Arizona state representatives Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) and Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) have introduced a new bill, HB2120, that would make it illegal for Arizona’s publicly funded schools, community colleges and universities to “promote division, resentment, or social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class, or other class of people.”(emphasis added) If the Board of Education or the Attorney General determines – on their own and with no judicial oversight – that a school or college fails to comply with this new law, they can withhold 10% of the institution’s public funding.
The Arizona Daily Star and The Arizona Republic published articles examining HB2120, and quoting Rep. Thorpe on his rationale behind the bill. However due to their understandable constraints, neither newspaper does enough to emphasis what a mind-bogglingly idiotic and un-American idea this is.
Even in Arizona, HB2120 is a rare thing. Beneath the thin veneer of Rep. Thorpe’s moral panic over courses like ASU’s “U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness” lies a staggering ignorance of the values and history that the Honorable Representative presumably holds most dear.
Dictionary.com – not exactly a hotbed of leftist thought – defines “social justice” as “the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society.” By criminalizing events and instruction in public schools that analyzes how society distributes advantage based on class, or race, or religion, or gender or political affiliation, Rep. Thorpe’s HB2120 would ban teaching students the following:
- “You shall not oppress the poor or vulnerable. God will hear their cry.” Exodus 22:20-26
- “Speak out in defense of the poor.” Proverbs 31:8-9
- “True worship is to work for justice and care for the poor and oppressed.” Isaiah 58:5-7
- “Jesus proclaims his mission: to bring good news to the poor and oppressed.” Luke 4:16-21
- “Blessed are the poor, theirs is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20-23
In addition to severely circumscribing how they teach Christianity, schools and universities would also be violating HB2120 if they taught about:
The American revolution
The 15th Amendment and the abolition of slavery
The Civil Rights movement
And the presidency of Ronald Reagan
Let us not mince words: HB2120 is one of the most unconstitutional, most anti-American, and outright stupidest pieces of legislation to ever emerge from a capitol building. Representatives Thorpe and Finchem show a stunning disregard for the history of their constituents and their own religion, and a truly shocking ignorance of the values that have made the United States a great country. Their bill also betrays the core values of their very own political party: smaller government, more choice in education, and greater individual freedom.
So, to Representatives Thorpe and Finchem: at no point in your rambling, incoherent bill were you even close to anything that could be considered a viable, democratic proposal. Everyone in this state is now dumber for having been subjected to it. We award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls.
– Joel Feinman