Late last year, five Albemarle County families took a stand and challenged Albemarle County Public Schools’ so-called “anti-racism” policy. These parents reject racism in every form, and that is exactly why they have challenged the policy. It promotes race-based division and resentment, and it wrongly discriminates against students based on their race and other personal characteristics.
My colleagues and I at Alliance Defending Freedom are honored to represent each of the brave families involved in the lawsuit, as they stand up for what they believe to be right. But while criticism and disagreement are to be expected in a free society, it’s unfortunate to see slurs being thrown at my organization to distract from the real issues at stake.
Recently, a letter from Rebecca Kendall published in The Crozet Gazette didn’t even attempt to engage the very real concerns our clients seek to remedy through the court system. The author instead sought to discredit ADF and, by extension, undermine the reputations of the five families we represent.
To this end, she relied on allegations copied from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Once a respected civil rights organization, the Alabama-based group has spent the last several decades squandering its reputation. Today’s SPLC is corrupt inside and out, as investigative journalists and commentators from across the political spectrum have observed for years.
As the editor-in-chief of one national progressive magazine put it, the SPLC is “everything that’s wrong with liberalism.”
ADF, on the other hand, takes legal and policy positions that are informed by biblically based understandings. And we do so while fully respecting the human dignity of those with whom we disagree, as those understandings require. We work hard to protect the freedom of every American to express and advocate for their beliefs. We have publicly responded to SPLC’s false and misleading allegations, so I’ll leave it to readers to decide whether those malicious smears stand up to scrutiny.
I do, however, want to add a few important facts omitted from Ms. Kendall’s rundown of ADF. We have won 13 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court in the past 11 years, including two in the past year. These victories, in addition to numerous wins at lower courts and more than 430 free speech successes on American college campuses, protect the rights of all people to peacefully live, speak, and work according to their beliefs without threat of government punishment.
In fact, our legal positions are often shared by our fiercest opponents, including the SPLC itself, which joined a friend-of-the-court brief in support of our position in a recent Supreme Court victory. Our record is hardly that of an extremist, outlier group, as Ms. Kendall would suggest.
As the lawsuit against Albemarle County Public Schools progresses through the courts, I trust that neighbors in the county will see through baseless attacks like these, and rather turn their attention to the merits of the concerns that our clients raise. Perhaps a review of the detailed arguments made in our legal complaint would prove a more useful exercise.
After all, when something as important as your children’s education is at stake, casting uninformed aspersions just won’t do.
Senior Counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom and Director of its Center for Parental Rights