In a time of immense political and social change, it’s essential to reflect on the principles that define and uphold a nation. This is especially important when exploring the topics of religious freedom, parental rights, and individual liberties within both the educational and military sectors of American society. Our STAND episode with Scott Parkinson and Mike Berry serves as a rallying cry for a conservative revival, closely examining these pressing issues.
Scott Parkinson is a candidate for U.S. senate in Virginia, running against incumbent Tim Kaine (who previously was the VP nominee on Hillary Clinton’s ticket for President). Parkinson’s inspiration for his senatorial campaign is rooted in his experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdowns, mandates, and quarantines prompted him to reassess the balance between government intervention and personal freedoms.
Virginia’s political scene appears to be on the precipice of transformation, as public sentiment shifts in response to perceived overreach by the Democrat Party, particularly in areas of education and parental rights. And, Virginia’s own Oliver Anthony released a chart-topping country song about politicians’ disastrous decisions about the economy, welfare, children, and the poor. It’s against this backdrop that Parkinson is inspired to run for U.S. Senate.
Parkinson’s decision to run against Tim Kaine is a manifestation of the belief that political courage can be as contagious as political fear, with the potential to spark meaningful change.
The episode emphasizes the significance of family values and parental involvement in the educational process, as the discussion extends to the delicate balance between LGBTQ rights and the parents’ rights movement.
Another profound area of concern is the military’s handling of religious freedoms amidst the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Our conversation with Mike Berry of the First Liberty Institute covers the struggle of 35 U.S. Navy SEALs whose careers and livelihoods were threatened by the Navy’s refusal to approve vaccine exemptions requested through religious accommodations. The episode highlights the legal battles fought to uphold the rights of these service members, illustrating the tension between military policy and constitutional religious liberties.
Furthermore, the chapter on military accommodation and discrimination sheds light on the broader implications of religious freedom within the V.A. and the military at large. The narrative reflects on the cases of organizations like Shields of Strength and individuals like Stephanie Carter who have been targeted by the military’s religious discrimination. The episode suggests an undercurrent of religious hostility within the U.S. military, and an intolerance for people of faith within the government, attributed to the current administration’s stance on religious expression.