Vote for the Children

The title of this piece may come across as clickbait but hear me out. I spent the past two years studying anti-LGBTQ+ Evangelicals for my upcoming book. The culmination of that research even surprised me. Two of the common themes that emerged throughout that research are that Evangelical Christians believe that Christianity is under attack and that children are being groomed as a result of the LGBTQ+ community.

The battlefield, faith under attack mantra isn’t new, but it has had a renaissance since the 2016 presidential election. Evangelicals were seething as a result of two terms not only with a Democrat but a Black president, who not only initiated the Medicaid expansion but, of course, gay marriage becoming legal following the Obergefell decision in 2015. Trump, who probably couldn’t quote scripture to save his life, was precisely what Evangelicals were looking for to save the fate of their nation that they firmly believed was established as a Christian nation and that he would usher in the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom of no abortion, only native-born citizens, no speaking about racism, and religious freedom to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. 

In all honesty, Trump, in a way, succeeded. As a result of his time in the Oval Office, Roe V. Wade was overturned, hostility towards immigrants by United States citizens reached an unprecedented level, a war on critical race theory materialized seemingly out of nowhere during the pandemic, and there were more anti-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation introduced last year alone compared to the past twenty years.

However, one issue that is paramount to Evangelicals is the child grooming conspiracy that they are peddling in the United States. I know this tactic well as someone who has worked in the child welfare arena for the past ten years. However, it has become the platform issue for Evangelicals mobilizing to get a Republican voted into office in the upcoming presidential election. Although we can’t ever predict what will happen in the future, this is where you need to look at historical records to understand better what is happening in the present.

Anita Bryant went on a search-and-destroy mission to persecute gay teachers in public schools in the 1970s on the basis that they wanted to groom children. While she may have ruined her career and life in the process, she succeeded in cultivating a hysteria about LGBTQ+ people being employed in schools. We are seeing that play out with the Republican lawmakers attempting to criminalize drag performers as well as censoring anything in K-12 schools that remotely discusses human sexuality and gender outside of the context of straight marriage and the gender binary. School boards have become the new pathway for anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans to wreak havoc on the LGBTQ+ community.

Elected school board representatives often go unopposed, and I cannot tell you how many people look at me in bewilderment when I tell them they can vote for school board officials. Simply do a Google search of Moms for Liberty, and you will see that they are mobilizing in robust efforts to shut the public school system down, literally. Then do a Google search and find the 900+ page document released by The Heritage Foundation titled “Project 2025” and you will see Evangelical Republicans have a clear agenda to infiltrate public schools further. Then, do a Google search on the states attempting to pass laws allowing school chaplains to replace school counselors in public schools. In case you haven’t put the pieces together, this is a widespread attempt to indoctrinate children into Evangelical Christianity. They want to ban teaching evolution and replace it with intelligent design. They want to teach children that slavery in the United States wasn’t a bad thing and that being LGBTQ+ is immoral.

This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but research the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District case from 2004 and see how Moms for Liberty nearly succeeded last year at allowing Vermillion Education into the school curriculum in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. This should worry anyone who values the education of children, as Vermillion Education is led by Jordan Adams, who is the poster child for the initiative of Evangelical Republicans to eradicate the public school system.      

I know the presidential election is crucial, and the rights of LGBTQ+ are seriously in jeopardy if a Republican gets elected into office. But PLEASE remember how important local elections are, especially when a school board member is on the ballot.

Children are the future of our world, and they deserve a quality, scientifically informed education that is not clouded by Evangelical Christianity.