Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has been known for being a staunch Christian who grew up in the Christian Reformed Church. The Christian Reformed Church is a Protestant Church which split from the Reformed Church in America because the latter supported public education in the United States. The Christian Reformed Church believed that education “should only be taught in the family.”
With this background, it’s easy to suggest that her belief in private schools and fundamentalist Christianity comes from her affiliation with the Christian Reformed Church.
Betsy DeVos supports the use of vouchers, which are services the government provides to low-income families just so they can send their kids to private schools. Aside from vouchers not being good for students according to studies, DeVos has said that she doesn’t mind if they are used to help families send their kids to religious schools.
DeVos and her family have donated to Christian private schools, conservative Christian organizations, and other Christian education-related groups.
The Secretary of Education has also said that she wants to “advance God’s Kingdom through the United State’s school system.”
All of these examples show us how Betsy DeVos is not only a right-wing Christian, but she is a Christian supremacist. She seeks to promote Christianity and to expand her dogmatic beliefs by any means necessary, even if she has to kill off the little separation of Church and State that the United States has left.
She has faced a large amount of criticism because her history of large donations to right-wing Christian groups which supported conversion therapy to LGBT teenagers. DeVos claims she “doesn’t believe” in conversion therapy, but why did she donate to groups which support that horrific form of torture? Yes, torture.
Betsy DeVos has also faced criticism because she didn’t mind if States decided to not punish schools which were discriminatory against LGBT people, even if those schools were funded by taxpayer money.
DeVos and her family have also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a far-right Christian group named “Focus on the Family” (FoF), whose founder has said that “gay marriage will lead to a second civil war.” Focus on the Family has also spoken in favor of traditional gender roles and against rights for transgender individuals; they have also been against anti-bullying groups because they claim they push the “gay agenda.” On the Family Radio Show, FoF’s President Jim Daly said that “same-sex marriage is the end of civilization.” Focus on the Family’s support for DeVos can even be seen on its official internet site.
The Secretary of Education’s father and her husband’s family have also donated money to the Family Research Council (FRC), another Christian group, which pressured Walmart to stop funding LGBT-friendly groups in 2013. They have also claimed that homosexual people are more prone to committing child abuse. The FRC is obviously against same-sex marriage, in favor of corporations discriminating against LGBT individuals, and against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Peter Sprigg from the FRC wants to see homosexuality criminalized.
And finally, on June 15, all the criticism ignited again when the Education Department invited Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, both groups consisting of adamant supporters of conversion therapies and anti-LGBT causes, to a Father’s Day-themed event. This made the National Parent-Teacher Association withdraw from the event, which has four million members nationwide, because of their stance in favor of protecting LGBT students. The Spokespeople for Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council did a speech about “Family Engagement in Faith-based Organizations” during the event, which focused on the role of a parent in their child’s education.
Even though Betsy DeVos didn’t attend these events, it is a punch right in the stomach of the LGBT community that she allowed these two hate groups to attend an official event from the Education Department.
She should be ashamed of inviting such horrific groups into events that should seek to strengthen the education of the American youth, not just to harm a vulnerable and marginalized group within American students.
With all of these examples, we can see how even with the legalization of marriage equality, the fight for LGBT rights isn’t over.