Peter Montgomery's blog

C-Fam 'Mission' in Africa: Spreading Anti-Family Planning, Anti-Gay Gospel

There are a lot of challenges facing the people of Nigeria and Kenya, including campaigns of terror being waged by Islamist militants with Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. But that’s not the focus of the “mission trip” for which C-Fam’s Austin Ruse is urgently raising money this week.

No, Ruse and the Center for Family and Human Rights (formerly known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute) are raising money to warn against “UN radicals and the Obama administration” and the “bloody, soul-destroying” consequences of family planning, reproductive choice, and LGBT equality:

As you read this, two C-Fam staffers are on the ground in Africa; one in Kenya and one in Nigeria. 
 
They have traveled so far and into such dangerous situations in order to take our message to the African people:

·         NO UN-STYLE FAMILY PLANNING

·         NO GLOBAL RIGHT TO ABORTION

·         NO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The people of Africa are under severe pressure from UN radicals, the Obama administration, and the European Union to accept the ideology that has led to millions of abortion deaths and deaths from disease here in the United States and in Europe. 
 
C-Fam is in Nigeria and Kenya this week to raise the alarm. We are there to let our African brothers and sisters know what the UN radicals and the Obama administration has planned for them and what the bloody, soul-destroying result will be. 
 
While in Nigeria and Kenya our fearsome team will meet with the Catholic bishops, with activists and, we hope, government officials.

It’s not as if marriage equality is about to break out in either of these countries. Homosexual sex is a criminal act in Kenya, where last year a fringe party proposed a bill to allow the stoning of gay foreigners. Nigeria’s outgoing president signed a harsh anti-gay law last year that has led to persecution and violence against LGBT people.

Last year, Ruse energetically defended Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law and suggested that critics of the increasingly anti-democratic Vladimir Putin were “stuck in cold war amber” and consumed by a “visceral hatred of all things Russian. He even dismissed concerns about Putin’s attack on freedom of the press, saying Russians had no “historical memory” of that kind of freedom.  

Christian Nation Activist David Lane Asks Pastors To Pray For Anti-Marriage-Equality 'Miracle'

Christian-nation activist and would-be presidential kingmaker David Lane is urging pastors affiliated with his American Renewal Project to preach about “Biblical Marriage” on Sunday, April 26, and hold a two-hour prayer service on Tuesday, April 28, the day the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex couples getting married.

Lane’s email letter asserts that Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan should recuse themselves since they “have performed homosexual marriage ceremonies,” but that they have refused to because “secularists lack virtue.” Lane, who advocates for making the Bible a primary textbook in public schools, blames Supreme Court decisions upholding church-state separation for a “complete moral breakdown in America.”

America has become drugged by the cup of Secularism -- a false and wicked religion -- articulated in the Humanist Manifesto, a creed that denied supernatural relevation, and so the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. The "religion" -- as it was called in the Humanist Manifesto (1933) -- was imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963, an 8-1 decision, in Abington School District v. Schempp. Lone dissenting Justice Potter Stewart prophesied, "...[the decision to remove the Bible from public schools] led not to true neutrality with respect to religion, but to the establishment of a religion of secularism."

That proud and tragic decision has given birth to a complete moral breakdown in America, those doing this to our country must be held accountable. The wise Solomon says, "Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction."(Proverbs 29:10) America's Founders laid the foundation on biblical virtue, His Word. Udo W. Middleman, president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation says, "He has told us in his Word how we should live and order our lives, set our priorities, and what sense to make of being human." A Christian nation once, America is now ruled by an oligarchy, a majority of nine, representing, "Vice stalking in virtue's garb."

God defines sin, not the U.S. Supreme Court. Having removed the fixed point in order to judge in 1963, the esteemed Justices, in hubris, decided to challenge God's rule, God's throne, and God's rightful Honor. America is on the verge of learning something that can be learned in no other way, rebellion against God brings consequences. There is no safety in distance from God.

Like many Religious Right leaders, Lane blames the state of America on the fact that pastors have not been preaching or praying aggressively enough:

Why are not the churches of America filled with prayer services, led by senior pastors, asking God for mercy of what we have allowed to a once Christian nation? Who will, by faith, help America's pastors track down the weapons of warfare? Prayer and tears are the Christians weapons of war, very little cannonading and bombardment appears to be occurring in America's sanctuaries today.

Lane seems to think that, without divine intervention, the Supreme Court is likely to rule that marriage bans for same-sex couples violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

For those of the flock who cannot attend the prayer service led by the shepherd, please ask that they stop where they are and pray; we need a miracle.

Pastors Network's Sam Rohrer: Gov't Officials' Job Is To 'Promote God’s Moral Law'

The American Pastors Network organized a Pennsylvania pastor summit last week featuring right-wing activists David Barton and Sandy Rios, along with video greetings from Mike Huckabee overlooking the valley of Armageddon. Sam Rohrer, president of both the Pennsylvania and American Pastors Networks, is a graduate of Bob Jones University and a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he authored legislation to direct millions of tax dollars into Christian schools. At last year’s March for Marriage, Rohrer warned that marriage equality will doom America to tyranny and “invite God’s judgment.”

Following “God’s promptings,” Rohrer ran for governor in 2010 and for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He did not win either of those races, but says “God used the statewide travels to deepen his relationship with many pastors across the state.”

Rohrer wants to build networks of conservative pastors in all 50 states. His “Stand in the Gap” radio shows have a growing Pennsylvania-based radio presence. Rohrer’s philosophy about church-state relations and his vision for the state networks he has set out to build are summarized in a pamphlet distributed at the conference:

The Biblical Relationship: Pastors and Government Leaders

The phrase “Ministers of God” is often used to describe pastors in the pulpits. Yet God also uses the title of “Ministers of God” to describe those in positions of civil government as referred to in Romans 13. This is a title God gives to those He raises up and both of these positions of authority are equally established by God to accomplish His purposes.

Pastors are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Truth, preaching the whole counsel of God into all of His institutions – the Home, Civil Government, and the Church to equip people to advance God’s design for society (II Tim. 4:2)

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law (Romans 13:3,4)

Rohrer writes that the relationship between pastors and government leaders is “biblical, not political.”  The APN’s Ministers Together Initiative “seeks to restore the biblical relationship and commitment between the Pastor and the Government Leader to help each other, pray for each other, encourage each other and together commit to acting in obedience to the commands of scripture.”

 

Pastors Network: America Going Down the Tubes, Needs Pastors To Call Down Fire

The American Pastors Network, a Religious Right group hoping to organize networks of politically active evangelical pastors in all 50 states, met with Pennsylvania pastors at Lancaster Bible College on Thursday. The day-long event featured several national speakers like “historian” David Barton, activist Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ, and right-wing broadcaster Sandy Rios, who as Kyle reported yesterday, urged participants to prepare for martyrdom

The threat of anti-Christian persecution was a frequent theme at the U-Turn conference, which took its name and themes from a recent book co-authored by Barton and evangelical pollster George Barna. For example, Steve Scheibner, an American Airlines pilot who narrowly avoided being on a flight that was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, declared, “Persecution is coming.” But, he added, “It may be the best thing that’s ever happened to the church.” Another speaker, Dale Anderson, thanked “that rascal” Barack Obama for having woken up the church.

Paul Blair gave David Barton-esque remarks about the nation’s history and cited English jurist William Blackstone in arguing that there can be no valid law that is contrary to scripture. He declared that “Judge Roy Moore,” Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, is “a hero” for defying a federal judge’s decision on marriage equality. Blair said America is in its current state because too many pastors and people have been “sheep.” He insisted that marriage equality is a line that Christians must not allow to be crossed.

Barna was the Debbie Downer of the conference, reeling off pages of statistics designed to show the moral decline of America and the diminishing influence of the church in American culture.  Among the statistics that seemed to land like a punch to the gut: only nine percent of born-again Americans have what Barna calls a “biblical worldview” – just over 51 percent of Protestant senior pastors make the grade. Barna decried the fact that so many pastors do not preach about current political topics.

Barton’s speech contained no surprises for anyone familiar with his shtick about the influence of colonial-era pastors on the country’s founding, the number of Bible verses supposedly contained in the U.S. Constitution, and his insistence that the Bible is filled with specific policy prescriptions, such as opposition to minimum wages and capital gains taxes. In fact, he said, the Bible includes 613 civil laws for running the country.

Barton cited principles of warfare taught at the Army War College to argue that the church is supposed to be on offense, not defense, in current culture war battles. Making that happen is the goal of those who are working to build the American Pastors Network, including Sam Rohrer, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who serves as president of both the national and Pennsylvania networks.

Among the video presentations at the conference was a message recorded by Mike Huckabee in Israel, standing on a ridge overlooking the valley that he said would be the site of the battle of Armageddon. He stood on Mt. Carmel, the site of an Old Testament showdown in which Elijah showed up the prophets of Baal by having God rain down fire on an altar he had drenched with water. America, said Huckabee, needs pulpits willing to call down God’s fire.

Among the vendors doing a brisk business at the conference was the Institute of the Constitution, which promotes a Christian Reconstructionist ideology, and which has used its materials to train Tea Party activists in their vision of a radically, and biblically, limited role for the government.

Priebus Pal David Lane: 'Wicked' Pro-Equality Republicans Threaten Collapse of GOP

Religious Right political strategist David Lane, who urges greater political engagement by conservative evangelical pastors and promotes right-wing candidates, has managed a pretty neat trick: he trashes “establishment” Republicans while taking RNC members on junkets to Israel and being embraced by top RNC officials, including GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and Director of Faith Engagement Chad Connelly. Lane is out today with another slam at Republicans who support legal equality for LGBT Americans – a category that does not, to be clear, include Priebus and Connelly.

What has Lane so agitated is the amicus brief that was signed by 300 Republicans urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality nationwide. Lane, to put it mildly, is not pleased. Lane quotes 18th Century English theologian William Berriman:

"It is the property of the Devil, not to mistake the nature of virtue, and esteem it criminal, but to hate it for this reason, because it is good, and therefore most opposite to his designs. The wicked, as his proper emissaries, resemble him in this, and grieve to have the foulness of their vices made conspicuous by being placed near the light of virtuous example."

And then, just so we don’t miss the point, Lane writes:

These GOP Chieftains and Lieutenants lack wisdom. They are neither "shrewd," "insightful," nor "wise"-but "weak-willed" and "easily seduced." They do not believe in the truth that "The true glory of a nation lies in its righteousness rather than its wealth or power."

…These leaders have served as key cogs of the Republican Party apparatus for a quarter of a century. Defining themselves as "conservative" camouflages their radical, secular ideology. They are responsible for frittering away the branding and legacy of limited government, lower taxes, deregulation of business and a philosophy of-"the-one-thing-government-can-do-for-me-is-leave-me-alone"-bequeathed to the Republican Party by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

Lane singles out former RNC Chair and White House Political Director Ken Mehlman for calling marriage equality “the conservative position.” Says Lane, “What Mehlman is trying to pull here is unconscionable-without principle.”

As we have noted before, Lane views himself both as a warrior for the Republican Party – turning out evenglical voters to support right-wing candidates, and a warrior within the GOP against those who do not share his Christian-nation, anti-gay extremism (or his religion). More from his latest salvo:

This trend of redefining words has only just begun. Phony Republican leaders will continue to use the word "conservative," but with two different meanings. Therefore, if we mean to appreciate conservative values, defend them, and even judge them any better than the Democrat Party's penchant for abortion, homosexual marriage, and anti-god values, then we must define the basic values of the Grand Old Party.

Evangelical and Pro-Life Catholic Christians will find little "community" with Republican secularists, as these agnostics attempt to impose a godless paganism on the nation. After all, what is a political party if not a group of individuals supporting certain beliefs?

Lane says “secular Republicans who impose so-called homosexual marriage on the nation in 2015 will have the exact same effect on the Republican Party that slavery had on the Whig Party in 1852-it will collapse.”

Lane is a Christian nationalist who says America was founded for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” and demands that the Bible be made a primary textbook in public schools. He has blamed Supreme Court decisions upholding church-state separation for imposing a “pagan” secularism on the nation. He returns to that theme in today’s screed:

The Founders established the Bible as the fixed point in order to judge, therein establishing the unity, structure, and shape that welded a people together in a single terrain and fashioned American Exceptionalism. In 1963, the shortsighted Supreme Court eliminated the Bible from public schools causing lone dissenting Justice Potter Stewart to prophesy, "...[the decision] led not to true neutrality with respect to religion, but to the establishment of a religion of secularism." This atrocity has finally reached its denouement in America. One worldview is going to reign supreme between these two competing ideologies: godless secularism or biblical Christianity. One philosophy leads on to fortune, the other "over the falls of Niagara."

 

Tony Perkins: Obama Immigration Order Inviting Terror Attacks on US Christians

A direct mail letter from FRC Action dated February 2015 features a shadowy outline of a machine-gun-wielding terrorist with the warning:

TERRORISM: no longer “out there”

How they’re become a threat to YOU and your family

Inside, the letter from Family Research Council President Tony Perkins connects the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, the attacks on Coptic Christians in the Middle East, and what he calls the Obama administration’s “illegal amnesty program.”  Perkins warns that “it is clear that American families are being placed in serious danger by President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration.”

After discussing ISIS efforts to recruit American Muslims, Perkins states:

It is clear that some people are coming across the border with ulterior motives—not simply looking for working in hopes of sending money home to their families. These are not simply rumors from news reports; I have this firsthand from people in government and in organizations focused on national security.

Perkins even manages to work in marriage equality:

This President refuses to acknowledge that there is evil in the world. Terrorists are not simply people who grew up in bad neighborhoods and developed bad attitudes. These are people who want to kill us.

President Obama holds a worldview – and a view of America – that puts everything we value at risk. In the same way that he shrugs off a radical redefinition of marriage, in the same way that he shrugs off the persecution of Christians in other countries (and adopts policies that contribute to it in our own country), he minimizes the threat of Islamic terrorists.

And by connecting these threats to what he calls the administration’s “lawlessness,” Perkins is even able to work in Obamacare.

Perkins ends with a P.S.:

As “People of the Cross,” it is clear that you and I have been targeted by the terrorists. It is no longer a vague “concern.” It is a very real threat. Our President is not protecting us. We must move Congress to ensure your safety and the safety of your children and grandchildren. We will fight for you on Capitol Hill. Please help us. Give generously today. Thank you again.

 

Birther Joseph Farah Wants PFAW Help To Block Third Obama Term. Let’s Make A Deal.

Last Friday, Miranda noted that birther, conspiracy theorist par excellence, and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah was publicizing one of the more ridiculous right-wing scare-stories: that President Obama will refuse to leave the White House after his second term is over in January 2017. Farah said in a column last week that “there’s great concern” about the possibility “out there across the fruited plain.”

In classic Fox News and far-right trolling style, Farah said he didn’t actually believe Obama would refuse to leave office, but was just asking questions: why should we should take a departure for granted given what he calls Obama’s “contempt of the law” and “disrespect for American tradition” – and “the ever-present reality that Obama himself may not even be constitutionally eligible for office.”  

Farah was seemingly not pleased that RWW poked fun at his column, responding over the weekend with an appeal to another unimpeachable source of information on the president’s plans, Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh, says Farah, responded to a Friday caller raising the same question by spinning out a hypothetical scenario in which Obama refuses to go. Here’s Limbaugh:

“So as a service to the nation, he is going to forget the 22nd Amendment and either not leave office or run for re-election himself as the Democrat nominee. Just imagine that scenario. I don’t care how unreal it sounds, how unbelievable it sounds. Imagine it.

What would anybody do? What would Mitch McConnell do? What would John Boehner do?

Adds Farah,

“There’s simply no organized opposition to Obama’s illegal, criminal actions and behavior. He’s getting away with all of it. There are no serious repercussions. No political price. No major media opposition. Few judicial rulings that worry him. Not one political, religious or social institution that is holding him accountable – least of all the Republican Party."

Farah was apparently bothered that Miranda’s RWW post did not include a pledge that People For the American Way would “use all of its influence and legal firepower” to stop Obama from chucking the Constitution in a White House power-grab. Of course we don’t take the possibility seriously, but since Farah seems to, let’s offer him a proposition: If President Obama refuses to allow a constitutional transfer of power to his successor, we will join you at the barricades. If the American republic miraculously survives, you will stop polluting the public discourse with toxic nonsense. Deal? 

Matt Barber's BarbWire: Gays, Unitarians, and Satan, Oh My!

BarbWire, the website created by anti-gay activist Matt Barber, has become home to some of the most out-there right-wing anti-gay punditry imaginable. But the site is not resting on its laurels. The latest installment comes from Linda Wall, who calls herself a “former lesbian” and founder and CEO of Virginia Mass Resistance.

Wall is a friend of Lisa Miller, another “former lesbian” who fled the country illegally rather than comply with courts’ custody rulings regarding the daughter she had with her former partner. In 2012, Wall argued that Hurricane Sandy was part of God’s vengeance against America for Lisa Miller’s plight.

In her latest post, Wall gets right to the point. Who is behind the LGBT movement? “It is none other than Satan himself.” It’s hard to do justice to Wall’s description of the “world of darkness” she experienced when working for an art gallery owner and managing his rental properties, so we’ll let her words speak for themselves, though they sound more like an overwrought movie treatment than an op-ed column. Wall describes a vision she had the night before she was scheduled to clean out the basement of her boss's house to get rid of a "homeless squatter's belongings."

The night before I was due to accomplish this dreaded assignment, I did something I had not done in fifteen years or more; I got on my knees to pray. Somehow I knew I was about to face the rulers of the darkness of this world.

After asking God to be with me and protect me, I jumped into bed. What happened next must have been a vision because not enough time had passed for me to be asleep and dreaming. I saw the pile of junk I was to remove from the basement and watched a snake crawl out from beneath it. In my ignorance of the dark side of the supernatural I thought God was telling me to watch out for the snake, but He was warning me about a much bigger serpent!

The next day I gathered some 50 gallon trash bags, a spotlight and an iron pipe and headed into the cellar. Entry to the earthen floor basement was an exterior entrance much like a tornado shelter. As I swung the heavy wooden cellar doors open my heart raced with fear. While I climbed down the steps I began banging the pipe on anything that would make a noise in hopes of scaring off any snake. Once my feet were on the ground I began shining the spotlight all around.

I felt like I had stepped into a live horror story. Enormous spider webs were hanging everywhere. The place was damp and cold. What was this place of darkness I had entered? All through the basement were wooden stalls with doors that one might keep animals behind. My imagination went wild as I could only imagine what was going to take place in this basement behind these “cages.”

Humanly, I was alone in the basement, but I could sense there were many eyes watching me. I began to sing hymns I use to sing as a kid in church. I couldn’t remember all of the words, but what came to mind I sang out loudly. I knew my only line of defense was God’s Word from those “old –timey” hymns.

As in fast forwarding a movie, I began to stuff the unwanted items into the plastic bags and in a flash the task was completed. What a relief when I exited the cellar and slammed the door. I had been expecting to be captured and locked up any moment the entire time I was down there.

I caught my breath and immediately entered the house to retrieve my car keys and sunglasses. Before leaving, I noticed all of the eyes in the pictures glaring at me. Often I had studied the art work, but for the first time I understood what they all had in common. It was the eyes. It was Satan himself glaring at me.

All of a sudden my brain put little incidences together to paint a bigger picture. Many times I had been invited to attend the “calling of the dead” that occurred weekly in the room of this house where the windows were painted black. It seemed that every time I turned around my employer was trying to get me to drink something or eat something that was described as “good for you.” There had also been an ongoing campaign at the gay bar I frequented to convince me to be hypnotized. I had a feeling I had truly encountered the occult.

On Sunday, I visited the Unitarian church where my employer was also a preacher. He had supposedly been away all week at a seminar for pastors to be alone with God. Even though the dots were connecting to indicate satanic activity, I was still curious enough to attend the service. It ended up being my last.

When he began to preach he went into a “trance” speaking with a different accent and under the name of St. Benedict. As I watched this unexplainable happening, I saw the devil’s head on his body and knew God Almighty was intervening and saying, “get out!”

Stay tuned for Wall’s “Satan and the GLBT Demons – Part 2.”

 

CPAC Superheroes: Who's The Hulk?

If “superhero” is not the word that comes to mind when you think of Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, or Rick Perry, you clearly aren’t CPAC material. The Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual right-wing gathering hosted by the American Conservative Union, is promoting this year’s event with a graphic inspired by the movie “Avengers” – or Disney’s animated series “Avengers Assemble.”

As in the Marvel universe, there are some household names, and some clearly second- or third-tier heroes. We’ll leave it to you to speculate on the superpowers wielded by Bobby Jindal, John Bolton, Laura Ingraham, Ben Carson, and others.

National School Choice Week: PR For Privatizers?

On Wednesday morning, a roomful of school children were herded into a congressional meeting room and required to sit through an hour and a half worth of speeches by conservative Members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, Sens. Ted Cruz and Tim Scott, Chief Deputy Whip Rep. Patrick McHenry, Education & Workforce Committee Chair John Kline of Minnesota, and a handful of others. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana was the emcee.

The Capitol Hill event was in honor of National School Choice Week, whose organizers describe it as a nonpolitical, nonpartisan “independent public awareness campaign” promoting the idea that every child deserves access to an excellent education. Who would disagree?

In other words, it’s a PR campaign, one that wraps itself in the moral mantle of children. But the bright yellow scarves it wraps around its participants are meant to distract attention from the fact that sponsors of this week’s thousands of events include many anti-public education, anti-union, anti-government ideologues, including the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Heritage Foundation, the Alliance for Prosperity and others. The President of National School Choice Week, Andrew Campanella, used to work at the Alliance for School Choice, whose board is chaired by deep-pocketed right-wing activist Betsy DeVos and is funded by a who’s who of right-wing foundations.

As we noted during last year’s NSCW:

Education policy is a vast, complicated, and hotly contested arena. Terms like “education reform” and “school choice” sound good, but they are so broad as to be almost meaningless. They can be applied to genuine efforts to strengthen teaching and educational opportunity as well as cynical schemes to destroy public employee unions and dismantle public education altogether.

In particular, “school choice” encompasses a huge array of education policies, from public charter and magnet schools to taxpayer-funded for-profit cyberschools and homeschooling.  Even a seemingly specific term like “charter schools” cloaks a more complex reality that ranges from innovation labs co-located in public schools to for-profit chain operations.  

Indeed, this year, Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter published “A Smarter Charter: Finding What works for Charter Schools and Public Education.” The book documents that the original vision for charter schools – teachers empowered to be creative in diverse schools that could identify ways to strengthen public education – has been turned on its head. Rather than a teacher-empowering and collaborative paradigm, charter schools are often noted for tightly controlled teachers in highly segregated schools dominated by an ideology of competition with public schools. 

There are more collaborative models, just as there are charter schools with strong academic track records as well as those that lag behind the public schools that choice advocates consistently disparage. Important distinctions get lost under the big, vague, banner of school choice. And that’s intentional.

NSCW is about painting in broad strokes and drawing no distinctions, for example, between public magnet schools and for-profit corporations cashing in on the “reform” movement. No distinction is made between giving students choice among their district’s public schools and diverting education dollars into religious academies and online homeschooling via vouchers and other schemes.  These do not have the same impact on public schools, or the same levels of public accountability, but in the interest of keeping things simple, and winning public support for across-the-board expansion of these programs, they’re all “choice.”

As we wrote last year:

The problem with this “collective messaging” approach is that it hides the anti-public-education agenda of some “reformers.” Celebrating “school choice” across the board lends credibility to organizations pushing for destructive policies that are not at all popular with the American public. In spite of decades of right-wing-funded attacks on public education, for example, Americans oppose privatization plans like vouchers that transfer public education funds to private schools.

Self-proclaimed reformers often dismiss concerns about privatization as a “red herring.” But you can’t embrace the Milton Friedman Foundation as a partner and then pretend that privatization is only an imaginary threat dreamed up by teachers unions.  Friedman has an explicit goal of getting rid of public schools altogether; they see programs like vouchers for poor kids as a tactical stepping stone toward that ultimate goal.

Other supporters of National School Choice Week have included companies that want to tap into the huge flow of public dollars spent every year on education. K12, a member of the “choice”-promoting American Legislative Exchange Council and a company the New York Times has described as “the biggest player in the online-school business,” paid its president more than $5.5. million last year; two other executives each made more than $4 million. A November 2014 investigation by Bloomberg focused on the company’s efforts to turn around “subpar test scores” and declining enrollments.

National School Choice Week promoters say it is nonpolitical and has no legislative agenda, but that’s hard to take seriously given the agendas of its backers. At this week’s event on Capitol Hill, the only Democratic Member of Congress to join the Republican parade was Illinois’ Dan Lipinski, who declined to endorse Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. (Former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford also spoke.)

Members of Congress at Wednesday’s event talked about pushing legislation this year to expand “school choice” programs, meaning that battles over vouchers, charter schools, and other education issues will be on the agenda this year, including February’s Senate markup of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, “There are currently private school voucher and tuition tax credit programs in 23 states and at least 10 states are looking to create new or expanding existing school voucher programs this year.”

Obviously, not everyone who participates in National School Choice Week activities is an anti-public-education ideologue. People from across the political spectrum are eager to strengthen schools and give students an opportunity for a great education. That includes public school teachers, administrators, and school board members – people who are collectively smeared as “the blob” by some “reformers.” People who are seeking to strengthen public education and make schools better for all children should think twice about making common cause with organizations that see public education as something to be dismantled and corporations that see students as the means to a bigger bottom line.

This post originally appeared on People For the American Way's blog.

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