and titles for a male student.

“Public universities have no business trying to force people to express ideological beliefs that they do not hold,” Barham told The Daily Signal. “Dr. Meriwether remains committed to serving all students with respect, but he cannot express all messages or endorse all ideologies.

“When the university tried to force him to do this and then punished him for exercising his rights, it violated the First Amendment,” Barham said.

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott threw out the lawsuit Feb. 12, and Alliance Defending Freedom announced Thursday that it is appealing her decision.

Dlott, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, is senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Meriwether is being robbed of his constitutional rights.

“Compelling a university professor to utter scientific falsehoods in the name of a political ideology is un-American,” Kao said. “The Constitution protects the freedom to speak according to one’s conscience. It must be protected on controversial issues like transgender ideology if diversity of thought and intellectual integrity are to be preserved.”

Jonathan Butcher, a senior policy analyst in Heritage’s Center for Education Policy, said in a written statement provided to The Daily Signal that “students and professors should be allowed to speak freely on public policy issues of the day and not fear reprisal from the university based on positions the school has decided to take on such topics.”

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

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Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a congressional reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

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Embedding LGBT ideology in the curriculum carries serious risks for young people. We need to tell them the facts and consequences.

The UK government funded the LGBT Lobby Stonewall to produce a programme; ‘Creating an LGBT inclusive Primary Curriculum’ which has been designed to erode ‘heteronormative’ assumptions in primary schools. The programme embeds same sex relationships throughout the curriculum, using psychological techniques such as ‘usualising’, ‘actualising’ and desensitization to make these relationships appear normal to our youngest children. Teachers are told to eliminate ‘he’ and ‘she’ from the curriculum, turning the world into a place inhabited by sexless ‘theys’. Stonewall tell us that schools will be monitored to see how successfully these ideas are adopted.

Stonewall resources are already widely used in UK schools although there are no legal requirements to teach about LGBT relationships. Nor can it be supported by the Equalities Act, which simply protects against discrimination. In fact the Department for Education could probably be legally challenged as much of the programme undermines parent’s religious beliefs.

We do not allow political or religious groups such influence over the curriculum. How come a single issue group like Stonewall has such influence on the basis of their ideological belief?

Part of the reason is the assumption that ‘being gay’ is, like sex or disability, an innate characteristic, and that those who are affected need our protection and support. This belief is an outcome of a long-term campaign carried out by the LGBT lobby whose aim was most clearly articulated in After the Ball by Kirk and Madsen:

“The mainstream should be told that gays are victims of fate, in the sense that most never had a choice to accept or reject their sexual preference. The message must read: ‘As far as gays can tell, they were born gay, just as you were born heterosexual or white or black or bright or athletic. They never made a choice, and are not morally blameworthy… Straight viewers must be able to identify with gays as victims.” (See here)

This assumption influences how we teach about same sex attraction (SSA) in schools today. For example, LGBT activists Barnes and Carlile instruct teachers to draw an equivalence between disability, colour and being gay: “When we study the Paralympics are we promoting disabilities?… When we study the civil rights movement are we promoting being black?” The answer is evidently, “No!”’

The result is wide acceptance of the view that some people are ‘born gay,’ but there is little evidence to support this.

Same-sex attracted people are not ‘born gay’

Research suggests that in some cases there may exist predisposing hormonal factors. Some biological correlates have been identified, but ‘being gay’ is not genetically predetermined. This has been comprehensively confirmed.

Our sexuality, or sexual expression, is indicated but not determined by biology. Many lesbians and gay men have had sex with an opposite sex partners and enjoyed it. For some, desires change over their lifetime.  Others are clear that their sexuality is a product of nurture rather than nature. Some have been so convinced of this that they have successfully sought therapy to change their sexual orientation.

Who we desire is profoundly complex and shrouded in mystery. Biology is a clumsy tool for understanding the ins and outs of sex.

The importance of these less tangible factors is appreciated by gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell: ‘Many studies suggest social factors are also important influences in the formation of sexual orientation. These include the relationship between a child and its parent, formative childhood experiences, family expectations, cultural mores and peer pressure.’

The evidence backs him up.

Some research has identified a range of social factors which correlate with homosexual marriage including divorced parents, older mothers and absent fathers.

Another factor which emerges consistently is child abuse. For example a study found that 46% of homosexual subjects reported abuse, as opposed to 7% of heterosexuals. Another study found that 19% of lesbians had been involved in incestuous relationships while growing up.

Some psychologists have argued that  SSA is linked with a weakened sense of masculinity which can have a number of causes.. Some gay men have argued that their relationship with their father has been key. (see here and here)

For others it is simply a choice.

All this suggests that ‘born that way’ this isn’t actually true. Rather  ‘Moral values, social ideologies and cultural expectations – together with family patterns and parent-child interaction’  are some of the factors impacting on the development of our sexual identities, as Peter Tatchell has explained.

Normalisation is boosting same-sex and trans trends

However, if we accept that cultural mores, peer pressure, moral values and social ideologies all impact on the development of homosexuality and lesbianism, what are the implications for the normalisation that is going on in schools?

Is it possible that young people who might otherwise have grown up to be purely heterosexual will be tempted into gay relationships? And if so, should this be a cause of concern?

One study estimated that as many as 80 percent of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults. Had those young people lived in today’s gay affirming society it seems likely that the numbers who then moved into full homosexuality would have been higher.

We have seen how, since teaching children about transgender identity began in schools, the number of children who are now suffering from gender dysphoria has soared – by over 4400 percent. If children and young people can become confused about their sex, which is so obvious, surely confusion about sexuality could also occur?

There does appear to be evidence that homosexual orientation is slowly beginning an upward climb. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that there is an increase in the proportion of people who identify as gay lesbian or bisexual and this increase appears to be more concentrated in the younger age groups.

For LGBT activists the possibility that gay affirming schools will encourage homosexuality is positively welcomed: “Were future generations to grow up in a gay-positive, homo-friendly culture, it’ likely that many more people would have same-sex relationships, if not for all for their lives at least for significant periods,” says :Peter Tatchell. His hope is that “With this boom in queer sex, the social basis of homophobia would be radically undermined”.

However, Tatchell and others are not supported by the evidence. The evidence seems to suggest that the massive push to affirm LGBT people in schools and society may be reducing tolerance and pushing the numbers of hate crimes up. (US evidence  and UK Evidence)

There are other reasons why encouraging homosexuality to ‘become commonplace’ among our younger generation may not be a good idea.

Young people should be told the health implications

For the facts are that although promiscuity has declined enormously since the early days of AIDS, gay men do, on average, tend to have higher levels of promiscuity. As parents, this is something we would be keen for our children to avoid. It also appears that in the process of achieving intimacy some gay men and women engage in risky and dangerous practices which most of us would be desperate to protect future generations from.

There is evidence that gay people are more likely to show multiple indicators of mental disorder, including higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal thinking and attempts, substance abuse, eating disorders and, at least for lesbians, intimate partner violence. And this not necessarily because of discrimination as is commonly assumed.

What perhaps is most alarming are the increased risks of sexually transmitted and other diseases, overall poor health and shortened lifespans due to HIV. (see herehere and here)

If ‘eliminating homophobia’ depends on sacrificing the health, happiness and the future wellbeing of our children, I, for one, am not prepared to pay the price.

Children are being taught that sexual relationships with your own sex or the opposite sex are both equally desirable. But this simply isn’t true.

Children need to understand that all human beings are equal. However, when it comes to lifestyles, our different choices have costs and benefits attached. For example, being gay can leave a person more vulnerable to relationship instability, mental health problems, dangerous sexual practices and exposure to disease. When it comes to family formation, one of the most significant events in determining our whole life course, being gay is a disability, not to put too fine a point on it.

For some young people choice does not appear to come into it, and of course we accept them, and hopefully journey with them, and make sure they know they have all our support.

But this does not mean that we should teach all young people that it will make no difference to their long-term health, happiness and life plans whether they settle for being straight or decide to explore the possibilities of being lesbian or gay.

So let’s encourage an accurately informed decision making process which takes into consideration the costs and benefits of different types of relationship for those young people who do feel they have a choice.

This is the direction in which we should be guiding our young people.

But that won’t happen while the LGBT lobby are in charge.

COLUMN BY

BELINDA BROWN

Belinda Brown is author of The Private Revolution: Women in the Polish Underground Movement and a number of well-cited academic papers. British, she also writes for The Daily Mail and The Conservative Woman. She has a particular interest in men’s issues and the damage caused by feminism. 

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EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Teacher Takes Union to Court for Ignoring Supreme Court Ruling on Dues

“Everything the union does is inherently political, and I could see that in the mailings I received,” says art teacher Greg Hartnett, who sued the Pennsylvania State Education Association over fees imposed on nonunion employees.


Pennsylvania’s largest public employee union needs to stop evading a landmark Supreme Court ruling, an art teacher argues in a lawsuit that could undo key provisions of state labor laws.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association continues to negotiate provisions to give it “fair share fees” in collective bargaining agreements, despite the fact that the highest court in the land ruled those fees unconstitutional, a lawyer who represents the art teacher told The Daily Signal in an interview.

“PSEA specifically has a history of thumbing its nose at Supreme Court precedent, and it has sometimes required litigation to make them comply with the court’s rulings,” Nathan McGrath, litigation director at the Fairness Center, said of the teachers union.

The Fairness Center, a nonprofit, public-interest law firm based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, represents art teacher Greg Hartnett and three other public school teachers who sued the Pennsylvania State Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association.

Hartnett and the others argue the teachers union shows “a willingness to challenge or ignore Supreme Court precedent,” and that the teachers should not be forced to pay the union’s fair share fees.

The case, Hartnett v. PSEA, is with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to rule in a few months. The Fairness Center teamed with the National Right to Work Foundation to represent the four complaining teachers.

The brief filed in August argues that the teachers union has a long history of undermining and violating Supreme Court rulings. It cites several examples that occurred after the high court’s June 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which invalidated fair share fees, as being the latest in a series.

Related: A Year After the Supreme Court Rules Against Unions, What’s Changed 

“PSEA specifically has a history of thumbing its nose at Supreme Court precedent, and it has sometimes required litigation to make them comply with the court’s rulings,” McGrath said of the teachers union, adding:

Because of that, the fact that the PSEA and its affiliates are still negotiating fair share fees provisions into collective bargaining agreements after Janus is not actually very shocking to us. This seems to be par for the course for how [the unions] operate, and it’s required federal court cases in the past, and in some cases a very lengthy period of time, to get them to comply with what the Supreme Court has said.

U.S. Department of Labor records show the Pennsylvania State Education Association has about 180,000 members, more than any other government union in the state.

The Daily Signal sought comment from the teachers union on the Hartnett case and on the allegations that the union has a history of violating Supreme Court rulings, including the Janus decision. At the time of publication, the union had not responded.

Targeting Pennsylvania Law

Referring to the 3rd Circuit, McGrath said: “At the end of the day, we would like them to bring Janus to Pennsylvania and say that Pennsylvania’s fair share fee law, which is currently on the books, runs counter to what the Supreme Court has said and to declare the Pennsylvania fair share fee law unconstitutional.”

In the Janus ruling, the Supreme Court said state laws requiring nonunion government workers to pay fair share fees to a union violate the First Amendment rights of employees who do not support the political agenda of public employee unions.

In a press release, the Fairness Center estimates that in more than 70% of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, public school teachers who opted out of joining the union were required to pay fair share fees to teachers unions to cover collective bargaining costs.

In the 2016-2017 school year, the fees were only 26% less than full membership dues, the center says.

Hartnett, who teaches art teacher in Homer-Center School District in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and is the lead plaintiff in the case, previously was a member of the teachers union.

Hartnett, the father of five and an avid hunter, has taught since 1999.

He says that when it became apparent that the union’s political positions were in conflict with his own, he decided to go through the formal process of opting out of membership, which he described as “arduous and complicated.”

After the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling, Hartnett opted out of paying nonmember fair share fees.

“I came to see that the union’s platforms and positions were very liberal and very different from mine and I did not want to contribute to someone else’s politics,” Hartnett said in an interview with The Daily Signal, adding:

The collective bargaining process itself is very political, and when they say political funds are separated from fair share fees, I don’t believe it. Everything the union does is inherently political, and I could see that in the mailings I received. I believe in the freedom of choice for each individual to represent themselves.

Teachers who prefer not to be in the union but need liability insurance and legal protection have alternatives, Hartnett said.

“There are free-market alternatives to the problem of the PSEA,” he said. “It is possible for teachers to go out and get a better product for less money, but I’m not sure many teachers are aware of these options.”

Paycheck Protection

On the day of the Janus ruling, Rebecca Friedrichs, a former California public school teacher, made a prescient observation near the steps leading up to the Supreme Court.

Friedrichs told supporters that the high court’s decision to strike down mandatory union dues and fees was “just the beginning, not the end, of a very long fight.” Friedrichs told The Daily Signal.

In an interview, she said she “she ardently supports the Hartnett case,” which closely mirrors her own litigation.

Related: The Christian Educator Behind Teachers’ Fight for Free Speech at the Supreme Court 

Friedrichs, who taught elementary school students for 28 years in the Savanna School District in Anaheim, California, was the lead plaintiff in a suit opposing mandatory union dues and fees.

She joined with nine other teachers and the Christian Educators Association International to sue the California Teachers Association, the National Education Association, and several local unions. Like Janus, Friedrichs and the other teachers argued that the union mandates violated their First Amendment rights.

Friedrichs’ case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where oral arguments were held Jan. 11, 2016. With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia just a few weeks later, the court deadlocked in a 4-4 ruling that left California’s “agency shop” law in place until it was overturned in the Janus ruling.

But unlike Janus, the Friedrichs case explicitly asked the court to address the need for “paycheck protection” rules to prevent school districts from automatically deducting union dues from employees’ paychecks without their permission.

The former schoolteacher submitted an amicus brief in the Janus case, explaining why it was necessary for government employers and unions to obtain “affirmative consent” from employees before deducting dues or fees from their paychecks.

“We need paycheck protection, otherwise taxpayers will continue to pay for the collection of union dues,” Friedrichs told The Daily Signal, adding:

I submitted an amicus brief in the Janus case where I addressed the need for an opt-in rather than an opt-out arrangement where an employee needed to make a conscious decision to opt in to joining a union rather than going through the cumbersome process of opting out. This is not something Janus specifically asked for, but the court did deliver on this and said that employees must give their affirmative consent and consciously opt in to joining a union and paying union dues. But the other part of this is paycheck protection.

The Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Harrisburg, published a timeline of legislative efforts to implement paycheck protection, which would prohibit state and local government agencies (including school districts) from collecting union dues from the paychecks of government employees at taxpayers’ expense.

“Janus is the first domino and many others need to fall,” Friedrichs said. “Teachers unions are out of control. They’re not unions in the traditional sense and they are not representing teachers.”

The union label is misleading, she argues, because it is used as “a mask to advance a far-left agenda.”

“The unions are using the public schools to spread propaganda to undermine constitutional limited government,” Friedrichs said:

Unions are the root cause of the failure in our schools. They are also still finding ways to collect fair share fees, but they just don’t call them that. The Hartnett case is very important to help ensure the law is being followed and free speech rights are being protected. God bless them.

Friedrichs is the founder of For Kids and Country, a grassroots group of parents, teachers, students, faith leaders, and citizens who support education reform.

Legislative Reforms

Although his clients no longer pay fair share fees, McGrath said, he finds that teachers unions continue to make a concerted effort to undermine the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling.

“PSEA continues to work with their locals to negotiate fair share fee provisions into their collective bargaining arrangements that are being negotiated and signed after Janus,” the Fairness Center lawyer said. “It’s illegal language that’s being negotiated into these contracts. For the most part, PSEA controls negotiations for the locals on their behalf. They are largely dictating what goes into these collective bargaining agreements.”

While the Fairness Center continues to press its case, some Pennsylvania lawmakers have stepped up in an effort to reform the state’s labor laws.

Related: With Millions in Dues at Stake Across US, One Man Fights His Union for a Refund

State Rep. Kate Klunk, a York County Republican, introduced a measure (HB 785) that would require government employers to notify workers of their rights.

State Rep. Greg Rothman, a Cumberland County Republican, introduced a bill (HB 506) to allow government employees to resign from a union anytime they like, without a window to do so or any other restrictions.

“The aim of House Bill 785 is rather simple,” Klunk said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:

It ensures workers who were once forced to pay into a public sector union know their rights, namely that they do not have to pay so-called fair share fees.

Though the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME decision, not all workers know that they no longer have to pay these fees. My bill would make sure they are alerted to the change. My bill would also alert those who apply for public sector jobs that being a member of the union is not a condition of employment, and that as a nonmember they have no obligation to make any payments.

COLUMN BY

Kevin Mooney

Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Kevin. Twitter: @KevinMooneyDC.


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Pro-Lifers Should Get Same Access to Schools as Planned Parenthood Does

Many of the political and cultural trends that are anathema to traditional values or free-market conservatism in society today can be traced back to a lack of education, poor education, or education rooted in progressive bias.

One college group, Students for Life of America, is attempting to do its part in upending that cycle.

Students for Life has requested access to Los Angeles public schools to counteract the rhetoric and statistics students learn about abortion rights through behemoth organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

It’s about time.

Students for Life is trying to get in touch with nearly 30 high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, not to try to squelch any pro-abortion rhetoric but to get equal access to tell young people about pro-life values with the same earnestness and verve.

In December, Planned Parenthood announced it would open so-called “Well-Being Centers” in Los Angeles area high schools, a prime location and a malleable time in an adolescent’s life to be manipulated by pro-abortion rhetoric.

The Washington Post reported that the centers will provide a “full range of birth-control options, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy counseling.”

California’s expansive anti-parental rights laws ensure students can visit these pro-abortion clinics without their parents’ knowledge or consent, making Planned Parenthood’s message that much more persuasive.

Students for Life plans on offering these centers “life-affirming, local resources for pregnant and parenting students.”

Brooke Karmie, Pacific Southwest regional coordinator with Students for Life of America, is the liaison contacting each school individually to acquire access.

“Empowering students by providing resources that will meet their needs, while also helping them achieve their goals should be a common foundation for all educational institutions,” Karmie said in a recent written statement.

“Students for Life filed a [Freedom of Information Act] request to see which schools would go first, and we are asking the principals of those schools … to allow us to balance out the messaging,” spokeswoman Kristi Hamrick said.

“And here is a key difference, [Students for Life] won’t make money off our conversations, but will offer resources and support,” Hamrick said. “But Planned Parenthood will both make money and market their abortion business. Conflict of interest?”

I’ve always been confounded by the no-holds-barred infiltration of secularism, anti-God, anti-free market, and anti-life values the public school system has maintained with hardly any competition since the 1960s.

Such an approach not only has fast-tracked an idyllic view of far-left political ideology, such as socialism, but also of controversial topics that pose bioethics issues, such as abortion, evolution, or LGBT issues, and topics that typically would look much different when viewed from a religious worldview rather than when presented to students only through the lens of a godless, leftist scope.

Although Student for Life’s efforts to access schools no doubt will prove to be controversial, and I assume Planned Parenthood will do its best to prevent it, equal access in education is a concept that should please most progressives.

If schools were still rooted in religion, as universities such as Harvard were when this country began, liberals would be clamoring today for equal access (if not more).

The concept of offering young adults equal access to pro-life and pro-choice or pro-abortion materials not only has potential to aid women and men in understanding the importance of promoting a culture of life in all its stages.

It’s also a way of communicating that promotes critical-thinking skills: Planned Parenthood says life begins at birth and suggests abortion, whereas Students for Life says life begins at conception and suggests adoption or raising the baby with help.

With more access to accurate information, including offers of much-needed aid, students might just embrace a culture of life and pro-life values more than society—and especially progressives—realize.

COMMENTARY BY

Nicole Russell is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, National Review, Politico, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, and Parents Magazine. Twitter: .

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Notre Dame Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds falsely claims that Qur’an teaches only Allah should take revenge

The fact that Gabriel Said Reynolds, who demonstrates here that he is either abjectly ignorant or willfully dishonest about Islam, is a professor of theology at Notre Dame shows how much our nation’s universities (and the Catholic Church) are dominated by fantasy and wishful thinking rather than being willing to deal with unpleasant realities. Reynolds is an academic laden with honors, employed at Notre Dame and published in the New York Daily News, not because he speaks the truth, with which he is either unacquainted or unwilling to disclose, but because he tells people what they want to hear: that Islam, if only it were properly understood, is actually a religion of peace. How it came to be that so many Muslims misunderstand the religion they follow so devoutly, he does not bother to explain.

Meanwhile, would the New York Daily News ever publish a comparably lengthy theological defense of Christianity? Not on your life.

Anyway, to make his case that in Islam, vengeance belongs to Allah alone, Reynolds quotes a number of Qur’an verses, but he doesn’t even mention or attempt to explain away others that disprove his case. There is actually a great support, passed over in silence by Reynolds here, in the Qur’an and Sunnah for the death penalty for blasphemy. It can arguably be found in this verse: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (5:33)

But if you don’t think that verse justifies killing those who insult Islam, there is this: “Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment” (33:57)

Yes, he has cursed them both in this world and the hereafter. What does a curse in this world look like? Muslims are told to fight such people: “If they violate their oaths after pledging to keep their covenants, and attack your religion, you may fight the leaders of paganism – you are no longer bound by your covenant with them – that they may refrain” (9:12).

Not only that, but the Qur’an explicitly says that Allah will punish people by the hands of the believers: “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people, and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts.” (9:14-15)

There is more in the hadith. In one, Muhammad asked: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama, answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)

“A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.” (Sunan Abu-Dawud 38.4349)

Why doesn’t Gabriel Said Reynolds mention any of those passages?

“What radical Muslims get wrong about the Koran: Vengeance is reserved for God alone,” by Gabriel Said Reynolds, New York Daily News, March 1, 2020:

In the name of Allah, militant Muslims continue taking up arms against people they consider threats to their faith and way of life. But does it make theological sense for humans to pick up swords and guns to exact retribution in this life?

The Koran, the book those same Muslims purport to revere, says no….

The irony of blasphemy laws, and the tragedy of these attacks carried out in supposed defense of Islam, is that the Koran time and again insists that it is God’s right, and God’s right alone, to exact vengeance.

Allah does not need Muslims to step in and punish those who insult Him. In fact, Allah does not want Muslims to do so. The God of the Koran is clear: He is the only avenger of Islam.

The case of blasphemy laws in Islam is particularly peculiar in light of the example of Muhammad himself. The Koran describes how the unbelievers in his native city of Mecca disputed his claims of prophethood and insulted him.

Koran 68:51 describes how they accused him of insanity: “Indeed, the faithless almost devour you with their eyes when they hear this Reminder, and they say, ‘He is indeed crazy.’”

The Koran does not respond by demanding that the blasphemers be killed for their insolence. It simply affirms the claims of Muhammad.

Elsewhere in the Koran, the voice of God counsels Muhammad to be patient when faced with opposition. Koran 16:126 alludes to some persecution or affliction which Muhammad has suffered from the unbelievers.

The next verse, in response, suggests that Muhammad could strike back in moderation, but should simply endure the persecution patiently: “If you retaliate, retaliate with the like of what you have been made to suffer, but if you are patient, that is surely better for the steadfast.”

This does not mean that the idea of vengeance is foreign to the Koran. The question the Koran poses is not whether offenses against Islam and Muslims should be avenged, but who should do the avenging.

And the answer is consistent: “God.”

Remarkably, and if only Boko Haram and other Salafi-Jihadis would listen, the Koran even teaches this lesson specifically about Christians. In Sura 5, God asks some questions of Jesus about those who followed him, but Jesus does not demand that the wrongdoers be punished.

He leaves their fate in God’s hands: “If Thou chastisest them, they are Thy servants; if Thou forgivest them, Thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise.”

The same lesson is taught about Muslims who are unfaithful to the laws of Islam. In chapter 5, verse 95, the Koran describes the laws of the pilgrimage to Mecca (known as the Hajj). But as for he who breaks the rules, the Koran gives no worldly punishment: “God will take vengeance on him, God is all-mighty, Vengeful.”

So what does divine vengeance look like in the Koran? Allah punishes those who offend Him in hell. The Koran not only describes paradise in vivid colors (as a place with food, drink, and women), it also describes hell in gruesome detail.

Angels of punishment will strike the damned from the front and the back. The damned will be condemned to drink boiling water and eat from a tree named Zaqqum whose fruit is like the heads of demons.

The Koran clearly considers this punishment enough for an unbeliever. Whereas the standard schools of Islam teach that someone who leaves the religion, an apostate, is to be killed, the only punishment for apostasy spoken of in the Koran is hell: “’Did you disbelieve after you had believed? Then taste the chastisement for that you disbelieved!’” (Quran 3:106).

The Koran also teaches that God need not wait for the afterlife to punish unbelievers. He is the lord of the universe and can intervene when He chooses.

A number of chapters in the Koran tell a series of tales, dubbed “punishment stories” by scholars, in which unbelieving peoples are punished for rejecting the prophet who is sent to them. Among these prophets are Biblical figures including Noah, Lot, and Moses, and others who seem to come from Arabian lore with names like Hud, Salih, and Shuʿayb.

In each story it is not the Prophet but God who intervenes….

RELATED ARTICLES:

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Anti-Zionism and “providing cover” for Palestinian Authority the only unifying factor for World Council of Churches

University of Maryland: Muslim student arrested for repeatedly sending antisemitic messages to female Jewish student

Islamic Republic of Pakistan: Christian tortured to death for bathing in Muslims’ well

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

PODCAST: LGBT Activists Promote ‘Trans Reading Day’ in Public Schools

It started as just one rogue Wisconsin school, showing their LGBT pride. Now, five years later, it’s a national public-school movement — and most parents have no idea it’s happening.

Do you want your child to be psychologically manipulated at school on Thursday? Most moms and dads would say no. But this week, February 27, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and their pals at the powerful National Education Association are teaming up to promote “Jazz and Friends National Day of School & Community Readings.” “We want the listeners to know,” FRC’s Meg Kilgannon told me on “Washington Watch,” “this could be happening in your school. Your children could be hearing a book on Thursday… [that] can be very disturbing to young children.

The book I Am Jazz is a favorite of transgender activists. It’s based on the real-life story of “Jazz,” a boy who was convinced that he was born in the wrong body. “As a child he was injected with hormones to block his normal sexual development, and recently, he had radical surgery to complete his ‘transition’ to another sex. Which, of course, is impossible.” Now, LGBT groups are pushing schools to make the reading of the book an annual event. The day will be used, Cathy goes on, “to promote gender deviance and LGBT politics to vulnerable children. Not all schools are doing it. Yet. But some are.”

In one Arlington, Virginia school, administrators enlisted “mystery readers” to come read to the children. “The school has not revealed to parents who they are and what they will read,” Cathy warns. And based on what we know about the drag queen story hour movement, that could mean anyone. To counterpunch, the Arlington Parents Coalition is urging parents to keep their kids home.

“We want all children to be treated with respect and dignity as children of God,” Meg agreed. “That’s a basic tenet of the Christian faith of many faiths that everyone should be should have dignity. [But] that doesn’t mean that we need to reinforce these controversial ideas… that are untrue, biologically, and impossible. A boy cannot become a girl. A girl cannot become a boy.” But unfortunately, she warned, this kind of activity isn’t necessarily going to make it on the school calendar. “It’s just something that’s going to happen — and then, once it’s over, it’s too late.”

Meg and Cathy urge everyone to call their child’s school principal and ask, “Are you planning to have this reading in your school?” If they say, “yes,” it’s a great opportunity to turn in the universal opt-out letter that’s available on FRC’s website. “It’s up to you what kind of a statement you want to make,” Meg emphasized. But if your school is participating, make sure they know where you stand!


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLES:

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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Study Shows the Result of Left-Wing Conformity on College Campuses

Are our institutions of higher education little more than left-wing indoctrination centers?

A recently released study found that, whether that’s generally true or not, the perception that they are indoctrinating students is fairly universal at one of the nation’s large, public universities.

A team of professors at the University of North Carolina conducted research on the attitudes of students at the school to gauge the campus culture. Their findings revealed that the culture was generally hostile to right-leaning viewpoints and to conservative people in general.

The researchers wrote that they found professors to be fairly accommodating to students with both liberal and conservative views. However, it was clear that conservative students in particular fear lower grades as a result of expressing their views and other forms of chastisement, more so from fellow students rather than school faculty.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


The study found that nearly 68% of conservative students self-censored, compared with only 24% of liberals. Political attitudes were found to have a huge impact on personal relationships, too. The study found that 92% of conservative students would be friends with liberals, but only 63% of liberals would be friends with conservatives.

Perhaps most worrisome of all, the study found that more than 25% of respondents said that “they would endorse blocking or interrupting events featuring speakers with whom they disagree.”

According to the researchers, there was particular opposition among liberals to opposing viewpoints.

Some of the more in-depth responses showed where the attitude that it was acceptable to shut down speech came from.

“[W]hen asked about a potential ‘Free-Speech Week’ that would include speakers from the political right, students in the liberal focus group expressed skepticism,” the researchers wrote. “Specifically, one student worried such an effort would ‘put the left and right on equal footing,’ which would be improper because ‘I don’t think much of the right is using logical arguments’ and ‘it would basically just promote far right-wing ideologies.’”

That last comment was perhaps the most revealing part of the study, which was limited to UNC, but it’s difficult not to see it as part of a general trend in American higher education.

The problem of ideological conformity extends beyond the bias of professors, who, according to another recent study, donate to 95 Democrats for every one Republican.

While many of those professors undoubtedly attempt to be evenhanded, the general left-wing culture on a typical college campus is inescapable.

Left-wing views are regarded as a given; conservative-leaning views are at best tolerated, but assumed to be wrong. Since those on the left are simply correct in their own minds, what’s the point in engaging with those who have a different point of view or set of principles? Why not just purge the heretics and be done with them?

The result of this dynamic is that the most aggressive left-wing students feel emboldened to use their power on campus to shut down the speech of those they disagree with, while conservative students must continually weigh whether expressing their own real viewpoint is worthwhile.

Unfortunately, many campuses have fed into this through their inability or even unwillingness to ensure that the First Amendment rights of their students are protected.

That’s hardly conducive to creating a haven of free inquiry that many presume colleges and universities to be, but it does explain why so many members of America’s elite cultural and political institutions are so dogmatically left-wing.

They are simply products of that college campus environment that taught them that their views are inherently correct and that conservative viewpoints are nuisances to be stamped out, rather than a serious challenge to their worldview.

“We don’t fully know how this environment has shaped a generation of graduates,” wrote  Emily Jashinsky, culture editor for The Federalist, adding:

Judging by reporting on major companies and media outlets, some young employees seem to want their workplaces to replicate the ideological culture of their campuses—progressive by default, openly intolerant of dissent.

None of this will make our political discourse any healthier.

That our colleges skew left has been obvious for generations. What this study shows, however, is that there is an implacable resistance to any ideas that would intrude on the left-wing haven that students see the schools to be. Again, it’s hard to see a difference between the University of North Carolina and countless other universities across the country.

No wonder there is now such a deep cultural divide in America, and such little ability to bridge it. The institutions that should be at the forefront of helping our putative elites understand those differences now exist in an environment that treats one side as inherently illegitimate.

Add to this the reality that student debt is reaching a tipping point and college costs are escalating. Many now question the value of a college degree, which isn’t the pathway to economic success that it once was.

All things considered, It’s easy to see why trust in these institutions is waning fast.

COMMENTARY BY

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

PODCAST: Booker T. Washington — A Legacy of Enterprise and Education

Author and educator Booker T. Washington played a critical role in the promotion of education and free market enterprise among black Americans at the turn of the century.

Alabama businessman and political consultant Richard Finley joins The Daily Signal Podcast to discuss what the legacy of Washington, who died in 1915, means to him and others in the African American community.

Listen to today’s podcast episode or read the lightly edited transcript below.

Rob Bluey: We are joined on The Daily Signal Podcast today by Richard Finley, who’s head of the Finley Group, a business and political consulting firm in Birmingham, Alabama. Richard, thanks so much for joining us.

Richard Finley: Thank you for having me.

Bluey: You are somebody who’s served on the Republican Party State Executive Committee there in Alabama, and very much have lived through the civil rights movement and history, and you’ve seen it before your own eyes.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

And throughout the month of February, Black History Month, we’re featuring some of the stories of American heroes. Maybe some of those who are listeners can learn a little bit more about, so we appreciate you taking the time to share with us about Booker T. Washington specifically and some of your own experiences.

Finley
: I appreciate the opportunity.

I just feel that Washington was probably the most significant black figure in American history. And I know that’s arguable, but the things that he was able to do at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, and the economic strategy he had for lifting up a people out of slavery was extremely significant and extremely valuable. And I dislike the fact that it is being downplayed in modern public schools’ telling of black history.

When I initially decided to become politically active in Birmingham, I went to the established black leadership and I told them, I said, “Well, I am going to become politically active, and I’m going to become politically active as a Republican.”

I explained to them that when I was in high school and college here as a young man, being an activist, our fight was with the yellow dog Democrats of Alabama in the South. And I didn’t quite understand returning to Birmingham and finding all of the black leadership now in bed with the yellow dog Democrats who were the oppressors.

Democrats controlled Alabama from Reconstruction up through the 1970s. So they had a long run and all of the segregation efforts, the laws that were put in place to segregate and oppress the black citizens were put in place by the yellow dog Democrats of Alabama.

I didn’t quite understand why our leadership had chosen to get in bed with these people. But I said that if you’re going to be politically active, then you have to have options. If you don’t have an option, then you really don’t matter in the overall equation. They can write you in, and then go pursue those folk who might be exercising their options.

And I felt that black people needed to hear both sides of the story. They needed to be able to get the information, and then make a conscious decision as to which way they wanted to go. Rather than being locked into the party of the same people who had been oppressing us for the [300] or 400 years leading up to the Civil War.

Bluey: Thank you for sharing that. We appreciate your leadership and speaking out.

I think it’s so critically important that people do have an open mind and understand history. Because I think, too often, as you’ve indicated to me, sometimes we only look at the recent history and not necessarily look back at the figures who had a transformative impact on our country. And Booker T. Washington is, certainly, one of them.

He was born in 1856, died in 1915. He was, obviously, an educator. You mentioned his role at Tuskegee University. He was a leading Republican, at the time. He was somebody who was among that last generation of black Americans who were born into slavery, and then became a leading voice.

So tell us more about him and why you consider him to be such a profound figure in American history, and an influence on your own life.

Finley: I was conscious of him all through elementary school when we were taught black history as part of the Jefferson County, Alabama, colored school system.

In the colored school we had all black teachers who had a sensitivity, or a consciousness to making sure that young black kids understood the contributions that we, as a people, have made to America.

My two heroes were Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. And I tell folk that I believed, as Frederick Douglass did, in free people and, as Booker T. Washington did, in free enterprise. So, free people and free enterprise was sort of my driving motto.

But Washington had a unique plan and strategy for lifting newly freed Africans who had been purposely blocked from learning to read, or being taught the way the system worked in this country.

Ignorance was being brutally enforced upon Africans who were in slavery. And once they were free, Washington had sort of a manifesto of here are the things that you need to first do in order to lift yourself up out of the poverty that you were left in.

In 1866, they set you free, but there was no budget with that. And so, newly freed Africans had a major challenge.

But having lived in such close quarters, just through observation, they understood how the system worked. And Booker T. Washington and his team at Tuskegee Institute, working with some Northern philanthropists, started to establish schools so that the newly freed Africans could immediately began to learn to read.

I think if you check the history in that period between 1866 and, say, 1930, illiteracy was reduced within the black community pretty close to 60%, 65%. So it was a major achievement in establishing a school network.

And there was an eagerness, or a hunger, from the newly freed Africans to learn to read and write the language—from being in proximity with the plantation owners—and how they operated the business they had picked up, pretty much, how the system was working.

If you look during that period, there was substantial economic gain made within the African or black community. They rapidly acquired what, ultimately, wound up being at the height about 15 million acres of land, went into various business pursuits. And Tuskegee was sort of the training ground, or the breeding ground, for this entrepreneurial effort.

Tuskegee Institute, if you read the stories, they talk about how they took straw and made bricks, and built the buildings on the campus at Tuskegee Institute. Well, not only were they making bricks and masonry products, they were doing lumber. And they became one of the largest, if not the largest, supplier of building materials in the South.

And with that business acumen, Dr. Washington then set about on a plan that was to be called the Tuskegee Industrial Complex. He established organizations all over the country under the title of the National Negro Business League. He had in his employ, at Tuskegee Institute, Dr. George Washington Carver, and several other botanists, and chemists, and scientists who were putting together a lot of the products that we use today.

It was his plan to turn Tuskegee into an industrial complex to create these various common need products, the deodorants, the soaps, the hair creams, all of these things were things that were being made from plants in Dr. Carver’s laboratory.

So Washington’s plan was to begin to manufacture all of these products there at Tuskegee, and distribute them across the country through the National Negro Business League.

He also, as I said earlier, had the capability for the building materials and so forth. He was building out of this industrial complex concept what would today be a multibillion-dollar American corporation.

A lot of this stuff that Proctor & Gamble was doing, a lot of that stuff that Kellogg was doing, and Rockefeller, and Firestone. All of these industrial giants were constant visitors at Tuskegee and with Dr. Carver.

To this day, some of their institutions still contribute to Tuskegee’s well-being, but they also became very wealthy corporations off of the formulas that Dr. Carver had put together.

Dr. Carver was the first to create synthetic nylon that was crucial to the American war effort. When they started developing automobile tires, Firestone was the beneficiary of what they were doing at Tuskegee in terms of creating rubber and synthetic nylon from the products that Carver was growing there on the Tuskegee properties.

Bluey: It’s really fascinating to hear you share those examples. Clearly, Booker T. Washington had a passion not only to educate, but also an entrepreneurial spirit as well, as you indicated there. …

We were at an event together in Washington, D.C., in February, it was put on by Black Americans for a Better Future, and you shared with me Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition speech. And it’s really fascinating in the impact that it had.

I wanted you to share a bit about that particular address and how it really set the course in motion, some of the things that he was able to accomplish.

Finley: It was a plan, a roadmap, if you will, that was put before the American white community, the business community.

The left wing, or the socialist elements of the time, headed up by W.E.B. Du Bois, labeled it a compromise speech. And I just assumed that they didn’t understand what Washington was putting forward. He was putting forward a plan for economic growth and development here in the South.

And his position with the Southern white businessmen were OK, if we are allowed uninterrupted to acquire land, to farm that land to build our churches, our schools, and our homes. And, in fact, own that property uninterrupted by whatever government the South was putting in place at the time then we, as newly freed Africans, we as newly freed participants in the American economy would want to establish, basically, a parallel relationship, or a parallel economy where we would bring our excess produce to the market, and we would live as neighbors. All being Americans.

Washington was a nationalist. He believed in America, he believed in the American concept, and he wanted the newly freed Africans to be able to establish a parallel system, as well as a parallel economy.

He said to the assembled people, anything social, that’s your preference. We can be as separate as the fingers on the hand, but should we be attacked by an outset aggressor, then be assured that we as citizens of the country will come together with you to defend America against any enemy, foreign or domestic.

He made that statement to the established audience there. But he then went on to talk about our sojourn up to that point here in America and the challenges that we were facing now as free American citizens.

If you remember, during that time frame, the great American railroad experiment was beginning, and the Chinese were the immigrants of the day, and they were taking jobs that the newly freed Africans were applying for, or wanting to do. And Washington addressed that position in his speech as well, the immigration problem.

Again, he went on to assure them that, hey, we’ve been here living in close proximity for [300] or 400 years, we’ve never, to any real extent, had a major uprising. We’ve been in situations where you’ve got [200] or 300 slaves on a plantation with maybe 10, 12 white people on the plantation. So, if there was any ill intent, it would’ve shown itself a long time ago.

So, he was saying that you could be comfortable with the black citizens. All we wanted was an opportunity to be productive and to generate and own property of our own, to be able to educate our children, to be able to establish and conduct our church and religious life as free citizens here in America. And, again, as a parallel to what was existing within the white communities at that time.

Bluey: Certainly.

Finley: So it was the first presentation of separate and equal. And it was, I think, well, you can read the other stuff that was in there, but it was the first actual deal or arrangement put on the table for blacks and whites to coexist in America.

Bluey: And we will make sure that we link to it for our listeners or our readers on The Daily Signal so they can see.

Richard, one final question for you. You spoke about the importance of educating today’s Americans and young people about our history. What are some steps that you’re taking, or what advice do you have for our audience who want to do a better job of making sure that young people understand those American heroes who came before us?

Finley: The thing that’s most personal to me now is, at my age, to have time to sit down and talk with young people. I think we need to encourage the storytelling. And, especially, within the black community, we are losing generations to poor public education. And now, with the advent of social media and the electronic communications, they’re getting stories that are coming at them so fast that they don’t have time to put them in perspective, and to understand what it is that they’re getting in all this information that’s flowing.

… I’m 70 years old, so I’m at the point where, as I told my children, I said, “I was there when the colored sign came down and I’m not sure it was the best thing to do for us.”

I said, we had, at that time, operating in Alabama, five nationally-established black insurance companies that were employing thousands of black people across the country. We had three banks here in Birmingham. We had a community that consisted of doctors and dentists and all of the various medical capabilities. We had a black-established and -run hospital within our community and we had the pharmacist in our community. All these businesses were going.

When Martin Luther King [Jr.] arrived in Birmingham, he had to have a serious conversation with A.G. Gaston who, at that time, was one of the leading black businessmen in the country. But he was stationed here in Birmingham and owned major buildings and property in, what is now, downtown Birmingham proper.

He cautioned King and his followers that they need to give serious thought to what would happen after the colored sign came down, and how would we be positioned financially or economically to compete in the broader market with the much more financially established white entities in a downtown area.

So we had a lot of questions that were going on that don’t get told in the stories of history today. It was a significant debate about the economic cost of integration to the black community. And people need to understand that there was not a whole lot of problem with the concept of separate and equal. The problem was we never could get the equal worked out.

Bluey: That’s right.

Finley: And the public tax revenue didn’t come into our community, but we had successful black businesses going on. We had successful black churches, black contractors were building houses. We had what by most standards would be a pretty comfortable working-class or middle-class existence in Birmingham. And that was lost once the colored sign came down. And we have not been able to reestablish.

I hear black businesses crying, “Well, we don’t have capital to do this, that, and the other.” I’m saying, I’m old enough to remember when we had all of these things, and whatever capital was needed we were able to put it together to do what needed to be done.

So understanding that history, and what we built, and how we built it, the drop in the link of communications has interrupted our ability to build on those successes.

The Johnson Publishing companies, the 300 black-owned radio stations, the 15 million acres of land, all of that is lost. And I feel that … the misdirection of the public education system and the breakdown in the family communications within our community have cost us tremendously. And that history, that story needs to be told.

When I talked to you about T.M. Alexander, the Rosa Parks story is a great human interest story, but this was the Montgomery bus boycott, [which] was an organized quasi business entity that was going on here. And the people didn’t stop going to work, they just stopped riding the bus.

In creating a car pool to be able to deliver these people to their jobs, they needed to have a blanket insurance. So we had a millionaire black insurance executive insurance company owner out of Atlanta who stepped up and provided a $2 million blanket policy to cover the bus boycott.

Now, Rosa’s courage is not to be diminished, but there was a business end to this, and the black conservative businessmen who, for the most part, were all Republicans, provided the financial strength necessary.

They did this up until the point that the movement itself became integrated, and groups with other objectives got involved. And then, I think, the black community sort of got lost in the shuffle.

Bluey: Richard, I want to thank you for the work that you’re doing and coming on The Daily Signal to share these stories with us. It’s incredibly important to all of us that here at The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal we keep this history alive and continue to tell these stories.

It’s so powerful to hear about them, and to have somebody like yourself who cares so passionately do it is a real treat for us. So I want to thank you, again, for joining us on The Daily Signal Podcast and [I] hope to have a future conversation with you and continue talking about this.

Finley: Well, I want to thank you. I appreciate what you’re doing and I hope you do continue to do this service for our community.

Bluey: Thank you.

Finley: Thank you.

PODCAST BY

Rob Bluey

Rob Bluey is executive editor of The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. Send an email to Rob. Twitter: @RobertBluey.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Parents Ask Court to Stop Schools From Helping Children Make Gender Transitions

A group of Wisconsin parents is asking a state court to halt a public school district’s policy that they say instructs teachers to assist and encourage children in adopting transgender identities without notifying—and possibly while deceiving—parents.

The lawsuit is being brought by 14 parents, representing eight families, who allege the Madison Metropolitan School District’s policy violates constitutionally protected parental rights.

The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court, includes an affidavit from Dr. Stephen B. Levine, a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, in which he asserts that gender transitions for minors expose vulnerable children to dangerous, lifelong physical, social, and mental health risks.

“For a child to live radically different identities at home and at school, and to conceal what he or she perceives to be his or her true identity from parents, is psychologically unhealthy in itself, and could readily lead to additional psychological problems,” Levine writes in the affidavit. “Extended secrecy and a ‘double life’ concealed from the parents is rarely the path to psychological health. For this reason at least, schools should not support deceit of parents.”


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Levine’s affidavit continues:

 Most children are both legally and developmentally incapable of giving informed consent to such a life-altering intervention. And parents, of course, cannot give informed consent if the fact of their child’s wish to assume a transgender identity is concealed from them.

The 14 parents are represented by lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, both nonprofit, public interest legal organizations.

“This is a life-altering decision that educators have no business making,” Roger Brooks, ADF senior counsel, said. “As Dr. Levine explains based on decades of experience and extensive scientific literature, putting children on a pathway to puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones can have devastating effects across a lifetime. That should serve as a wake-up call to parents and all Americans: When schools cast aside biological reality in favor of gender-identity ideology, it’s children who are hurt the most.”

The legal motion formally requests the court to impose a temporary injunction against the school district’s policy.

The school district hadn’t been served with the lawsuit as of late Wednesday, said Tim LeMonds, public information officer for Madison Metropolitan School District. LeMonds said the district wouldn’t comment without reviewing the claims.

The school district “prioritizes working in collaboration with families to support our students and it is always our preferred method of support,” LeMonds said in a formal statement, adding:

MMSD must also prioritize the safety and well-being of every individual student who walks through its doors each day. It is with this focus [that] the district stands by its guidance document on transgender and non-binary students, and recognizes its tremendous responsibility to uphold the right of every child to be educated in a safe, all-inclusive, and nondiscriminatory learning environment.

The lawsuit calls for school officials to be transparent and honest when dealing with parents, and to meet standards of informed consent.

The 50-page affidavit from Levine says that multiple studies show that among children who experience gender dysphoria or transgender identification but do not socially transition, 80% to 98% “desisted,” or became comfortable with their biological sex, by young adulthood, according to Alliance Defending Freedom.

The affidavit also says that among boys “who engaged in a partial or complete social transition before puberty,” according to other data, fewer than 20% had desisted when surveyed at age 15 or older.

“It is profoundly unethical to reinforce a male child in his belief that he is not a boy (or a female child in her belief that she is not a girl), and it is particularly unethical to intervene in the normal physical development of a child to ‘affirm’ a ‘gender identity’ that is at odds with bodily sex,” Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email, adding:

To do any of this without parental involvement not only harms children but violates parental authority. Childhood and adolescence are difficult enough as it is. Adults should not corrupt the social ecology in which children develop a mature understanding of themselves as boys or girls on the pathway to becoming men or women.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

How ‘Conversion Therapy’ Bans Hurt Kids

Science, sex, and suicide

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Political Bias and Anti-Americanism on College Campuses

A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that only half of American adults think colleges and universities are having a positive effect on our nation.

The leftward political bias, held by faculty members affiliated with the Democratic Party, at most institutions of higher education explains a lot of that disappointment.

Professors Mitchell Langbert and Sean Stevens document this bias in their study “Partisan Registration and Contributions of Faculty in Flagship Colleges.”

Langbert and Stevens conducted the new study of the political affiliation of 12,372 professors in the two leading private colleges and two leading public colleges in 31 states.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


For party registration, they found a Democratic to Republican (D:R) ratio of 8.5:1, which varied by rank of institution and region.

For donations to political candidates (using the Federal Election Commission database), they found a D:R ratio of 95:1, with only 22 Republican donors, compared with 2,081 Democratic donors.

Several consistent findings have emerged from Langbert and Stevens’ study.

The ratio of faculty who identify as or are registered as Democratic versus Republican almost always favors the Democratic Party.

Democratic professors outnumber their Republican counterparts most in the humanities and social sciences, compared with the natural sciences and engineering. The ratio is 42:1 in anthropology, 27:1 in sociology, and 27:1 in English.

In the social sciences, Democratic registered faculty outnumber their Republican counterparts the least in economics, 3:1. The partisan political slant is most extreme at the most highly rated institutions.

The leftist bias at our colleges and universities has many harmful effects. Let’s look at a few.

At University of California, Davis, a mathematics professor faced considerable backlash last month over her opposition to the requirement for faculty “diversity statements.” University of California, San Diego, requires job applicants to admit to the “barriers” preventing women and minorities from full participation in campus life.

At American University, a history professor recently wrote a book in which he advocates repealing the Second Amendment. A Rutgers University professor said, “Watching the Iowa caucus is a sickening display of the over representation of whiteness.”

Robert Reich, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, and former secretary of labor, chimed in to say:

Think about this: Iowa is 90.7% white. Iowa is now the only state with a lifetime voting ban for people with a felony conviction. Black people make up 4% of Iowa’s population but 26% of the prison population. How is this representative of our electorate?

A Williams College professor said he would advocate that social justice be included in math textbooks. Students at Wayne State University no longer have to take a single math course to graduate; however, they soon may be required to take a diversity course.

Then there’s a question about loyalty to our nation.

Charles Lieber, former chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard, was arrested earlier this year on accusations that he made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement about work he did for a program run by the Chinese government that seeks to lure American talent to China.

Lieber was paid $50,000 a month and up to $158,000 in living expenses for his work, which involved cultivating young teachers and students, according to court documents.

The Justice Department said Lieber helped China “cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity, and national security.”

It’s not just Harvard professors. Newly found court records reveal that Emory University neuroscientist Li Xiao-Jiang was fired in late 2019 after being charged with lying about his own ties to China. Li was part of the same Chinese program as Lieber.

A jury found a University of California, Los Angeles, professor guilty of exporting stolen U.S. military technology to China. Newsweek reported that he was convicted June 26 on 18 federal charges.

Meanwhile, NBC News reported that federal prosecutors say that University of Texas professor Bo Mao attempted to steal U.S. technology by using his position as a professor to obtain access to protected circuitry and then hand it over to the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

The true tragedy is that so many Americans are blind to the fact that today’s colleges and universities pose a threat on several fronts to the well-being of our nation.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

PODCAST: ‘Exposing Everything That Went Wrong’: A Parkland Researcher Speaks Out

Today is the second anniversary of the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed. Max Eden, an education researcher, who co-authored “Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created the Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students,” joins today’s podcast. Read the lightly edited interview, posted below, or listen on the podcast:

We also cover these stories:

  • The Democrat-led House passed a bill that would eliminate the 1982 deadline to ratify the the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticizes President Donald Trump over his protests about the original seven- to nine-year jail recommendation for Roger Stone, a Trump ally.
  • According to a Gallup poll taken in January, 61% of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, Apple PodcastsPippaGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

Rachel del Guidice: We are joined today on The Daily Signal Podcast by Max Eden. He’s an education researcher. Max, thank you so much for being with us today.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Max Eden: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me.

Del Guidice: Feb. 14 is the second anniversary of the Parkland shooting in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 people. Max, you co-authored a book about the shooting. The book is called “Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created the Parkland Shooter and Endanger America’s Students.” Max, why did you write this book?

Eden: Immediately after the shooting, kind of two groups of students came forward. And one group got a lot more attention than the other.

The group of students [that] got attention said, “We blame the Second Amendment. We blame the NRA. We blame the gun for what happened.” The other group of students said, “We knew it was him before it was over. The student threatened to kill us. He threatened to rape us. He threatened to kill our families. He brought knives to school. He brought bullets to school. We saw something. We said something. They did nothing. They didn’t protect us from him.”

And kind of from my perch as researcher in D.C. when I saw this, I thought, “Oh, OK. Well, this is in a school district that became nationally famous for fighting the so-called school-to-prison pipeline by lowering arrests, lowering suspensions, lowering expulsions. I wonder if these policies, this kind of leniency pressure played a role in his journey through the school system.”

So I wrote an article kind of posing this question about 10 days after the shooting. And, unfortunately, this question kind of very quickly became an answer in politics, as happens, right? I mean, one side was for gun control and the other side was very quick to take the question and answer, “It wasn’t the gun’s fault. It was these policies. It was [former President Barack] Obama’s policies.”

It became a political football very quickly and nobody answered the question. It was labeled as fake news by the superintendent and most of the media skated on by.

But a couple months after the tragedy, I had wanted to see whether or not the answer was “yes” to the question that I had posed. And I found a way to get down there to talk to some students, talk to some teachers.

While I was down there, Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was murdered on the third floor, heard that there was somebody from D.C. who was looking for answers. And he got my number somehow, texted me, said, “Come over to my house.”

I explained to him what I was doing and kind of gave him some questions to ask and he texted me a couple of days later and said, “Thanks so much for your help, Max. You’re going to be a tremendous asset helping me find justice for my daughter’s murder.”

I came down thinking, “Oh, I’ll just come in for a few days, talk to a couple of people, and maybe write an article.” When I got that text, I knew I had to come down again.

After my second trip, I had talked to enough people that I got through him to realize, “Oh, wow, this is much bigger than our article. And also bigger than the discipline issue that I thought it had to do with.” That was part of it, but it was part of a broader story that needed to be a book for parents to understand it.

Del Guidice: So, Max, in the book you detail how the shooter … slipped through the cracks when there was just really an exorbitant amount of red flags and warning signs.

For example, I know that you said in the book that the police were called to [the shooter’s] home I think about 45 times. What were some of the other warning signs that just went unnoticed?

Eden: Well, they were noticed and ignored. I mean, in middle school, the student, when you read his teachers’ records, he kind of was fixated with guns daily. He would always talk about guns, always talk about shooting. Whenever the topic came up, he would kind of light up or he would bring up the topic himself.

His behavior in middle school was so egregiously bad that he was suspended every other day for about 10 months in middle school. And middle school discipline policy wasn’t the problem. The problem was there was a student whose behavior was so extreme that he required a security escort to walk in the hallways, to go to the bathroom, to do anything outside of the classroom. In some cases, teachers wouldn’t let him into their classroom without a security escort.

When the security escort wasn’t enough, the school got the mom to come and accompany the security escort accompanying him. And they kept him at this school for 10 months before they finally got the paperwork in order to send him to a specialized school where he very desperately needed to be.

At that specialized school, his behavior was so disturbing that they wrote a letter to his private psychiatrist after his first semester, basically saying, “This student told us that he dreams of killing and being covered in blood. He has extreme mood liability. We tried to take away all sharp objects in the home, but there’s a hatchet missing and there are still holes appearing on the walls. We’re very, very worried about the student.”

But after a couple of months of good behavior at that school, they thought, “Oh, he’s ready to attend a normal school again. And he seems to be very interested in the military, very interested in guns. All the teachers say that he’s interested in the military and guns. So let’s try him at a traditional high school for two courses for one semester, see how that goes. And we’ll do maybe one academic course and JROTC,” where he got to practice marksmanship.

I think we can have a gun control debate, we should have a gun control debate, but when you have a school district that’s taking a kid who has literally said, “I dream of killing and being covered in blood,” who talks about guns all the time, and they put them into a normal school and they gave him a gun and teach him how to shoot, maybe it’s something more than the school that we should be looking at.

Del Guidice: In your book, you obtained a lot of information that wasn’t public, at least at the time. How did you go about compiling all that information, gaining access to it? And given that you were so successful in that, what kind of impetus does that have on us to see what you uncovered and act on it?

Eden: It was not an easy process. There are federal education records, privacy laws that protect kids from adults who want to snoop and find out about them. And for good reason. But, unfortunately, those laws still apply after the student has committed a mass murder in school.

So at first, I had to just ask a whole bunch of questions to teachers and students and try to put inferences together. Like, “Oh. Well, you said this and he said that? And how do these pieces fit together? And how can I just take all of the stories that I’m finding and weave it into a story that makes sense, that fits, that coheres?”

After a certain point, though, I realized after one trip when I was talking with people … we never used the word victim to refer to the shooter, but we realized just how profoundly the system failed him. And as Andy has said, he blames the shooter for half of it. He blames the system for the other half.

I said to him at a certain point, “We’re basically going to be acting as your daughter’s murderers’ defense attorney in the court of public opinion. Because our argument is it’s their fault too. And that’s the exact same argument that his lawyer is going to be making. And we can’t get his official records, which would break the case wide open, so it might be worth talking to them about it and seeing if they’d provide it to us.”

He called me a few days later and said, “Yeah. So, I just talked to the defense attorney and they’re going to give us the records. I told them that at the trial I would take the stand and I’d bash the school district, bash the sheriff’s office, bash the mental health provider. So we’ll get the records.”

And that’s how we got a lot of the stuff that had never previously been reported. Because Andy, his sense of justice, his mission has been to expose everything that went wrong, every one who failed, hold as many people as possible accountable, and try to have everybody learn every lesson that there is to be learned.

So what will happen in the trial [is], we’ll see what he chooses to do and how it all plays out. But he took that step because he is so committed to having the full truth be exposed. That’s what we tried to take and weave into the story and put forward a product that parents and schools across the country can read …

It’s an anecdotal thing to say, but I can’t tell you how many people have DM’d him, DM’d me, have emailed us being like, “Oh, wow. I knew what was happening at my kid’s school, but I didn’t know what it all fit together and how big of a problem it was.” Or, “Oh, I read this book and then I started asking some questions and it turns out the exact same thing is happening here.”

So the mission of the book was, as Andy said, to expose. And the hope is that by exposing everything that went wrong with the shooter, every way that the school district failed him, that we can open parents’ eyes a little bit to ways that school districts are failing their kids in ways that will, God willing, never nearly approach the level of what happened there.

But times when there are other red flags being swept under the rug, other violence that goes unaddressed, bullying that is just ignored by administrators who have this pressure to fight the so-called school-to-prison pipeline, lowering suspensions, lowering expulsions, lowering arrests.

The easiest way to do that is to just not do anything, to sweep it under the rug, to say, “Hey, look, our numbers are looking better. That means our school’s getting safer.”

It’s up to parents at the end of the day to speak up against that because teachers are frequently too intimidated to say, “Hey, our principal’s leading our school in a very bad direction and our superintendent’s policies are totally out of whack.”

Teachers aren’t going to say that. If schools are going to start putting the safety of classrooms and the interest of students first, again, before these kind of fake numbers, that has to come from parents.

Del Guidice: In talking about the Parkland shooting, I can’t help but think back to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which killed 58 people and wounded some, I think 413 others.

More than two years later, the motives of the shooter remain a mystery for the Vegas shooting. But in the case of Parkland, we kind of have the exact opposite where there’s a wealth of information on the alleged shooter and his background. But all this information doesn’t really fit the gun control narrative so it hasn’t been covered, at least to the extent that people want to see it covered. What’s been your experience with the media covering your own work?

Eden: The Vegas shooting laid into a much better case for, “It’s the AR-15, the so-called assault weapon.” Because you couldn’t have pulled that off with a handgun. You couldn’t have pulled that off with a shotgun. It was the gun that enabled the Vegas shooting and it was a gun that was legally acquired by a guy who otherwise looked clean. It’s a very alarming thing that fits that narrative very well.

In this case, as Andy has said, he could have killed 17 people with a musket that day. It did not matter what gun he had. He had 11 minutes alone in a school building with 800 kids. It did not matter that it was an AR-15. And he bought that gun legally despite having exhibited every red flag that in a functioning system would have prevented him from buying the gun.

He committed felony-level crimes that could have either got him directly prohibited or when the FBI and Broward Sheriff’s Office received tips, [they] could have showed up, could have made them think, “Oh, wow, this kid who threatened to kill somebody at school committed a hate crime assault, trespassed on campus. We’re getting a call that he might shoot up the school. Let’s look into that.” But they looked him up and they saw nothing.

I think that to answer your question directly about media reception, it’s been something that has been very upsetting to me, more so to Andy. He at one point said in an interview, “The only parents who will know about what really happened in Parkland, and will know what they need to know to keep their kids safe, are the parents who watch Fox News.”

It was no reception whatsoever in so-called mainstream media, no reception whatsoever in education media. It got all the attention in the world that we could have asked for within conservative media. It’s just very, very sad that it had to play out that way. Anything that isn’t pro-gun control is, in the way that the media and political environment shakes out, has to be anti-gun control.

And not that my opinion on gun control matters, but I actually came out of it probably more pro-gun control than I went in because I saw just how hard it can be to stop crazy people from getting guns.

There are pro-gun control changes that I would happily endorse, but it’s just a tragedy that because our book didn’t say, “you have to blame the gun and this is the primary issue,” it was cast as being a right-wing, pro-gun apology book when it was just what actually happened to the school and what parents needed to know to keep their own kids safe.

Del Guidice: Yeah. Wow, that’s really unfortunate. In your book, and you sort of alluded to this at the beginning of our discussion, you talked about how the school created a culture of leniency and part of this was through the school instituting a program called the Promise program. What was that program?

Eden: The Promise program was one part of a broader suite of kind of leniency reforms, and this part focused on lowering arrests. And it accomplished that goal by basically giving students four free misdemeanors a year before they were required to talk to law enforcement, and it reset every single year.

This program … let kids commit up to four crimes before they have to talk to a school resource officer, and at that point, arrest is probably still discouraged. That succeeded in getting arrests down by 70% and it was perceived to be a great success by the Broward County school district.

It became kind of a model for the nation. It was credited with inspiring this 2014 “Dear Colleague” letter by the Obama administration’s Department of Education, which was less focused on decriminalization and more focused on kind of lowering suspensions and detentions and expulsions.

But these same kind of policy pressures on principals and assistant principals, “Lower the numbers. We’re watching the numbers. We expect these numbers to get lower,” that has spread to schools across the country.

Probably at least half of schools, about 54% of schools in America have administrators who say that they’re implementing restorative justice, which is kind of what these new leniency policies go by.

We have situations where a teacher will send a student to the office and the student will come back five minutes later smiling with a lollipop and the teacher will be the one who will get flack from the administrator for sending a kid there because that means that you’re not doing your job as a teacher.

Now, the Promise program was the highest-profile aspect of it because it was just the most egregiously, “Oh wow, you’re going to lower arrest by not arresting kids.” But it was one part for the whole of these policies that prioritize almost transparently fake statistical progress in the name of allegedly fighting institutional racism, which is, of course, an allegation predicated on the idea that teachers are racist or ablest or can’t be trusted and need to be micromanaged and second guessed, which is fundamentally wrong and leads to all sorts of problems in and out of the classroom. Far short of what happened in Parkland.

Del Guidice: You mentioned that this Promise program resulted in nearly a 70% drop in school-based arrests and you also note in the book it allowed this 90% non-recidivism rate. How did this enable the shooter in the end?

Eden: There was some controversy or argument about this point. The Promise program itself only applied to the shooter once directly when he committed an act of vandalism in middle school that he was supposed to have been sent to the Promise program, but they didn’t keep track of him effectively because the program itself was just kind of fraudulent all the way down. It was chaotic. It was a very poorly run, a very toxic environment at the school.

So he seems to have been referred to the Promise program once in middle school. Didn’t go. They couldn’t figure out why he didn’t go. They couldn’t figure out whether or not he really didn’t go. They didn’t send them to the court system as they were supposed to, given that they didn’t go. The state commission looking into this kind of came to the conclusion that, well, that one incident itself wouldn’t have made a decisive difference in the course of events. So that’s not really the issue.

I don’t dissent from the opinion that that one act of vandalism wouldn’t have made a difference, but when he got to high school, he was committing crimes that did not qualify for the Promise program, that were felonies, not misdemeanors. Things that did not technically fall under the umbrella of the Promise program.

Not only was he not referred to the Promise program, nothing happened to him when he threatened to kill other students; when he called a student the N-word and attacked him, it was pretty clearly a hate crime assault; when he was no longer a student, when he trespassed on campus, having been labeled already by the security staff as like, “Oh, if there’s any kid who’s going to shoot up the school, it’s going to be that kid.”

So the Promise program directly only touched him once in a way that wasn’t decisive, but it created this broader culture of leniency that allowed him to commit crimes such that—and we only figured out this last part after the book released so it’s not in it—they eventually not only prohibited him from wearing a backpack to school after a series of kind of assaults and after, I believe, they found bullet casings in his backpack, they also frisked him every day to make sure that he wasn’t bringing a deadly weapon to school.

So you have a situation where you’re saying, “You’re not allowed to bring a backpack. We’re going to frisk you every day because as we admit later in our testimony to the police, we’re worried that he might bring a weapon and kill people, but arrest, not even on the table.”

Del Guidice: Wow. That is … definitely very alarming. So looking at all of this, were parents aware of all these changes that were made when, for example, the Promise program was implemented? Did they know the extent of everything that this program meant?

Eden: No. What Andy has said repeatedly is that he will never forgive himself for not knowing what was actually going on at his daughter’s school. Having no idea that there was somebody there who was so dangerous that they had to frisk him every single day. For knowing that kids could get away with that many crimes in a single year scot-free.

He had absolutely no idea, and his mission with everything that he’s done since, kind of our mission with the book, as he says, is that he wants to be the last father who can honestly say, “I had no idea what was going on at my daughter’s school.” …

The purpose of the project was, as you asked earlier, to not allow any other parent to make the excuse. Even when something happens like this again and it resembles Parkland, and sometimes it won’t—there was the shooting in California—sometimes they are out of the blue and there are no warning signs, but sometimes there are.

And schools will continue to sweep the warning signs under the rug unless parents take it to them. And the hope is that by opening their eyes to the example of what happened in Parkland, we can make it such that parents know … “I know what’s happening in my kid’s school. I understand the risks. I understand the dynamics and I have some idea what to do about if I find that what I’m reading about here fits what’s going on in my kid’s school too.”

Del Guidice: In the book you mentioned that [a] campus security guard, Andrew Medina, spotted [the shooter] the day of the shooting and he later told the police, “I saw him with a bag, with like a rifle bag, beelining to Building 12,” and that this officer said the shooter looked like he was on a mission and walking with purpose. And then this officer recognized [the shooter] and he thought, “Man, that’s the crazy boy, why wasn’t school security called?”

What was the breakdown at this point? Just looking back with all of the research you’ve done, the security guard is asking this question himself and looking back and telling listeners, “Why wasn’t security called?”

Eden: At that point, his job was to call a Code Red. You see a suspicious intruder. You fear that something might happen. You call a Code Red that’s broadcast over the intercom and everybody shelters in place.

If a Code Red had been called, then I think everybody on the third floor could have lived because everybody who died on the third floor died because the fire alarm went off.

When the fire alarm went off, one or two of the teachers knew the sound of gunshots when they heard them before. The other teachers didn’t put it together. They put their kids out into the hallway. Everybody who died in the third floor died in the hallway.

So if a Code Red had been called before the fire alarm went off, Meadow would be alive. Five other students would be, or four other students, one other teacher would be alive. But he did not call a Code Red himself.

And as he said, shortly after, he sees him go in, he starts to hear these loud percussion noises, like pow, pow, pow. “It’s not a firecracker noise,” he says. But he doesn’t call a Code Red because, these are his words, not mine, “If I call it and everybody comes in and it’s not really, I don’t want to be the guy who made that call.”

So this is the reductio ad absurdum slash ad infinitum of the whole story. You have a security guard. His one job is to call a Code Red when you see something like this happen. And when it almost couldn’t possibly be more clear what it was, he still doesn’t because he doesn’t want to get in trouble in case kids aren’t actually getting murdered.

That’s part and parcel of what happened with the shooter his whole way through. There was an obviously responsible decision that could have been made by an adult around him after he displayed disturbing behavior, and the obviously morally wrong decision was made by the adults and authority many times over because that’s what they were incentivized to do, because it was a path of least resistance for them, because it’s what their bosses wanted.

On the one hand, the Parkland school shooting has been called a total system failure, but on the other hand, you can’t really call what happened a failure because everybody who made a wrong decision made it for a reason, and made it pursuant to a policy.

These policies are not confined to Broward County and not confined to South Florida. They are found in many, many schools across the country and lead to thousands of tragedies every day that come nowhere near approaching the scope and the horror of what happened in Parkland, but will also never be reported and never acted on and won’t be changed unless parents take a really hard look at what happened there.

Del Guidice: We’ve talked a lot about how the school failed parents and students that day. In all of your research for this book, how did law enforcement fail students?

Eden: There is the before and the during. Before, as you said, the consistent behavior that he displayed wasn’t just displayed in school.

The police were called to his house 45 times before the shooting. They received tips. The FBI received tips. Broward Sheriff’s Office received tips. This is a guy who might shoot up the school. Never arrested. Every tip is dropped.

A lot of the attention of what happened that day has gone to Scot Peterson, who was the school resource officer on duty, who gets the memo of what happened, approaches the building, but then takes a step back, takes cover behind the building nearby, and stays there for what ends up being over 50 minutes, and not only doesn’t approach the building, but actually gets on the radio and basically tells the other police officers to make a perimeter, to not approach the 1200 building where he seems to have a very good reason to know exactly what’s happening.

And the tension focused mostly on him, but before the shooting was over, there were eight Broward sheriff’s officers on the scene hearing gunshots and none of them approached the building.

You can see body cam footage of one of them who gets out of the car. You can hear the shots in the background. [He] goes back to the car, takes his gun off, puts on his bulletproof vest, puts the gun back on, and then takes position behind the car.

You can listen to statements from other police officers. They take positions behind trees. And eventually, the Coral Springs police officers, officers who are given good training, not under the umbrella of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, they start coming in.

According to one of them, as they’re approaching, a Broward Sheriff’s officer who’s standing behind a tree says, “Don’t go in there. He’s got a gun.” At which point in time the Coral Springs police officer, who has a son inside the building, basically says “F you” and runs in, and the other Coral Springs officers run in as well.

But unfortunately, the good cops running into the building isn’t the end of the story. They get very delayed in their job of going through the building to try to clear it because the school district did not give the sheriff’s office access to their video equipment. You don’t want the cops to see what’s going on in schools because you’re trying to lower arrests, probably.

So as they’re going through the building, there are school administrators who are in the camera room saying to another school administrator what they’re seeing on the camera without having made it clear or it’s somehow getting lost in translation that the school administrators had rewound the tape several times and were describing delayed footage to the police.

So the police were being told, “The shooter is on the second floor,” when they were on the second floor, when they could see that there was no shooter. And ultimately, this confusion made it such that it took medical personnel 43 minutes to reach Meadow on the third floor.

She was shot nine times. It probably wouldn’t have helped. But other students who it might have—another student who might have died if it had been a couple of minutes longer, who could’ve been spared a lot if it had been a half-hour sooner.

It’s not just that parents should take a close look at what happened for all the warning signs of what went on in the school. I think the police offices, police departments need to understand the second-by-second, blow-by-blow of what happened that day because it’s hard to imagine a broader failure that could have occurred on their part.

Del Guidice: Looking at all of what we’ve discussed today and even what Andy said about him wanting to be the last dad who really can say, “I didn’t know what was going on in my daughter’s school,” and knowing everything you know now, what are some lessons for schools as well as parents going forward? And how can we avoid future things like this happening?

Eden: There’s a hardware and a software side to it. A lot of the attention went to the hardware side of it in the immediate aftermath. If you don’t want weapons getting into buildings, then a metal detector or an armed guard and a single point of entry will do more than almost anything. And if worse comes to worst and something like that happens, you want the police to be able to see what’s happening instantly.

So these are things that parents can—and, in my opinion, should—advocate for in their own communities. It’s things that can be kind of controversial, aren’t going to fit everywhere.

But then there’s the software side of it too. There’s the question of, are the dynamics that we describe in the book, that engendered and enabled the Parkland shooter, are those dynamics playing out in your kid’s school too?

And it’s ultimately on parents to find out because teachers aren’t going to stand up and point a finger at their bosses. They’re not going to go talk to the press immediately and say how bad everything around them is.

Parents need to talk to their students, talk to their teachers, and just ask a couple of basic questions, like, “Do you feel supported when it comes to discipline? Do you feel like your administrators, like the principal is sweeping problems under the rug? Is there a student in my son or daughter’s classroom who everybody knows shouldn’t be there?”

If the answer to any of those questions are “yes,” then it’s on the parents to take another step, to try to talk to the school board members, talk to the superintendent, and effect policy change.

These policies come down partly from pressure from the Obama administration Department of Education, partly from outside social justice activist groups, sometimes, and partly from state bureaucrats.

It’s framed as a social justice thing, right? Like lower suspensions because we’re trying to reduce bias and everything will get better. And if you’re a school board member or a superintendent, it’s very easy to want to believe these things, to believe these things.

But if there are parents who are coming to you consistently and saying, “Hey, this might have sounded nice, but my kid says that he was assaulted and that your principal did nothing,” or, “My daughter says that she was harassed and told the assistant principal and they didn’t do anything.” If the people who run schools at a local level hear that from parents, they’re in a position to actually address it.

I think part of the tragedy of Parkland is that, as I said, it was the most avoidable mass murder in American history.

Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong, all for a reason, all at the local level, and it immediately became subsumed into a big, national political fight that distracted from what really went wrong.

And if such an avoidable tragedy hitting such a, frankly, high socioeconomic class community can’t make parents take a hard look at what’s going on in their kids’ schools, then it’s cause for a lot of concern.

Del Guidice: Well, Max, we appreciate you being with us here on The Daily Signal Podcast today, talking about everything you’ve learned, about your book. Thank you for taking time to be with us.

Eden: Thanks for having me.

PODCAST BY

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a congressional reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

‘Frustrating and Disheartening’: 3 Girls, Losing to Biological Males in Track, Announce Lawsuit [Video]

When Chelsea Mitchell, ranked as the fastest girl in the 55-meter dash in Connecticut high school track, showed up for a competition last year, she knew it would be a challenge.

Her competitors included two biological males who said they identify as girls.

Mitchell, a senior at Canton High School, had seen the speeds posted by the two. She was aware that other girls had lost to athletes born as boys who identify as girls. But at the time, she says, she “could feel the adrenaline in my blood.”

That adrenaline wasn’t enough, though. Mitchell came in third behind the two biological males.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Ultimately, because of Connecticut’s high school athletics policy on transgender competitors, she lost four girls state championships and two all-New England awards to biological males who identify as females.

“It was definitely frustrating and disheartening to be right there, running for the biggest honors in the state, and to work so hard and try so hard to be the best in the state,” Mitchell told The Daily Signal in an exclusive telephone interview Tuesday.

Mitchell and two other girls from different Connecticut high schools, Alanna Smith and Selina Soule, are suing the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference over the policy that allows biological males to compete as girls with biological females in high school sports.

The suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, claims that the state athletic conference is violating Title IX, the section of federal law designed to protect equal athletic opportunities for women and girls.

Smith is a sophomore at Danbury High School and Soule is a senior at Glastonbury High School whose story has been chronicled by The Daily Signal since last May.

Although Soule has spoken at length to The Daily Signal, and later other news outlets, Mitchell and Smith are speaking on the record for the first time.

The two biological males are Terry Miller of Bloomfield High School, who won the 55-meter dash, and Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell High School, who came in second.

The lawsuit states that Miller and Yearwood have won 15 girls state championship titles and “taken more than 85 opportunities to participate in higher level competitions from female track athletes in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons alone.”

Mitchell and Smith were anonymous in Soule’s original complaint last June to the U.S. Department of Education, which the agency is investigating.

This is the first lawsuit of its kind in the nation, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid organization that represents the three high school students.

Smith’s father, former Chicago Cubs pitcher Lee Smith, was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame last year.

As a freshman, Smith won the 400-meter at the 2019 outdoor New England Regional Championships. She came in third in the 200-meter at the championships, behind a biological male.

“This makes us work harder and most of the time we know we are not going to get the top spot, just achieve a personal record,” Smith told The Daily Signal in an exclusive phone interview Tuesday, referring to the athletic conference’s decision to allow biological males to compete against girls.

It’s a complex issue, she said, but the court case is about fairness in competition.

“We want to be able to make sure there is fairness,” Smith said.

Soule missed qualifying for the state championship in the 55-meter final and, by one spot, an opportunity to qualify for the New England championships in the 2018-2019 season.

Two spots above her were taken by biological males.

Because 18 other states have similar policies for high school athletics, the three girls’ case in Connecticut could set a national precedent, said Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.

“The objective is fairness in women’s sports,” Holcomb told The Daily Signal.

“Title IX is there for a reason,” she said. “It’s to give athletes like Chelsea [Mitchell] and Alanna [Smith] the opportunity to excel and be victorious.”

Mitchell said that she drew on her training and knew how to maximize her performance. She recalled looking at the running times for the biological male athletes in her race and realizing that beating them would be quite difficult.

“They are leaps and bounds beyond my fastest time,” Mitchell said.

The three girls’ lawsuit notes that college scholarships are among the missed opportunities they faced in losing to biological boys in competitions specifically intended for girls.

“I’m left wondering,” Mitchell told The Daily Signal. “I can’t measure the college scholarship, and I don’t know what opportunities could have come if the rules were different.”

Like Soule before them, both girls stressed that they do support fairness for transgender individuals, but that the current policy in Connecticut high school athletics isn’t fair to girls.

The Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports in the state, has argued that the transgender policy is based on federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

“This is about someone’s right to compete,” Executive Director Glenn Lungarini told the Associated Press last year. “I don’t think this is that different from other classes of people, who, in the not too distant past, were not allowed to compete. I think it’s going to take education and understanding to get to that point on this issue.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday states:

This discriminatory policy is now regularly resulting in boys displacing girls in competitive track events in Connecticut—excluding specific and identifiable girls including Plaintiffs from honors, opportunities to compete at higher levels, and public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities that should go to those girls.

As a result, in scholastic track competition in Connecticut, more boys than girls are experiencing victory and gaining the advantages that follow even though postseason competition is nominally designed to ensure that equal numbers of boys and girls advance to higher levels of competition.

Compared to boys—those born with XY chromosomes—in the state of Connecticut those who are born female—with XX chromosomes—now have materially fewer opportunities to stand on the victory podium, fewer opportunities to participate in post-season elite competition, fewer opportunities for public recognition as champions, and a much smaller chance of setting recognized records.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Did anti-bullyism kill 12-year-old Tristan Peterson?

Psychologists should consider the harm caused by anti-bullying policies.


Thanks to anti-bullying laws, schools are now routinely being sued for the death of bullied kids who commit suicide. Another lawsuit has just made national news, this time against a school in New Jersey which prided itself on having the toughest anti-bullying law in the country.

According to the lawsuit, Tristan Peterson, a boy of 12, committed suicide in 2017 because he was “bullied and harassed repeatedly by his classmates” at Woodruff Middle School in Bridgeton after he came out as gay. As reported by NBC news,

The suit accuses the school, the Upper Deerfield School District and staff of negligence, and of violating the state’s discrimination law, wrongful death and creating a hostile learning environment. Several district staff and the state of New Jersey are also named in the suit, which seeks damages and a jury trial.

Judaism instituted the ritual of Bar-Mitzvah, in which a boy, upon reaching the typical age of puberty–13–has responsibility for his actions transferred from his parents to himself. Thus, it is appropriate to be asking, Who or what killed 12-year-old Tristan Peterson?

The answer provided by anti-bullyism, as reflected in the lawsuit, is his school and the governmental bodies that oversee it.

But could it be that something else is responsible for his death, something no one is considering?

Psychology is a branch of science. The purpose of science is to figure out how nature works and to use that knowledge to solve problems and make the world a better place. The most basic tool of science is questioning. We don’t just assume that our inventions and interventions will yield only positive results. As that magnificent old saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Anti-bullyism is founded on the good intention of creating a society in which no one is made miserable by anyone else. Unfortunately, anti-bullyism has been a grand failure. After two full decades of anti-bullyism being championed by psychology, education and law, bullying is considered a growing epidemic, the suicide rate among young children has been skyrocketing, and lawsuits against schools for failing to make bullying stop are proliferating.

Psychology, as well as all systems of wisdom, advise us to take personal responsibility for the results of our actions–at least when we reach adulthood. Bar-Mitzvah boys are not exempted, and neither should researchers be.

It is high time for researchers to ask why we they failed to conquer the bullying problem and to take responsibility for any harm caused by their policies.

If medical researchers were discovered to be promoting a drug despite knowing that their research finds it to be largely ineffective and often harmful, the researchers would get sued.

Yet many of the leading bullying researchers continue promoting the same policies year after year despite their research showing they are minimally effective and often counterproductive. Because Professor Dan Olweus, the “father” of the psychological field of bullying, insisted that we fight for anti-bullying laws, and because the legions of bullying researchers who treat him with religious reverence have heeded his call, they have created a draconian situation in which schools get sued for the failure of the Olweus-generated policies they foisted upon them.

To accurately locate responsibility for Tristan Peterson’s suicide, we need to think like psychological scientists rather than religious zealots. Suicides by bullied kids have been escalating during the very period that society has been legislating policies against bullying. We would be grievously irresponsible to ignore the possibility that anti-bullying policies have contributed to the rise in these suicides.

Until the sexual revolution enabled by the invention of “the pill,” sexual activity was recognized to be dangerous and was strongly discouraged among teenagers. To this day, we consider reduction in teen sexual activity as a positive development, as reflected in an article in The Atlantic:

To the relief of many parents, educators, and clergy members who care about the health and well-being of young people, teens are launching their sex lives later.

And prior to the gay rights movement, homosexuality was widely considered aberrant or sinful, as it still is in much of the world. A 12-year-old like Tristan would never have announced that he was gay, and unless he had obviously effeminate mannerisms, he wouldn’t have been a target of gay bashing.

In recent decades, schools have been mandated to promote diversity, so they have been educating students from the youngest grades to recognize, accept and appreciate the gamut of sexual preferences and gender identities. Additionally, because of schools’ mandate to eliminate bullying, students have been bombarded with the messages that they have a right to attend school without being bullied and that bullying will not be tolerated.

Thus, Tristan felt encouraged to come out as gay, possibly even expecting the admiration of his peers for his courage.

Then Tristan was hit with reality: children are human beings, not computers that can be programmed to think and act the way social engineers would like them to. Like the rest of us, kids are titillated by the subject of sex, most are biologically attracted to the members of the opposite sex, and despite their indoctrination that all sexual orientations are “normal,” many relate to homosexuality as funny, weird, or even repulsive.

Thus some kids in school made fun of Tristan. He naturally got upset by the taunting, not realizing that getting upset actually fans the flames of taunting.

Tristan and his mother were also taught that they must inform the school about bullying. So that’s what they did. As the NBC article reports:

The boy [Tristan Peterson] and his mother complained multiple times about the bullying, but staff “failed to properly and/or prevent the abusive behavior,” the suit claims, adding, “The defendants had a duty to provide for the safety and security of students.”

What the authorities failed to inform students and parents is that there is no good reason to believe schools can fulfill such a duty. In fact, recent research has confirmed what is obvious even to most teenagers: the kids who get bullied the most are those who inform the authorities the most. But can we blame Tristan and Mrs. Peterson for trusting the school authorities when even the researchers that have discovered this damning correlation continue to advocate for informing?

Informing the school was probably the clincher for Tristan. Kids may enjoy making fun of others for being gay, just as they may enjoy making fun of kids for being fat, skinny, tall, short, red-haired, Black, Jewish or bespectacled. But they don’t necessarily hate them. What truly makes kids hate others and want to hurt them is when they inform on them to the authorities. Examine the news stories about bullying that led to serious violence or suicide. You will discover that the tragedies almost always occurred after the school was informed of the bullying.

Imagine what it’s like to be Tristan. First the adult authorities instruct you to be proud of your sexual orientation, and that other kids are required to treat you with respect for it. Then you discover it was a lie, and you get repeatedly ridiculed for coming out. Then you trust the authorities’ promise that they will solve your problem if you inform them, only to discover that that they lied to you about this as well, and your life has become an absolute nightmare. You see no way out of your misery. Is it any wonder that so many bullied kids resort to suicide out of desperation?

And how about the lawyers suing schools? Do they really believe their accusations? Haven’t they discovered that when people complain about each other to the authorities, that’s when they really want to kill each other? But truth is not the concern of lawyers. Their aim is to earn money representing their clients. Fortunately for lawyers, the anti-bullying laws psychologists fought for have given them a new revenue stream by assaulting schools.

But scientists are not lawyers and money is no excuse for being unethical. Our goal is to find the truth no matter how politically incorrect the truth may be.

Until we psychological scientists consider the hypothesis that the anti-bullying policies we promote can be responsible for the death of kids like Tristan, we will continue to anguish over the sky-high youth suicide rate, and schools will continue being sued for our own irresponsibility.

Closing note: Does this mean there is nothing to be done about kids getting ridiculed for being gay? Not at all. Good psychology can help. First, they can be taught that their sexual orientation is a private matter which they need not disclose to anyone other than their person of romantic interest. Second, they need to be warned not to inform the school when kids pick on them unless they are certain the school has a reliable way of making them stop.

Third, and most importantly, they deserve to be taught what to do when kids make fun of them for being gay (or for any other reason). The way they respond will determine whether their peers end up despising or admiring them.

COLUMN BY

ISRAEL C. ‘IZZY’ KALMAN

Izzy Kalman is the author and creator of the website Bullies2Buddies.com and a critic of the anti-bully movement.

Jewish Harvard Club member says Muslim Harvard prof called her a whore and bruised her arm

And she was expelled from the lecture. That’s the state of academia today.

“Jewish Harvard Club member assaulted during pro-Palestinian lecture, lawsuit says,” by Kathianne Boniello, New York Post, February 8, 2020 (thanks to the Geller Report):

A Jewish member of the Harvard Club claims she was assaulted by a professor during a pro-Palestinian lecture at the swanky venue — and then was booted by the Ivy League institution.

Vanesa Levine is suing to get reinstated to the prestigious Midtown club, whose notable present and past members include Michael Bloomberg, John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Levine, 28, a marketing manager in Brooklyn, said she was a newly minted member of the 154-year old club when she and her mom attended a February 2019 lecture called, “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine” by Rashid Khalidi, a former press officer for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

She said she “peacefully” asked during a question-and-answer session how Mideast peace could be achieved if Palestinians are taught “to support terrorism against Jews and Israelis.”

The audience erupted in “mob-like” fury at her query, according to the lawsuit.

Harvard finance professor Faris Mousa Saah, 53, called her a whore in Arabic and grabbed her by the arm, bruising it as he tried to take the microphone, according to court papers.

“I’ve been to hell and back ever since the Harvard Club incident,” Levine told The Post.

Though she was eventually able to ask her questions, Levine and her mom, who was born and raised in Israel, were asked by security to leave — with angry audience members following them into the hall, photographing her and chanting, “We’re going to get you expelled,” she charges.

Once on the sidewalk, Levine filmed herself talking about the incident and posted it to Facebook, where the video was viewed more than 50,000 times.

Saah later claimed he had feared Levine would hurt Khalidi and that she had been “aggressively and maniacally” dancing around with the microphone, according to court papers….

“I don’t remember having been at the lecture,” Saah told The Post. “There’s not a single word of accuracy in any of that,” he said of Levine’s charges.

A spokeswoman for the Harvard Club claimed Levine “disrupted a Club program. She was subsequently removed from membership in accordance with the Club’s bylaws.”

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

PODCAST: In Florida Banks Mortgage away Kids for LGBT Cause

What kind of people would kick needy kids out of good schools? Big Business, that’s who. In Florida, companies like Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank are dropping out of a scholarship program — all because some of the private schools have religious beliefs. Apparently, these CEOs think the LGBT agenda is more important than giving low-income kids the chance to succeed. Unfortunately for them, most parents across the state disagree — and aren’t about to let the vouchers go quietly.

At a rally this week in Tallahassee, pastors had strong words for anyone — bankers or otherwise — who would sacrifice poor children on the altar of radical sexual politics. “I see people who claim to be fighting for social justice who don’t even blink at the thought of using low-income children … as pawns,” Rev. H.K. Matthews thundered into the crowd. Almost 109,000 students take advantage of the program that Wells Fargo and Fifth Third would cripple over their ridiculous demands for “inclusion.” Demands, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pointed out on “Washington Watch,” that show where their true priorities are.

This program, Senator Rubio said, has become “very personal to me… I now know dozens and dozens of families that have benefited from it.” The idea that the rug would be yanked out from under them, just because a school believes what the Bible says about gender and sexuality, is an absolute outrage. “How it works is: you’re low income family. It gives you the opportunity — not just to take them out of a school you don’t like — but to put them into a learning environment that’s going to provide them opportunities for courses and to be around an educational environment they would never have the chance to go to if they didn’t make a lot of money. And I’ve seen some of these kids that used a scholarship and graduate go on to the Naval Academy, to West Point, to Harvard, to some of the best institutions in the country. They never would have been able to have those opportunities that came from going with those schools.”

“Now here comes Wells Fargo, this great beacon of morality,” he says sarcastically, “who’s been caught just a few years ago fraudulently opening up accounts, savings accounts, checking accounts on behalf of their clients so they can charge them fees and all that. And here they come now basically saying, ‘We’re no longer going to donate to the program because we don’t like the fact that some religious schools [have] policies that align with the doctrine of the church…” Of course, they call these “anti-LGBT policies,” when in reality, they’re just affirmations of biblical teaching on sex and marriage.

And guess what, Senator Rubio asked? If a student doesn’t want to take the scholarship and go to a school with those beliefs, they don’t have to. The parents choose which school they go to. So it’s not as if these beliefs are being forced down children’s throats. And yet, these two banks — along with a chorus of Democrats in the legislature — are willing to destroy these students’ futures over it.

“What really sets me off,” Senator Rubio fumed, “is [that what they did] is not going to hurt those schools. Those schools are not going to abandon the Bible over a government program if they existed before this program… [W]ho they’re hurting are low-income kids, because they’re not going to be able to go to these schools [if they don’t get the funding.] …There are kids [who] may lose their scholarship [next year], [who] may be told, ‘You can no longer attend the school you’re attending… because we don’t have enough money this year for you because we lost two donors.’ So it’s just a reminder that what you often see now in corporate America is that they believe they can buy themselves into the good graces of broader society or cover [up for their scandals] by [caving] to some pressure and bullying from radicals on the Left.”

It’s an astonishing statement by Big Business that they’re willing to sentence thousands of children to lives of poverty to cater to the .6 percent. That’s disgraceful, especially at a time in this country when the test scores in our public schools are declining — and the performance gap is widening. Programs like Florida’s matter to kids where education is the only lifeline. Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett and I talked about this extensively late last year. For families who don’t have the money to pull their kids out of public school, these programs are a way for children to rise above their circumstances and find success.

As President Trump said Tuesday night in the State of the Union, “No parent should be forced to send their children to a failing government school.” If the executives at Wells Fargo and Fifth Third really cared about inclusion, they’d give every Florida student the opportunities their own children have. Instead, they’re putting their sons and daughters in elite schools, and then turning around and locking less fortunate children out — all to score “wokeness points” on this phony crusade against “hate.” Obviously, Big Business (like the Left) doesn’t care who they hurt, as long as it appeases the radical mob.


Tony Perkins’s Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.