On July 24, 2014 our Chapter President’s letter was published in Clay Today. Harry Parrott’s point was simple and straight-forward: The School Board in Clay County is under siege by the Religious Right (more accurately the Christian Right) who are working to take over the Board completely in the up-coming elections. Here are portions of the letter.
“I am aware — after attending (Clay County school board) meetings for 10 years — that the Board has long reflected a Conservative outlook. But the current takeover bid seeks to move the board far beyond yesterday’s Conservatism.
What is called the Religious Right is an ultra-conservative religious and political viewpoint based on the notions that America was once a ‘Christian Nation’, believers today are being persecuted by ‘secular humanists’, a ‘Biblical worldview’ must once again be preached, and — most importantly — sectarian religious beliefs must intentionally be re-introduced into the local school system. A takeover of the school board would be a major victory toward these ends……
I would urge voters to think seriously about the consequences of a Religious Right takeover. In Dover, Pennsylvania, for example, ultra-conservatives captured the school board just a few years ago and set their zealotry in motion. Immediately they mandated that biology teachers were to read an anti-evolution statement before classes; correlated textbooks were paid for by a local church for use in the public school classroom; and Intelligent Design — another word for Creationism — was to be taught as science. The community was bitterly divided for months.
Finally, 11 parents filed a lawsuit , and a trail was held (2005). Judge John E Jones III issued a strong decision against the actions of the Board [Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District], and the school system finally paid more than $1 million in fees and damages.
Nothing divides us like religion. For this reason, voters should think twice before putting members of the Religious Right in control of any public school system.”