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Sarah Davis St. Louis Park Public Schools

(LifeSiteNews) — The news that public schools in St. Louis Park, Minnesota will permit Muslim families to opt their children out of LGBT indoctrination classes prompted this hilarious meme: 

The headline — “St. Louis Park district agrees to let Muslim families opt out of LGBT curriculum”— fortunately proves to be somewhat misleading, for other families, too, will enjoy that freedom. 

Last year, six Somali Muslim families asked that schools give parents notice prior to the introduction and discussion of LGBT content in class; they had previously been denied a requested “opt-out” option. Two public interest law firms, True North Legal and First Liberty Institute, took up their case and sent legal letters to the school district asserting that their refusal to permit parents to opt their children out of LGBT content violated both Minnesota state law and the First Amendment.  

The families had been appalled to discover that their children in third and fourth grade had LGBT-themed books read to them in class, with the teacher offering perspective on LGBT issues and identities; according to the law firms, this provoked “significant confusion and distress” in the families, who oppose LGBT ideology. The parents initially brought up their concerns with the school board, where they met stiff resistance.  

School board member Sarah Davis berated the parents in a meeting in October 2023. “I respect your religious beliefs, and also as a queer person in a marginalized community, I would hope and expect solidarity,” she said. “Muslim communities have been historically marginalized and so have queer communities.” One pro-LGBT lawyer with the activist group “Gender Justice,” Christy Hall, stated that both opt-outs and parental notification prior to the introduction of LGBT themes were a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  

The St. Louis Park district public schools appear to have reached a different conclusion, with True North Legal and First Liberty Institute announcing that schools will now permit all parents an opt-out option—not just Muslim students. Fatuma Irshat, a member of one of the families who initiated the process, stated: “We believe that we have a sacred obligation to teach the principles of our faith to our children without being undermined by the schools. We are grateful to First Liberty and True North Legal for helping us and to the school for recognizing the importance of our faith.” 

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This is an important victory. Christian parents, too, will now have the option to at least somewhat protect their children from LGBT indoctrination, and it is a reminder that many of the most important cultural fights are actually small, local fights. Sarah Davis obviously recognizes this as well, which is why she is on the school board. But Davis’s comment on the alleged solidarity that should exist between Muslims and the “queer community” is another example of how schizophrenic progressive loyalties actually are — and the monumental ignorance that exists vis a vis the Islamic view of LGBT issues. Why did Davis consider Muslim families and the “queer community” to be natural allies? Because she like views society as the Oppression Olympics. 

This story reminded me of what happened last year in Hamtramck, Michigan, where progressives celebrated the election of a Muslim-majority city council, the first city in the United States to do so. Once in office, the Muslim councillors that many progressives had voted for promptly passed legislation banning Pride flags from being flown on city property; the former mayor of Hamtramck mourned that progressives were feeling “a sense of betrayal.” Again: Why? Do progressives genuinely believe that Muslims are more committed to a uniquely leftist view of “solidarity” than to the principles of their religion? Or are they simply so used to demonizing Christians as the oppressors that they are stunned to discover that other religions, too, condemn the lifestyles they wish to celebrate on civic buildings and in public schools? 

Strange times are creating strange alliances — but perhaps none has been so strange as that of LGBT progressives and Muslim immigrants. Now, it looks to be collapsing.  

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.