June 18, 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.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.