On Aug. 24, the U.S. District Court judge denied a requested injunction from a group of Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox parents to opt their children out of LGBT storybook lessons, exposing the judge’s grave misunderstanding of the Supreme Court’s religious freedom jurisprudence.
When parents initially raised objections to the books, the school board said they could opt their children out of instruction involving the books, as parents can for other parts of the curriculum. By the spring, however, the school board announced parents would not only no longer be notified in advance when the books would be read, they also couldn’t opt their children out of instruction involving the books.
Three families, representing various faith traditions with children enrolled in schools run by the county, sued. They object to having their children exposed to principles concerning sex and identity that contravene their religious beliefs. They argue the school board’s “no-opt-out” policy violates their and their children’s free exercise and free speech under the Constitution’s First Amendment and the parents’ substantive due process rights under the 14th Amendment. The lawsuit asks for a preliminary injunction to restore the rights of parents to opt their children out of reading and discussing the books.
Biden-appointed Judge Deborah Boardman denied the requested injunction, just days after oral argument. “[T]he plaintiffs have not shown that the no-opt-out policy likely will result in the indoctrination of their children,” she wrote. But what about the parents’ rights to direct the religious upbringing of the children? Boardman’s take is that “[e]ven if their children’s exposure to religiously offensive ideas makes the parents’ efforts less likely to succeed, that does not amount to a government-imposed burden on their religious exercise.”
Perhaps the most bizarre part of Boardman’s opinion is her opinion that “the plaintiffs’ asserted due process right to direct their children’s upbringing by opting out of a public-school curriculum that conflicts with their religious views is not a fundamental right.” [emphasis added]....
Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of drivel we can expect of Biden’s judicial appointees.
Under long-standing Supreme Court precedent, government schools are not “empowered … to ‘save’ a child from himself or his [religious] parents” by imposing “compulsory” education to “influence … the religious future of the child.” In fact, the court recently reaffirmed as an “enduring American tradition,” the “rights of parents to direct the religious upbringing of their children.” Boardman’s attempts to distinguish these cases borders on the ridiculous.
Do you get it? It is not about balancing religious rights and parental rights with government policy, it is about transgressing every right in the cause of the government knows best what you ought to believe and how you ought to raise your kids. You cannot opt out. You cannot oppose. You must comply. It has become the Covid way of dealing with everything. This Biden appointed judge will certainly have her ruling overturned on appeal -- for now. This is clearly the direction the law is headed. Honestly, homeschooling and private schools are becoming the only real options in some parts of the country and maybe in all.
By the way, if you want to read about another case, take a look at what happened when the school decided that they knew better than the parent when it came to transitioning a child to another gender. $100,000 sounds like a lot of money but how much did she have to spend to win and how many other parents have not sued either out of intimidation or lack of resources and options? For everyone who wins, there are others who lose and the state or government wins in their right to overturn your religious or parental rights.