Oppressive Rhode Island
They’re coming for you next: The Providence school district in Rhode Island has now been sued by the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) for unfairly blacklisting CEF’s afterschool Good News clubs from using school facilities for meetings,
For nearly two years, the Providence Public School District has blocked CEF Rhode Island from hosting its elementary school Good News Clubs on district school facilities. However, other organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, and Girls on the Run are given free use of school facilities for after school programs.
Note too that the school district had already approved CEF’s Good News clubs in 2019. According to the lawsuit [pdf], filed by the non-profit legal firm Liberty Counsel:
The District approved CEF Rhode Island’s August 2019 Rental of School Facilities application, allowing CEF Rhode Island to lead an afterschool Good News Club at William D’Abate Elementary School for the 2019–2020 school year, without any facility rental fee. Forty-eight children signed up for the club, but the club could only accommodate twenty children due to space limitations at the school.
When the Wuhan panic shuttered everything in 2020, this club stopped meeting. When CEF officials contacted district in 2021 to restart the club, they found district officials uncooperative, apparently looking for reasons to deny the club access. For the next year and a half district officials stonewalled CEF, repeatedly demanding new documents and then becoming non-responsive when CEF fulfilled every request.
It is important to note that the principal at D’Abate Elementary School, Brent Kermen, wanted the Good News Club to resume meeting, and worked with CEF to try to get his superiors at the district to give the go-ahead, all to no avail. In fact, when CEF demanded the same access to the schools that others were getting (including the YMCA, another Christian-based organization), the district responded by halting all the afterschool programs. Apparently, school officials decided it was better to deny children all extracurricular activities than to allow this one religious organization access.
In 2023, when the district once again allowed some outside organizations to run afterschool activities while still denying CEF access, CEF enlisted Liberty Counsel to file a lawsuit, claiming the district was violating its rights under the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution.
This story illustrates several things. First, government officials in places like Rhode Island have apparently become addicted to the power they obtained during the Wuhan panic. Beforehand, they approved CEF’s application without question, recognizing that the law required them to do so even though these government officials — generally Democrats and hostile to religion — were likely not happy about having a Christian club in their schools. After COVID, they realized they could get away with the arbitrary use of power to deny CEF access, and decided to use it to blacklist its Good News clubs.
Second, this is not the only case of vindictive blacklisting and oppression by government officials in Rhode Island. Its school system has attacked and slandered parents for asking for school curriculums, blacklisted teachers for questioning the introduction of racist and Marxist anti-American material into history classes, maintained discriminatory racist hiring practices, banned Christian books from its public libraries, and destroyed doctors for not following its insane and irrational COVID mandates.
In 2022 its state legislators proposed imposing exorbitant fines on anyone who refused to get the COVID jabs, essentially making those individuals second class citizens. Meanwhile, one of its senators in Congress, Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, has repeatedly proposed criminalizing anyone who dared disagree with the left’s agenda.
It is probably going to take more than a simple lawsuit to change things in Rhode Island. The blacklist culture there appears to be deeply rooted. If anything, I would expect the Rhode Island government to impose even more intolerant oppression in the coming years, all with the apparent approval of the majority of its population.
And if you live in Rhode Island and disagree, prove me wrong. Fix things. Stop stamping your boot into the faces of people you disagree with. The state was founded by a religious refugee, Roger Williams, in order to establish a haven for religious liberty. It might be nice if Rhode Islanders remembered the heritage and tried to live it.