Thoughts, Questions About Schools and Religious Freedom? The Register Wants to Hear From You

We’re here for you and we are listening. Write to us at [email protected] and let us what you would like to see addressed in this new podcast.

Classroom (photo: Pixabay / CC0)

It is becoming alarmingly clear that religious freedom in America is under sustained attack in the very places that should be upholding it — our schools and colleges. Just this week, we learned that the FBI has set up a process to track parents who speak out against ideologically-driven teachers and school board members — and that process was a response to instruction by none other than the Biden administration’s attorney general, Merrick Garland. That’s the sort of thing we imagine happening in China, not the United States.

For years, Marxist-inspired progressive ideologies have been finding favor in universities and high schools. In some places today, even 8-year-olds are browbeaten with gender ideology and critical race theory. Some school officials and government leaders think nothing of keeping parents in the dark about what their children are experiencing at school. And, shockingly, some of these institutions are Catholic.

As a mother of 10 children, I am navigating these waters myself. And, as a civil rights and religious freedom advocate, I’m committed to safeguarding the religious freedom of parents and students.

My organization, the Conscience Project, was founded to protect the rights of conscience and religious freedom in all aspects of life, both here and abroad. We believe that, in a changing society, an individual’s right to conscience is often the last line of defense.

We want to tell you more about what we're doing. This past summer the Conscience Project and the National Catholic Register teamed up to produce the Religious Freedom Matters podcast. Our pilot series delved into the challenges we’re confronting as faithful Americans. There is no doubting that we are facing an overwhelming cultural force that is pulling our society away from its moral and religious roots. We looked at what the Catholic Church has to say about the importance of religious freedom in society. We also discussed the legal protections for people of faith in America, some recent victories for religious freedom in our courts, and the clashes between government and religious liberty that have yet to be resolved. We also spoke about our country’s duty advance religious freedom globally. Our message was clear: religious freedom will survive only if we know how to defend it.

But, as this latest news about the FBI’s tracking project shows, assaults against religious liberty in America are continuing, particularly when it comes to the rights of parents as primary educators. That’s why we decided to bring you another Religious Freedom Matters podcast series.

This time we will focus on religious freedom in education. We’ll be hearing about the anxieties of parents trying to pass on the faith to their children, only to find educators undermining them. We’ve also invited Catholic scholars, political analysts and Church leaders for dynamic discussions on how safeguarding religious freedom in education promotes a healthier society and strengthens the Church. And we’ll also be bringing you good news — the growing success of parents, teachers, students and religious leaders spreading the Gospel in a vibrant and orthodox way.

Every episode will begin with the latest news — and, believe me, this is an area in which things are changing fast, for better and for worse. The religion-friendly Supreme Court and unfriendly progressives in government are pulling in opposite directions. It’s horribly disorientating.

My co-host is one of the most distinguished reporters in this field — Joan Desmond, Senior Editor at the Register. She will track down courageous parents who are asserting themselves as their children’s primary educators; she’ll also be keeping an eye on the latest maneuvers by hardline progressives and tone-deaf politicians.

After we’ve heard from Joan, we’ll move on to sharp discussions with some of the brightest minds in Catholic academia and political analysis, as well as with Church leaders working to preserve and protect the faith. We’ll explain, in a fresh and authoritative manner, why religious freedom has never mattered more.

We want the podcast to be a conversation you can join. Let us know what questions you have. What concerns you? Have you been prevented from knowing what your children are learning while they are at school during the day? Have you been able to work with teachers and school officials to address and remedy problems? What steps have you taken to ensure that your children don’t lose their faith in school?

I want you — parents, grandparents, students, teachers, clergy and religious — to be part of this conversation. Write to us at [email protected] telling us what you would like to see addressed. Or, better yet, record and send us an audio file sharing your experience or asking a question. We’re here for you and we are listening.

Glenn Youngkin his strategist Jeff Roe watch election results come in for the Virginia gubernatorial race at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on Nov. 2 in Chantilly, Virginia.

Education and the Four Last Things (Nov. 13)

Education emerged as a key factor in Virginia’s gubernatorial election, where concerned parents pushed back against curriculum content and school policies on COVID-19. Some say these parents are part of a broader movement for change in the educational landscape. Are we witnessing a reawakening among parents to their rights and responsibilities for the education of their children? This issue we’ll find out. Patrick Reilly, founder and president of the Cardinal Newman Society, is no stranger to the role parents should play in education or in keeping school curricula on target. He joins us today on Register Radio. Then in this month of November we pray for the dead and we also reflect on where we are headed when our souls depart. Will we become saints or lost souls? The Church invites us to make Heaven, Hell, death and judgment a part of our November reflections. We talk to Register columnist John Grondelski about the Four Last Things.