I’ve had a few people ask why this courthouse issue is such a big deal to me. I want to share a few reasons. Many of you may remember some of these issues, but this will be news to others.
Several years ago, when my book, Homeschooling for the Rest of Us, was released, the local library scheduled a book signing. All was well and the event was being publicized and anticipated when I was contacted by the librarian to tell me that it had been canceled. The mayor had decided that he did not want a book signing about homeschooling at the public library because he asserted that we take money away from public schools (which is not true). When the media became involved, he blatantly lied and said that it was all a “misunderstanding,” but that he didn’t think we should be promoting something like homeschooling at a public library. I had to fight for the right to have the book signing and it took getting the media involved before the mayor backed off and allowed the librarians to go on with the book signing as planned. That is discrimination and it’s ridiculous. His personal opinions shouldn’t determine what topics are allowed to be discussed at a public building.
We’ve had other issues with officials in Washington County, including a policeman telling me my children couldn’t ride their bicycles outside in our cul-de-sac during school hours because they were “supposed to be in school.” I explained that we homeschooled and he said then they should be inside doing school, not outside riding their bikes. Sigh. I ended up having to talk with an attorney and the guy’s supervisor to get him off our backs.
There have been numerous other instances of prejudice in this county. It is so frustrating and while this latest situation with the courthouse isn’t specifically directed toward homeschoolers, the final effect mostly is. After all, what other group of people would be likely to bring school-age children to the courthouse during school hours other than homeschoolers?
During the whole situation with the book signing, some people would say they agreed with the mayor and ask why it mattered so much. I’ll say the same thing now that I said then. You might agree with the mayor on this issue, but what if someone else in authority decides they don’t like black people or single women or people with beards? What if they decide Christians should be excluded or perhaps Jews or maybe atheists? Even if you don’t like a particular group, the laws protect us all and if we’re not willing to protect the rights of others, we will all lose our rights.
People today don’t know the difference between a republic and a democracy. They don’t understand that our country wasn’t founded on the principle of “majority rules” (which leads to mob rule) or that when officials make arbitrary decisions that affect certain group of people, this ends up affecting us all because it erodes the freedoms of everyone in this country.