Red Deer trustee who compared Pride to Nazis said the Holy Spirit told her to do it

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EDMONTON — An Alberta Catholic school board trustee who has been censured for posting a meme linking Pride flags to Nazis said that the Holy Spirit told her to “go for it” when she considered posting the meme.

In August, Monique LaGrange, a trustee on the Red Deer board, posted a photo on her personal Facebook page of children holding Nazi flags with swastikas and another photo of children holding a rainbow Pride flag.

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The post was captioned “brainwashing is brainwashing.”

In response to the post, a complaint was made to the board and it investigated to determine if there was a breach of board policy. The complaint included concerns raised by school division alumni, other school division staff and an unidentified medical professional. Four parents wrote to the board expressing their support for LaGrange.

In her arguments before a meeting of other trustees, LaGrange said that she posted the meme because she thought it “reflected the truth about today,” and the “Holy Spirit said to the Trustee, Go for it,” according to a summary of the meeting.

“(LaGrange) trusts the Holy Spirit and decided to share the Meme Post,” the report says.

LaGrange’s lawyer requested that the board release its reasons for finding LaGrange violated the board’s code of conduct and Alberta’s Education Act. The 15-page document also details LaGrange’s defence of her actions.

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At the in-camera meeting, LaGrange argued that the meme was not about the LGBTQ community, but rather was, according to the report, “about indoctrination through the United Nations which directly correlates to World War II and Nazism; it is about the agenda of the United Nations and Planned Parenthood which is an attempt to sabotage our youths’ identities and destines.”

The posting of the meme, LaGrange’s lawyer said, was to bring attention to “objectionable ideology,” and, in the words of the summary report, “to show what road we are going down and that we must be vigilant as to what we are allowing in to influence our children.”

LaGrange, according to the summary, also argued that “the Pride flag is used to silence people,” that her post was protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that she is not responsible for “unreasonable interpretations” to what she posted.

The board describes its mission as being “committed to supporting inclusive communities that foster care and compassion of students, families and staff.” The complaint to the board argued that LaGrange’s meme undermined the board’s commitment to inclusion.

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The complaint argued that LaGrange, in posting the meme, had also violated Roman Catholic teachings on LGBTQ issues; LaGrange countered that it did not contradict Catholic values. (The board, in analyzing LaGrange’s conduct, did not make a decision on whether it was contrary to Catholic values.)

The board concluded that while LaGrange may have had a right to free expression, she, as a trustee, was also bound by the board’s code of conduct.

“The Meme Post is not, on a reasonably objective standard, dignified nor professional,” the board wrote.

The board disagreed that there was no “lack of decorum” in the post, or that it “does not show disrespect for others.”

“In this case, (LaGrange) placed her personal interests ahead of her public duty to carry out her duties in a dignified, ethical and professional manner, and to represent the Board with proper decorum.”

LaGrange has been barred from committee duties and from representing the board at public functions. She has also been told to post a “sincere” letter detailing her understanding that she had offended some people.

James Kitchen, who represented LaGrange, told CTV Edmonton that she was a “normal, Bible-believing Christian.”

“The apology definitely won’t happen. That would violate her conscience. She can’t do that. That would be a sin,” Kitchen said.

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Originally posted 2023-10-18 19:01:21.