Loudoun GOP Supports the First Amendment Rights of Pastor Gary Hamrick and Cornerstone Chapel

June 1, 2021

The LCRC commenda Pastor Gary Hamrick and Cornerstone Chapel for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech and the gathering of signatures to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

School Board elections in Virginia are nonpartisan, and Virginia Code § 24.2-233 states that "Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court."

The recent press release from the Loudoun County Democratic Committee (LCDC) denouncing Cornerstone Chapel for exercising its First Amendment rights accomplishes little more than to confirm the disdain that the Democrat Party has for the founding principles of the United States of America, while also demonstrating its ignorance regarding the founding documents of our Republic.

The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. We encourage the LCDC to familiarize themselves with these documents.

Amendment 1 states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

As leader of a religious organization, Pastor Gary Hamrick is well within his rights to express his religious beliefs as well as to express religious grievances, including petitioning the government as a response to these grievances.

According to numbers presented to the Loudoun County School Board last fall, only 81,660 students enrolled as of Sept. 21, 2020. That's nearly 5% (4,095 students) below the projections of 85,755 for the fastest growing county in Virginia. More significantly, that is 2,515 fewer students than were enrolled in September 2019. The LCPS school population has consistently grown every year for over 40 years, and these enrollment numbers confirm that the congregants at Cornerstone Chapel are not the only people concerned about Loudoun County schools.

We find LCDC's pronouncements unsurprising and consistent with their ongoing narrative given its party's history of slavery, secession, segregation, violence, and the past suppression of legal minority voters. Furthermore, the LCDC's closing reference to "incitement of violence" is shameful, baseless, and disingenuous.

LCPS has stated that "the Mission of the Loudoun County Public Schools is to work closely with students, families and the community to provide a superior education, safe schools and a climate for success."

Instead, the Loudoun County School Board has chosen to close our schools, eliminate class rank and advanced diplomas, lower math requirements, introduce quotas into the Academies of Loudoun admissions process, reduce access to certain books while providing students with sexually explicit content, and implement divisive Critical Race Theory-based curriculum into our schools. This is a reckless and dangerous agenda designed to tear our communities apart instead of educating our children and bringing Loudoun residents together.

We agree with the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said that "Intelligence plus character... that is the goal of true education." This should also be the goal of the Loudoun County School Board.

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