Alliance Defending Freedom, a massive religious-right legal group, streamed live video of a protest rally outside a Loudoun County school board meeting in northern Virginia Tuesday night, at which local parents and teachers opposing the school district’s transgender-inclusive policy were joined by representatives from the right-wing political groups FreedomWorks and Heritage Action, along with right-wing author and podcaster Matt Walsh.
National right-wing groups and activists have made the Loudoun County school district a target of their hostility over a transgender-inclusive policy that requires, among other things, teachers to address trans students using their preferred pronouns. ADF is representing teachers who call the policy a violation of their religious freedom and freedom of speech.
Tuesday’s rally speakers promoted an array of right-wing causes beyond denying transgender rights, from anti-vaccine conspiracies to opposition to “critical race theory” to the upcoming statewide elections in Virginia. “We need [Glenn] Youngkin,” said one speaker, urging rallygoers to vote early for the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia and for Republicans for other statewide offices. Another called the school superintendent a communist. A few local officials and candidates signed a “Virginia Parents Bill of Rights.”
The right-wing Media Research Center sent a TV crew to interview attendees, including a parent who said, “They took God out of schools, and the devil took his place.” Another parent put the effort in spiritual warfare terms, saying, “This is not our battle. This is God’s battle, and he wins this battle.”
A FreedomWorks representative talked about the group’s efforts to help people run for office and “take back the school boards one seat at a time.” Heritage Action’s Melody Clarke slammed teachers unions and the infrastructure and jobs bill moving through Congress before promoting a website that encourages students and parents to report school materials that demonstrate the teaching of “critical race theory.” Clarke said it was a bad thing that the Build Back Better bill would include $8 billion earmarked for education, asking, “Can you imagine how much worse it would be if they had an additional $8 billion to play with for their leftist agenda?”
Right Wing Watch reported yesterday that Daily Wire podcaster Matt Walsh said he had leased property in the school district in order to comply with new school board rules requiring public speakers to be from the district. At the rally, Walsh mocked the rule, saying that he is renting the basement of an activist who served as rally emcee for one dollar.
Walsh closed out the rally with a focus on the transgender-inclusive policy, vowing, “The days of polite cooperation with evil and falsehood are over, they’re completely over.”
“The infiltration of gender ideology into the school system is a direct assault on our kids,” he claimed, describing it as part of a plan “to sexualize children and to shape them, to mold them.”
“We’re not gonna sit in silence while our kids, while any kids, are ripped to shreds by these damned vultures, these monsters,” he said, vowing that activists will not drop the issue. More from Walsh’s comments at the rally:
You know, the old tricks are not going to work on us. I want the other people on the other side of this to understand this: Your old tricks are not going to work. You could call us bigots. Doesn’t mean anything coming from you. You could call us hateful. And you’re right about that. We are. We hate what you are doing to kids. We hate that. We hate your attack on truth, and on science and on moral decency. We hate that too. And you can call us intolerant. And that’s also true because we’re not going to tolerate it anymore.
This is the line in the sand that we have drawn. We’re not going to surrender our kids to this darkness. We’re not going to do it. We’re not going to give up on truth. Not now. Not ever.
In his brief but incendiary remarks to the school board itself, Walsh called school board members “abusers” and “predators” and charged, “You prey upon impressionable children and indoctrinate them into your insane ideological cult.”