Hanover Schools to Get “Biblical Lens” Turned on Them

Johnny Redd Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Some contributors and commenters on Bacon’s Rebellion who have recently expressed distress over schools and society in general should be able to take solace in the views of Johnny Redd, who is the newly appointed member of the Hanover County School Board. (Hanover County is one of the few jurisdictions in Virginia in which the governing body appoints school board members.)

In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Redd explained, “ [I] made myself available to serve as a conservative, Christian voice on the School Board.” He went on to elaborate, “A biblical worldview will be the lens that I use to analyze policies and curriculum. Our country was established under the framework of biblical principles, precepts and commandments. Our freedoms are given to us by God, not by government, but we have been complacent and have let the distractions and ungodliness get a foothold in our society, our government and our schools. We have strayed from godly principles and are reaping the consequences of disobedience.”

Sterling Daniel Photo credit: Richmond Time-Dispatch

Sterling Daniel, the school board member not reappointed, along with another board member similarly denied reappointment two years ago, made the unforgivable sin of voting to strip Confederate names off two Hanover County schools.

Redd, who has no children in the county schools, will replace the only member of the current board who has children enrolled in the county schools. As of July 1, none of the members of the Hanover County School Board will have children attending county schools.  Obviously, the Hanover Board of Supervisors does not feel that school board members need to know what is actually going on in the schools.

(Disclosure:  I worked with Sterling Daniel for several years at the Department of Planning and Budget. [He is currently the associate dean for business and administration at the MCV School of Nursing.] He is young, intelligent, thoughtful, and outgoing. Hanover County schools will be worse off as a result of his not being reappointed to the school board.)

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22 responses to “Hanover Schools to Get “Biblical Lens” Turned on Them”

  1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    Hanover is old school. I did not realize the Board of Supervisors still selects School Board members. Mr. Redd comes from a distinguished line of an old time Hanover family. Studley, Virginia was their seat.

    1. Lefty665 Avatar

      Also entwined with the Hills and the Carters. They’ve been in Hanover a long time.

      Louisa school board is also appointed.

      1. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
        James Wyatt Whitehead

        If you were born in eastern Hanover between 1925 and 1948 Dr. I.K. Redd likely delivered you. At home of course.

  2. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar

    The issue of “separation of church and state,” like so many issues is misunderstood. We hear arguments that people with views on issues shaped by their religious beliefs should be kept from positions of governmental power — except when they shouldn’t. And of course, America’s worst institution, the media, only aid on the misinformation.

    Is there a difference between a person’s religious beliefs informing their position on abortion or gay marriage or affirming grade school children on transgender changes if the person’s position is pro versus anti? If so, what is the difference?

    Is there a difference between a person’s religious beliefs informing their position on the death penalty if the person is pro versus anti? If so, what is the difference?

    Is there a difference when a white, conservative minister urges political action from the pulpit versus when a black, progressive preacher urges political action from the pulpit? If so, what is the difference?

    If it’s wrong for people whose world views are informed by their religious beliefs to be involved in positions of elective authority, is it wrong for a person whose world views are informed by their lack of beliefs to be involved in positions of elective authority? Should atheists or agnostics have more freedom to control policy decisions than those who believe in a god or gods? If so, what is the difference?

    But these are things that should not be discussed.

    1. James McCarthy Avatar
      James McCarthy

      The critical value of “separation of church and state” relates to refraining from imposing religious/theological beliefs upon others. While all may agree that “thou shalt not kill” is religious, it is also a universal secular value. The issue is not whether religious believers can or should serve in elected positions. Nor is it a question of “more freedom to control policy decisions.” It is difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate imposition of no belief in a deity by an atheist upon a constituency.

      All who are elected or appointed to public office arrive with personal views, biases, beliefs. When those views are restricted to the pulpit, they are acceptable even when such urgings are political. If “thou shalt not kill” morphs into a secular value leading to the abolition of the death penalty, proscribing state action, then the principle is universal to a particular jurisdiction.

      Hanover County will experience its own form of debate on such issues at the School Board. It remains to be seen what the outcomes may be.

      1. vicnicholls Avatar

        “The critical value of “separation of church and state” relates to refraining from imposing religious/theological beliefs upon others.” Then don’t impose any ideology in the schools or workplace. Completely secular means not dealing with the religion of woke too.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      I think one can be “informed’ personally by their beliefs until the cows come home – but they cannot be “informed” by their religion in the role they perform for most non-religious institutions and govt.

      you can be a Protestant, a Jew, a Muslim or a Buddhist but if you are a teacher or a prosecutor or a social services person, you have to follow the law even if it conflicts with your religious beliefs. If you cannot, then that job is not for you.

      We say we in the USA differentiate ourselves from counties that operated according to religious beliefs.

      But not everyone in this country agrees with that and in fact, some reject it, and proclaim publicly – like as a candidate for school board – of their religious beliefs and intention to perform that role according to those beliefs.

  3. Please people, read and study our Constitution and Bill of Rights, maybe even try on our Declaration of Independence, you could even read it a couple of times, before you write about something you may know or not know, given your studicious (made up word) nature, you might be able to convince yourself that you know more than the people who were there and wrote these Documents. If so, please enlighten us as to how you would have written all those flowery words, so that those who would come after you, would be able to Understand what was being said at the time they were written. You know… come up with a better Idea or Plan.

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Aw Jeez! No, really, Jeez.

    “Our freedoms are given to us by God, not by government, ” except those women wish to exercise. Those are given them by white men.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    Different religions believe different things. Some religions do not believe the bible. Do not believe in the 10 commandments.

    We do not exclude people from being teachers or administrators or school board members because they are religious or believe in a particular religion but we do want them to keep it to themselves and certainty not involve it in the roles they perform.

    This is not “anti”-religion or anti-God.

    It’s respecting each individuals right including the parents and kids to practice the religion they subscribe to without the school telling them different.

    This is not hard. Some folks can’t seem to understand this and behave.

  6. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “A biblical worldview will be the lens that I use to analyze policies and curriculum”

    Bible trumps Constitution… what could go wrong with that governing philosophy…??

  7. Stephen Haner Avatar
    Stephen Haner

    An actual Christian who fears God and follows the laws of Moses and teachings of the Gospel should worry nobody. Not all who claim that mantle deserve it, and in my experience, the more openly and proudly they claim the title, the tighter I hold onto my wallet and the closer I watch their actions. As to the Founders, “endowed by their Creator” was not just part of the word salad, not even for deists like Jefferson.

    Fun to watch you heathens rage! (And I do not claim that title of Christian for myself, not in the least, but will always respect the believers.)

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      “As to the Founders, “endowed by their Creator” was not just part of the word salad…”

      Maybe they thought that some human beings actually had no Creator…?…that might answer a lot…

    2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      “As to the Founders, “endowed by their Creator” was not just part of the word salad…”

      Maybe they thought that some human beings actually had no Creator…?…that might answer a lot…

    3. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      I mean one of the disciples wrote in his gospel to be wary of those who claim to know god and his plan.

      Jesus rode on a donkey. Now the donkeys ride on him.

      1. Lefty665 Avatar

        The Dems are getting religion? They really must be desperate about November.

  8. vicnicholls Avatar

    We’ve had someone elected to School Board and served as Chair, no kids. No kids, not just no kids in school, but no kids. Did a fine job, lots of people liked him.

  9. James C. Sherlock Avatar
    James C. Sherlock

    Every human being is informed by his experience and beliefs, religious and otherwise, including Messers Rudd, Daniel and Hall-Sizemore.

    So what is the point here, Dick, other than to express unhappiness that one was chosen over the other. That too is an expression of experience and beliefs – your own. To which you have every right.

    So by whose standards should we choose one and not the other for public office. In a republic, those are the standards are those of the voting majority.

    As long as no one is denied for religious reasons the right to present himself for public office, the constitution of this particular republic is satisfied. So should we all be.

  10. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar

    James & Larry. If I understand correctly your position is basically organized religion, a particular sect or members thereof should not attempt to cause government to take positions, based on their religious beliefs or doctrine.

    What about the United Church of Christ’s advocacy at the FCC? I’m trying to take a non-emotional example, avoiding flash points as the death penalty or abortion.

    I did a search of the FCC’s public comment database, which is complete from about 1996 but includes some filings from the earlier 1990s. The Church made 371 filings, with the earliest being 1992 and the latest mid-May 2022. Some are joint filings with other parties; others are just from the Church.

    The Church has often joined appeals of agency decisions, either as intervenor or as amicus. For example, in U.S. Telephone Ass’n v. F.C.C., 28 F.3d 1232 (D.C. Cir. 1994), the Church and its litigation partners unsuccessfully argued that the FCC should have established higher standard fines for violations of the Commission’s EEO requirements.

    The Church and its litigation partners intervened in the judicial review of an FCC decision to retain national limits of television station ownership in
    Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. F.C.C., 280 F.3d 1027 (D.C. Cir. 2002).

    The Jewish Federations of America made a filing in which it wrote “we write to express our concern that the FCC’s eligibility criteria for this funding among nonprofit community mental health providers may be overly narrow. Accordingly, we urge the FCC to expand its assistance under the COVID-19 Telehealth Program to smaller, communal nonprofit agencies that provide outpatient behavioral health services.”

    Organizations such as the American Atheists and Atheists Engaged are engaged in legislative advocacy and litigation. Among the issues addressed are so-called conscience provisions that would protect a person’s right not to participate in an activity that is contrary to the individual’s religious beliefs (design a gay wedding cake to my specifications verus I’d like to buy that cake or a nurse who doesn’t not wish to assist in an abortion).

    And, of course, countless black ministers have endorsed candidate from the pulpit.

    Everyone has a right to advocate for her or his views on political, legislative or regulatory issues irrespective of what motivates them.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      TMT – I’m surprised that as an agent for the Govt you ask that question.

      Anyone is free to petition the FCC and make their case.

      But I would think the FCC and workers have a duty to carry out the laws and rules of the country in it’s mission.

      Advocating for what one believes does not mean you can ignore laws and regulations you disagree with.

      If businesses are allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, why not any reason a business owner does not want to serve a customer?

  11. LarrytheG Avatar

    When you are in a role where you are representing the interests of more people than just yourself – your duty is to not impose on others, your views and beliefs but instead reflect and carry out the laws and rules that have been put in place to apply to all they apply to.

    There is latitude in that but some boundaries are bright line and religion is one of them IMHO.

  12. Fred Costello Avatar
    Fred Costello

    Few lawmakers announce the lens that they use in making judgments. Lawmakers make the laws, so using the lens of laws is a matter of circular reasoning. I certainly would appreciate learning what lens is used by each of you who comment on BR.

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