New York Times Conservative Discovers That Charter Schools Without CRT and Porn Are a Danger to the Country

CREDIT: Freepik -- https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/kids-being-part-sunday-school_30117953.htm

On Monday, the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 to approve the application of the first religious charter school in the United States. The school, Saint Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, will be supported by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa. The school is internet-based and will resemble a traditional Catholic school, providing religious instruction and academic subjects. Like all Catholic schools, it is open to enrollment by students of all and no faiths.

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The approval of the school has opened some interesting rifts. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is fully supportive.

I applaud the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board’s courage to approve the authorization for St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School. This is a win for religious liberty and education freedom in our great state, and I am encouraged by these efforts to give parents more options when it comes to their child’s education. Oklahomans support religious liberty for all and support an increasingly innovative educational system that expands choice. Today, with the nation watching, our state showed that we will not stand for religious discrimination.

So is the State Superintendent of Education, Ryan Walters.

This decision reflects months of hard work, and more importantly, the will of the people of Oklahoma. I encouraged the board to approve this monumental decision, and now the U.S.’s first religious charter school will be welcomed by my administration. I have fought for school choice in all forms and this further empowers parents. We will make sure every Oklahoma parent has the opportunity to decide what is best for their child.

The current “moderate Republican,” former Democrat and Joe Biden donor Attorney General Gentner Drummond is against the move. He had withdrawn a legal opinion by his predecessor, John O’Connor, who supported the application. He has said that his office will not defend this action in court.

While many Oklahomans undoubtedly support charter schools sponsored by various Christian faiths, the precedent created by approval of the SISCVS application will compel approval of similar applications by all faiths. I doubt most Oklahomans would want their tax dollars to fund a religious school whose tenets are diametrically opposed to their own faith. Unfortunately, the approval of a charter school by one faith will compel the approval of charter schools by all faiths, even those most Oklahomans would consider reprehensible and unworthy of public funding.

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Just a note here: Drummond’s appeal to cheap bigotry is only exceeded by his devotion to the anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment that is part of the Oklahoma Constitution.

Ever the one to weigh in with a “Hey, I’m really conservative, but that is too conservative” critique was the New York Times’s approximation of Jennifer Rubin, David French. His op-ed is titled Oklahoma Breaches the Wall Between Church and State. According to French, this is a case of conservatives sacrificing liberty to forward a policy objective.

If I had to sum up the current debate within the American right, I’d describe it as a contest between liberty and authority. To what extent should the political project of the conservative movement focus on the preservation of individual and institutional freedom versus expanding the power of the state to advance conservative ends?

You can see this dispute perhaps most starkly in the state-by-state conflicts over education. To what extent should the education culture wars be resolved by liberty or by authority? The liberty side of the argument seeks greater school choice, so that parents from all income backgrounds can enjoy the kinds of choices that wealthy parents take for granted. It also respects the free speech rights of students and the academic freedom of professors, so that the state doesn’t become the final arbiter of truth.

The authority side, by contrast, believes that someone’s worldview will control our schools, so it should be theirs. This is the impetus behind speech codes, which can dramatically inhibit free speech on campuses. This is the impetus behind the raft of anti-critical-race-theory laws and other educational gag orders, which attempt to tightly regulate instruction about race, gender and sexual orientation in public schools. This is one reason fights over library books are so contentious. The focus on regulating the ideas that students are exposed to is explicitly intended for the purpose of shaping their beliefs and ideology.

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To support this, French brings out the old, tired, and, I think largely discredited idea of a “wall” between Church and State.

Despite widespread confusion about their status, charter schools are public schools, meaning that Oklahoma has created and sanctioned a Catholic public school in the state. It has clothed a Christian institution with state authority.

[B]ut the very idea that a religious institution should be either clothed with state authority or subject to state control — let alone both — is antithetical to the constitutional balance struck by the First Amendment’s establishment clause and free exercise clause.

In my view, this line of argumentation is profoundly dishonest and, whether he admits it or not, acknowledges the importance of the state in determining the values to which your kids are exposed. The impetus behind the fight against CRT and porn in school libraries has nothing to do with preferring authoritarianism to liberty—just the opposite. Pushing racist ideology and grooming children to experiment with bizarre sexual practices is the authoritarian part of the equation. The ultimate expression of liberty for a parent is deciding how to raise their child.

I fail to see why sending my kid to a school “clothed with state authority” where the moral lessons and religious beliefs I teach at home will be reinforced is in some way inferior and more dangerous to my liberty than sending them to a school where they are indoctrinated with anti-Christian, anti-American, and anti-intelligent messages. If my child is going to be compelled to attend school, then I prefer that they attend a school that teaches my values and has classmates who share the same.

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There is no set of facts where a non-Catholic or “smells and bells” Catholic will be required to send their child to an online Catholic school whose real purpose and let me engage in sheer speculation here, is to provide a way for Catholic parents to homeschool. In short, to paraphrase the pro-abort argument, “If you don’t want a Catholic education, then don’t get one.”

Both religious liberty and religious disestablishment are vital elements of American pluralism. Oklahoma shouldn’t discriminate against religious expression, but it must not create state religious schools. Clothing any church institution with state power is bad for the church and bad for the state. Oklahoma conservatives can and should advance their values through the exercise of liberty, not by breaching the barrier between church and state.

As he fulminates about “advancing values,” keep in mind that French is the guy who called Drag Queen Story Hours in the public library a “blessing of liberty.” How do you square the right to adv advance your values when at the same time, you are supposed to accept the organized sexual grooming of children? How is pushing for schools that reflect the values of your community not advancing them?

At this point, I think we can consider the shark to have been jumped. Approving a charter school application hardly resembles establishing a religion. As an aside, I will argue that our public schools today reflect the imposition of an established religion. However, the faith they teach is an amoral and atheistic (but I repeat myself) hedonism. In the US Supreme Court case Carson vs. Makin (see The Left Goes Nuts as the Supreme Court Seems to Signal That Their Monopoly on Propagandizing Kids Is at an End and Supreme Court Decides the Free Exercise of Religion Clause Means Exactly That), the Court ruled that if a state allowed education vouchers for students to attend out-of-zone public schools or private schools, they had to open the program to students attending religious schools. When that decision was announced, his The Dispatch podcast segment had this promotion:

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David points out that Carson v. Makin, which held that Maine’s “nonsectarian” requirement in schools violated the Free Exercise Clause, is yet another victory for religious liberty in the U.S.

Over and over again, we see this same mumbo-jumbo(apologies for the obvious cultural appropriation) from establishment conservatives on abortion, gender-stupidity, voting rights, etc., etc. They are all in favor of something until it happens. Then, suddenly, it is a bad idea.

There is no doubt this decision is headed to the Supreme Court. If John Roberts or Brett Kavanaugh had a bad curry the night before, anything could happen. But if the Supreme Court follows Carson precedent, Oklahoma will have a Catholic charter school. From that will flow not authoritarianism but freedom of conscience, love of God, and a better society.

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