This week’s “Secularist of the Week” is the deserving governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, who announced he’ll be ending millions in public subsidy for anti-abortion counseling services. Receiving FFRF Action Fund’s disapproving “Theocrat of the Week” is a California school board president pushing “Christ-centered parents.”
FFRF Action Fund is praising Shapiro’s leadership in cutting off the spigot to a nonprofit, Real Alternatives, that has distributed millions in tax dollars for 29 years to anti-abortion counseling centers. Last year alone, Real Alternatives received about $7 million in taxpayer dollars, which it distributed to more than 70 anti-abortion counseling centers. This is not the first time Shapiro has shown his exemplary stewardship. Back in 2018, when he was attorney general, he oversaw the landmark grand jury investigation and report into child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in six Pennyslvania dioceses.
Presenting quite a contrast is Rocklin School Board President Julie Leavens Hupp, who posted on her official Rocklin School Board Trustee Facebook Page on Aug. 26 a defense of her invitation to “Christ-centered parents” to join school advisory boards: “Yes, I asked for Christ-loving individuals to join committees. I posted on many different sites. I also asked for family-centered individuals and principle-centered, loving people. All faiths and all child-loving people are encouraged to sign up. The inclusion of one does not mean the exclusion of others.”
The Sacramento Bee called this “yet another example of the school board’s religious bias and its troubling penchant for blurring the lines between organized religion and a taxpayer-funded school district that should be secular.” Added the newspaper: “It is also symptomatic of Placer County’s ongoing Christian nationalism problem.” Hupp is part of a conservative supermajority that has championed “parental rights,” a dog whistle for those who want to curtail discussion of racism in curricula, ban books and otherwise dictate to everyone else their religious agenda.
Just yesterday, the school board voted 4–1 to require teachers and staff to alert a student’s parents if they request using different pronouns, going by a different name or otherwise indicating they’re reconsidering their gender identity. California’s attorney general has condemned the action for endangering and outing trans students.
We couldn’t say it better than the Sacramento Bee, which noted: “California is not a theocracy, and religion does not belong in our government or our classrooms.”