Christian School Fights Back Against Colorado's Tyrannical Government Overreach

In the face of draconian mask mandates for young children as young as preschool age, a private Christian school in Congresswoman Lauren Boebert's district in Colorado chose to leave the decision whether a child should wear a mask at school up to the parents. Local government, aligned with the public education system, has intervened and says parents have no say in their children's experience at school.

Government officials have decreed, "obey our mandate or else."

The head of the school says that the mask mandate is about government control more than it is about public health—and it's a signal from "the progressives in Denver" to disrupt and break the strongly conservative "red country" of Rep. Boebert's area. The school has decided to push back hard against Democrat-led government overreach that threatens civil liberties.

"When we opened up our school this year, we felt by our convictions and by our faith that we were to operate by family choice," says Jim Tarr, pastor of Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado and head of the ministry's school, which ranges from preschool to high school. "But the voices and values of parents are not respected in Eagle County."

In response, local health officials of Eagle County, Colorado rejected the rights of parents to exercise family choice, asserted questionable authority masking tyrannical control to undermine Christian values, freedom, and individual rights under the U.S. Constitution, and have unilaterally hurled threats of heavy fines and jail time at the pastor who runs the school.

"Public health takes priority over your personal liberties. This is the message that one of the county's health officials brazenly told one of our student's mothers," says Tarr, who is facing $5,000 in fines and up to 18 months in prison for not complying with the make mandate. He believes that it is based on manipulation of a crisis for political gain.

"The idea of liberty, freedom and parental rights is being consistently lost," Tarr says. "This is tragic for America as a nation. On our end as a school, realistically, we don't have the same financial resources as the county, but we're going to take a biblical position and we're going to honor the Lord in every way."

Since this matter is now headed to court for an epic "David vs. Goliath" battle, the implications of this issue—denial of parental rights and violations of individuals constitutional rights—may have nationwide ramifications.

"These county health officials are positioned in a place of power, and they have been weaponized by the legislation that is coming out of Denver. The Denver legislature passed a law that gave cart blanche to health directors. In a time of crisis, declared by them, they can enter your building and take control of your building. They can quarantine anyone they want," Tarr says.

"I told them this: you're coming after a Christian school with a hundred kids. Why? So you can go to bed at night and you can preen your progressive feathers and you can tell yourself, 'we are doing such a wonderful job. We shut down a school because they weren't wearing masks.' Yet at the same time they turn a blind eye to what's happening to the most innocent and defenseless in our society, and I'm talking about the unborn."

Clamping down on the Christian school, the state-driven measures are calling for the school to remain masked until 80% of the "building" is vaccinated. Since many of the students are infants and toddlers in the care center of the school, it means that Tarr's school would be burdened with mandating masks on everyone for years to come, as if Colorado has turned into Communist China. He believes this is an aggressive assertion of government power to send a message.

"Denver wants to go after the western part of the state because that is where red country is," Tarr says. "This is where people who value First Amendment rights and Second Amendment rights live. We are very strong out here."

Tarr believes, unless government overreach is confronted, government will force people to do things according to their special interest group-led initiatives, whether mask mandates, vaccine mandates, abortion-on-demand, gun confiscation, or teaching transgenderism in schools. Government will be able to trample over anyone's freedom of choice and force people to come into compliance with anti-Christian, anti-common sense and anti-family behaviors.

"Families are not important anymore in the educational system in the United States," Tarr says. "What kind of nation have we become?" He cites the Ten Commandments in the Bible as a foundational piece for preserving the family unit and not undermining parental authority: honor your father and mother.

Dismissing the rights of parents, however, the county made a decision on masks without affording the proper time to collect and process input from parents of students in private schools. Parents were not given an opportunity to tell their side of the issue.

Government officials have been condescending and disrespectful to families, according to the head of the school. They also sent bureaucrats to inspect the school in Basalt in a show of force before there could be due process in the legal system. Intimidation tactics have become routine.

Even worse, they demanded emails between the school and parents, thereby violating privacy. They also pushed the school into a corner to have COVID testing done at a private company that keeps the information on all the people who are tested, raising questions about who should safely and securely store information about the COVID testing status of U.S. citizens.

"There is science to support both sides of the issue, but you only hear about one side of it in mainstream media," says Tarr, calling out the liberal hypocrisy of mask mandates that violate the sanctity of family choice.

Health officials treat the Cornerstone school as if it's a hotbed of COVID infections. However, there have been only nine students with COVID, but, most importantly, the symptoms were the equivalent of a head cold. All of them recovered fully.

The COVID numbers in larger schools where masks are mandated and strapped around children's faces for six or more hours a day are significantly higher, raising questions about the effectiveness of masks. The pastor indicated that public health decision-makers have lost all common sense, but that's not all.

Tarr indicated that there is a lack of trust in government among citizens because of the flip-flopping and shameless manipulation of "science" to create and push a narrative that, he says, is all about gaining political power and increasing government control in perpetuity.

Looking ahead, Tarr believes it's time for Christians to take a stronger stand, starting with himself, even if no one else will stand with him. He says he is "drawing a line in the sand." Time is running out to save not only America but also save the next generation.

"We can talk about how great God is, how powerful He is, and how He is always defending us, but if our children watch us as we compromise and even if we blink for a moment and let them observe how we cave in, what good are we?" says Tarr. "In the moment when we are really put to the test—what you believe, what you live—if we compromise, we will give our children the kind of faith that has gotten our nation into the kind of trouble that it is in right now."

This battle has turned into something much bigger for this Christian leader, who is being thrust on a national stage without ever wanting it. But he believes the country is moving toward a critical crossroads.

"I agree with something I heard a person say that we give to our children in the American church an ineffective and powerless Christianity that is just enough to vaccinate them, so they continue on in a faith that does not change the world and the devil is not threatened by," says Tarr. "It's not enough to just talk about God. We have to live it out. And years from now, I want students, even if only five students, to remember that there were a pastor and teachers who stood together and stood up for what they believe in."

Depending on how the legal case unfolds and is decided, the precedent that comes from this matter could challenge every Christian school in America to stand up for constitutional rights and religious liberties or, undesirably, buckle under fear as an ineffective and powerless Christianity is passed on to the next generation. As the head of Cornerstone's school says, the children are watching.

To watch a video interview of Pastor Jim Tarr addressing the controversy, click here. {eoa]

A.B. Petrucci is a freelance writer.

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