Oh looky, the anti-critical race theory fanatics gathered last night at Montpelier’s Capitol Plaza Hotel! CRT, a purely academic construct understood by few — and by no one who’s taken it up as the latest cudgel in the culture wars — is apparently a front for Marxist indoctrination! Who knew???
This ignorance extravaganza was promoted by Vermont Grassroots, whose tag line is “Empowering Parents and Teachers.” Well, that’s the friendly mask on this angry face; the full motto is “Empowering Parents and Teachers By Exposing Marxism.” The rest of the two-day event was held at the Ignite Church in WIlliston, a notable outpost of far-right Christianity. Or, more accurately, a radical worldview masquerading as Christianity. It’s the kind of thing that’d have Jesus rolling in his grave if he was still there.
(Funny that they put a Montpelier event in the middle of a Williston soiree. I seem to recall that Ignite had a spot of trouble with a Burlington hotel canceling in the face of controversy. Did they have to go all the way to Montpelier to find a willing caterer?)
Vermont Grassroots was the organization behind the series of low-budget, local-talent-only meetings organized around the state last summer by Gregory Thayer, Rutland ideologue and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. Apparently the group’s budget has increased because now they’re bringing in outside speakers.
Sadly, it’s too late to organize a protest in Montpelier. It’s not too late to let the Capitol Plaza know how you feel about profiting off hatred. However, there will be other opportunities for protest throughout the summer. Vermont Grassroots has planned a series of events designed to fan the flames of manufactured outrage.
And before anyone goes all First Amendment on me, just stop. These jackasses have every right to express their views. And the rest of us have every right to express our views about their views.
Their views, in a word, are contemptible. The two featured speakers are members of a small cadre of anti-CRTers who are making a damn good living by cashing in on the gullibility of conservative Christians. Others in their number will be making their way to Vermont in the next three months. But let’s take a closer look at “Dr.” James Lindsay and Nicholas Meriwether, shall we?
Lindsay is a real piece of work. He’s a former massage therapist who claims to have a doctorate in mathematics, although I can’t find a reference anywhere to the granting institution. Makes me suspect it was from Bud’s Bait Shop and Academy of Advanced Mathematics or some such.
He’s also not a Christian, although he’s spent a lot of time trying to undermine the Southern Baptist Convention with his twaddle. He has found, to his personal gratification, that the Hate Circuit is much more lucrative than massage therapy. His work is heavily promoted by Sovereign Nations, a Christian Reconstructionist organization.
Reconstructionism, for those just tuning in, is devoted to making its vision of ultraconservative Christianity the foundation of American society and, ultimately, of the entire world order.
Wow. That’s neither Christian nor Constitutional.
As for Meriwether, his calling card is refusing to identify a transgender student by their preferred pronoun. He was reprimanded by his superiors at Shawnee State University in Ohio, a tiny and relatively young institution, and later won a free speech lawsuit against the university. Goodie for him. He was still imposing his religious beliefs on a student in a publicly-funded classroom, but whatever.
He was awarded $400,000 in the case, but more importantly, hee became a minor celebrity in far-right circles. I’m sure he’s making a lot more per appearance on the grievance circuit than he used to for a philosophy lecture.
Anyway, this is the caliber of people spearheading this anti-CRT movement. Poseurs, ideologues, opportunists, small-bore academics. Cream o’ the crop. We’ll have the opportunity to hear from more of them, thanks to the efforts of Vermont Grassroots.
Let’s shower them with gratitude.