A group of Nebraska rightwing Christian fundamentalists who oppose human rights is barreling toward the November Board of Education elections funded by mystery money and fueled by anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theories.
The extremists last held a prominent event in Nebraska about a month ago, and are now planning a “God’s Country Rally” and fundraiser for Marni Hodgen, Protect Nebraska Children’s endorsed candidate for State Board of Ed. Another PNC endorsed candidate, Sherry Jones, is scheduled to be there, along with “many more.” It seems they are wising up to the fact that most Nebraskans do not agree with their extremism, so most candidates are making sure their names are not on the flyers and are keeping their distance from PNC (Christy Armendariz – I see you).
As we have mentioned many times before, Protect Nebraska Children is backed and sponsored by SPLC-recognized hate group, Family Watch International. The PNC website is owned by Family Watch International, and their donations are also run through that website, presumably to avoid paying taxes since FWI is a 501c3 and PNC is not. Although they got a friendly write-up from Omaha World Herald reporter Joe Dejka in which he blithely printed their lie that they “are not an anti-LGBTQ group,” they are.
PNC’s upcoming fundraiser for Board of Education candidate Marni Hodgen is billed as a “God’s Country Rally,” which will teach you how to “think Biblically about CRT.”
One of the groups sponsoring the event is Nebraskans for Founders Values, which proudly displayed a Hitler quote in their booth at the York County Fair last year.
The keynote speaker at this fundraiser isVirgil Walker. Walker was the Discipleship Pastor at Westside Church in Omaha for 6 years, and now he appears to be a full-time rightwing grifter with a podcast and a lucrative speaking tour circuit whose latest despicable act was narrating a “documentary” called “Uncle Tom II.” You can watch the trailer for this vile gaslighting trash here but I don’t necessarily recommend it. While you’re on YouTube you may notice he also makes a couple appearances on the channel of the Family Research Council, another SPLC recognized hate group led by Tony Perkins (who once purchased Klansman David Duke’s mailing list for use in a Louisiana political campaign he was managing). In addition to starring in racist propaganda films and undermining the queer community, Virgil is also proud to be called a Christian Nationalist.
The Protect Nebraska Children private Facebook group includes more details about the event, including that Sherry Jones (another PNC endorsed candidate for NE Board of Ed) and many others will be there.
If you think this is all a big yawn, click here to watch video from a recent Nebraska for Founders Values event in which Kirk Penner, who was appointed to the State Board of Ed by Pete Ricketts and who is running against Helen Raikes to keep his seat, tells the pumped up crowd that the PNC candidates must win in order to put an end to “radical gender ideology” and stalemate any decision to hire a “woke” commissioner to replace Matt Blomstedt, who will be retiring. Penner also mentions that he and Elizabeth Tegtmeier have spent over $100,000 *each* in their races for this unpaid seat on the State Board of Ed. However, according to the fluff piece on PNC written by Joe Dejka, PNC has only raised a little under $6800, which only goes to prove that the vast majority of Nebraskans do not agree with their fanatical ideology. So where did that other $200,000 come from? Someone (or some organization) with deep pockets and insidious plans for Nebraska’s public schools is financing them. (More on this coming soon.)
At the Nebraska for Founders Values event, participants did a “laying on of hands” on Elizabeth Tegtmeier. These people want to supervise our public schools? This is Christofascism, folks.
I called the Aloft Omaha West where the event is being held to see if they knew the nature of the event that is being held at their hotel. As of this publishing they have not called me back.
So what can we do? First, support the candidates that are running against the PNC extremists here:
Deb Neary: https://www.debfored.com/
Danielle Helzer: https://www.helzer4education.com/
Helen Raikes: https://donorbox.org/helen-raikes-for-state-board-of-education
Robin Stevens: https://robinforstateschoolboard.com/
Most importantly, keep calling out this extremist group and these extremist candidates for what they are. Share this information with your friends and family across the state. As someone who grew up in Gering, Nebraska, I can confirm that the only media you get out there is extremist right wing radio and the news channel owned by Mike Flood. There are a lot of people fighting the good fight out in Western Nebraska, but it is a bit of a bubble. Don’t disparage them, encourage them.
I know it feels like everything is on fire and the extremists are running everything. They may be loud, but they are a tiny minority. Most Nebraskans do not agree with their hateful, extremist views. I can’t stress how important it is that we do not allow these Christofascists to take over the State Board of Education.