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Err Raid: CA Police Storm Christian School, Find Nothing

Tony Perkins · Jun. 19, 2019

Imagine standing in front of your class and teaching the day’s lesson. It’s a normal Friday — until suddenly, 16 highway patrolmen burst through the doors with guns and police dogs. In silence, you watch an army of social workers and law enforcement fan out across the school, while your students look on — terrified. To the kids and staff at River View Christian Academy, it felt like a bad dream — which is probably what most of California feels like these days.

What were police looking for? Apparently, they finally got around to following up on a 10-year-old tip from a Left-wing tabloid that claimed the boarding school was sitting on a stockpile of guns and drugs. But instead of knocking on the door and investigating, California officials stormed the campus like it was hiding the world’s most wanted terrorists. “And what’s also alarming,” Pacific Justice Institute’s Brad Dacus told me on “Washington Watch,” is that they actually got a warrant. “Mind you, this warrant was based upon something totally incredible, not even founded. And yet, they were able to find a… state court judge [who was] willing to grant this warrant for them to leave and traumatize the children.”

But what’s worse, he explained, is that even after their search didn’t turn up anything, California officials didn’t apologize. Instead, they doubled down. “They said, ‘Oh, well, we want to require [you] to be licensed — not with the Department of Education as a boarding school, but with the Department of Social Services (DSS), even though they’re not providing any counseling.” The reason, Brad points out, is that they can force them to go along with their radical mandates on things like sexual orientation on gender. And every day they don’t have this special Community Care Licensing, the state is fining them.

PJI’s lead attorney in this case, Kevin Snider, couldn’t believe it. “In 25 years of practice, I have never seen this level of aggressive, militant, and ideologically-driven conduct by a State agency against a religious institution,” he said. Let’s not forget, Brad told listeners, “This is a private religious Christian school. It receives no money from the government at all. And so this is not only a violation of the religious freedom and freedom of association rights of this Christian school, but an egregious violation of the rights of parents to be able to have their children legally in a Christian boarding school in the state of California.”

For now, the two sides are in a county court showdown. The state is trying to shut River View down completely — even though it’s produced great results with troubled teens. If California wants to worry about something, Brad suggests, how about their public schools? Unlike this academy, they’re actually failing schools.

But then, this has never been about academic success. It’s about controlling children. The Left has held out public education as an enticement to advance their liberal anti-family, anti-moral policy — insisting if parents don’t like it, they can send their kids to private schools. Now that millions of parents are choosing that option, liberals are desperately trying to find ways to access those students. So, they’re imposing those same views and regulations on private and home schools. And they won’t stop — not until they have their radical hooks in every child.

It’s the same reason California is trying to outlaw certain counseling for minors. They don’t want parents or other adults interfering with the destructive message they’re instilling in children. Right now, as we speak, Assemblyman Evan Low (D), the same Democrat who pulled a similar bill last year, is trying to pass a resolution that would call on Californians to “counsel on LGBT matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy…”

Of course, as FRC’s Peter Sprigg points out in a letter to state leaders, there are no such harms. “We are grateful that Mr. Low listened to the concerns of religious leaders up and down the state who expressed grave concern about the threats to personal and religious liberty that such legislation would pose,” he writes. “However, ACR 99 is premised upon the same mistaken characterization of sexual orientation change efforts as AB 2943.”

“It is simply false to assert, as the resolution does, that such therapy is always or generally 'ineffective, unethical, and harmful.’ On the contrary, the American Psychological Association has never declared such therapy to be unethical; and the APA’s 2009 Task Force Report on the subject acknowledged that there was no ‘valid casual evidence’ of harm. Meanwhile, there is an abundance of evidence that sexual orientation can change over time, including four, population-based, longitudinal analyses. While those analyses did not focus specifically on intentional change efforts, six recent studies (five of them peer-reviewed) have shown that such therapy can be effective and is generally not harmful.”

A lot of people are tempted to roll their eyes and write some of these horror stories off as “just California.” But don’t be fooled. This darkness is coming to your state — if it hasn’t already. And when it comes to protecting children, parents are the first — and often only — line of defense.

Originally published here.

Hong Kong’s Growing Chorus for Freedom

It’s a startling visual — with an even more surprising soundtrack. In downtown Hong Kong, a mass of humanity — experts said upwards of two million people over the weekend — still pack the streets. It’s the latest sign that the protests against China’s extradition law are in no way dying down. If anything, they’re only growing — and adding a spiritual component at that.

The strains of “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” started with a group of Catholic students. Soon, the huge crowds started joining in, turning one of the territory’s largest demonstrations into an impromptu worship time. “This was the one people picked up, as it is easy for people to follow, with a simple message and easy melody,” said 19-year-old Edwin Chow. “It also shows that it is a peaceful protest.”

For the past week, the hymn has been heard almost non-stop at the main protest site, reporters say, in front of the city’s legislature and at marches and even at tense stand-offs with the police. As the familiar lyrics echo through the streets, a lot of Christians can’t help but think: it’s a poignant reminder of what’s at stake.

Most of the attention is on the proposed law, which would give communist officials an excuse to pick up anyone from Hong Kong and detain them in mainland China — where the legal system is a joke. But the actual threat is much darker, Christians warn. As far as John Stonestreet and Roberta Rivera are concerned, this is about “preserving the freedoms that were promised when Britain returned control over Hong Kong to China in 1997… According to the agreement,” the duo points out, “Hong Kong’s domestic affairs would be governed by systems it inherited from Britain, which included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and eventually, free elections.”

Twenty years into the arrangement, China has had second thoughts. Because of its liberties, “Hong Kong became freer and more prosperous than the rest of China. This made the rest of China look bad,” Stonestreet and Rivera explain. They’re ready to crack down on the territory — and this new law would be the perfect foothold.

“Christians in Hong Kong aren’t buying the government’s spin. They realize that subverting Hong Kong’s autonomy is yet another way for Communist officials to suppress Christianity and its influence. They realize that, as the Times points out, laws like these are intended to "extend China’s reach into Hong Kong and strip its residents of the protection of the law.”

“And we can be certain, the first protections to be stripped will be those of Hong Kong’s Christians.”

Originally published here.

A Track Star’s Biggest Hurdle: Trans ‘Equality’

They don’t just represent their countries. When players step onto the field at this year’s FIFA World Cup, they represent something else: the fragile state of women’s sports. Will soccer’s biggest tournament live to see 2023? Or will the tradition die, along with so many young girls’ dreams of competing on the world’s biggest stages?

Selina Soule doesn’t play soccer — but her courage could go a long way to saving it for other girls. In a just world, Selina would’ve been running in the New England regional championships this month. Instead, she’s training for next year, hopeful that her fight with the state will give her another shot at competing in front of college scouts. Like too many female athletes, Selina was robbed of that chance when two biological boys were allowed to compete in her event.

What should have been a sixth-place finish was an eighth-place disappointment. Selina missed the cut, ending her season and sparking a personal campaign to end the injustice. “Track means everything to me,” she said seriously. But “[w]hen I’m lining up and getting in my blocks, everyone already knows the outcome. Those two athletes are going to come [in] one and two. And everyone knows it.”

Her teammates, she says, are just as heartbroken and frustrated as she is. “No one in the state of Connecticut is happy about this,” she told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. “I’m not the only one affected by it. There have been countless other female athletes in the state of Connecticut, as well as my entire indoor track team. We missed out winning the state open championship, because of the team that the transgender athletes [were on].” No one in her state “is happy about this,” she said. “But no one has enough courage to speak up.”

With the support of her parents, Selina did. She told her story on national television and wrote about her experience — even though it’s meant retaliation from some of her coaches. This week, she took an even bigger stand, filing an official complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. “Girls like Selina should never be forced to be spectators in their own sports,” ADF attorney Christiana Holcomb argued, “but unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s taking place when you allow biological males to compete in sports that have been set aside and specifically designed for women like Selina. Title IX was designed to ensure that girls had a fair shake at athletics.”

It’s time for the government to step in and restore a level playing field. On this, the American people — and a surprising number of die-hard liberals and feminists — agree. The only people who don’t seem to understand are Hill Democrats, who voted with unbelievable clarity to eradicate girls’ sports in the Equality Act. Apparently, they’re part of the 28 percent who actually believe in taking away opportunities for women to advance. “It’s grotesque and insane,” Carlson fumed. “And the very people who claim to be defending women and girls are abetting this and making it possible.”

For the silent victims, the ones on Selina’s team and elsewhere, having someone brave enough to raise their voice is half the battle. When the Daily Signal made the trip to Connecticut to talk to four teenage girls running track, most of them wanted their names withheld. “There’s really nothing else you can do except get super frustrated and roll your eyes,” one said, “because it’s really hard to even come out and talk in public just because of the way with the far-Left, and how just immediately you’ll be shut down.” They’ll just say, “You’re ‘transphobic.’” And that will be that.

But as people twice Selina’s age have said, this has “nothing to do with their gender identity and how they feel. It has to do with what is right and what is fair in athletics.” “It’s not like we’re saying that we don’t like transgender people,” one of the girls explained. “It’s just an equality issue…” And in this current debate over “equality,” it may just be the only real one.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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