DeVos to use Education Department to ‘advance God’s Kingdom’?

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, would be the very embodiment of a fox guarding a chicken coop.

DeVos, the billionaire national leader of the euphemistically named “school choice” movement, is a fanatic who has long been determined to force government to spend public tax dollars to “advance God’s Kingdom.” She and her husband, Dick (heir to the Amway fortune), are allies of the Koch brothers and ardent opponents of gay rights. They are also theocrats who’ve openly bemoaned the fact that churches have supposedly been displaced by public schools. “The church — which ought to be in our view far more central to the life of the community — has been displaced by the public school as the center for activity, the center for what goes on in the community,” Dick DeVos has said.

These and other candid comments were recently published by Politico, which got hold of audio of a 2001 interview with the couple at “The Gathering,” a conference of some of the country’s wealthiest Christians.

Betsy DeVos couched her criticism of secular public schools in biblical terms, referring to her crusade to fund religious schools as a “Shephelah,” a Hebrew term referring to an area where battles were fought in the Old Testament.

Dick DeVos offensively referred to the need to get “the pig bones out of our culture” — pig bones apparently referring to secularism and other ideas anathema to deeply fundamentalist Christians but precious to our civil liberties.

Betsy DeVos maintains parents ought to be able to send children to schools that reflect their “worldview.” Of course, in the United States, parents are already free to send their children to religiously segregated schools. But “free” is the operative term — DeVos seeks to force the rest of us to subsidize religious education, at the expense of our public schools. (One wonders how she’d feel about government-subsidized madrassas!)

Betsy DeVos failed in her effort to tamper with the wonderfully secular Michigan Constitution in 2000, when she unsuccessfully attempted to engineer a ballot initiative to delete safeguards against public funds flowing to church schools. Now she is set to try to accomplish this nationwide, as one of the developers of Trump’s proposal to spend $20 billion for a federal voucher program.

It seems DeVos will soon be given a chance as education secretary to implement her theocratic agenda to destroy public, secular education. (For more about that, see today’s column in the Detroit Free Press, “Betsy DeVos and the twilight of public education.”)

Watch out!

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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