Peoria Unified School District had another circus of a board meeting this week. We think it deserves statewide attention and published a full rundown here of what we saw.

 The highlights:

  • At least five Turning Point USA adherents—many from outside the district—showed to complain about the board’s decision not to institute a trans bathroom ban.
  • Christian nationalist board members Rebecca Hill and Heather Rooks again promised to vote against funding the district as retaliation for the decision.
  • Member Hill opened by quoting a particularly violent Bible verse
  • Member Hill suggested that creationism should be taught as part of the district’s science curriculum. (A staff member reminded her that they have to follow state standards, which don’t include creationism.)
  • Hill claimed “science doesn’t generally change all that much,” prompting an eruption of laughter from the audience.
  • Overheard in the audience: “Am I at a school board meeting or a church sermon? Are they always like this?”
  • The first student to speak acknowledged that by dehumanizing trans kids, people put a target on their backs, and called to honor everyone’s humanity.
  • Board Member Sorensen made a thoughtful and lovely remark criticizing the “culture war” and called for a return to trusting people and processes.

All this may sound overwhelming, but the good news is we can still easily outnumber the Christian nationalists in the gallery if we show up. If you think you can and live in the district, let us know by getting on our volunteer signup sheet.

The next PUSD meeting is 6pm June 8th 6330 West Thunderbird Road, Glendale, Arizona. Board member info can be found in the righthand column here.


Kangaroo court in Legislature

Religious conservatives held a hearing over whether Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton breached House ethics by hiding Bibles in the members’ lounge. Stahl-Hamilton exercised her right to absent herself from the hearing, and pro-secular constituents exercised their right to show—outnumbering members of the religious right by about 5 to 1.

As we told the Arizona Republic, keeping Bibles in the lounge violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against the establishment of religion. It’s an example of faith being pushed on Arizonans by their legislators, who use religion to deny access to health care, books, and artistic performances.

The complaint by three Republican Representatives accuses Stahl-Hamilton of “disorderly behavior,” which could lead to her censure by the House.

The committee adjourned without a decision. Members still need to hear from you. Their contact info can be found in our action alert from earlier this week, viewable here.


Good news from DOE

The U.S. Department of Education’s updated guidance for prayer and religious expression in public schools correctly emphasizes that schools must protect students’ religious liberty by remaining secular. This stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration’s version, which focused on protecting constitutional prayers, and minimized advice on avoiding unconstitutional prayers.

If someone in your schools is quoting scripture or otherwise promoting religion, they may be violating constitutional law. Send them this guidance to explain it to them.  


WATCH: Ending Abuse in the Church

Melanie Blow, a survivor of incest, psychological abuse, and other childhood trauma, now uses her talents to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences with the Stop Abuse Campaign. She joined us for a conversation about what we can do to stop abuse within religious institutions.


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Substack is a quickly-growing alternative to the social media monopolies that rely on algorithms to decide what news you see… and we’re on it! We’ve already got deep-dive articles about religiosity at school board meetings and religious hypocrisy about “groomer” panic.


Secular AZ
PO Box 19258  | Phoenix, Arizona 85005
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