Last Tuesday, unbeknownst to me, my son stuffed his beloved Bible into his bookbag. He was planning on using his class’s show-and-tell time to share with his classmates what he was reading in God’s Word. Keep in mind, my son is a second-grader in the Arlington County, Va., public school system. One of the most progressively leftist communities in the country, Arlington County has little room for conservative Christianity. Our neighborhood is filled with multi-colored yard signs proclaiming, “Love trumps hate!” or “All Are Welcome Here!” followed by a scolding for those who don’t accept that boys can be girls and vice versa. My son, in his eight-year-old naivety, of course, is mostly unaware that he is a pariah in his own community. His teacher’s actions last Tuesday, though, chipped away at his innocence.
“What happened?” I queried after finding out about his missionary zeal.
“The teacher stopped me from speaking,” my son sadly said, “and went on to the next person. I didn’t get to tell them about Daniel.”
You see, my son had been reading the book of Daniel and wanted to tell his friends about it. It was important to him. What he didn’t realize is that the Bible, no matter how important to his identity, is verboten in the brave new world of progressive tolerance. The Bible and those who take God’s Word seriously are not allowed a platform in leftist America. My son learned that the hard way last Tuesday. His disappointment is only eclipsed by his confusion as to why his teacher wouldn’t let him finish.
Contrast my son’s experience with that of another student’s experience in the Virginia public school system.
This past summer, the parents of a rising ninth-grader informed the school district of West Point, Va., that their daughter believes she is a boy. The district, of course, quickly acquiesced and took steps to ensure that the student’s preferred identity is honored. In fact, the district went so far in their support of this student that they fired a French teacher last week because he believes that a “she” is a “she” and not a “he.”
Peter Vlaming, the fired teacher, told the school’s principal that it would violate his faith (his identity) to use the student’s preferred pronoun. According to NPR, West Point High principal Jonathan Hochman testified at Vlaming’s school board hearing, “I can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than what was happening.”
Considering that I could list many worse ways to treat a child than using the “wrong” pronoun, Principal Hochman reveals that ideology trumps common sense and, frankly, the well-being of children. It’s stunning to consider the contrast between the hyperbolic language and extreme actions taken to ensure that one child’s identity is catered to and how my son was swiftly shut down when he wanted to briefly talk about a part of his identity that’s important to him. It’s also frightening.
If my son had been allowed to proceed, no other kid in that classroom would have been under any obligation to listen to or care about what was being said about the Bible. They most definitely wouldn’t have been under any compulsion to agree with the Bible or convert. On the other hand, if a girl believes that she is a boy, it’s not enough to allow her to believe what she wants; others are required to accept and promote her belief, even if it violates their own faith identity.
Make no mistake: the left has zero interest in allowing people to express themselves. Protecting important aspects of a person’s identity is not universal. That protection only extends to the ideology that the left wants to promote. Anyone who gets in their way will be silenced, like my son, or have their livelihood ripped away, like Peter Vlaming. Eventually, if this trend continues, Christians in America will understand what our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ suffer.
The treatment of my son versus the preferential treatment of the transgender student in West Point, Va., is a harbinger of things to come.
(If you’d like to help Peter Vlaming’s family, here is a link to the verified fundraising page.)