Editors Note: After recieving a recording of a Zoom panel from a source inside of Montclair University, I enlisted Jocelyn to follow up on this story. This included interviewing the religion chairman of the school and asking Montclair for comment.
OPINION- Indoctrination, what do you think of when you hear this word? Regardless of what you think of or believe when you hear this word, put aside political opinion, and focus on the actual effects of indoctrination.
Montclair University and it’s Religion Department recently hosted a panel called “Anti-Vax, Anti-Mask, Anti-American?: How COVID Denialism Became A Religious Conviction”. This panel focused on how religious convictions were putting people in danger. The underlying agenda behind this panel was that religion and white evangelical Christians were getting in the way of safety, with the radical ideas of freedom.
One of the statements in the panel by Mark Clatterbuck (Chair of the Religion Department) was,
”These faith communities insist that defining COVID-19 restrictions is not simply their prerogative as US citizens rather they regard it as a religious right”.
This leads to the ultimate question. Wasn’t the foundation of our country based on our faith? Isn’t the reason the United States of America exist to protect our religious rights? I’ll leave that for you to answer.
On just one panel an incredible number of topics were discussed, such as Covid-19, masks, vaccinations, mandates, abortion, public schools, homeschooling, churches, and overall “white evangelical” Christians. Because of this wide variety of topics, we set up an interview with the Chair of the Religion Department that helped set this panel up, Mark Clatterbuck. Through the interview process Mr. Clatterbuck repeated one question multiple times,
“How did the COVID-19 vaccine become regarded as a religious issue?”. The answer to this question goes back to the fact that our country, The United States of America, was founded on religious liberty and freedom. Before we were Americans fighting for our rights as Americans, we were Christians fighting for religious freedom. If we look at the issue from this perspective, it allows us to see that maybe something as “simple” as getting a vaccine becomes religious conviction because it leads to a question- What next? If our exemptions for a vaccines are denied because our religious convictions aren’t enough, how long until religious conviction is not enough reason to meet in church, or read a Bible publicly, or talk about God?
A topic discussed on this panel was homeschooling. One of the panelists, Sarah Posner, said this concerning homeschooling,
“a lot of homeschoolers, the majority, use homeschooling in order to be able to teach their religious convictions and generally that means young earth creationism, right wing politics, social conservative politics, so that their kids don’t have to be exposed to the kind of sex-Ed that they wouldn’t want them to be exposed to, or to have to learn the real history of racism in America and that sort of stuff in public schools”.
This should raise concern, because this statement blatantly says that the goal of public school is to teach the kind of sex-Ed that the government wants. With this view of homeschooling, it places the parents as criminals, trying to deprive their kids of knowledge. This statement blatantly says that the government school system does not want traditional values implanted into our children. As parents, this should concern us. Not only if we are religious, but if we want a say in what our children are being taught.
Another major topic that was discussed was abortion, on this topic Sarah Posner said,
“A lot of the conspiracy theories about planned parenthood bare a relationship or a resemblance to a lot of this is, because a lot of the conspiracies about planned parenthood is that they trafficked baby body parts right? so this idea that children are being victimized by these evil people and chopping them up and profiting from them, it’s very much out of that same vein and a lot of conspiracy theories and resulting political attacks on planned parenthood are very much rooted in that idea of butchered babies or butchered baby parts that in their mind, which is not true, they profit from.”.
If we simply look at the facts around a statement like this, we see it is false. We see pictures and evidence of babies in fact being ripped apart.
If we look into this panel further, we see that it wasn’t just an extra curricular activity. Participation in this panel meant extra credit. Students were advised to attend and submit questions, Montclair University did not hide their ulterior motives, they made it clear that the goal was to discourage what they called “White evangelicals” from fighting for their religious freedoms, and their freedoms as Americans . With our colleges holding discussions like this without allowing the opposite side to speak it is no longer a political issue. This is no longer an issue between left and right, Democrat or Republican. This is a humanity issue, this is an issue concerning our children, this is an issue that is affecting our future leaders. Our future leaders are being taught only to see one side of the story; that our traditional values and everything that our country was built on means nothing. The crisis is not COVID-19, the crisis is not white evangelical Christians rejecting vaccinations, the crisis is not parents trying to teach their children traditional values. The crisis is that our generation is being destroyed, so what are we the people going to do about it.