Virginia District Hears Parents Loudoun Clear

Virginia District Hears Parents Loudoun Clear

Virginia District Hears Parents Loudoun Clear

June 9, 2021

One thing was for sure: they didn't come to be quiet. The parents of Loudoun County, Virginia who were packed into every available chair at Tuesday's school board meeting were angry. For months, they'd been warring with the district over its woke curriculum in a feud so bitter that it made the national news. But it was the suspension of Tanner Cross, a P.E. teacher who spoke out about a new transgender policy, that turned the local temperature from hot to boiling.

For new superintendent Scott Ziegler, who watched the room slowly unravel, it was not what he had imagined for his first day. Ziegler had been on the job as the interim boss, but Tuesday's fireworks were nothing like he'd experienced. One parent after another stormed to the microphone to object to either Cross's treatment or the district's string of radical policies. At one point, a dad slammed down a copy of the First Amendment, looked up to the dais, and bellowed, "I'm going to leave this here, and I hope you learn something." For four hours, they took turns telling the board to stop "instilling progressive Left ideas on our children." "It's not appropriate," one mother said, "to silence, bully, or dismiss our views as parents."

Waving dozens of signs that read "You're fired!" or "Stop Critical Race Theory!" they were the picture of the new conservative uprising. Right now, one dad insisted, "LCPS is ground zero for parents like me to protect our kids and take back our schools." And if Tuesday night is any indication, they'll do anything they can to make the district listen. If that means going door-to-door in 90 degree weather to recall school board members, they'll do it. If it means filing lawsuits against the schools' curriculum, they'll do that too. If it means showing up at rallies for a Christian teacher who wants his students to know the truth, they'll bring their friends.

It's a snapshot of what's happening in school districts all across America. Parents are awake, they're engaged, and they're lighting a fire under local communities to stand up and fight back. In Rapid City, South Dakota this week, local families were so frustrated by the indoctrination in their district that they organized a boots-on-the-ground campaign -- a lot like the parents of Southlake, Texas did -- and managed to sweep all four open seats on the school board with conservatives. Like Loudoun, they refuse to take this radical takeover lying down. And when people speak out -- like Tanner did -- it gives others the courage to do the same.

Cross's attorney at Alliance Defending Freedom said they talked to a lot of teachers at the school who agree with Tanner, but they're scared to come forward. Thanks to Circuit Judge James E. Plowman Jr., they don't have to be afraid anymore. In a reproachful ruling Tuesday, Plowman ordered Loudoun County to reinstate Cross, calling what the district did "an unnecessary and vindictive act." It was an "unconstitutional" action, he wrote, and it has "silenced others from speaking publicly on the issue."

The order to reinstate Tanner was cheered by the district's biggest critics, who argued at Tuesday's meeting that no teacher should ever be punished for advocating for the good of their students. "What we need," Tanner's ADF attorney, Tyson Langhofer, argued on "Washington Watch," is more teachers "engag[ing] in the political process." Look, Tyson said, "the First Amendment hasn't changed. The principles [of free speech and religious freedom] are still here -- and if they're willing to stand, we can win this battle. But we can't win if they won't stand. We can cancel Cancel Culture if people have the courage to stand. And I will encourage them to do what Tanner did, simply speak the truth and then the truth will set you free. You will prevail eventually." And here's the thing, he pointed out. "I've represented a lot of clients like Tanner, and none of them have ever told me that they regret taking the stand. That doesn't mean that they didn't pay some price. But what they gained out of it was far more valuable than anything that they lost."

As for Tanner, he's just excited to get back in the classroom before the summer ends. But he hopes his case gives a lot of people in the district something to think about before next fall. "I don't want any teacher -- or anyone who lives in this great country -- to not be able to express how they feel about any policies in their workplace that might be harmful... I would encourage teachers to just express themselves freely." Hopefully, he added, they won't be punished. But if they are, we've learned one thing: the local community will have their back.


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Bipartisanship Meets the Great Wall of Congress

June 9, 2021

What's $700 billion dollars between friends? Too much, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) decided. The GOP negotiator finally called it quits on her solo talks with President Joe Biden Tuesday after their infrastructure meetings went south. It was the latest chapter in a long and messy saga over an expensive White House proposal that even Democrats are squeamish about. And while Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) has promised a deal by July, no one is quite sure how. "We're running out of time," Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) fumed. But Democrats are running out of something much more important: options.

When the country elected Joe Biden, they didn't give him a blank check to write big checks. And that's what moderate Democrats have been trying to convey to the White House for the last several weeks. Signing the COVID bill was one thing, but signing trillions of dollars more in Leftist programs disguised as "infrastructure" or "child care" isn't governing from the center. Democrats like Joe Manchin (W. Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) who had to hold their nose and vote "aye" on $1.9 trillion in virus relief aren't exactly eager to slap their names on another package that Americans have no way of paying for.

Complicating matters, Democrats can't just ram the bill through under budget reconciliation rules like they'd hoped. The chamber's parliamentarian dashed those hopes before Memorial Day when she said that Biden's party would have to pass it through congressional committees and an open amendment process. So, liberals are left with their least favorite option: hammering out a compromise with Republicans who -- to this point -- they've shown no interest in working with.

Even now, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is urging Democrats to leave the GOP in the dust and find a workaround that would let the Senate pass the package with a simple majority. "In case it wasn't clear already, it certainly is now: Republicans are not going to do what needs to be done... Every day that is wasted trying to get Republicans on board is another day that people can't go back to work because they don't have child care; another day without investing in millions of good, union jobs, another day that we lose further ground on the climate crisis."

Bipartisanship is a "waste," she says. And yet bipartisanship is what the American people want. If they didn't, voters would have sent Democrats to Washington with much bigger majorities. As it is, they'll have a tough time keeping their fragile caucus together for whatever infrastructure plan they can salvage. Even CNN seems to grasp the reality Biden does not. "The push and pull within the diverse Democratic caucus will force leadership to come face to face with their reality that margins are narrow in the House and nonexistent in the Senate. Any bill has to have the blessing of both Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the progressive caucus and the moderate[s]. That's the ball game."

Is that even possible? Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has his doubts. "It's pretty clear the era of bipartisanship is over," he declared Tuesday. But when did it begin, most exasperated conservatives want to know? Joe Biden came to Washington with the goal of "unifying America," and so far, he can't even unify his party. As for negotiating in good faith, the GOP hasn't seen any evidence of that either. "He has never really moved toward us," a frustrated Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told reporters. All he's done is attempt "to satisfy an insatiable far-Left agenda that demands massive tax hikes, and spending trillions of dollars on things unrelated to physical infrastructure."

Just as telling, the Democrats refused to reach across the aisle in good faith on something as harmless as the Paycheck Protection Act. FRC's team uncovered a powder keg of radical social language in the bill's text -- everything from forcing employers to fund abortion, redefine gender, and foot the bill for gender reassignment surgery! Republicans were horrified by the fine print and refused to let Democrats move to a final vote. In a major victory for life and common-sense, the proposal failed 49-50.

Obviously, the Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel writes, the president is gambling -- and losing. He's "repeatedly claimed a mandate for action, despite knowing better... The prudent course would have been to govern from the middle, working with Republicans on incremental change." Biden and his party have refused. Now, their risky bet is bombing. They can't seem to "force or cajole every member of their razor-thin majority to adopt one of the most progressive agendas in history." If Biden ends the year without much to show for it, she warns, "it won't be because of parliamentarian rulings or disloyal Democrats. It will be because he dramatically overreached."


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


PVS Tonight: A Christian Response to LGBT Pride

June 9, 2021

Everywhere we turn these days, rainbow colors appear in almost every nook and cranny of our society. LGBT flags hang over businesses, social media sites are decked out with colorful logos, and even cereal boxes and children's TV shows are pledging their allegiance to the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. So how can believers navigate this culture of sexual anarchy that has become such a dominant and increasingly compulsory force in our society?

In tonight's episode of Pray Vote Stand, Tony will be joined by Dr. Wayne Grudem to consider how to think about pride, how Jesus would respond to Pride Month from His words in Scripture, and how to avoid cultural conformity. Sarah Perry, former Department of Education official and FRC staffer, current Heritage Foundation Legal Fellow, and mom, will also join the program to give parents tips on how to fight back against widespread LGBT indoctrination that's happening in our nation's schools. Finally, Pastor Ken Williams will relate his inspiring personal testimony of conversion, how believers can open the doors of dialogue with those struggling with their LGBT identity, and pray for our country and the millions of people caught in the grip of sexual deception.

Don't miss this important edition of Pray Vote Stand tonight, premiering live at 8 p.m. ET, and on-demand shortly after.


Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.