The demands of the LGBTQ movement know no bounds, but the law does, and now a local school district faces a legal challenge for anti-religious discrimination.
Arizona Christian University (ACU) filed suit yesterday against the Washington Elementary School District after the board voted unanimously last week to ban Christian student teachers from ACU based solely on the school’s religious beliefs.
Listen here to a board member lambast ACU for adhering to fundamental biblical values. Tamillia Valenzuela, who wears cat ears and calls herself a “neurodivergent queer black Latina,” is appalled to read from the school’s website that it is “above all else, committed to Jesus Christ [and] accomplishing His will…” And because the school holds to the foundational view that marriage is between one man and one woman, Valenzuela says, “This makes me feel like I could not be safe in this school district.”
Without one example of student teacher wrongdoing, based solely on Valenzuela’s bias against the religious school, the board voted to end an 11-year relationship with ACU and its student teachers.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), representing ACU in the lawsuit wrote, “The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the government… cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices.”
Read the lawsuit here and ADF’s explainer here.
The lawsuit came just hours before a regular school board meeting packed with people both in support of and opposed to ACU. In response to activists’ requests to come speak out, dozens of people showed up in cat ears, praising the board’s discriminatory actions and falsely claiming attacks on LGBTQ students by ACU.
It is important to note that not one of them provided a single complaint from students or teachers about ACU student teachers. Nor did the board offer any examples of “attacks on LGBTQ students.” But that did not stop people from making broad, unsubstantiated accusations against ACU and its student teachers.
Valenzuela doubled down on her initial charge last week saying, “There is a difference between a personal attack and systemic bias and bigotry… we are talking about an agreement with an institution that allows bigotry within its core values… We’re talking about an institution that caused harm.”
Caused harm? What harm did ACU cause? She offered no evidence or even accusation of harm done. The facts don’t seem to matter to her narrative. A narrative that she punctuated by refusing to stand for the pledge of allegiance, although her disability does not affect her capability to stand or walk.
Gratefully, several people, including teachers, spoke in defense of ACU. One teacher who mentored 16 ACU student teachers over the years praised their professionalism and called out the unfounded claims, “Never at any time did our students feel unsafe or attacked, ever… there have been zero complaints against ACU students during the entire history of our partnership.”
This is why it is important for ACU to respond with a lawsuit, because spurious claims can settle in, opening the door to further anti-religious discrimination and the silencing of biblical institutions.
Watch the board meeting here. We will keep you updated on the progress of the lawsuit.
Al Mohler discussed the issue on his national podcast, pointing out the board’s stated view that members are not against any particular religion, and not all Christians share ACU’s values. The message being: The board will only discriminate against Christian schools that hold to Christian teaching.
School (Battle) Ground
The next time you read a headline accusing Arizona lawmakers of “attacking transgender students” or passing “anti-LGBTQ” legislation, read instead: AZ lawmakers are “protecting parents’ rights” and passing “pro-family” legislation. Many of the bills pro-family lawmakers propose are in answer to a major infringement on a parent’s right to guide their children’s education and wellbeing.
Lawmakers wouldn’t file bills to stop schools from grooming children if it weren’t happening. They wouldn’t file bills to keep boys out of girls’ private spaces while they are changing clothes or showering if it weren’t happening, and they wouldn’t file bills to keep school staff from secretly “transitioning” children if it weren’t happening. It is happening here in Arizona.
Case in point: The Catalina Foothills School District is apparently socially transitioning children without their parents’ knowledge. An internal, confidential email from Orange Grove Middle School Principal Mark Rubin-Toles to teachers and staff addresses the “problem” of remembering which students’ preferred names and pronouns they can and cannot share with the student’s parents. An attachment lists students, their preferred names and pronouns, and whether the student wants their social transition to be kept a secret from his or her parents.
It concludes with, “It is our responsibility to protect student privacy in these matters.” No, it’s not. Parents are responsible for raising their children, not public-school staff. And although Arizona law recognizes a parent’s right to direct the education and wellbeing of their children, the letter is evidence that the law is apparently not being followed.
In an effort to cement more specific language into state statute, Senator John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills sponsored SB 1001, which prohibits schools from secretly using opposite pronouns and names without parental consent. The AZ Senate passed the bill and it awaits action in the House.
It’s a growing trend; a new report shows the nation’s largest school districts are encouraging students to change their names and pronouns without their parents’ knowledge.
Dragging Down Schools
Parents at one California school district are outraged after Pleasant Grove High School secretly allowed students to dance in drag and spew propaganda at a school assembly without parental consent.
Listen and watch here the performance that students were forced to attend.
The covert, or even overt, attempts to socially transition America’s children are no longer outliers we view from afar. It is happening in our own communities, whether we are aware or not. Only a bold stand for the truth and the rights of parents over the dogma of school elites will stop it.
Earlier this week, Arizona’s Governor tweeted “On this International Women’s Day I want to make it clear that trans women are women, they are welcome here, and any bill that harasses or threatens their safety will swiftly meet my veto stamp.”
No such tweet in defense of Christian student teachers.
Good Time for a Reminder
It’s stories like these that drive parents to consider all of their educational options, including Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), which allow families to choose the schooling option that best suits their children. Get more information here.
An Arizona House committee passed CAP-supported bill SB 1600, sending it to the full House for a vote. The bill ensures all babies born alive receive medically appropriate and reasonable care, regardless of the baby’s life expectancy.
SB 1564 also passed out of committee and heads to the full House. SB 1564 allows a student attending a small private school that doesn’t offer a particular sport to try out for the local public-school team.
- Read or listen here to Al Mohler talk about CAP-supported bill SB 1040 and how the news media spin it. SB 1040 prohibits boys from using girls’ locker rooms and restrooms.
- Read here about a lawsuit by pro-abortion activists challenging Texas’ pro-life law.
- Read here how parents in the UK are bringing toddlers to sexually charged drag shows.
- Read here how advocates have collected more than 30,000 signatures in support of a young, rookie police officer who lost his job over his social media post supporting the biblical view of marriage between one man and one woman.
- Read here how new pro-life laws in Arizona have forced abortion clinics to expand their services beyond abortions.
Stay connected and consider receiving additional publications by joining the CAP Network.