“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7, New King James).
We the people. The first three words of the United States Constitution and the foundational principle of our republic. We elect government officials to represent our interests. We speak out against unjust policies and laws. We file lawsuits when our civil liberties or religious liberties are violated. But first, we must be educated on the issues and then vote for candidates who fight for the issues we support. It’s really that simple, yet many people don’t get involved because they think their vote and their advocacy won’t change anything.
But we the people can make a difference. A look at the recent grassroots movement for parental rights can help us understand the political process and realize the power we have to preserve this great nation by fighting for our families.
In March 2020, everything stopped as we all faced a common enemy: COVID 19. As a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner, I had to vote to close the beaches to get spring breakers back home and close non-essential businesses to keep people from spreading this deadly virus. Our fire and police department were overwhelmed with transporting sick people and keeping order in the city. Hospitals faced the brunt of the burden, working overtime to keep people alive. Schools were closed, so teachers also worked overtime transitioning to online classes, while helping their own children continue to learn.
Within a few months, Florida was open for business, but our public schools remained closed. As a commissioner during this public school closure, I supported using federal Covid funds to open city community centers for micro pods of learning for students struggling to keep up. The city provided internet access for learning, while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Private schools reopened, but Broward County Public Schools remained closed to in-person teaching. Parents struggled to get back to work with schools closed. Private businesses opened because they needed to make money. Public schools were closed because they already had your money.
Parents were starting to understand they had little control over their children’s public schools, even though they are funded by their public tax dollars. Within a few months, a grassroots movement began with mothers fighting Covid restrictions and mask mandates in public schools: Moms for Liberty. What started with a few moms in Florida fighting overreaching school board policies has since morphed into a nationwide movement for parental rights. Parents are now exposing liberal curriculum and removing sexually explicit books from our public schools. They are fighting for the right to know what’s being taught in the classroom and to be informed on all issues affecting their children. Parents are fighting for the fundamental right to raise their children.
We are now in a battle to protect our children from curriculum and policies that aim to redefine the basic tenets of family: man, woman, marriage, sex and children. The family, the fundamental unit of society, is under attack. Parents are on the move, coalescing to demand pro-family laws, and mobilizing to support pro-family candidates.
Some states have passed legislation to protect our God-given parental rights. In 2022, Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education law ensuring that schools could not withhold information from parents, and schools could not teach about sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3. In 2023, this law was expanded to include grades K-12. According to the Parental Rights Foundation, 18 states now have state statutes that define and protect parental rights.
Candidates at all levels of government have won recent elections by fighting for parental rights. One of the most formidable victories based on this platform was the 2021 Virginia Governor race where Republican Glenn Youngkin upset Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic Virginia Governor. Virginia is a traditionally blue state and President Joe Biden won that state by 10 points in 2020. A month before the 2021 election, CNN covered the candidate debate and reported the following:
The moment came during the second and final debate between the two late last month. “I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,” McAuliffe said over what should be taught in schools. The former governor later added, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.
Parents in Virginia perked up when McAuliffe said that parents should not tell schools what to teach and Youngkin went on to win this historic election. Parents around the nation are continuing to demand parental rights at all levels of government and they are making an impact.
The Bible is full of mandates regarding the importance of raising and educating children. Moses gave the law to the Israelites after they fled slavery in Egypt and before they entered the Promised Land. He exhorted them to “fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments …and these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:2, 6:6-7, New King James).
God commands us to teach His truth to our children. This also requires us to protect our children from worldviews opposed to the Biblical worldview. God created man and woman and God gave us the right and responsibility to raise our children. According to our founding documents, the government cannot take away this right, but they encroach more every day–so we must defend it.