Will Friends or Enemies Determine Your Destiny? – Intercessors for America

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Imagine, walking outside your hotel in New York City and finding a poster advertising a Letters of Hope project to comfort and encourage queer youth and their families in Oklahoma: “For every letter collected the South Korean car giant Hyundai will donate $10 to GLAAD, a LGBTQ advocacy group for fair representation in media. All Letters of Hope will be hand-delivered to queer youth and their families in Oklahoma.”

Connect with others in your state in prayer.

The fact that the project targeted queer youth in Oklahoma came as no surprise. Since taking office on January 9, 2023, Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Public Education, has “outed” organizations and individuals like this with a pro-LGBTQ agenda. As a result, Walters now is a target.

But he wasn’t always. He used to be widely popular. In the small Oklahoma town of McAlester, everyone (parents, administrators and students) admired the young history teacher. His advanced placement classes in U.S. history, world history, and government showcased his love of teaching. He validated his students and encouraged interactive debates on key historical issues. In 2016, his peers nominated him for teacher of the year. The old adage, “a person is known by the friends he keeps,” certainly applied to Ryan Walters, his wife, Katie, and their four young children. During his teaching career his students and his fellow teachers couldn’t tell, and didn’t care, if Walters was a Republican or a Democrat. They simply liked him and felt Walters and his family fit in very well with small town life and an education system that functioned within their system of shared values.

A transformation occurred in 2019 when Governor-elect Kevin Stitt asked Walters to be part of an education working group that advised the incoming administration. Eventually, Walters became Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Walters stepped into the cultural wars of education, morphing into someone unrecognizable to his former friends. He began writing commentaries for conservative magazines and posting his now famous “car videos” where he expounded on the ills of the failing Oklahoma Public School system. The reaction to Walters’ transformation was a display of vitriol-filled hatred accompanied with name calling, hate messages, and unrelenting attacks in media. It became clear. Walters had opened up a spiritual dimension that clearly displayed the battle for the hearts and minds of our nation. Walters was no longer defined by his friends but now is known by the enemies his beliefs have made.

Here’s how Ryan Walters has made enemies in his first 18 months in office:

He publicized the academic failures in Oklahoma’s largest school district, Tulsa Public Schools (TPS), where only fourteen percent of the 36,000 students read at grade level. Despite harsh criticism from some, a public outcry demanded the superintendent responsible resign.

Walters quickly responded to the Biden Administration’s new Title IX rules. Oklahoma schools would not comply with the Biden administration’s Title IX rules, prompting outrage from the Human Rights Campaign, a LBGTQ+ advocacy group. “I believe every student is created in God’s own image,” Walters said. “They’re all precious individuals, and we need to be treating them that way. We’re not going to allow left-wing indoctrination in the classroom, we’re not going to allow any kind of gender ideology being pushed on kids.”

Walters uphold policies requiring students to use bathrooms consistent with their biological sex. He was shouted down by LBGTQ+ student protesters at a recent speech he gave at a Turning Point USA event at Oklahoma State University. Why? Because of his policies and views, the protesters accused him of murdering an Oklahoma transgender student who had a confrontation with girls in a girls’ bathroom and that night committed suicide. Then, more than 350 LBGTQ+ organizations, activists, and celebrities joined in and urged immediate action against Walters. Supporters of the LBGTQ+ community shouted, “You murdered Nex Benedict and his blood is on your hands.”

Walters objected to non-age-appropriate books in the library of Edmond Public Schools in February 2024. In response, Edmond Public Schools filed a lawsuit against Walters. His response? “What you see here are districts that want no accountability. They want to go back to a time when pornography was on the shelves in our schools. They want books like Gender Queer and Flamer made available to kids of all ages, and we’re not going to stand for it, we have to have accountability.”

Sometimes we can’t identify the spiritual entities who seek to destroy our students and ultimately our nation until someone garners the strength to speak out in the public square. Pray for the boldness to become as well  known for the enemies we make as we are for the friends we keep.

Share this article to encourage others to pray for boldness for leaders like Ryan Walters.

Nancy Huff is an educator with a mission to equip believers to pray strategically for the cultural mountain of education. She is the author of Taking the Mountain of Education: A Strategic Prayer Guide to Transform American Schools; Safety Zone: Scriptural Prayers to Revolutionize Your School; and Decrees for Your School. She leads groups for prayer at key educational locations across the U.S. Find out more by visiting Photo Credit: Screenshot/House Committee on Education & the Workforce on YouTube.

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