Some of you who are reading this might think I’m exaggerating or making a mountain out of a molehill, but it’s very clear to me that Republican legislators in red states all across the country are looking for opportunities to enshrine white Christian sensibilities into state law. Their aim is to turn the United States into a white supremacist theocracy.
Let me give you some examples of why I feel this way. A Republican Oklahoma state senator, Rob Standridge, has introduced legislation that would allow parents to sue any public school educators who teach anything “in opposition to closely held religious beliefs of students.” Standridge has also introduced a bill that would give individual parents the power to demand the removal of any book from school shelves that they believe contains LGBTQ content.
This bill would allow parents to sue teachers for $10,000 “per incident, per individual.” The fine would need to be paid by the teacher “from personal resources” and the educator cannot “receive any assistance from individuals or groups.” If the teacher is unable to pay and receives assistance, they will be fired immediately and unable to teach in the state for five years.
What could this mean for Oklahoma teachers?
- A biology teacher who discusses evolution could be sued by Creationist parents.
- A health teacher who educates students about different forms of birth control could be sued by abstinence-promoting parents.
- A history teacher who correctly describes the Founding Fathers as a mix of religious and non-religious individuals could be a target of conservative evangelicals.
- An English teacher who wants to challenge kids with thought-provoking literature would be forced to stick to only the blandest books.
And then there’s Florida, where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed the “Stop Woke Act,” where WOKE is an acronym for “Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees.” The act would let Florida parents sue schools that offered instruction in critical race theory. Critical race theory is an academic concept based on the idea that racism is not about individual people’s prejudices, but about institutions and policies. It does not, as Republican lawmakers and pundits in the right-wing media claim, teach that all white people are racist.
This bill would essentially ban making white people feel bad about racism. The bill would make it illegal for public schools and private businesses to inflict “discomfort” on white people during lessons or training about discrimination. It was already passed by the state’s Senate Education Committee, its first hurdle before becoming a law.
Another piece of state legislation in Florida, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by opponents, would allow teachers to be subject to lawsuits if they discuss sexuality and gender issues in the classroom.
In Virginia, the newly elected Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, announced that he’s created a “tip line” for parents to report instances of school officials “behaving inappropriately,” by which he means teaching “divisive” subjects like critical race theory. Youngkin had already issued an executive order banning the use of such concepts and now he’s asking the good, white Christians in his state to snitch on teachers. “We’re asking for folks to send us reports and observations,” Youngkin said. “Help us be aware of their child being denied their rights that parents have in Virginia, which will give us the ability to make sure we’re rooting it out.”
These examples I’ve given in Oklahoma, Florida, and Virginia are just three examples of this insanity. Republican legislators in many states in which they are in charge are passing laws to ban books and forbid the teaching of subjects that do not support Christian teachings, or that make white people uncomfortable.
And these same Republican controlled states have already enacted laws that are designed to make it more difficult for people of color to vote and easier for Republican legislators to decide what votes to count and what votes to toss.
This is America in the second decade of the 21st century. If you’re not scared or pissed off about the future of America after reading this post, you must be a Republican.