". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


‘A Post-Religious America’ Helped Spark Anti-Semitism in Schools, Experts Say

May 9, 2024

Pro-Palestine protests on college campuses have boomed across America with a staggering escalation of anti-Semitic acts such as breaking into buildings, defacing statues, setting up encampments, and violence toward Jewish students and faculty from Hamas sympathizers. Mass arrests have been made in response to this pandemonium. The anti-Semitism, as spectators observe, is boisterous and grotesque — but not limited to college campuses. Anti-Israel protests have also broken out at a number of high schools since the October 7 attack on Israel, and they continue.

In November, The Christian Post reported, “Hundreds of students rampaged through the halls of a New York high school for around two hours after learning a Jewish teacher attended a pro-Israel rally, vandalizing school property and forcing the faculty member to take refuge in a locked office.” This incident outraged many, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D), who described it as a “vile show of anti-Semitism.” Even so, similar events continue to occur.

Just last week, hundreds of students from various Chicago high schools held anti-Israel “sit-ins … in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.” A student who helped organize the protest told The Times of Israel that the high schools students were, in large part, motivated to support “growing encampments around the country, including Northwestern, Columbia and general protest for Palestinian genocide.” And while these sit-ins did not result in any violence, several Jewish high school students expressed how unsafe they felt as students marched together, shouting chants such as, “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest!”

To address the increase in school protests, a House education subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday “focused on combating antisemitism in K-12 education.” New York City Department of Education Chancellor David Banks was among those who testified, as well as Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Enikia Ford Morthel and Montgomery County School Board President Karla Silvestre. The point of the hearing was to address anti-Semitism on college campuses, but it also heavily emphasized “that younger children are being brainwashed in these ways” as well, said Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, on Wednesday’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”

Perkins, who serves as president of FRC, explained, “We’re not [just] talking [about] college campuses. We’re talking about the little kids. The fact that they’re being indoctrinated with anti-Semitism … that’s shocking.” Kilgannon agreed, emphasizing that what we’re seeing on campuses doesn’t just “happen when kids get to college.”

She elaborated, “It certainly can happen when kids get to college. But the foundation is laid in high school and in elementary school as well. Where is that coming from? The fact that we are, in many ways, a post-religious America, unfortunately, and the fact that the elementary schools and high schools are using an oppressor/oppressed kind of a paradigm.” An ideology, experts note, that is rooted in Marxism. And for Perkins, this is a reality — a vacuum — “created by pushing God out of the public square,” which then means it’s “going to be filled by something else.” Not only is it filled by something else, Kilgannon added, but “it’s filled by something much worse.” Which then “gives rise to this darkness,” Perkins chimed in.

According to Perkins, the proper response should not just be about snuffing out the anti-Semitism but about proclaiming the gospel. “[W]e need to be aggressive … in spreading the gospel and encouraging Christians to live out their faith,” he urged. “What I mean by that [is], it’s time to be bold, it’s time to be courageous, because we’re now seeing the fruit of our being complicit with the idea that there was supposed to be some kind of neutrality in the public space. There is no such thing as neutrality.”

Kilgannon added, “And the proof of that is the fact that when we have any sort of quasi neutral space, it’s not neutral. In fact, horrible things are flooding into the space.” And Perkins highlighted how Jesus, in Matthew 12:30, said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” And so, he continued, “[T]his idea that there’s … this ‘de-spiritualized zone’ that we go into in public is a lie of the enemy. … There is no such thing as moral neutrality, and what we see happening on college campuses, what is now working its way into the hearts and minds of young people across this country, is evil taking advantage of that idea that there can be moral neutrality.”

And “if we believe we have the truth,” Kilgannon said, “we shouldn’t be ashamed to share it.” On the contrary, she insisted, “We should be very proud and … honor bound to do so.” To which Perkins responded, “[I]t is the truth that will set us free,” which is taken from John 8. “[W]e have no reason to apologize,” he said. “We share the truth out of a love for others so that they might come to know the truth, find the purpose and meaning that life has when we’re in relationship with Jesus Christ.”

And Perkins made sure to emphasize “public education is not off limits to the truth.” Which then led to the question, could what’s happening in schools with anti-Semitism “be a booster rocket for parents and others to move in and begin to influence education even more?” “The opportunity is here,” Kilgannon replied. “The need has never been greater. And so, I hope that people will take this opportunity to really engage in their communities and most especially engage with your own children, make sure they know the faith and make sure they’re not afraid to share it either.”

She concluded, “The good of the public is to have the truth. That is the point, right? And so, I think … we love our country, and we want to enjoy its blessings and have our children enjoy the blessings of this nation, [but] we have to be ready to stand and to proclaim … what is true.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.