Shane Idleman could not stay silent.
In an impassioned plea to the Westside Union School District Board of Education Tuesday night, the spirit-filled Senior Pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona, California, asked the school board to reconsider their allowance of a book titled "Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope," to be taught to the children of that district. Apparently, it has become part of the curriculum.
The book was written by activist and Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, Jodie Patterson. In the book she shares her transgender son's experience about "identity and acceptance," reads the book description on the website of the publisher Penguin Random House. Penguin Random House also publishes Christian books, including one from actress Roma Downey titled "Be An Angel."
The book's description on Amazon reads: "Penelope knows that he's a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it. ... Penelope's experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.
Idleman wonders how the school district in good conscience can allow the book to be taught to elementary school children.
"What they are promoting is that a little child can understand that they can change their sex. And, the school district, by allowing the book in classrooms, are actually encouraging it," Idleman said in an exclusive interview with Charisma News. "How can a five-year-old determine that? It's pretty frustrating."
Since circulating the video on Rumble late Tuesday night, Idleman says he and his church office have been inundated by emails and phone calls. But, he says, it is "not anything beyond the scope of what we can handle."
Prior to Idleman speaking, he said there was much heated "vitriol" about the book from members of the audience. Idleman says it was about a 50-50 split, for and against.
Some on the pro side of the book said that others were spouting "hate speech."
In his three-minute speech before the school board, Idleman said that "when people speak the truth in love, it's not hate speech." He spoke without interruption, which he considered a minor miracle within itself.
Idleman also gave the school board a stern rebuke to stand up to the state of California's views and ideals, which many would consider beyond liberal.
"Legal is not always lawful," Idleman says. "Just because something is legal, it doesn't mean it's lawful. Somebody here can stand up to the state of California and say, 'this is not right.' We can murder children in the woman and we call that legal, but we know it's not right.
"Public school systems were founded to teach the Word of God. Now, I know you have to be careful in this area, but you can oppose what California is pushing. I don't think this should be allowed in schools. What this is, it's actually a form of child abuse. It's mental, emotional child abuse. This is not good for kids.
"I counsel kids. We've buried kids who overdosed on fentanyl and heroin, kids that have cut themselves. You won't take that pain away because they need hope, not capitulation. Are you're doing is you're giving in to something that will not help them."
Idleman warned the school board to reconsider the use of Patterson's book in the classroom because it will affect the future direction of the school district.
"Just think, is this something that going to help kids or hurt them," Idleman said. "It is a very strong topic, and it demands a very strong challenge, a very strong rebuke. That's why I'm here.
"I know you have a hard job, trust me. I've got a lot of enemies myself. But someone needs to stand up and say this is not right, we cannot allow this in our schools. Yes, it might cost you some friends, but times change and truth does not."
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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.
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