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Colleges Archives – Concerned Women for America

YWA’s viewpoints “too risky” for tech platform

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By Annabelle Rutledge, National Director of YWA

I recently had an informational Zoom call with the owner of a company I was hoping to work with as the National Director of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Young Women for America (YWA) program. He seemed optimistic about the possibility of working with us, but then as we discussed our conservative values and the current “cancel culture” climate, things seemed to change.

A few days later, I received an email stating that he regretted they would not be able to work with YWA due to “potential business risk factors.” The risk factor? Our Christian, conservative beliefs. The goal of YWA is to train and equip high school and college female leaders who take a stand on campus for the Biblical values and conservative principles in which they believe.

At the risk of sounding like a victim, I challenge you to find another group of people in America more targeted for viewpoint discrimination than conservative women and other conservative minorities. Spend some time talking to a conservative woman of color, and you won’t believe the stories they have to tell.

While I have had my share of insults hurled my direction (namely something about being a “gender traitor” because I want little humans to have a chance at life outside the womb), I have never felt so directly “on trial,” if you will, for my beliefs than talking to this man discussing a possible business partnership. But this is not an isolated incident. The young women I represent and conservative women everywhere experience this discrimination on a regular basis.

What we were seeking was simply a platform to track projects and engagement from our student leaders with a built-in incentive program. Social media is, of course, a huge facet of digital advocacy and one of the main ways to track how engaged our leaders are in sharing our content. It was because social media is a part of this conversation that the topic of de-platforming came up.

From there, he told me that our content would be monitored and asked if our student leaders advocate violence. I found this offensive. I don’t even have to wonder if someone whose website promoted Black Lives Matter or supported Planned Parenthood would be asked the same question. We all know they wouldn’t dare.

The question is also pointless, isn’t it? Neither CWA nor YWA would ever advocate violence, but does what I say matter when objective truth has been completely thrown out the window and replaced with abject subjectivity?

A cursory glance at our website tells you that we are unapologetically pro-life. We are pro-life because the value of human life is not diminished by the minutes, hours, days, or years we have lived. We are also pro-life because we have great compassion for everyone touched by abortion providers who care more about their bottom line than the mothers, fathers, children, and families who are left in the devastating wake of the decision to abort. We advocate life, not death.

However, there are individuals on the other side of this issue who label those who stand up for unborn lives as domestic terrorists. The fact that it is all a lie seems to make no difference in today’s day and age.

I explained that to the representative of the company. I could not help but point out the awkward position I’m in as a conservative woman of faith having to endure this sort of interrogation and be forced to prove my worth via a Zoom call because of my viewpoint on social-political issues.

This small tech business entrepreneur may not be actively trying to discriminate against me or Young Women for America. As a business owner, it is his prerogative to deny a client. But why did he decline to work with us? Because he is a coward. He is afraid of being canceled and losing other left-leaning beauty bloggers and makeup guru clients he has.

Sadly, there are not many business platforms that offer the service for which YWA is looking. This platform rejecting us based solely on our viewpoint puts an undue burden on us to find an alternative that we are not sure exists.

One thing is certain. Conservatives are systematically being targeted, both actively and passively, when it comes to the marketplace of ideas. Viewpoint discrimination against conservatives is being normalized, and our society is the collective loser.

Women may have had to shatter glass ceilings throughout history, but as Sen. Lindsey Graham noted during Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court hearing, conservative women are still fighting to break through the reinforced concrete barrier society wants to constantly keep building over us.

It’s Final! Education Rule Aims to Protect Free Speech for Faith-Based College Groups

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The U.S. Department of Education has finalized a significant rule to secure free speech and equal access rights for faith-based groups on public college campuses and shield them from discrimination. Earlier this year, Concerned Women for America (CWA) galvanized over 1000 comments in strong support of this rule, which will take effect officially this fall.   

The final rule implements the President’s Executive Order 13864, Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, Accountability at Colleges and Universities.  It will “ensure that public institutions of higher education uphold fundamental rights guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including protections for freedom of speech, association, press, religion, assembly, petition, and academic freedom, and that private institutions adhere to their stated institutional policies regarding freedom of speech, including academic freedom.”

These protections are long overdue at the college level. Imagine being falsely told your First Amendment rights under the Constitution do not apply on a public college campus.  That has been the reality for many college students and faith-based clubs on campuses across the country.

Religious clubs, of all faiths, are entitled to the same rights and privileges of any group on a public college campus, but that is not always how it plays out. Many faith-based clubs have been prohibited from having any requirement that their club leadership share the organization’s values and beliefs. They have also been denied equal access to university resources that are given to other campus groups.

The U.S. Department of Education’s final rule on Religious Liberty and Free Inquiry accomplishes through the Executive Branch the goal of the Equal Campus Access Act. This religious freedom rule will ensure public college students and clubs retain their First Amendment rights on public college campuses, extending protections to college students similar to those enacted into law in 1984 for public high school students. Students can know their rights are assured under this rule, and any violation should be reported immediately to the U.S. Department of Education for action.

Under the Constitution, students do not lose their First Amendment rights when they walk through the doors of a university.  Clubs of all faiths bring vibrancy and diversity of belief, opinion, and experience, creating a more robust university environment to engage in the free exchange of ideas. That is at the heart of what a university is meant to be.

The Education Department’s final rule adds to the many accomplishments of the Trump Administration to protect religious liberty and end discrimination against faith-based individuals and entities across the federal government, including in education, health care, adoption, employment, and internationally.