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OPINION

Want to Teach in Minnesota? Christians Need Not Apply.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

I grew up in Minnesota when it was a very nice, normal place; a time when the unofficial state motto was “30 Below Keeps The Riff-Raff Out,” and the meanest thing about it was that lady who scowled at Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat into the air on TV.

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But in a couple years, Christians will not be allowed to work as public school teachers. Neither will Muslims or Jews. The reason for this religious bigotry is new teacher licensing rules that will require teachers to personally affirm transgender ideology. 

Biology, genetics, endocrinology, physiology and anatomy have shown that, with the exception of a minuscule portion of the human race, people are born either male or female. But a growing cadre of science-denying ideologues believes people can just decide what sex they are. 

I’m something of a libertarian in this regard, but there are limits. If some misguided soul wants to present himself or herself as something they're not, that’s their business. But when somebody demands we believe and affirm these delusions, under penalty of law, that’s a problem.  

It's not just me. This is also a problem for Muslims who believe in the teachings of the Quran which instructs believers that in Allah’s creation, he “made of him two kinds, male and female.”

If you think this is some obscure passage, you may recall how Muslim parents in Dearborn, Michigan, last fall vocally protested against local schools that wanted to indoctrinate their children with transgender ideology. The parents were right to do so. 

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Transgender ideology not only violates the faith of Muslims, it violates that of Bible-believing Jews and Christians as well. The book of Genesis is pretty clear about this, stating in the very first chapter, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

But if you happen to be one of the roughly 5 billion people on Earth who subscribe to one of these faiths, Minnesota doesn’t want you to teach public school. 

Beginning in 2025, the rules of the state Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board will require that, “A teacher ensures student identities such as race/ethnicity, national origin, language, sex and gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical/developmental/ emotional ability, socioeconomic class, and religious beliefs are historically and socially contextualized, affirmed, and incorporated into a learning environment” (emphasis added).

People who believe in the God of the Bible or the God of the Quran will be forced to affirm an ideology that is contrary to their faith. This is not a recommendation; it’s a requirement for employment. 

This is inconsistent with Minnesota statutes, which plainly state, “It is the public policy of this state to secure for persons in this state, freedom from discrimination: (1) in employment because of race, color, creed, religion…”

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The Minnesota Human Rights Act further says it’s an unfair labor practice to deny employment to someone, “because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, familial status, membership or activity in a local commission, disability, sexual orientation, or age.”

The law does provide an exception, “based on a bona fide occupational qualification,” which makes some sense. After all, it’s entirely reasonable for a synagogue to want to hire Jews. A Christian or Muslim school would probably want to hire Christians and Muslims as well. But apparently, the teacher licensing authority in Minnesota has decided that believing God created us man and woman is somehow disqualifying. 

This is more than the latest skirmish in the ongoing culture wars. How is this not a violation of black-letter law? It smacks of illegal discrimination based on religion. Imagine the howls if the state required teachers to profess the faith of an established religion. I wouldn’t like that either. 

Some might argue that this isn’t religious discrimination. People can still work as teachers as long as they recant their faith. This tactic has been commonly used by authoritarians across time and around the globe. It is religious persecution on par with that of North Korea and the old Soviet Union.

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Will Minnesotans allow this to happen? According to Pew Research, more than 75 percent of Minnesotans are either Christian, Muslim or Jewish. That’s a big number. I would love to see 4 million people living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes stand up and demand their government not discriminate against them. It might just make the news. 

But it doesn’t take 4 million people to change this bigoted, Marxist policy. I think three people could get the job done. One Muslim, one Jew and one Christian should engage counsel and sue the state, forcing it to end this religious persecution. If they open a legal defense fund, I’m happy to send a check. 

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