It looks like love, laughter and friends are only welcome when they're spending money at your chain of arts and crafts stores.
The AP has learned the Mustang School Board and its superintendent had secretive, back channel meetings with Hobby Lobby's Steve Green just hours before approving the school district's new controversial bible curriculum.
Since the meetings were about the curriculum – and not private tutorials on how to make ugly wreaths – they seem to have violated the state's open meeting laws.
From an AP story that doesn't appear anywhere in The Oklahoman:
A school board that approved a Bible-based curriculum for pupils next fall broke into small groups and met privately with the program’s chief backer, the president of the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store chain, to get around an Oklahoma law that requires government bodies to be open to the public, according to emails obtained by The Associated Press.The April 14 meetings with Steve Green and other members of the Museum of the Bible curriculum team occurred just hours before the Mustang School Board approved the course as an elective for the fall. The Mustang superintendent acknowledged insisting on separate presentations so the public wouldn’t have to be invited, and did so at the direction of Green and his public relations representatives.“I want to emphasize again that per my conversation with Ashleigh and the decision to break into two groups, that this will not be a public meeting,” Superintendent Sean McDaniel wrote in one of the emails obtained under an Open Records Act request, referring to a woman at the Saxum public relations company, which represents Hobby Lobby and helped set up the meetings.The Oklahoma County prosecutor said the move — which involved the board leaving its base in Canadian County and traveling to Oklahoma City — could create a potential violation if it is proven to be a deliberate attempt to go around laws that require government bodies to meet openly.
So let me get this straight. The Green family, a group of politically active, ultra-religious evangelical Christians, produced "non-proselytizing" Bible curriculum that aims to teach the good book as a "historical document," then hired an expensive PR firm to push and advance the "non-proselytizing" curriculum, and then had secret meetings with school board members to discuss the legal non-proselytizing curriculum... and we're supposed to believe that it's all legal and non-proselytizing??? If you believe that, I got a bunch of rare and beautiful wall ornaments to sell you.
Of course, the Mustang School Superintendent has a pretty good excuse:
"This was something that we wanted to be able to have conversation about and ask questions. If we have the media and the public coming into Hobby Lobby headquarters with us, that can just be confusing and awkward since we're all seeing it for the first time," Superintendent McDaniel said in an interview. "My thought was, 'Hey, let's hold off on having a public meeting until we see a little more."
Translation: "I will literally suck Hobby Lobby's cock."
Actually, that translation was a bit off. The superintendent was really trying to say "The desires of the Green family to not be irritated or inconvenienced trumps the right of the public to know what type of indoctrinating material is being taught in public schools... and I will literally suck Hobby Lobby's cock."
Anyway, I don't have a problem with the bible being taught in public schools as long as it's A) an elective and B) being taught as fiction. It's the greatest and most influential work of literature in the world. If a student wants to learn about in that context, feel free.
However, I do have a problem with a rich, powerful family using their money and influence to not only promote their religious agenda in schools, but deceive the public by circumnavigating the system designed to protect us from their money, influence and power. Because of that, the next time I need awful crafts and supplies and other stuff I'll never buy, I'm shopping at Michael's. Hobby Lobby can suck my cock.