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Woke Capitalists Abandon Children Of The Poor

In Florida, woke capitalists are abandoning this autistic boy and his family

Sometimes there is a story that perfectly symbolizes the morality of our time. The Orlando Sentinel, on a crusade to eliminate evil, published a piece calling out major “gay friendly” corporate donors for giving to a scholarship program meant to help children of the poor go to private schools. The problem is, some of those kids were using the money in the form of vouchers to go to Christian schools that, in the view of the Sentinel, were homophobic.

Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits touts “an inclusive and diverse culture” welcoming to LGBTQ employees. It is also Florida’s largest contributor to a state-backed scholarship fund that funneled more than $105 million to private campuses with anti-gay policies during the last school year.

The beverage distributor has kicked in more than $600 million over the past decade to the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which pays for children from low-income families to attend private schools. Corporations like Southern Glazer’s receive dollar-for-dollar write-offs on their state tax bills when they contribute to the scholarship program.

Hundreds of companies have diverted their tax dollars to the program. Many of these companies publicly support the LGBTQ community, vowing to make employment decisions without regard to sexual orientation or sponsoring events like Orlando’s Come out with Pride festivities.

You see, it cannot be the case that these corporate donors both support LGBT rights and want to do something good for poor children who want out of the dysfunctional public schools. More:

Schools with anti-gay policies make up a small percentage of the 2,000 participating campuses, Step Up For Students said in that statement, and parents choose the best campus for their children.

The Sentinel reviewed documents of more than 1,000 private religious schools that take state scholarships and found 156 have policies that say gay and transgender students can be denied enrollment or expelled or that explain the school opposes their sexual orientation or gender identity on religious grounds.

Well, since that story appeared, cowardly corporate donors are fleeing the program. The Orlando Sentinel did a follow-up story about how big givers are withdrawing support until and unless the state kicks Christian schools out of the program.

We know that in the hierarchy of wokeness, LGBTs are far more important than poor children, even black and brown poor children, and even special needs children. The antidiscrimination mania leaves no place — none — in the public square for church institutions that do not 100 percent embrace the LGBT agenda. If you are a Christian school or college that depends on corporate or state funds for survival, you had better start weaning yourself from that source of income right now. This, by the way, is the meaning of the Chick-fil-A capitulation last fall: if not even the fabulously successful, Christian-run Chick-fil-A will stand up to LGBT activists in support of worthy charitable causes, nobody will.

To be clear, private companies are entitled to do whatever they want with their charitable donations. It is worth knowing, however, that among the most powerful enemies of Florida’s poor black and brown Christian children are major banks and corporations. And, for that matter, special needs students. Here, from the web page of the Step Up For Students program, which is under fire, is a description of where the scholarship money goes:

As the Sentinel reports, only a small number of the schools in the program have traditional Christian policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. Nobody cares that LGBT kids can be equally served under this program, and that 85 percent of the schools participating in it have no negative policy about LGBT. Nobody stops to ask if those schools are the only ones, or the best ones, in the neighborhoods of those needy kids. They are BIGOT ACADEMIES, and must be cast out.

Let me be clear: If there were a school in this program that would not accept Christian kids for whatever reason (e.g, it was an Islamic school, or it was a school like the Harvey Milk Academy, which exists to provide a gay-affirming curriculum and learning environment for LGBT kids). Give the money to parents, and let them make the call. The needs of these children and their families are more important than ideological purity. We live in a pluralistic country, after all.

That’s not how the Orlando Sentinel sees it. That’s not how woke corporate America sees it. And that’s not how LGBT activists — including the billionaires who fund anti-discrimination campaigns — see it. The public square must be purged of Christians who refused to be harmonized into the new order. This is what privilege means in 2020 America.

Let’s have a quick look at the kind of people the Florida media and Florida corporations are abandoning, because they don’t want to have anything to do with the small minority of religious schools that are run by the icky kind of Christian. (To be clear, I don’t know if either of the kids below attend one of the controversial schools — but that’s not the point. The corporate donors are leaving all these kids behind.)

Here’s the story of a Florida teen with Asperger’s, who was suffering in her normal school. Through this program, her mom was able to put her in a private school that helped her to flourish:

Here’s one, in Spanish, about a Hispanic autistic boy who was able to get into a school that helped him with his special needs:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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