June 15, 2023

York Dispatch Editorial Board: Do the homework on Moms for Liberty-affiliated school initiatives

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The York Dispatch has seen a bit of Moms for Liberty action in Pennsylvania, and they don’t much care for it.

The name is benign. The agenda, anything but.

A national organization known as Moms for Liberty, which has chapters throughout central Pennsylvania including in York County, has gained prominence in its brief existence by opposing inclusive educational curricula, espousing anti-LGBTQ+ positions and advocating book bans.

Under the guise of parental rights, the group deals in anti-government rhetoric, espouses conspiracy theories and broadcasts tropes such as claims that LGBTQ individuals “groom” youngsters.

In other words, it’s a right-wing fever dream. That’s why, just two years since its founding, it has attracted attention and support from conservative stalwarts including Tucker Carlson and Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Another GOP presidential hopeful, former President Donald Trump, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the organization’s National Summit in Philadelphia at the end of this month. (If he’s not otherwise occupied.)

The group’s assaults on public schools, teachers unions and LGBTQ and minority rights has led the Southern Poverty Law Center to classifying Moms for Liberty as an anti-government “extremist group.”

The civil rights organization says Moms for Liberty has broadened and amplified its anti-government messaging with the aid of conservative politicians and far-right agitators.

The board notes an example of M4L in action.

One example: The organization helped propel a lawsuit against the West Shore School District over its social-emotional learning curriculum, which is designed to help students learn about empathy, service and connection. (Aiding in the suit is the far-right America First Legal Foundation, a political nonprofit founded by former Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller.)

Local Moms for Liberty organizers were far from abashed by the SPLC designation.

“What a proud moment for us joyful warriors,” Rhonda Garman, the head of Moms for Liberty’s York chapter, said on Twitter. “They are beside themselves [because] they know we are united and conquering.”

Oh, brother!

By opposing public education — the group wants to eliminate the Education Department — seeking to proscribe works of literature and engaging in anti-LGBTQ and gender identity campaigns, Moms for Liberty isn’t conquering anything other than unfettered academic instruction and inclusiveness.

Read the full editorial here. 

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