High-quality, multi-colored, bilingual fliers created by the front range Christian dominionist group Truth & Liberty Coalition are showing up at businesses around town. The fliers use right wing culture war rhetoric targeting gay and transgender students in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November 7 District 51 School Board election. The fliers appear to endorse CynDee Skalla, Jessica Hearns and Barbara Evanson.
The fliers were found at La Milpa Tortilla Factory in Grand Junction and are bilingual in English and Spanish.
The Truth & Liberty Coalition was co-founded by Colorado televangelist Andrew Wommack. The group’s goal is to end America’s secular government and make the U.S. a nation based on Biblical law and governed by Christians. The group has been targeting school boards across the state, pressuring them to adopt the “American Birthright Standard (ABS)” (pdf), a teaching system based on Christian values. ABS minimizes discussion of racism in schools, decries media literacy instruction and reinforces a white nationalistic view of American history. This summer, there was an effort to push ABS into Garfield County schools, but a survey of local parents’ preferences about the issue was compromised after former Garfield County resident and extremist Sherronna Bishop, who now lives in Carthage, Texas, circulated a link to the survey to her followers, asking them to complete it. Many people did, multiple times, which skewed the survey’s outcome.
The Colorado Department of Education has rejected the American Birthright Standard for schools.
Similar fliers also recently turned up in Buena Vista and Cañon City, and are being distributed throughout the state. They typically cast the more moderate, nonpartisan school board candidates in a negative light by saying they had “no response” to a survey, when the candidates say they were either never contacted about a survey by this group, or they answered one where the sender wasn’t clearly identified. The fliers also contain no photos of the moderate candidates, just of the more extreme candidates the group supports.
Woodland Park School Board roiled
In 2021, the Woodland Park school board was taken over by a majority of far right conservative school board members who went on to cause an uproar in the town by rejecting mental health support for students, instituting American Birthright standards and placing a gag order on teachers that prohibits them from talking with community members or the media without first getting approval from the school board.
Almost 40% of the Woodland Park School District teachers have resigned in protest to the school board’s actions and the local teachers union and the Colorado Education Association have sued the Woodland Park school district for violating their First Amendment rights.