Teacher at Taxpayer-Funded Private Christian School Forced Out for Being Gay
A private Christian school in Florida that receives taxpayer funding for school vouchers has forced out one of its teachers, she says, because she is gay.
Monica Toro Lisciandro says Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay, Florida not only parted ways with her after she acknowledged she is gay when school administrators asked her, but her students were told her “morals” did not line up with the schools, Lisciandro says.
The school questioned Lisciandro, who teaches theater, after someone called to report saying they had seen her at a pride event.
“Lisciandro said the assistant principal told her the school received word that Lisciandro was in a relationship with a woman, she had attended a pride festival, and she hosted an LGBTQ group in her studio,” Florida Today reports.
“Well, it’s true,” she told the assistant principal.
“I want kids to see me and know that you can be a Christian and you can be gay,” Lisciandro tells Florida today (video below). “You can be gay, you can teach at a Christian school. You don’t have to feel shame about who you love, or who you are, or how you were born to be.”
Covenant Christian School has come under fire recently after reports found the school’s handbook says students can be expelled for being gay. Florida offers no protections for LGBTQ employees, and faith-based schools and workplaces are often exempt from laws that protect LGBTQ people. That handbook has since been removed from the school’s website.
The school also blamed her for leaving.
“I am sorry to say that for personal reasons, Mrs. Lisciandro is not able to continue teaching our musical theater class. We are aggressively pursuing another teacher to finish the class and (direct) our play, and I will keep you posted,” Head of School Lorne Wenzel wrote in an email sent to parents.
Covenant Christian participates in the State of Florida’s school voucher program. That program has come under fire for its anti-LGBTQ policies. One opinion writer, citing the school’s policy of expelling students who are gay, observed, “the line separating church from state has been crossed.”
Those vouchers help offset the school’s tuition. Fees and tuition combined can reach over $8600 per year per student. The school also asks for a voluntary “faith pledge,” or donation, of around $500 per family.
Video via Florida Today:
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MAGA Christian Nationalist Plans to Mobilize GOP Voters in 17 Counties ‘Where Demonic Strongholds Have Corrupt Control’
Earlier this year, Christian nationalist MAGA cultist Lance Wallnau announced that he intended to launch a tour heading into the 2024 elections that he claimed will break the “demonic strongholds” in various states that are supposedly preventing Republicans from winning elections.
Through this tour, Wallnau intends to raise up thousands of “patriots,” “grassroots saints,” and “intercessors” in swing states to who will “see the Republican Party shaken to the core” by ensuring that former President Donald Trump is returned to the White House.
During a livestream on his Facebook page last week, Wallnau announced that he has “identified 17 [counties] where demonic strongholds have corrupt control over the voting” and it is these counties that he intends to target.
“We’re going to mobilize,” Wallnau declared. “Before we’re done, the states are going to be mobilized. The awakened saints aren’t just going to be running around doing Facebook posts and incantations and proclamations; we’re actually going to be mobilizing the churches, mobilizing the businesses, mobilizing the legislators, mobilizing the independent media—people just like you guys—we’re going to be mobilizing in the intercessory warriors.”
“Out of 3,143 counties in the United States, we’ve identified 17 where demonic strongholds have corrupt control over the voting and over the machinery,” he continued. “We’re actually going to focus our precinct strategy on those 17 counties. We’re going to go with the [revival] tent, we’re going to go with signs, wonders, miracles, deliverance, Holy Ghost anointing, and the fire of God into seven swing states, hitting 17 counties.”
Wallnau has not yet revealed precisely which counties he plans to target, but he did post a chart on his Twitter page recently laying out 14 counties that he claims “will determine the future of America in 2024.”
Wallnau is an avowed Christian nationalist who was treated as an insider by the Trump White House and who has used his potion of influence to relentlessly promote Seven Mountains Dominionism, a theology connected to right-wing political ideology that teaches that Christians are to “do whatever is necessary” to take control of the seven main “mountains” that shape our culture—education, government, media, business, arts and entertainment, family, and religion—in order to implement the will of God throughout the nation and the world.
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
DeSantis Tells Evangelicals He Wants to ‘Improve’ Supreme Court So Justices Reflect ‘Gold Standard’ of Clarence Thomas
Speaking before a welcoming crowd of national evangelical broadcasters one Tuesday, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis declared Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the “gold standard for jurisprudence” and the next president could have the opportunity to create a 7-2 conservative majority that would last for a quarter century.
DeSantis, who will formally announce his 2024 presidential run on Wednesday with Twitter owner Elon Musk, appeared to be perfecting his stump speech as he delivered his 30-minute remarks before the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, which just happened to be hosting its 2023 annual convention in Orlando.
Merely hinting at his impending presidential candidacy announcement, DeSantis at one point in his lengthy speech said, “the U.S. Supreme Court with some of the recent appointments is in a much better spot than it’s been in a long time. But I think if you look over, you know, the next two presidential terms, there is a good chance that you could be called upon to seek replacements for Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito, and the issue with that is you can’t really do better than those two. They are the gold standard for jurisprudence.”
Justices Thomas and Alito are seen as the most far-right extremists on the Supreme Court today. Justice Thomas is at the center of what many legal experts see as a two-decade old corruption scandal involving possibly millions of dollars.
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“And so you got to make sure that we’re appointing people who are going to be as close to that standard as possible,” he declared. “If you replace a Clarence Thomas with somebody like a [John] Roberts or somebody like that, then you’re going to actually see the court move to the left. And you can’t do that. I also think if you, if you look over those eight years, you very well could be called upon to replace Chief Justice John Roberts, and perhaps even someone like Justice Sotomayor.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor is rated the most left-leaning of all the current Supreme Court Justices. She is 68.
“So it is possible that in those eight years, we’d have the opportunity to fortify justices Scalia [sic] and Thomas Alito, and in Thomas, as well as actually make improvements with those others and if you were able to do that, you would have a seven to two conservative majority on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter-century. So this is big stuff very important that that that gets done right.
RELATED: ‘Could Shoot Somebody on Fifth Avenue’: Clarence Thomas’ Corruption Is Indefensible. Here’s Who’s Defending Him.
Watch DeSantis’ speech below or at this link (video begins at 11:48 mark).
‘Cult’: Some of the Most ‘Shocking’ Things Producers Discovered for New Duggar Documentary
The latest installment of the Duggar family’s life story is about to be screened in an Amazon documentary, coming two years after family member Josh Duggar was found guilty of possession of child pornography.
As he serves more than 12 years in prison, “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets” walks through the issues that stemmed from Josh and the links the family – made famous in the TLC reality series“19 Kids and Counting” – has to a radical religious sect that People Magazine characterized as “concerning.”
The documentary outlines the controversial Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) church and the ways in which the church shaped the family’s decisions and behavior.
“There are so many thousands of families that have been hurt by this and have not had a voice, not for lack of trying, for many, many, many years,” said Olivia Crist, one of the executive producers. “I mean, hope, the takeaway is really hearing the survivors, hearing what they’ve been through. And then, I think also for people still in, trapped in a fundamentalist or IBLP group, that hopefully this is a chance for them to say, ‘Hey, it is possible to get out and that they’re not alone.'”
“Josh Duggar is really the tip of the iceberg in this group,” she confessed in the documentary.
Prior to Josh’s arrest, he confessed to molesting young girls. Among those were his sisters Jill Duggar Dillary and Jessa Duggar Seewald.
Crist revealed that Josh grew up “in a system that is inherently abusive and [has a] lack of sex education.” That kind of environment, she explained, “breeds abuse” by blocking children from any other adults in their lives.
“I think throughout the show, we see that in so many different areas,” she told People. “And systems like this, that’s, unfortunately, how they’re set up with this authoritarian [notion of] ‘men have all the control and women and children have to be submissive to that control’ — I think that is just a recipe for absolute disaster.”
In March, Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo released a tell-all book about the “darker side” of growing up in the family and the church. She described it as an “unhealthy version” of Christianity.
“I was just so crippled with fear, and I didn’t know why,” she told The New York Times in an interview.
Amy (Duggar) King similarly has attacked her aunt and uncle for protecting their son Josh, despite knowing he was a predator.
“I don’t think anyone would make the mistake of assuming I support my cousin,” Amy wrote to People in May 2022. “I’m struggling to even find the words to express how angry I am. I’m angry at my cousin. I am deeply disappointed in him as a person. … But let me tell you I am furious at the family that looked the other way and still today, refuse to hold him accountable.”
Crist also revealed Jill “was hesitant” to tell her story. “I won’t speak for her fully on that. But yes, I think at the end of the day we’re just really honored and humbled that they trusted us with their stories.”
Calling it a “cult,” Crist said that the documentary goes into a lot of abuse that happens under the guise of a church. She noted that they researched just “how far and wide the IBLP ideology went.”
“It went into our police system. It went into the military. And I think also, just how far and wide, like I said, the ideology spread,” she said. “You can speak to a family who is part of IBLP Australia or part of IBLP and live in Tennessee and you’re going to see the same exact thing happen in terms of really just this pandemic of abuse that Gothard’s teachings inhabit.”
Another executive producer, Julia Willoughby Nason, said she found it “shocking” while listening “to survivor stories.” Talking to People, she thinks “the far-reaching quality of this ideology was extremely shocking to me, especially how it’s so ingrained in our modern-day culture present day with the political stakes of our human rights at play here.”
“I feel like being a woman in this culture, whether I’m coming from a place of a high control system as IBLP or coming from not that place, just inherently being a woman, I could identify with the themes of abuse and trauma that we’re going through these people’s lifelines,” she added.
There were so many things that they discovered that they had to start editing. It’s a four-part series, but she explained the IBLP has been around since the 1960s, and there’s room for future episodes.
“There’s certainly a lot more we could say,” Crist explained. “And I think, too, where we land, the last episode is a jumping-off point for this larger political conversation, is also something that is of interest of further exploring.”
Nason isn’t merely an EP on the project, her documentaries frequently focus on “exposing the underbelly of systems of control.” Her work includes a Trayvon Martin documentary and one about the fake concert/scam Fyre, and she’s currently at work on a mini-series about the Murdaugh murders.
“But one of the things I want to highlight is really the educational neglect that happened to a lot of these children is really astonishing. Their education was not sufficient,” Crist also. “There are organizations out there — the Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling is one great one — that are doing really good work to advocate for the rights of children.”
The trailer for the documentary reveals that the Duggars are only the tip of the IBLP plan that involves training them in political engagement, sending their children into the halls of Congress, and to intern in the White House.
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