Antonio Verdugo

Antonio “Anthony” Verdugo runs Florida’s Christian Family Coalition (CFC). I once referred to Verdugo as a tormented dog chasing his tail. Suffice it to say that Verdugo is … unique. CFC is a Florida not-for-profit (donations are not tax deductible). But I digress.

Last night’s email from Verdugo is titled: “this is bad.”

Florida school teacher discriminates against Christian students!

CFC Florida putting a stop to this discriminatory practice!

Note the certainty. Verdugo goes on to explain:

At Riverview High School in Hillsborough, a ninth grade girl was targeted by her teacher to take off her cross necklace. When the girl asked why, the teacher claimed it was “disrespectful” and demanded she take it off.

Her teacher, Ms. Reidas, is an LGBT activist who was offended by the girl expressing her religious beliefs. In fact, Ms. Reidas classroom is filled with rainbow and LGBT propaganda throughout her classroom. She silences the freedom of expression from her students, but forces them to listen to her LGBT political activism.

This is potentially actionable as defamation. Verdugo doesn’t know any of that for a fact. He is merely repeating the allegations of Liberty Counsel. Nowhere in this diatribe are the words “allegedly” or “according to Liberty Counsel.” It’s not there because Verdugo has an out-sized ego which prohibits giving other people credit. Ms. Reidas is most certainly not a public figure which means that CFC has no Sullivan protection. According to the school district (as of Monday) no student or parent has complained to the school’s principal.

Verdugo has another agenda:

Since March 6th, CFC Florida has been the only organization in the state to fight for passage of SB-436. We have lobbied, deployed emails, submitted testimony, testified and even debated anti-Christian hate groups opposed to this legislation. In fact, State Rep. Kimberly Daniels, the House sponsor of this bill, she stated in a conversation with CFC Florida director Anthony Verdugo “After July 1st this will not be allowed.”

“Anti-Christian hate groups?” In any event, SB 436 creates the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” and specifies
that a school district may not discriminate against a student, parent, or school personnel on the
basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression.

Over the last three months they have amended the hell out of this measure, including this:

House Amendment 1 modifies SB 436 to make SB 436 identical to CS/HB 303. Specifically,
the amendment removes from SB 436 provisions that:

  • Authorize students to wear clothing and accessories that display a religious message to the
    same extent that students are permitted to wear secular clothing and accessories.

Verdugo wants to take credit for this bill which seems unlikely. This measure seems to be another bit of boilerplate that Alliance Defending Freedom is circulating.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.