Tony Perkins / February 19, 2019

Home Is Where the Classroom Is…

Eighty percent of the Anaheim school district may be Spanish-speaking, but parents know how to say one thing, “Enough!” When classrooms started passing off transgender propaganda as part the “wellness” curriculum, one mom made sure every Latino family knew exactly what the district was up to. Pretty soon, the message from moms and dads needed no translation: drop your campaign — or spend the next year fighting the community.

Eighty percent of the Anaheim school district may be Spanish-speaking, but parents know how to say one thing, “Enough!” When classrooms started passing off transgender propaganda as part the “wellness” curriculum, one mom made sure every Latino family knew exactly what the district was up to. Pretty soon, the message from moms and dads needed no translation: drop your campaign — or spend the next year fighting the community.

It started harmlessly enough. A year and a half ago, district officials sent word home that two elementary students were “transitioning” to another gender. They said they wanted the kids to feel safe. What they didn’t say is that they were forking over $12,000 to the LGBT Center of Orange County to start a quiet campaign of transgender “accepting” across Anaheim’s elementary schools. Shandra, a local mom and trained social worker, realized the district was trying to take advantage of the situation and slip controversial new programs into classrooms without translating them into Spanish for parents to see.

Well, if Anaheim wouldn’t tell moms and dads what was happening, Shandra would. She organized a parents coalition and told them about the schools’ “safe zones,” required reading like “Jacob’s New Dress,” and some of the advice from the schools’ “LGBT Coordinator.” Like, for instance, “If a child is struggling with their gender identity, don’t tell the parents.” It didn’t take long before schools were flooded with complaints. In the end, there was such fierce uproar that the district threw up its hands and relented. Diversity Week was canceled, and other activities would be under review.

For Shandra and moms and dads across the district, it was a huge victory. But for parents across the country, it’s another head-shaking reminder of the kinds of outrageous campaigns taking place right under families’ noses. Is it any wonder that homeschooling is exploding? According to a new report, the percent of American students learning at home has almost doubled from 1999 — up to 3.3 percent in 2016 from 1.7. But here’s the interesting part. The biggest jump isn’t in religious homes — but secular ones. Today’s homeschooling parents, the Pacific Standard points out, “aren’t the Christian Right.” They’re also “parents who don’t believe that the current school model is best, or enough, for their children.”

In fact, the share of parents who say they’re homeschooling for “religious or moral reasons” is half of what it was in 2003. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “The most important reason for homeschooling in 2016 was ‘concern about the school environment, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure,’ reported by 34 percent of parents of homeschooled students.”

If you want to know how popular homeschooling is, just look at how desperately some liberals are trying to regulate it. Public schools are, after all, the Left’s direct pipeline to American kids. It’s the one place where they’ve had almost unlimited access to the next generation for their extreme LGBT, environmental, anti-faith agenda. Now that more moms and dads have caught on, the other side is doing everything it can to keep its tentacles around our young people.

In places like California and Maryland, lawmakers have tried to police homeschooling families out of existence with ridiculous ideas like twice-annual home inspections or “fire” safety checks. Over in Iowa, State Rep. Mary Mascher (D) just introduced House File 272, which would mandate health visits — another stunt meant to spook parents out of home-educating. “There are constant attempts by school districts all over the country to require things of homeschool students and parents that are not required by law,” Steven Craig Policastro told the Christian Post. Our friends at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) keep tabs on a lot of the under-the-radar attacks in states. If you homeschool or have friends and family who do, make sure you check out HSLDA to get plugged in on legislation that affects you. Obviously, parents and community leaders need to be on their toes for Big Government liberals, who are worried they’re losing their grip on your children. The more moms and dads who get involved like Shandra, the sooner we can turn around this false notion that government knows better than parents!

Originally published here.

Help Wanted: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

When Nikki Haley stepped down as the president’s U.N. ambassador, she left big shoes to fill. The White House has been working diligently to replace Haley, an outspoken pro-family voice who put her own unique stamp on the job. With the announcement that Heather Nauert is pulling her name from consideration, the search for someone as respected as Haley goes on.

The United States was fortunate to have a leader like Haley representing Americans at the U.N. while it lasted. She never shied away from the tough issues, even when the world’s leaders came at her as they did when the president announced his decision to move the U.S.‘s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. Like the president, Nikki Haley spoke the truth — even if she was expressing it alone. And it will take someone with the same kind of fearlessness to keep the U.N.’s radical tendencies in check.

When you see men and women like President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Sam Brownback, and our U.N. representatives taking issues like religious liberty and human rights seriously, it gives Christians everywhere the boldness to speak up. If the president is going to keep the U.N. accountable, he needs a pro-American champion who will carry the torch for our values — someone with a proven track record as a fighter.

As we’ve seen throughout the State Department, these leaders serve the administration best if there’s no daylight between this person and the president. In my opinion, it would be great to have another articulate female in the mold of Nikki Haley. She may be one-of-a-kind, but the conservative movement has more than its share of bright stars. Let’s hope the administration picks one we know and trust.

Originally published here.

Topless Case Brings Pressure to Bare

It’s the sort of court case that belongs on The Onion. But Free the Nipple-Fort Collins v. City of Fort Collins is a real lawsuit all right — with real implications. (Legalized toplessness, if you’re wondering.) For years, conservatives have talked about the slippery slope of the gender debate. Keep your shirt on, liberals said. Well, Coloradans — you first.

Call it naked ambition, but when radical feminists in Fort Collins decided to fight the city’s ban on toplessness, most people didn’t think they had a chance. That might have been true a decade ago, but now, as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is proving, anything is possible on this runaway train of gender equality. According to a three-judge panel of one of the country’s highest courts, there shouldn’t be any difference between women’s breasts and men’s. And suggesting otherwise is, in their opinion, discrimination.

“A breast is a breast, is it not?” Judge Mary Beck Briscoe fired back at the city’s attorney, Andrew Ringel, who dared to argue that men’s and women’s bodies are different — and must be regulated accordingly. In an exchange that sounded like something on a pay-per-view parody, Ringle answered, “A female breast is a female breast, your honor.” Breastfeeding is allowed in public, Briscoe insisted. If that hasn’t resulted in “societal turmoil,” why should toplessness? Outlawing women from showing off their bodies might have a negative effect on women, the judge suggested.

“Fundamentally, the difference is women have breasts that are considered private parts, and men have breasts that are not considered private parts,” Ringel argued, in what must feel like an alternate universe. Free the Nipple attorney Andrew McNulty insisted that wasn’t fair. Banning toplessness is like bringing back the Jim Crow laws of the South, he said, in one of the more jaw-dropping moments of an already absurd hearing. “[This policy] says women’s breasts are inherently sexual, and women should dress in certain ways because their breasts are inherently sexual,” McNulty went on. That’s gender discrimination, he fumed.

The judges must have agreed, because they ruled that Fort Collins public decency rule, “perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not.” Judge Harris Hartz, the lone voice of reason on the three-judge panel, couldn’t believe his ears. In his dissent, he talked about how ridiculous it was to pretend that women and men are not different. “Plaintiffs’ ‘evidence’ that the breasts of men and women are essentially identical cannot be taken seriously…”

“[E]ven if notions of the erotic are purely culturally based, it is unclear why that is relevant to the validity of indecency laws. The purpose of those laws is to reduce anti-social behavior. Such laws must deal with the real world… Are laws regulating pornography and obscenity invalid if the societal harms they are intended to prevent are caused by cultural influences rather than purely biological ones?”

At least he got that off his chest. Meanwhile, this whole case reveals (quite literally) where the forces of gender equality have taken us. As soon as this country starts jettisoning moral absolutes, there’s no stopping this kind of insanity. And that’s a shame, especially for all of us who care about public safety and decency.

For now, the judges’ at least admit that they’re in the “minority” on this kind of thinking. But even so, NRO’s Ed Whelan explains, this ruling helps set up a split in the circuit courts. Perhaps, he half-jokes, “it will soon be up to the Supreme Court to address the cleavage between the Tenth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit.”

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.

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