Tag Archive for: education

‘Dems Want to Give Up U.S. Sovereignty’ to ‘New World Order’: Senator on WHO Treaty

The Democratic Party in general, and the Biden administration in particular, are eager to hand global governance institutions more influence over U.S. health policy, said the prime opponent of a new pandemic agreement.

The Biden administration has signaled its intention to adopt the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new accord on responding to global health pandemics such as COVID-19 or “Disease X.” The WHO Pandemic Agreement demands the U.S. turn over one-fifth of all vaccines and protective health equipment to WHO for redistribution, adopts a controversial “One Health” policy that makes human health no more important than animals or the environment, and encourages national governments to combat “misinformation” online. The WHO originally described the agreement as a “legally binding treaty” in December 2022 but changed its formal title to an “agreement” after the Biden administration realized it could not win Senate ratification, as the Constitution requires for an international treaty.

The Biden administration’s willingness to sidestep Congress on the WHO agreement — as it has on student loan “forgiveness,” an eviction moratorium, and other issues — troubles Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who introduced the No WHO Pandemic Preparedness Treaty Without Senate Approval Act. But the bill is “not getting much traction here in Congress,” Johnson told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” on January 25, because the international accord has become “a partisan issue.”

“Every Republican except for the bill’s sponsor voted for my amendment, which would have deemed” the WHO agreement, which would give WHO greater authority over all Americans during deadly outbreaks, “a treaty subject to ratification in the Senate. And every Democrat voted against it,” said Johnson. “So, Democrats apparently want to give up U.S. sovereignty.”

Pro-life and pro-family advocates should be most concerned about expanding the WHO’s reach, power, and prestige, as it moves to polarize global health policy in favor of abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism, say its opponents. At last month’s board meeting, WHO announced it may strike a partnership with the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), a well-funded pro-abortion lobbying group that pressures governments to enact lax abortion laws.

CRR is “one of the most nefarious, aggressively pro-abortion groups on the face of the Earth,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) told Perkins earlier in the same show. That stems, in part, from its secretary-general, Tedros Ghebreyesus, who won his post with China’s endorsement. “I’ve known him for 30 years. He used to tell me how pro-life he was. He is absolutely pro-abortion.”

Smith, the co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and his wife have tracked the influence CRR and WHO have had on global abortion policy for decades. Two decades ago, Smith entered into the Congressional Record “a document put out by the World Health Organization, and it’s all about the model legislation that they want for every country,” he said. WHO wants “no gestational limits, just like Biden is doing,” establishing a right to “abortion until birth.” WHO and the Democrats also believe pro-life physicians, who object to participating in abortions due to religious or moral reasons, should have “no ability to say no, no right of conscience. They say that is a barrier to access to abortion.”

Democrats and global WHO bureaucrats also oppose mandatory waiting periods, which have been shown to reduce the abortion rate and increase the number of babies born alive. “Very often when there’s a parental notification, or a waiting period, or some other small-but-necessary protection, women rethink it and they come to a different conclusion,” Smith told Perkins. “They want none of that.”

WHO is also scheduled to roll out a global health guidance instructing physicians how to respond to adults who identify as transgender — and stacked the group writing the guideline with radical transgender activists, most of whom have no medical background. One proposed member of the Guideline Development Group (GDG) previously took part in a global LGBT health symposium that “emphasised the need to provide [an] uninterrupted supply of … medical [hormone therapy] and gender-affirmative surgeries for trans people.” The minority of GDG members who have medical backgrounds often carry out, and financially benefit from, transgender procedures, creating a blatant conflict of interest.

WHO’s emphasis on climate change, and its lowering human health to the level of ecosystems, should also give Americans pause, said Johnson. President Dwight D. “Eisenhower, in his farewell address, warned us about four things,” he noted. “The final thing he talked about [was how] we cannot let global society fall into a state of ‘dreadful fear and hate.’” But both have been inflamed by extreme COVID-19 lockdown advocates and Green activists who perpetually flog the threat of “catastrophic climate emergency” while demonizing their opponents, he said. “This is what tyrants do. They control people. They take away your freedom based on a state of fear.”

Johnson said the end game of those promoting the WHO Pandemic Agreement and other destructive policies is “the New World Order, total control, a borderless world. That’s part of the strategy behind an open border here in America.”

He quoted a video produced by the World Economic Forum, “‘You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy.’ That’s basically their rallying cry. It’s sick. It’s frightening.”

“There are a lot of people,” warned Johnson, “in leadership positions who want to take your freedom away.”

He hoped other nations would recognize “that their national sovereignty, their health freedom may be taken away from them in this very dangerous negotiation.”


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Top 10 Underreported Stories of 2023

Although the legacy media lift up non-stories every year, they offset the spilled ink by underreporting stories of great national importance. Here are 10 of the most significant stories ignored by the legacy media in 2023.

1. The Nashville Shooter’s Manifesto

On March 27, Audrey Elizabeth Hale entered Nashville’s Covenant School and murdered six innocent people: three nine-year-old children and three adults. Although school shootings have become distressingly commonplace, elements of this atrocity set it apart from other mass shootings: Hale identified as a transgender male named “Aiden,” and her target was a Christian school.

“One day, this will make more sense,” Hale texted her former middle school basketball teammate, Averianna Patton, on the morning of the shooting. “I’ve left plenty of evidence behind.”

Yet the government-media industrial complex has assured that day has not come. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has continued to withhold Hale’s manifesto nine months after the shooting — and the legacy media largely ignored leaked pages of Hale’s diary, posted on social media by talk show host Steven Crowder on November 6.

Crowder obtained only three pages of Hale’s diary, but reading Hale’s words, it’s easy to see why the media suppressed them: They shatter the media narrative about mass shooters. “Wanna kill all you little crackers” with “your white privileges,” wrote Hale. “I hope I have a high death count.”

“God let my wrath take over my anxiety,” she mock-prayed.

The New York Times and The Washington Post reported on the leaked diary pages — without quoting a single word of their content. (The Post story quoted the manifesto … of Payton Gendron, a teenage white supremacist who targeted black shoppers in a supermarket in Buffalo in 2022.) NBC News covered the police investigation into the leak, not Hale’s words. When news leaks thwart conservative aims, they’re news; when leaks harm liberal causes, they’re prosecutions. (See Daleiden, David.)

What’s more, the media know the profound pain their silence has caused the people of Nashville. “Spiritually it’s eating me, it’s eating me alive right now right now [sic], because I’m trying to make God help me wrap my mind around what, what is this God?” said Patton shortly after Hale’s rampage. The media could have answered her question and assuaged her existential angst, but they let her suffer for political ends.

2. Studies Show the Dangers of Transgender Surgeries and the LGBTQ Lifestyle

When historians look back, they may say 2023 marked a turning point when the harms of transgender surgeries became public knowledge. Several studies this year revealed the dangers of the LGBT lifestyle.

Perhaps most dramatically, the chair of a transgender surgery department found that people who have transgender surgeries are lonelier and more depressed than those who do nothing — as are trans-identified people who play on sports teams of the opposite sex. “[H]igher loneliness levels were significantly associated with … already having a gender reassignment surgery [and] more than 4 [hours] a week of sports activities,” as “compared to no sports activity,” said a study by Dr. Marco Blessmann, the founding chair of University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf’s plastic surgery department. The German facility carries out such common transgender procedures as “labiaplasty” and “breast augmentation,” as well as “other surgical services,” and has every financial incentive to come to different conclusions, yet its peer-reviewed studies detail the harm its own procedures cause.

A different study found a majority (55%) of women who had vaginoplasty experienced pain, sometimes for years after the procedure, and one in three has difficulty urinating and having sex. The data come from a study of patients who underwent “bottom surgery” from the Postoperative Care Clinic at the Women’s College Hospital (WCH) in Ontario between 2018 and 2020. Media reported the study, sparsely, in January.

Among the unlikely sources contradicting the LGBTQ narrative that all lifestyles are equally healthy, the Biden administration noted the deep ties between identifying as LGBT and mental illness. As this author reported:

“‘Female students, LGBQ+ students, and students who had any same-sex partners were more likely than their peers to experience poor mental health and suicidal thoughts and behaviors,’ said a Biden administration report released in February by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Teenagers who identified as LGBTQ were twice as likely to report ‘poor mental health’ as those who identified as heterosexual, three times as likely to have ‘seriously considered attempting suicide’ or ‘made a suicide plan,’ and 366.6% more likely to have attempted suicide. Not only do they contemplate suicide more frequently, but they are 700% more likely to have injured themselves in a suicide attempt. While only three out of every 100 straight students have been injured in a suicide attempt, the number soars to one out of every seven teens who identifies as LGBTQ.

“‘Nearly 70% of LGBQ+ students experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness … and more than 20% of LGBQ+ students attempted suicide,’ said the CDC report.”

3. Who Leaked the Dobbs Decision?

Weeks before the Supreme Court acted to right a legal and historical wrong by overturning Roe v. Wade, something truly unprecedented happened: Someone leaked a draft copy of the decision in the case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — to Politico. The activist Left exploded in rage. A year-long campaign of violence targeted pro-life churches and pregnancy resource centers, while an armed man traveled to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home intent on shooting him. The Supreme Court launched an investigation but officially announced in January that it could not determine who leaked the report.

“I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody,” said Justice Samuel Alito, the author of the Dobbs decision, in April. (The International Business Times has noted many conservatives believe the leaker is Amit Jain, a clerk for Sonia Sotomayor with a history of contacting Politico.) But to their shame, the media — which took pains to identify every individual within miles of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 — did not pursue the story doggedly, because it did not fit their narrative.

Another honorable mention in this category is, “Who brought cocaine to the White House?” Like the leaked Dobbs decision, the identity of the individual who left a bag of cocaine in the West Wing this July remains officially unsolved.

4. Our Open Border Transforms America

Joe Biden has set a number of records; unfortunately, they are all for new national humiliations. Among his worst failures is the open U.S. border with Mexico, where illegal immigration has broken all U.S. records each successive year of the Biden administration. In all, a reported 10 million illegal entries have taken place since Biden took office — and they have radically and deliberately transformed the nation we live in, against the will of the American people.

Thanks to this influx, the United States now has the largest number and percentage of foreign-born residents in American history: 49.5 million people, or 15% of the U.S. population. The illegal population grew so precipitously in part, because the Biden administration has failed to remove 99% of the illegal immigrants released into the United States. Among these illegals is a record number of border-crossers whose names are on the terrorist watchlist. Yet the Biden administration has reduced criminal alien deportations.

The problem has finally reached America’s “sanctuary cities,” as Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) sent busloads of illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Chicago, Los Angles, and the Big Apple. New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) has said the problem will “destroy” his city and implored the Biden administration to send illegal immigrants to every city, town, and village in America. (Which, for all we know, the administration is already doing.) No one knows where the planeloads of illegal immigrants Biden flies around the country are going.

The Left plans to withhold border security until Republicans give in and approve another 1986-style amnesty plan, which will transform the electorate into what SEIU and socialist organizer Eliseo Medina called “a governing coalition for the long-term.” (See my previous writing on the topic — which includes Democrats discussing their plans to win by relying on voting demographics as far back as 2002 — in this article.) If the corporate GOP rewards the Democrats’ lawless behavior, it will assure America’s permanent transformation.

5. The LGBT Agenda Is Losing Support

Although the legacy media give the LGBTQ political agenda uniformly positive coverage and focus on the group far out of proportion to that demographic’s share of the population, this year they omitted several salient stories: Multiple polls found the LGBTQ cause has lost political support in 2023, even among its most supportive generation.

Among Americans born since 1997, known as Gen Z, support for same-sex marriage fell by a whopping 11 percentage points since 2021, according to a study released in November by AEI’s Survey Center on American Life. Broadly, the percentage of Americans who believe same-sexual relationships are “morally acceptable” fell by 7% this year, the largest decrease of any of the moral issues posed by Gallup pollsters in their annual Values and Beliefs poll, released in June. Most Americans do not see “a married gay or lesbian couple raising children together” as “completely acceptable” (47% do), and even fewer believe an unmarried same-sex couple should raise a child (41%), the Pew Research Center found in September.

Even the Biden administration’s U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) admitted people who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual are far more likely to suffer from major depression, abuse illegal drugs, and are up to six times as likely to attempt suicide. Transgender ideology also lost support, with a 55% majority of Americans saying “changing one’s gender” is morally wrong, according to a Gallup poll in June — a 4% increase in two years. Transgender extremism was one of the major issues that brought down the leader of Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in February.

These results may seem counterintuitive, since Americans said to identify as LGBTQ more than ever, according to the same polling firms. It could be polling agencies, which are masters at manipulating results, wish to create a sense of complacency in the midst of a social revolution. Or something more ominous may be occurring: Americans may be moving in both directions at the same time. It could be that more young people are caving to social pressure to identify as LGBTQ, while older people (and members of Gen Z who do not buy in to the latest trends) resist the bandwagon effect, which they see will harm themselves and their loved ones.

6. Biden Family Corruption

Even as much as conservative media reported the ever-growing evidence that Joe Biden and his family prospered from deals intended to influence The Big Guy, the broader media have presented the story as a vengeful, political witch hunt waged without evidence. Yet the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability’s wealth of evidence has earned a dearth of coverage, often being falsely presented as “debunked” and “refuted.”

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) has noted that Biden made Ukraine’s firing of prosecutor Viktor Shokin a U.S. priority only after receiving a pay-off. Even the first U.S. hostage released by Hamas had a relative who bought Hunter Biden’s artwork. Biden seems to have used the resources of the U.S. government to further an influence-peddling scheme. As Barack Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden sent thousands of pseudonymous emails under such names as Robert Peters, including informing Hunter Biden about news regarding nations his son was doing business with.

Like Hunter, Joe’s brother Frank Biden also interrupted calls with VIPs to take calls from then-Vice President Joe Biden, referring to the veep as “The Big Guy.” Frank Biden exploited his surname to take a position promoting Mavericks In Education, a charter school chain intended to cater to at-risk students, but which was accused of lying about membership to increase taxpayer funding. He reportedly did this again while taking a job at Berman Law Firm. James Biden has reportedly traded on his brother’s name since the 1970s to gain everything from a night club to foreign deals to legally dubious schemes involving health care companies treating cancer patients. (Note: Many of these stories were originally reported by the legacy media … during the 2020 Democratic primaries. After clinching the nomination, the Biden stories seemed to dry up.) Biden family corruption allegations have led the House to an impeachment inquiry. (For an hour-long discussion of the proof in the Biden family’s scandals, listen to this episode of the “Outstanding” podcast.)

7. The Biden Administration Tells Title X Recipients to Talk to Minors about Sex Behind Their Parents’ Backs

Biden doesn’t simply seek to corrupt his own family; his administration would like to corrupt yours, as well. Taxpayer-funded guidelines encourage Title X providers — those who dole out contraception to those who ask at taxpayer expense — to talk about sex with minors behind their parents’ back, even describing ways to get their parents out of the room. As The Washington Stand reported exclusively:

“Federally-funded guidelines instruct adults to pause before discussing sex with minors and to ask, ‘Are you alone in the room?’ These instructions specify tactics to follow ‘if you’re really having a hard time getting a parent’ to leave the room during the sex talk. They suggest children as young as 13 discuss sex with groups like Planned Parenthood in a parked car or communicate in writing, so their parents cannot hear the adults’ side of the conversation. And they encourage offices to have vans roam neighborhoods giving minors federally funded contraceptives; to mail birth control to adolescents in ‘plain, unmarked packaging’; and/or to have teenagers receive contraceptives at public meet-up places.”

Protecting children against the mental and physical harms of early sexual initiation is hard enough for parents without their government undermining parents’ authority — and forcing them to pay for it.

8. Churchgoers and Married People are Happier

Despite an endless barrage of negative media about the drudgeries of married life and the pointlessness of faith, multiple studies this year verified the benefits of both. Americans who believe in God and value marriage are more likely to be “very happy” than non-believers and single people, according to a Wall Street Journal-NORC poll taken in March. Practicing Christians who regularly read the Bible report a higher score on the Human Flourishing Index — which measures “happiness & life satisfaction,” “mental & physical health,” “meaning & purpose,” “character & virtue,” “close societal relationships” and “financial & material stability.”

Active Christians score 7.8, compared to 6.9 for inactive Christians and 6.7 for religious unaffiliated, according to an American Bible Society report released this June. The biggest difference between active Christians and non-Christians came in “meaning & purpose.” (They’re also far more likely to vote Republican.) The aforementioned AEI study also found that “Overall, religious Americans tend to believe their life is meaningful more often than do those who are not religious.” Evangelical Christians are 33% more likely than unbelievers to say their actions matter in the grand scheme of things.

Even the Biden administration issued a warning this year saying Americans’ health may be undermined by not attending church. A report from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, which was released in May, says loneliness harms physical health “even greater than [the risk] associated with obesity and physical inactivity” and is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Religious or faith-based groups can be a source for regular social contact, serve as a community of support, provide meaning and purpose, create a sense of belonging around shared values and beliefs, and are associated with reduced risk-taking behaviors,” Murthy writes. “As a consequence of this decline in participation, individuals’ health may be undermined.”

When a Balaam like Biden blesses church attendance, Christians should listen.

9. COVID-19 Lockdowns Are Still Hurting America

Locking down the entire population over a virus with a near-100% survival rate may prove to be the most misguided decision in 21st century domestic policy — an arena with stiff competitors. To this day, Americans of all ages continue to pay the price for this policy error, chief among them children.

An analysis from the Associated Press found 50,000 children remain missing from school two years after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic (which the World Health Organization only declared ended on May 5). An incredible 35% of children in kindergarten through second grade fell “below benchmark” in reading (placing them at “high risk for persistent reading difficulties”) in Fall 2021, according to a University of Virginia analysis. These gaps will impact their development as human beings, stifling their cognitive faculties, limiting their lifetime income and fulfillment, and capping their ability to make a difference for Christ and the church.

U.S. taxpayers also literally paid the price for the bipartisan consensus to roll out $5 trillion in COVID emergency relief. The Justice Department announced this summer it had arrested nearly 3,200 people for defrauding U.S. COVID relief funds; at the time, it was investigating $8.6 billion in fraud. The nation’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, received $90.41 billion in COVID relief, although the CARES Act seemed to be written to exclude it; indeed, taxpayer funds continued to trickle down to abortionists this year.

In reality, we have no idea how much fraud was committed in the name of COVID-19 relief — and we won’t for at least a century. Small Business Administration Inspector General Hannibal “Mike” Ware said his COVID fraud hotline got an immense number of tips about COVID fraud, “more than 90,000 have been identified as actionable leads, which amount to more than 100 years of investigative case work.” Funding those investigations alone will cost American taxpayers for years to come.

10. Huge Increase in Homeschooling, Stay-at-home Moms

According to The Washington Post, homeschooling has become the “fastest-growing form of education” in the United States. The United States has seen a 51% increase in homeschooling in five years — between the 2017-2018 school year and this school year. With school strikes, lower educational standards, and teachers hiding children’s transgenderism and teaching Woke curricula (repeating the lies of the 1619 Project and stocking school libraries with gay pornographic books), it’s easy to see why.

At the same time, the number of stay-at-home mothers has increased, according to two studies released this year. The number of stay-at-home moms skyrocketed from 15% in 2022 to 25% in 2023, according to Motherly’s Annual State of Motherhood survey. The Pew Research Center said 26% of mothers worked exclusively in the home in 2022, up from a low of 23% two decades ago.

The children raised by mothers who care enough to sacrifice their career advancement for their children’s development and education may just offset the kids neglected by the public school system since COVID-19 (at the latest). They will be our nation’s greatest hope, and the source of our nation’s good news stories, for years to come.

The legacy media have not given these stories the exposure they deserve but, Lord willing, The Washington Stand’s coverage of newsworthy stories in the pivotal election year of 2024 will prove out-Stand-ing.


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘Bah Humbug’: Pa. School Districts Warns Bus Drivers against Christmas Decorations

A Keystone State school board is banning school bus drivers from putting up Christmas decorations. On Friday, just over a week before Christmas, the Wallingford-Swarthmore school district in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, issued a memo to school bus drivers saying, “If you have decorated your bus with anything specific to the Christmas Holiday or any other decorations relating to a specific religion, please remove them immediately.”

The memo concludes, “In addition, employees are instructed not to wear clothing related to Christmas or any other religious holiday.” According to the memo, school district leadership “has been receiving complaints from parents concerning District employees displaying ‘Christmas’ themed decorations and/or wearing clothing of the same nature.” A note adds that the policy is not specific to school bus drivers but “APPLIES TO ALL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES.”

According to reporter Chris O’Connell of Fox 29 Philadelphia, who shared the memo on social media, school bus drivers have responded to the memo with variations of “Bah humbug.”

In comments to The Washington Stand, Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, asked, “Are there drivers with Pride flags? BLM flags? Culturally sensitive flags of other nations? Just what kinds of personal expressions are okay in the school district?” She further noted, “When even the commercialized and virtually-religion-free Christmas observance is disallowed, we have lost all sense of identity as Americans and certainly Western civilization. Woe to the bus driver who tries to create an atmosphere of joy, peace, and love for the children on his or her bus.”

Joseph Backholm, FRC’s senior fellow for Biblical Worldview, told TWS that the ban on Christmas decorations is “an issue of people in leadership who always follow rather than lead.” He said, “The school district apparently received a complaint from someone that a bus driver was spreading too much Christmas cheer, and instead of telling that parent they encourage every bus driver to be as festive as possible, they decided it was their job to protect the emotionally fragile.” Although “Christmas” is named explicitly in the memo, Backholm noted that the inclusion of “any other religious holiday” was “certainly done on the advice of their lawyers, because it would be illegal to just ban Christmas displays and clothing.”

“There’s nothing illegal about employees who wear holiday clothing at work, which is why we see it all the time. But in this case the school district decided to side with the complaints of the few against the joy and celebrations of the many,” Backholm explained. “We now live in a world where some people are looking for reasons to be offended and they often find reason to be offended in the joy of others. The public square will once again be open once we stop pretending people have a right not to be offended by things.”

According to Fox 29 Philadelphia, the school district clarified Friday night that their intent was “not clear” and reversed the ban on holiday decorations and clothing, emphasizing instead a need for bus drivers to create “an inclusive environment.”

“The parents who want to remove the decorations should spend a week on the bus to see what kind of environment their children and the bus drivers experience daily,” Kilgannon said. “Parents know that in many school districts bus discipline is nonexistent and enforcing any behavioral norm is often punished — by just this kind of complaint. Taxpayers on the other hand who have no kids in school have no idea that this kind of situation is funded by their generosity.”


S.A. McCarthy 

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.


EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Young Americans Think the Holocaust Is a ‘Myth,’ ‘Exaggerated,’ or Political Ploy

Philosopher George Santayana is often attributed with coining the phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Such a well-known saying almost seems cliché. But does it have merit? Reflecting on Ecclesiastes 1:9, we know there is nothing new under the sun, and we often see history repeat itself, or even take on new meaning (for better or for worse).

As time widens the gap between the past and the present, it’s easy to forget what has occurred. Perhaps more concerning, it’s easy to remember historical events incorrectly. This begets three possible outcomes: learning the wrong lessons, fabricating lessons that push a certain narrative, or just not learning any lesson at all. The actions of our day imply we’ve experienced all three.

Osama Bin Laden, founder of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and primary perpetrator of the 9/11 terrorist attack, wrote a “Letter to America” in which he explained his motivation behind the tragic event in American history. The fall of the Twin Towers, the strike at the Pentagon, the plane that crashed in the Pennsylvania field, and the thousands of innocent people injured or killed that day, drastically changed America. Yet, last month, bin Laden’s letter exploded across the internet, and many of the viewers praised what the terrorist had to say.

“I feel like I’m going through an existential crisis right now,” some said. Others read the propaganda and insisted they “will never look at life” or “this country the same.” I believe it goes without saying that terrorists do not and will never deserve sympathy. Yet, how easy is it for lies to be perceived as truth? And the rise of social media use (TikTok in this case), and the increasing message of wokeness, has only added to the spread of deception. So, these waves of ignorance continue.

A recent poll conducted by YouGov, although not the first of its kind, revealed one in five young American adults believe the Holocaust never happened. At least 30% of the respondents, ages 18 to 29, doubt the authenticity of the event, and about a quarter of this same group claimed the retelling of this historical account has been “exaggerated.”

In 2020, the first “50-state survey of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z” was released, and the results showed a “lack of basic Holocaust knowledge.” If there was concern about how people viewed the Holocaust three years ago, it can’t be surprising that the concern has only grown worse — especially as history continues to unfold and our societal problems increase.

Anti-Semitism has grown to its highest percent in about three decades. Since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, the question many are asking is, did the attacks spark this outburst in anti-Semitism, or did it expose what had already been building for some time?

While there’s much evidence to support the latter, this poll alone indicates that, in addition to young Americans not knowing much about the Holocaust or whether it happened, many of them have politicized the 1940s Jewish genocide. When analyzing the partisan differences, the survey demonstrated 26% of those who voted for Biden and 13% of those who voted for Trump in the 2020 election believe Israel “exploits Holocaust victimhood for its own purposes.” In other words, for some, the Holocaust is just another piece of propaganda meant to serve one party and degrade another. How unfortunate.

It’s also sad that some of America’s most prominent Ivy League school presidents won’t do anything about the anti-Semitism spreading on their campuses. Or that young Americans see no problem in calling for the eradication of the Jewish state and people. It’s hard to believe the hatred toward and rhetoric against the people of Israel has gone so far that the Hamas murderers, rapists, and brutal, stone-cold terrorists, have racked up support and sympathy.

It’s incredible that the Holocaust, where six million Jews were burned alive, starved, gassed to death, worked to death, tortured in concentration camps, ripped from their families, used as props for surgical experiments, and deprived of every basic human right known to man, has been forgotten or denied by many. Obviously, the word, “unfortunate,” does not do justice. But it’s not just “unfortunate” to forget the past. It’s dangerous, and is often driven by dangerous ideologies.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “This phenomenon is a strange combination of American youth being unchurched and uneducated.” She continued, “When people young or old are unaware of who the Jewish people are in salvation history, they will be unable to believe something like the Holocaust could happen to them or anyone else.”

Letting go of history by any means — be it misinterpretation, forgetfulness, purposeful politicization, or denial — means the future will be affected by it, and often not in a positive way. “The Marxist march through our institutions includes the church and the schools,” Kilgannon added. “And the result of this will not be a communist utopia, but rather a hellscape where terrorist attacks are normalized as ‘anticolonial.’”

She concluded, “You can only maintain such an insane narrative when historical events like the Holocaust are lost to history.”


Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.


EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

The Moral Bankruptcy of Higher Education — and the Opportunity it Gives Christians

In a disturbing House hearing this week, the heads of three of America’s most prestigious universities — Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — equivocated on whether calls for the slaughter of the Jewish people are acceptable.

Used to employing the artful dodges of academic jargon, these “educators” did their best to use complex sentence structures and condescending nuance to avoid answering straightforward questions. When asked by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — herself a Harvard grad — direct questions about massive student demonstrations condoning violence against Israel and Jews in general, Harvard president Claudine Gay said, “We embrace a commitment to free expression even of views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful — it’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying, harassment, intimidation.”

Calling for mass murder is not “bullying, harassment, (and) intimidation?” And so it went — the cowardly evasions of the ivory tower flowing from the leaders of some of the reputedly greatest institutions of higher learning in the world. So now, alarmed by the unnerving calm of a group of PhDs defending their students’ “right” to call for slaughter, the University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees met in an apparent state of panic over Penn president Liz Magill’s refusal to condemn genocide. Magill has now “promised to review the university’s code of conduct after she faced calls to resign for declining to say whether advocating genocide was a violation of the policy.” How reassuring.

For decades, conservatives have been warning that university liberal arts faculties are run by academics who are wandering so far left that were the earth flat they would fall off. Now, we have data to prove this. In a faculty survey published last fall, the Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that “more than 80 percent of Harvard faculty respondents characterized their political leanings as ‘liberal’ or ‘very liberal.’” Less than 2% characterized themselves as conservative. More broadly, a 2016-2017 study found that 60% of university faculty identified as “left or far left.”

To be clear, being liberal and being anti-Semitic are not synonymous. Rather, it should surprise no one that in environments where young people are taught that Israel is an illegitimate state, that claiming there are moral absolutes is oppressive patriarchal nonsense, and that “heteronormativity” (i.e., the norm of being attracted to the opposite gender) is merely a repulsive social construct that should be crushed, a good number of these young men and women will be swayed.

Post-teenagers are well-known for a proneness to moral indignation. Given that many have had virtually no moral training in the home or churches (just be nice, believe in some kind of deity, and vote Democratic — this is the de facto creed of “mainline” Protestantism) and have not been taught to think carefully and critically in their public schools, it should be unsurprising that when a post-modern professor waxes on about a real or imagined problem, sprinkling his lecture copiously with calls for “justice” and presenting well-culled “facts” to buttress his case, some impressionable youth will fall for his ill-conceived blather.

There is no such thing as values-neutrality. Between Josef Stalin’s celebration of his mass killings (or as he put it, “Who’s going to remember all this riff-raff in 10 or 20 years’ time? No one”) and Jesus’s teaching that we should love our enemies, there is a great gulf fixed. While no one (to my knowledge) stands behind a university lectern actually calling for murder, thousands of my fellow PhDs take their lecture hall podiums and foster theological unbelief, ethical confusion, factual distortion, and logical fallacies day by day, week after week.

So now, as we see major college campuses awash in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, many university donors and political commentators are shocked by what they are hearing. Why? Have they honestly assumed you can void an education of “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God” and produce men and women of character, moral bravery, and sound minds? Or, at least to some, is this the point: raise a generation for whom hopelessness, rage, and confusion confect into pre-revolutionary radicalism?

The very foundation of our country assumes the existence of a personal Creator Who, in His unmerited kindness, has endowed us with the rights He wants us to enjoy. Try asserting the truth of this claim in any secular university liberal arts faculty lounge. The response you receive will be less than pleasant.

There is another issue at play, as well: Cowardice. Saying no to an insistent child is aggravating; saying no to the insistent, demanding, and continuously outraged Left must be exhausting. But it is also needed. Some voices should not be given space to vent their cries of vicious and ignorant rage. Not every opinion deserves an equal hearing, especially if some of those opinions urge genocide. It is pure dishonesty to suggest that there’s a bright line between rhetoric and action. Fostering hatred leads to hateful actions — this is axiomatic. Evidently the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT missed that class in simple moral geometry.

We should not be surprised by the sudden eruption of indignation now rising among rich donors and many in the major media, especially given the general inattention of much of American society to what’s happening all around us. And while we might hope that the current state of astonishment and anger on the part of wealthy donors and assorted cultural elites will force an accounting of what some of America’s most talented youth are learning, don’t bet on it.

When the president of Harvard — founded as a training ground for evangelical pastors — can’t simply say that when students yell for the destruction of Israel that they have gone too far, such a belief would not be an exercise of either faith or hope but pathetic fantasy.

What we can hope in is that the God of the Bible is real. Christ’s victory over sin, death, and Satan has inaugurated a new kingdom that no power on earth can so much as dent, let alone stop. This is the message we need to bring to a generation desperate for something permanent, something that transcends time and contention and pain.


Rob Schwarzwalder

Rob Schwarzwalder, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Regent University’s Honors College.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Dem School Board President Sworn in on Sexually Explicit Books

The new president of one of Pennsylvania’s largest school districts was sworn into office with her hand on sexually-explicit LGBT propaganda and “banned” books. Democrat Karen Smith took up her new position Monday night as the head of the Central Bucks School District (CBSD) and immediately moved to undo Republican-led, pro-parent, and pro-family policies. For the swearing-in ceremony, Smith chose to place her hand not on a Bible but on a stack of frequently-banned books, including “Flamer,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” Beyond Magenta,” “Lily and Dunkin,” and “The Bluest Eye.”

“I’m not particularly religious,” Smith explained. “The Bible doesn’t hold significant meaning for me, and given everything that has occurred in the last couple of years, the banned books, they do mean something to me at this point.” Both “Flamer” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” feature explicit depictions of homosexual activity, with the graphic novel “Flamer” including illustrations of nude teenage boys showering and masturbating. “Flamer” is centered on an overweight teenage boy who identifies as homosexual navigating puberty during a Boy Scouts summer camp, while “All Boys Aren’t Blue” is about a young black man who identifies as homosexual growing up in New Jersey and Virginia.

“Beyond Magenta” is built around a series of interviews with teenagers who identify as transgender. “Lily and Dunkin” tells the story of “Lily Jo,” born as Timothy, an eighth-grade biological boy who identifies as a girl. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison features a passage in which a nine-year-old girl is raped and impregnated by her father, prompting a number of schools and libraries across the nation to bar the books from being accessed by children. In fact, all of the books Smith used for her swearing-in ceremony (with the exception of Elie Wiesel’s testimonial Holocaust novel “Night”) have been subjects of recent controversy and many have been banned from classrooms or libraries for their sexually-explicit and ideologically-charged content.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “People and political forces who would use children to advance their evil ideologies may have momentary successes or seem to win the day, but in the end we know that God wins.”

She continued, “The effort to reform American education is going to require the same kind of ‘long march’ through the institutions that got us here in the first place. We will have victories and setbacks, but the most important requirement is that we not give up. There are children’s souls and futures on the line, along with our nation.”

Under Republican leadership, the Central Bucks school board had successfully banned the controversial books “Gender Queer” and “This Book Is Gay” and about 60 other books — including many of those Smith brought to her swearing-in ceremony — were being reviewed for removal from classrooms and school libraries. The Republican board also previously blocked teachers from displaying politically- or sexually-charged imagery, such as rainbow Pride flags, in classrooms and mandated parental notification policies, requiring teachers to inform parents of students’ social gender transition attempts or requests. Additionally, Republicans on the board approved a policy barring biological boys identifying as transgender from competing in girls’ sports.

Voters flipped the board’s political makeup last month, handing Democrats a 6-3 majority. Led by Smith, Democrats instantly began undoing pro-parent policies. First, the new board suspended the ban on sexually explicit books. Although “Gender Queer” and “This Book Is Gay” were already removed, Smith said that the other 60 books or so flagged for sexually explicit content are “definitely not going to be reviewed at this point.” Next, the new board undid the policies barring biological boys from participating in girls’ sports and forbidding teachers from flying LGBT Pride flags in classrooms.


S.A. McCarthy

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Minnesota Middle School Restricted Cell Phones a Year Ago, the Results Are ‘Just Night and Day’

When I was in middle school, I had a flip phone meant exclusively to contact family members (and maybe a couple close friends). Half the time I didn’t even want to text on it because it was one of those keyboards where you have to press the button two or three times to get the letter you want. I hardly used my phone at all, which I believe attributed to why I enjoyed middle school so much.

Unlike an overwhelming number of kids and teenagers today, I was not glued to my screen. Rather, my time in middle school was rooted in practically anything but the cyber-verse. My friends and I spent every moment before and after school, or in between classes, engaging in quality interactions. We talked during lunch, and it wasn’t about what was trending online. Of course, the older I got, as I went through high school and college, social media grew in prominence. So, really, my time in middle school was the only season I had relatively free of technological domination.

The research and studies conducted on social media use are numerous, and it’s remarkable how the majority of them report negative impacts. The conclusions seem to read the same: “Depression, anxiety, bullying, and anti-social tendencies are on the rise, and it’s all linked to social media usage.” Between October of 2019 and October of 2020, social platforms grew 21.3%, with 93.33% of 4.48 billion (as of 2021) worldwide active on social media.

Although statistics show adults between 27 to 42 are the biggest social media users, I would argue the most unfortunate victims of the social media addiction are the younger generations. Which makes a school such as Maple Grove Middle School in Minnesota a breath of fresh air in a world tainted by online toxins.

About a year ago, Maple Grove chose to restrict cell phone use in the school. While it wasn’t an outright ban, they encouraged students to place their phones in their lockers at the start of the day, and anyone who did not comply and used their phone would get it confiscated until the school day finished. According to the principal, Patrick Smith, there were a variety of contributions to this decision. “[T]here’s a lot of drama that comes from social media, and a lot of conflict that comes from it,” he said.

When Smith and the school staff noticed the kids were hardly interacting with each other throughout the day, they knew a change had to be made.

After a year of restricted screen time, the “kids are happy,” Smith shared. “They’re engaging with each other. … [I]t’s just night and day.” When the plan was first announced, parents applauded, the principal noted. And they continue to give positive feedback, including parents who have shared that their kids are paying more attention and participating in more discussions. One parent said her son is “thriving.”

Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, explained to The Washington Stand her take on the school’s hopeful results. She deemed it as “a great first step in helping teens regulate their use of technology in an unrestricted culture.” But unfortunately, the downsides of social media go beyond depression and anxiety.

New research revealed that 73% of teenagers surveyed have been exposed to pornography, with some as young as 11 when the explicit material was viewed. Experts say social media plays a key role in this as well as the identity crisis sweeping the nation. “We know that the porn industry is relentlessly targeting youth,” Kilgannon added. Additionally, “The work of adolescence is to form one’s identity by discerning God’s call on your life.” So, for Kilgannon, social media being both a source of sexual content and identity confusion means “limiting [its] access to children during the school day is a bare minimum kind of advance that we should all be able to support.”

When it comes to fostering the development of a child, Kilgannon shared, “This work needs to be done in the safety of a loving family and supported by institutions we build as a culture — churches and schools. These are places where we encounter each other and build relationships.” She continued, “This encounter is interrupted by overuse of personal devices like cell phones.”

Going back to my middle school days, I am so thankful for a community that was not overrun by our pocket devices. The friendships felt so genuine, and the days richer. My experience causes me to believe the kids at Maple Grove will be seriously helped by the school’s actions. As Kilgannon concluded, “What a gift to this community for the school to allow their students and faculty the space for genuine human connection. I hope this school is developing a ‘best practice’ guideline to share with others — we need this to ‘go viral!’”


Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Progressive Public High School Offers Race-Segregated Classes

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies have grown so diverse that they now include policies reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. A Chicago-area school district is attempting to boost academic achievement among black and Latino students by offering blacks-only and Latino-only classes. The segregated classes are called “affinity” classes, and they aim to reduce the so-called “academic achievement gap” by making black and Latino students feel more comfortable in class.

As Evanston, Ill. School Board Vice President Monique Parsons described the problem this month, “Our black students are, for lack of a better word … at the bottom, consistently still. And they are being outperformed consistently.” Evanston could have offered extra tutoring, parent engagement programs, or similar interventions. Instead, they offered special black-only classes taught by black teachers, on the theory that black students would learn better without white peers around.

Evanston is not the only community to offer race-segregated classrooms. Woke strongholds such as Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland have been offering race-specific high school electives focusing on subjects like African-American history since at least 2015. Evanston’s innovation was to expand the concept of race-segregated classrooms to math and English classes, such as Algebra 2 and AP Calculus.

Of course, federal non-discrimination laws forbid school districts from separating students on the basis of race, but the Evanston school district attempts to sidestep these laws by making the classes voluntary. Is that acceptable? To answer that question, consider what would have happened if Arkansas high schools in the 1950s had offered voluntary, whites-only classes to make white students feel more comfortable.

“In this example, the school system is failing to educate a portion of students. Rather than blame themselves for failing to prepare students to advance academically, this school system asks students to segregate themselves based on race,” Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, told The Washington Stand. “The students must do it themselves so the school doesn’t violate civil rights laws that protect them from racial segregation.”

Fortunately, Evanston’s racial segregation scheme has not encountered universal participation. Approximately 200 of the high school’s 3,600 students (a little more than 5%) are attending race-segregated classes. About 25% of the student population is black, and about 20% is Latino, which comes out to about one in nine black students and one in seven Latino students attending the segregated classes. While not universal, these numbers still represent a sizable percentage of the school’s minority populations.

Regardless, the problem lies in the principle, not the implementation.

“We would all agree that it would be wrong if white people were looking to create spaces where everyone was white, but somehow the calculation is supposed to be different if black or brown people want to create spaces where no one is white,” Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement Joseph Backholm told TWS.

In August 2023, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informed educators in a “Dear Colleague” letter, “OCR generally will open an investigation under Title VI [a civil rights non-discrimination law] where there are allegations that the use of a curriculum or program separates students or otherwise treats them differently based on their race” (emphasis added). That is precisely what Evanston’s program does, even if it is voluntary.

“This is a great example of how wokeness changes our moral evaluations,” Backholm explained. “In wokelandia, a person labeled an oppressor can do exactly the same thing as one of the oppressed, but it is wrong for one and right for the other. It’s very bad moral reasoning.”

Evanston has distinguished itself in recent years for its zeal to address past discrimination through present discrimination. The city became the first in America to approve reparations payments for black Americans in 2021. In 2019, the city council passed a resolution declaring Evanston “an anti-racist city” and “acknowledg[ing] that the trauma inflicted on people of color by persistent white supremacist ideology results in psychological harm affecting educational, economic, and social outcomes; and conjures painful memories of our City’s past …”

Such self-abasement might be understandable if the city had been the site of some notorious lynching or a KKK hotbed. Instead, Evanston was founded by Methodists — the backbone of the abolition movement — and incorporated in 1863 — the year of the Emancipation Proclamation. The city’s zeal to apologize for racism seems to outpace its actual record of racial discrimination.

Countering racism infuses Evanston’s current policy of racially-segregated classes, too. “Equity guides many of the district’s decisions,” reported The Wall Street Journal, “embodied in a stated board goal: ‘Recognizing that racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished achievement of students, ETHS will strive to eliminate the predictability of academic achievement based upon race.’”

Kilgannon said this “deeply troubling” goal “summarizes quite precisely the problem with ‘equity’ as a worldview-guiding policy.” She explained, “Student achievement has many factors. ‘Centering’ racism as the most devastating factor will not produce better academic outcomes and is likely to produce an even more toxic environment for children of every race.”

Indeed, students who choose to participate in the racially-segregated classes may have already bought into that woke indoctrination. By segregating themselves, they will miss out on the opportunity to learn and grow from interacting with people who are different from them. They will encounter expectations that don’t prepare them for the real world. They will accept the false premise that their skin color arbitrarily limits their potential academic success. Meanwhile, the students — white, black, and Latino — who stay behind in the mixed classes also miss out on interactions with their peers.

“In athletics, all play together. They don’t have a white team, a black team, and a Latino team,” argued Jay Sabatino, a former high school teacher, principal, and superintendent in Illinois public schools, who retired after 30 years in education. “They have one Evanston team. All contribute, and all make mistakes. If a student in class or on the basketball court feels unsafe because he made a mistake, the teacher should address that. A safe environment (physically and emotionally) is the result of an excellent school.”

“What I fear is happening is that these students are being given the impression that their skin color is the most important thing about them,” Backholm agreed, “and that they need protection from people who don’t look like them. If that’s the case, these segregated classrooms will end up giving them a much greater handicap in life than whatever math deficiencies they may have.”

“As long as the program is voluntary, I can accept it more than if it is ‘the way we do things,’” Sabatino told TWS. But he expressed concerns about the process, based upon the WSJ’s reporting that the school district was dodging media inquiries and had not published data on the program’s success over the past four years. “Transparency in these decisions (at a district or school level) should be paramount. That Evanston would not respond to questions should throw up a red flag to the community.” Additionally, “Any district that does not look at the data critically and report out on them is not operating optimally. This isn’t an administrator’s school; it’s the community’s.”

“This example is one of the many reasons we encourage Christians to run for school board, and why we support in prayer Christians serving in schools as teachers and staff,” said Kilgannon. “Only a system devoid of God can produce this kind of situation. Christians are needed now more than ever in education of every kind.”

America’s educational establishment — such as national teachers’ unions and education training programs — are pushing schools to embed godless, toxic ideologies based on Marxism into curriculums, instruction, and every aspect of school life. They instruct students to classify everyone as either oppressor or oppressed, based not upon their individual behavior but upon their belonging to groups. Many of these groups, which determine someone’s moral standing according to woke ideology, are based upon unchangeable physical characteristics, such as a person’s skin color or ethnicity.

Creating special classes for certain “oppressed” groups (blacks and Latinos) to escape from the supposed “oppressors” (whites), as Evanston school district has done, is just another method for subtly advancing this radical indoctrination agenda. But will it actually help students learn better in AP calculus class? The case to make for it is not very persuasive.

Instead of imbibing untested racial ideology, there are time-tested methods for academic improvement which Evanston could try. Based on his 30 years of experience, Sabatino said, “I’ll always endorse this: Hard work and perseverance lead to success.”


Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Seattle Middle School Teacher Made Students Write Hate Mail to Moms for Liberty

Moms for Liberty, a conservative parental rights group, received a surprise package from Jane Addams Middle School in Seattle. It consisted of letters that appeared to be written by the middle school students with phrases such as “Say Gay,” “Gay is slay, stop being a rat,” and a repeated use of “Stop bullying.”

The social studies teacher, Ann Christianson, included her own note, which read, “Dear Moms for Liberty, please read the enclosed cards from concerned middle school students in Seattle, WA.” Christianson is also the coordinator of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the school.

The mothers’ group posted pictures of the package on X, writing, “Seattle Public Schools are spending class time indoctrinating and weaponizing your children.” And the Jane Addams Middle School report card seems to affirm their claim that students’ time is not as prioritized on learning as it should be. According to The Post Millennial, “38.6 percent of students failed to meet the grade level in English. Almost half the students failed to meet the grade level in mathematics and 34.2 percent failed to meet the grade level standard in science.”

But this isn’t the first time this Seattle school district has promoted progressive ideas. Shortly after the 2020 George Floyd riots, Seattle Public Schools removed police from campuses and promoted the “defund the police” movement. Schools in the district have also offered free “gender-affirming care,” including hormone blockers and gender transition surgery referrals for middle and high school students.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “The most important lesson a school club can teach is the value of serving others. The best student clubs are the ones that serve others in love — by visiting the elderly in nursing homes, working at food banks or soup kitchens, or performing volunteer service at the school itself.”

She continued, “Are these children reading at a high enough proficiency to help kindergarteners with ABCs? Based on their test scores, one [would] think they might not be, and that a better use of their club time, rather than sending passive aggressive missives to Moms for Liberty, might be to improve their reading and writing scores.”

For Kilgannon, this controversy should prompt a lot of questions from local parents: “Who paid for the postage and supplies? How did they decide where to send the letters? Were the parents of the students who sent the letters allowed to know their child participates in such a club at school?” The Post Millennial’s Ari Hoffman attempted to reach the school to get some answers, but he received only an auto-reply message from the teacher responsible for the hate mail that stated she was on a leave of absence.

“As a mom and as someone who gets ‘love letters’ like these from time to time,” Kilgannon added, “I can assure you that the effect of these letters is to strengthen the resolve of Moms for Liberty, a group that loves ALL children and works in the tireless service of human rights. We should join with Moms for Liberty members in praying for these students and the teachers who directed this sad little project.”

Kilgannon concluded, “We live in the greatest country in the world; our school children and families deserve much more than this demeaning exploitation.”


Sarah Holliday

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: Christians Forced Out of Competition for Biblical Views on Gender

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Report: U.S. Colleges Received $13 Billion from Mostly Authoritarian Regimes

On Monday, the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) released a report revealing that American colleges and universities have received approximately $13 billion in undisclosed funds from foreign governments, many of which are authoritarian regimes such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. As the report and experts are noting, there appears to be a correlation between colleges that received money from Middle Eastern regimes and increased levels of anti-Semitic campus violence.

The report found that from “2015-2020, Institutions that accepted money from Middle Eastern donors, had, on average, 300% more antisemitic incidents than those institutions that did not.” Two of the top four countries who gave the most money to U.S. colleges were Qatar (number one on the list with over $2.7 billion) and Saudi Arabia (number four with other $1 billion), both of which are ruled by authoritarian regimes that use Islamic Sharia law as the basis for governance.

Notably, two of the top three universities that received the most undisclosed funds from foreign governments were Cornell University (number two on the list with over $1.2 billion) and Harvard University (number three with almost $900,000,000). At Cornell, the campus has been shaken by a series of anti-Semitic incidents, including the arrest of a student who threatened to “shoot up a dining hall that caters to Jewish students and execute other Jews with an ‘assault rifle.’” This followed the discovery of anti-Semitic graffiti on campus and a professor who stated that Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,400 mostly civilians was “exhilarating.”

Meanwhile, Harvard has seen numerous anti-Semitic incidents proliferate on its campus. Immediately following the October 7 attack, 34 student organizations signed a statement blaming the “Israeli regime” for “all unfolding violence.” In an open letter to Harvard’s president on November 4, alumnus Bill Ackman described what he discovered during a townhall he held with Jewish students on campus:

“Jewish students are being bullied, physically intimidated, spat on, and in several widely-disseminated videos of one such incident, physically assaulted. Student Slack message boards are replete with antisemitic statements, memes, and images. On-campus protesters on the Widener Library steps and elsewhere shout ‘Intifada! Intifada! Intifada! From the River to the Sea, Palestine Shall Be Free!’”

On Tuesday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” FRC’s Senior Fellow for Education Meg Kilgannon expressed alarm at the number of universities that are illegally hiding the acquisition of funds from foreign governments.

“You’re dealing with a university system in the United States that has completely been absorbed by moral relativism,” she contended. “They’re certainly mostly anti-Israel, and definitely a lot of them are anti-American. So the fact that they’re taking this money and they’re not disclosing it, it’s evidence that they consider themselves above the law or they just don’t care to be held accountable for what they’re doing.”

Kilgannon further observed that the influence of Islamist regimes on college campuses has a long history. “[A]fter 9/11 … you had universities and colleges looking for Islamophobia everywhere they could find it. … And so a lot of this funding was happening through programs where they were trying to educate Americans about how Islam is a religion of peace, and we should all just get along … [T]hat was 20 years ago. Here we are now. And they’ve got a lot of money streaming through those channels and organizations that they set up on campus.”

The overall conclusion of the NCRI report stated that “A massive influx of foreign, concealed donations to American institutions of higher learning, much of it from authoritarian regimes with notable support from Middle Eastern sources, reflects or supports heightened levels of intolerance towards Jews, open inquiry, and free expression.”


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Virginia School District Removes Sexually Explicit Books to Keep Focus on Literacy

A public school superintendent in Virginia is making it clear that his school district will be focusing on improving the literacy of its students while also protecting them from being exposed to sexually explicit material while in school.

As parents and observers began noticing a rise in gender ideology, critical race theory, and pornographic material present in curriculums and school library books in recent years, many worried that the focus on ideologies was eating up valuable class time that could be spent on developing basic competencies in reading, writing, and math. News came in 2022 and in June of this year that math and reading scores had plummeted to the lowest levels in decades.

Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) rode a wave of energy surrounding the burgeoning parental rights movement to a surprise gubernatorial victory in 2021, and his administration has made education policy a focal point. In 2022, Youngkin signed into law the Virginia Literacy Act, which focused on improving the reading skills of Virginia’s students by providing special training to teachers, sharing instruction results with parents, and partnering with parents to create individualized plans for students who are showing a deficiency in reading.

“There’s a lot of talk in public education right now about implementing Virginia’s Literacy Act, about wanting to improve standards of learning and standardized test scores,” said Mark Taylor, superintendent of Spotsylvania County Public Schools in Fredericksburg, Va., during Monday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” “And we’re doing that in Spotsylvania County. But also among those priorities is a debate, really, about parental rights and parental involvement in public education. In Spotsylvania, we are following the directives of Governor Glenn Youngkin, and we are working hard to maximize parental engagement and parental involvement.”

Taylor also noted that he is continuing efforts his school district started in March to remove sexually explicit material from the shelves of school libraries.

“We provide an avenue for parents to opt in or opt out of the availability of sexually explicit materials for their children, and we’re actively reviewing challenges of instructional materials, including library books,” he explained. “I’ve recently removed 23 more books now, for a total of 37 books removed from our public school libraries. Now, we have 390,000 volumes, so there are plenty of books to be read.”

Taylor went on to point out the extreme nature of some of the sexually explicit material that he removed. “[It’s] essentially pornography and doesn’t need to be a part of [school libraries]. In fact, some of it is shocking scenes of violent rape or descriptions of forced bestiality, sex with animals.”

In response to accusations of “book banning” from legacy media and left-wing critics, Taylor emphasized that any books that have been removed from school library shelves are widely available elsewhere.

“The books that I’ve removed, to the best of my knowledge, are all still available in the public libraries, so this is in no way a ban. The books are available in the community, they’re available online, they’re available from a variety of sources. We’re simply trying to, number one, follow the governor’s directives in implementing policy for our school division. And number two, to create what I hope will be a safe space for children to learn the basics of English and literacy and mathematics and other subjects that are essential to their preparation for a positive and beautiful future that we want them to have.”

In April 2022, Youngkin signed into law a measure that requires Virginia schools to notify parents if their child is assigned books or other materials that contain sexually explicit content.

Taylor also shared his thoughts as to why some public school administrations have appeared to show hostility to the concerns of parents.

“I think that what has been enculturated over many years is the notion that the professional educators are specialists in the field with exemplary competencies, and they are best positioned to help the students forward,” he observed. “Professional educators are certainly highly trained and very talented people, but at the end of the day, I think it’s also true that no one knows the child like the parent knows the child. And for public education to be successful, there really needs to be an effective collaboration, a solid partnership, close connection between parents and public school educators working together to prepare students for their very best future. … Let’s work together instead of pulling in opposite directions.”

Taylor concluded by urging for prayer and a strong turnout in the upcoming election.

“Pray for the upcoming election,” he entreated. “Virginia is a purple state next week. Local seats are up, including seats on our Board of Supervisors that appropriates money to the school division and seats on our school board. And this purple state is going to become more blue, or it’s going to become more red. These issues will continue to be debated, and our success or failure depends in part on support from the community and from the voters.”


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.


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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Anti-Semitic and Pro-Hamas Rallies Reveal the Need to Teach Truthful History

Since October 7, many of us have been deeply impacted and heartbroken seeing imageshearing news, and realizing what has happened to thousands of individuals and families in Israel. In addition to sympathizing with our brothers and sisters, it has been eye-opening and tragic to see how many college students sympathize with — not the Israeli victims — but the Hamas terrorists who delighted in brutally attacking and murdering them. This reality brings to light the importance of teaching children accurate history, natural law, and, for Christians, a biblical worldview.

The United States is a unique, blessed nation that was founded upon prayer and the wisdom of men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Jay, Ben Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton. These men shared Judeo-Christian values which they referred to as “self-evident truths” in the Declaration of Independence. Political philosophers refer to America’s founding political philosophy as “classical liberalism”: limited representative government and the protection of basic rights and freedoms under the rule of law. The Founders’ understanding that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness” results from the Jewish and Christian understanding that “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Tragically, in recent decades, America’s mainstream media and public education system have devalued our country’s relationship with Israel and our shared, Judeo-Christian values based on the Ten Commandments in favor of viewing history and current affairs in the Middle East from the perspective of Palestinians and even radical Islamist terrorists such as Hamas. While it is important to view the Palestinian people as human beings made in the image and likeness of God, we must also defend and declare the sacredness of the Jews’ lives and their right to defend their homeland of Israel.

In 2021, FRC’s Chris Gacek and Lela Gilbert detailed how anti-Semitism and Marxism have tragically spread throughout America, especially on college campuses. They described how there is an aggressive antisemitic outlet among foreign and U.S.-born students on American campuses via the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions Movement (BDS).

BDS targets Israel for isolation and economic ostracism because Israel is “purported to be an ‘apartheid state’ akin to South Africa with Zionism being its supporting ‘racist’ ideology,” Gacek and Gilbert write. “Worse yet, the BDS Movement has extensive ties to Islamic radicalism in the Middle East including Hamas. To promote BDS on campus, the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was founded in 2010, but numerous individual campus chapters existed for at least a decade prior. The BDS/SJP movement accepts nothing about Zionism or the State of Israel. …Now, SJP has over 200 college and university chapters which are administration sanctioned. …Jewish students are intimidated from public displays of religious or Zionist belief …”

“This modern adaptation of antisemitism is a manifestation of [Marxist] critical race and ethnic theories that cast Jews ‘uniformly as powerful white oppressors.’ This ‘critical’ variation ‘doesn’t single Jews out, ethnically or otherwise, as distinct categories.’ Instead, by lumping Jews together with other ‘dominant majorities,’ it ‘effectively creates an erasure, diminishing the Jewish voice in defining Jewish identity,’” the duo warns.

On the October 19 episode of “Washington Watch,” Dean of the Regent University School of Government Michele Bachmann explained, “There’s a real change that’s happened in the United States Congress, and there’s a real change that’s happened throughout America, and that’s where Christians need to wake up, too, and take stock of what’s going on because our … Christian young people are being targeted with this propaganda … that really Israel and Hamas, they’re coequal partners. [Or that] Israel’s just as much at fault as Hamas. This is an absolute lie.”

Bachmann continued, “And so we’re swimming in a sea of lies, and it’s important that churches, that Christian schools and universities teach the truth about what the Bible says about Israel and also the historic truth, the political truth, the legal truth about Israel’s right to her land. And there is never any justification … for what Hamas has done and is doing even today to Israel.”

To help your kids learn the history of Israel and Palestine, PragerU has some very helpful videos at prageru.com.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

America’s Universities Reap What They Have Sown

America’s elite institutions are shuddering from the impact of the outbursts of anti-Semitism on their campuses. Their spasms of panic are animated less by the Israel-hatred and hostility to Jews emanating from their students than by something even atheist materialist postmoderns find terrifying: loss of income.

From Harvard to Berkeley, universities long-reputed to be the nation’s — and often the world’s — finest have proven to be cauldrons of seething bigotry. But it’s bigotry of a specific kind, aimed at Jews and the State of Israel.

This is not new; it’s been simmering for years. As journalist Seth Mandel reports, many universities’ “diversity, equity, and inclusion” agenda is substantially anti-Semitic. Numerous incidents of anti-Semitism have been well-documented, and the U.S. Department of Education currently is reviewing reports of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish behavior — even by some professors — at the City University of New York and its law school, UCLA, U.C. Berkeley, George Washington University, the University of Vermont, the State University of New York at New Paltz, and the University of Illinois.

Since Hamas launched its atrocity-laden attack on Israel on October 7, there have been outbursts of unrestrained Israel hatred at some of our country’s most storied places of higher education. Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania are among the schools at the center of the storm, but not just because so many of their students have signed odious petitions and blamed Israel for Hamas’s morally squalid assault.

These expressions of anti-Semitism have led many previously generous donors to pull their pledged donations. For example, former U.S. Ambassador to China John Huntsman has written to the president of the University of Pennsylvania that the institution is “deeply adrift in ways that make it almost unrecognizable.” Huntsman, a Penn alum and billionaire whose family has long supported the school, wrote that “the University’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel (when the only response should be outright condemnation) is a new low.”

Financier Kenneth Griffin, who “has donated more than half a billion dollars to Harvard University,” placed a call to the school’s president expressing dismay that Harvard had been so tepid in response to a public letter produced by 30 student groups blaming Israel for Hamas’s attacks. “Asked if his hedge fund Citadel would hire the head of a student group that signed the Harvard letter, his answer was an unequivocal no. ‘Unforgivable,’ he said.” Griffin then asked, “How do you end up in such a twisted place?”

So, with money on the line, university leaders are now almost falling over themselves condemning Hamas and its brutality. Better late than never. But there’s a larger issue at stake.

For decades, America’s top colleges and universities have become home to far-left academics who denigrate America’s founding, its history, and its basic principles. The United States is cast as a global villain and portrayed as little more than politically bankrupt and racially and economically oppressive. This is not about an honest accounting of the nation’s failures but an almost exclusive emphasis on her faults, omitting all that is noble in our past and worth upholding in the present.

So with Israel: According to some of America’s most talented young people, a little country founded after a mid-century genocide of six million Jews, occupying about 8% of the land mass of the Middle East, surrounded by Islamists for whom nothing short of Israel’s utter destruction will be enough, is at fault for the attacks and attempted conquest to which it so often has been subject. This mentality is, in part, the fruit of the propaganda to which they have been subject in the name of education. And fearful of offending those who scream the loudest, university leaders have cowered upon hearing such “woke” shibboleths as (so-called) justice, “triggering,” and so forth.

Even more, the unwillingness of college heads to articulate clear moral rights and wrongs stems from their own denial of objective, knowable, and unchanging truth, truth revealed by the Creator, Who our Declaration of Independence heralds as the author of our inherent rights. So, why is it unsurprising that impressionable students, many if not most raised in religiously vacuous homes and taught in faith-hostile schools, would gravitate to the grimy alleyways of anti-Semitism? That, Mr. Griffin, is why we are now in “such a twisted place.”

Donors to prestigious institutions are shocked by what they are seeing. Where have they been? And what do they expect? As C.S. Lewis wrote prophetically in “The Abolition of Man,” “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”


Rob Schwarzwalder

Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Lecturer in Regent University’s Honors College.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

UN Refugee Fund for Gaza Is Being Used to Finance Terrorism and Anti-Semitism, Experts Say

In the wake of the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas terrorists that killed over 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7, increased scrutiny is being centered on the ideology that fueled the barbarity that took place. Experts say that funds allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) have not only been funneled to terrorists in Gaza, but have also been used to fund educational materials for Palestinian youth that is rife with anti-Semitism.

UNRWA was established in 1949 by the U.N. General Assembly with the original purpose of aiding the refugees that resulted from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Since then, the fund has been renewed almost every year and has grown astronomically to a current annual budget of over $1 billion. The Biden administration contributed $153.7 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars to the fund in June, which the UNRWA commissioner claimed would “help us keep over 700 schools and 140 health centres open over the next months.” For decades, however, the fund has been embroiled in controversy, as reviews of the fund’s expenditures showed that a significant amount of money was going to terror-group affiliates.

In 2018, the Trump administration ended funding for UNRWA due to the corruption that was uncovered. A report found that less than 5% of the population that it funded actually met the original definition of a “refugee.” But as experts have observed, this was only the tip of the iceberg. It was found that a number of the UNRWA staff working in Gaza had personal ties to terrorism and that “UNRWA schools in Gaza have been used by Hamas to launch rockets against Israel.”

What has become particularly distressing to observers is how the money is being used to fund schools that indoctrinate Palestinian youth to hate Israel and the Jewish people. On Monday, Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, joined “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to discuss the situation.

“Our first report on Palestinian schoolbooks … was in 1998, and they were filled with poison,” he explained. “At that time … [an] American representative said, ‘I read this material and I wanted to vomit.’ It’s just unimaginable.’ Americans condemned it then, and the United States continued funding the Palestinian Authority year after year after year, knowing what was happening already then.

Marcus continued, “[W]e did a report in 2007, which I decided to release in the Senate, and I turned to Hillary Clinton. I wanted a Democrat … someone who would [not] be automatically pro-Israel. And she appeared at a press conference with me … [and] said, ‘The Palestinians are profoundly poisoning the minds of their children.’ And that was 2007. I call the Palestinians who are running through the streets today murdering Israelis, the Hamas, as well as the Palestinian Authority, Fatah people, the mainstream. They are the poisoned generation. They were brought up on hate, on demonization. And that’s what we have today.”

Marcus went on to describe the specific beliefs that have been espoused by religious authorities in Gaza.

“Mahmoud Abbas is the head of the Palestinian Authority — he’s seen as the moderate,” he noted. “He has a personal adviser on Islam … name[ed] Mahmoud al-Habash. He went on TV and he said that the Jews have been the enemies of Islam since the beginning of time, literally since the time of Adam. … [He also said] when you see a Jew, it actually might be Satan in the form of a human. … He literally said that the Jews are subhuman. [He also] said that the Jews are humanoids — creatures that Allah created in the form of humans but aren’t really humans. So you’ve got the top religious figure in the Palestinian Authority [saying] that Jews are actually subhuman, either Satan or animals, but they’re humanoids, so of course you can kill them.”

Marcus also pointed out that Palestinian textbooks for schoolchildren include quotes from a hadith (an Islamic tradition attributed to Muhammad) that commands Muslims to kill Jews, and that TV programs owned and controlled by the Palestinian Authority teach children similar lessons. “Children have said they’ve learned in school to hate the Jews and kill them,” he noted. “We’ve had many, many chants and children’s programs where they talk about the Jews being the descendants of apes and pigs. … And one of the worst things that they’ve taught these kids is that they should go out and die for Allah, that if they [fight] against Jews and they’re killed, that’s the best thing that can happen to them.”

Perkins further wondered if peace is possible when Palestinian youth are taught that Israel has no right to exist.

“They deny Israel the right to exist as a state, and they deny Jews the right to exist as individuals,” Marcus somberly emphasized. “Those two together make peace impossible.”


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

As Democrats Disparage School Choice, Experts Say Increased Competition Fuels Innovation

While states have successfully expanded their school choice programs, left-wing critics argue that the programs are an “existential threat” to public education. But experts are pointing out that not only do school choice programs relieve pressure off of the public education sector and provide parents with more schooling options, they are also proving to help students thrive academically and are fueling academic competition and innovation.

On Sunday, National Review reported that Florida has seen an additional 90,000 students enroll in private schools and other “innovative” educational programs in the last year due to the universal school choice bill that was enacted this year, marking a 43% increase in the number of students enrolled in the program, which now totals over 256,000 students. The program allows any Florida family to use state scholarships funded by corporate tax credits and other state funds to send their children to the private school of their choice.

Currently, 10 states have enacted school choice programs similar to Florida’s.

As the programs have expanded nationwide, Democratic lawmakers have almost universally denounced the programs, claiming that they present an “existential threat” to the public school system by redirecting public money away from it. But as observers have noted, the financial shortfall projections that left-leaning organizations have claimed would occur have proven to be wildly inaccurate. The Florida Policy Institute estimated that the state’s school choice program would cost the state $2 billion to fund scholarships in its first year, which was almost 10 times higher than the legislature’s estimate.

“They were grossly over-inflated in their estimates, and that they did so, in my mind, deliberately to stop kids from having the kind of customized, quality education that they deserve, and only for partisan purposes and in defense of their union allies that put the needs and interests of institutions and adults over the needs of children,” said Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R).

Renner went on to tell National Review that “we’ve had Democrat members who have reached out to us, our staff, to find out how their families can benefit from the scholarship, even though they voted against our bill.”

In recent years, public education has seen a remarkable downturn in equipping students with proficiency in basic skills. Reading and math scores are currently at their lowest levels since 1971, and the Associated Press reported in May that “40% of eighth grade students are performing below basic proficiency in history, meaning they likely cannot identify simple historical concepts in primary or secondary sources,” with 31% “performing below basic proficiency in civics.”

At the same time, recent studies have shown that students who are enrolled in school choice programs show more political tolerance than public school students, with “13 studies showing a private-school advantage and only one showing a government-school advantage.” In addition, a study of Milwaukee’s school choice program found that it significantly reduced criminal activity of students, including a 53% reduction in drug convictions, an 86% reduction in property damage convictions, and a 38% reduction in paternity suits.

As Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students, contended, school choice programs will lead to “a lot more growth with very innovative 21st-century learning environments.” He went on to observe that “we’re in a weird place where the people who like to think of themselves as progressives are very, very conservative and traditional. They do not want the innovation and change. When people say, ‘You’re trying to destroy public education,’ what I hear is, ‘You’re trying to destroy my 1950s concept about what public education should be.’ And that’s true, we are trying to move away from a one-size-fits-all industrial model that’s been around really since the 1800s.”

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, concurred, while also arguing that the rise of controversial ideologies on gender, race, and sexuality that have arisen in public schools are a direct threat to Christian families — further highlighting the value of school choice programs and the need for Christian engagement in the educational sector.

“These kinds of dire predictions of ultimate demise are typical fearmongering from the Left,” she told The Washington Stand. “They are afraid of their own demise if they are prevented from indoctrinating a new generation of leftist activists via highly politicized public education. As birth rates decline in the U.S., the fight for the minds and hearts of children will intensify. Christians need to engage in our educational system in every way: churches starting their own schools and Christians running for office or serving as teachers, administrators, or staff. Our witness is desperately needed.”


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.


EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.