An update from Plaintiff Rovira

These anti-CRT bills violate my religious freedom. So, I’m suing.

Ivonne Rovira
Ivonne Rovira

Just call me plaintiff Rovira.

As you might not know, I’m a Spanish teacher in a Louisville elementary school. I truly love my kids – they’re the cutest kids in the world. They really are! But I’m also a Presbyterian. I go to church most weeks, and I very, very, very rarely miss Sunday School, which I attend via ZOOM. And, as a Christian, the various anti-CRT bills popping up in Frankfort like a ghastly version of Whack-A-Mole violate my religious freedom. Or, they will if passed. And like all good, disgruntled Christians, I intend to sue.

The anti-CRT crusade was born at the Heritage Foundation, an extremist, right-wing think tank founded by the Koch Brothers – yes, those Koch Brothers, the ones who don’t believe in taxes or regulations for them, or a minimum wage, safety regulations, or public schools for you. Critical Race Theory is a real thing – at the law-school level; for public schools, it’s a made-up, right-wing bugaboo, like Senator Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare, fluoride causing communist sentiment, or black helicopters.

Don’t take my word for it. Do you know how many parents complained about CRT in all of 2020 when schools were virtual and they could see what every one of their kids’ teachers were doing? Of course, you do: It was zero. So this is more right-wing nonsense.

But you know what’s real? My rights as a Christian. That’s because Kentucky’s 2013 Religious Freedom Act doesn’t just guarantee bigoted bakers the right to insult gay people – although, sadly, it does do that. But it also provides that the state legislature cannot impose “a substantial burden” on my Christian belief, and being forced to lie to children is a much bigger substantial burden than having to bake a cake for Adrian and Carlton. After all, the Ninth Commandment bars false witness, while Matthew 18:6 reads: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Chilling words, indeed!

As Senator Stephen Meredith himself helpfully explained about his beloved Senate Bill 138, the Kentucky legislature would like us to teach children what to think — and it’s pretty clear what they want us to do is lie and teach a whitewashed version of history. That offends my Christian principles and would condemn me, according to the Bible itself. What greater burden could there be than condemning me to hell in the interest of a false white-supremacist narrative? And while simultaneously forcing me to make Black and Brown schoolchildren “feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” (terminology straight from House Bill 14) because their history has been erased? Surely, the state legislature is tying a millstone around its own neck, as well!

Yes, I am suing so that I can freely practice my religion, as guaranteed by the First Amendment and the state’s Religious Freedom Act. However, as a Christian, I have the duty to bring others to Christ. Granted, we live in a nation that values religious freedom. But I’m still holding out the hope that this lawsuit will bring the sponsors of HB 14, HB 18, SB 138, and all those likeminded bills to Christ. After all, isn’t suing to overturn anti-CRT bills what Jesus would do?

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Ivonne Rovira

Ivonne is the research director for Save Our Schools Kentucky. She previously worked for The Miami Herald, the Miami News, and The Associated Press. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)


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