Christian Group “Moms For Liberty” Aims To Influence 2024 US Elections

Robin Steenman, chair of the local chapter of Moms for Liberty, holds her 10-month-old daughter Judith, alongside fellow concerned parent Brett Craig, in front of a power point presentation highlighting the types of books Moms for Liberty think contain age-inappropriate material about racism, at her home in Franklin, Tennessee, U.S., August 16, 2021. Picture taken August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo

Presidential Candidates Align with Moms for Liberty, While Local Chapter Faces Backlash for Quoting Hitler in Newsletter

WASHINGTON – Moms for Liberty, a conservative parents-rights advocacy group, has gained significant momentum since its inception over two years ago. However, as the organization garners attention from top Republican presidential candidates, it is also facing criticism for its extreme agenda and recent controversies.

The group’s national conference in Philadelphia has attracted frontrunners for the 2024 Republican nomination, such as former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Their participation highlights the importance these candidates place on the group’s focus on race and gender-based cultural issues in education, which they see as crucial for appealing to key voting blocs, including suburban women.

Founded during the height of the pandemic, Moms for Liberty has actively engaged in electing conservative members to local school boards and lobbying for legislation that restricts the teaching of gender-identity concepts to young students, as seen in Florida’s recently passed law. With sponsorships from right-wing policy organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Leadership Institute, the group has established itself as a major player in conservative politics.

While Governor DeSantis has aligned closely with Moms for Liberty, other Republican candidates, including Tim Scott and Nikki Haley, have also courted the group’s members. However, critics argue that the organization’s focus has expanded beyond pandemic-related education issues and now encompasses an agenda that promotes Islamophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-LGBTQ sentiments, and opposes diversity. These concerns have resulted in measures in several states to restrict certain teachings and remove objectionable books from school libraries.

A volunteer sets up a banner for the Moms for Liberty chapter meeting at Generations Church in Franklin, Tennessee, U.S., August 17, 2021. Picture taken August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

The rise of Moms for Liberty raises concerns about its influence on education policies and allegations of extremist ideologies.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, Republicans are more likely than Democrats and independents to support limitations on teaching systemic racism, religious tolerance and gender-identity concepts. However, the majority of Americans, including Republicans, do not favor banning books containing content related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Various advocacy groups, such as People For the American Way, ACT UP, Defense of Democracy, and STOP Moms for Liberty, have organized protests against the group, emphasizing the harmful impact its ideology could have on marginalized communities. A rally is planned outside the Philadelphia summit to coincide with Governor DeSantis’ speech.

In another development, a local chapter of Moms for Liberty in Indiana faced backlash after quoting Adolf Hitler in its newsletter. The Hamilton County chapter prominently featured a Hitler quote from a 1935 rally, sparking widespread condemnation. The chapter later added “context” to the newsletter, attempting to highlight the government’s potential control over children. Nevertheless, the chapter leader, Paige Miller, issued a public apology, acknowledging the mistake and condemning Hitler’s actions.

Rep. Anna Eskamani/Instagram

Local politicians from both sides of the aisle criticized the group’s inclusion of the Hitler quote. Democratic candidate Matt McNally called for the exclusion of Moms for Liberty from politics, emphasizing that any group quoting Nazis should not have influence over children or the community. Mario Massillamany, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, also expressed his condemnation and acknowledged the atrocities committed during the Holocaust.

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As Moms for Liberty continues to expand its reach and influence, concerns about its extremist ideologies and influence on education policies persist. While the group claims to focus on parental rights and learning loss due to the pandemic, its agenda appears to have shifted toward more divisive cultural issues. The controversies surrounding the organization raise important questions about the boundaries of ideological advocacy and its impact on the education system. – Reuters