The State House District 31 B race is heating up in Bingham County. The contest pits current state representative Julie VanOrden, versus political activist and stay-at-home mother of 10, Julianne Young.
A key issue in the race is sex education. Rep. VanOrden, as chair of the Idaho House Education Committee, sponsored a bill which would have changed the over 40-year-old legislative which governs sex education in the Gem State.
Language in the proposed legislation states that it, “promotes a strong school-home connection to support the implementation of sex education curriculum that respects community values and encourages family communication.” For her part Rep. VanOrden claims that the bill would have given parents and families the primary responsibility for teaching children about human sexuality.
Before announcing her candidacy Young became a leading critic of VanOrden’s bill. Young and other opponents claimed, among others things, that the bill opened the door to teaching alternative lifestyles to school age children.
After concerns were voiced by Young and others, VanOrden pulled the bill from consideration and asked for guidance from those with concerns. Due to the controversy, it is uncertain if any version of a new sex education legislation will be brought forward next year in Boise.
Young, despite the death of the sex education bill, is currently using the controversy over the issue as a springboard for her own political aspirations. Young is campaigning hard for VanOrden’s house seat in Bingham County’s 31st House District.
However, Julianne Young’s political involvement goes far beyond just the recent sex education controversy. Young has been involved for several years as a leader in East Idaho of the Freedom First Society, and nationally as a columnist for the group.
For those who are not familiar with the Freedom First Society, the organization was founded by former officers of the John Birch Society in 2007 who felt that the John Birch Society, “was tragically no longer committed to building a membership organization to expose Conspiracy.” While the group markets itself as a group dedicated to educating the public about the Constitution, the agenda of the organization is much more out of the political mainstream of conservatism than many realize.
According to the Freedom First Society’s website, “Unfortunately, most Americans today are unfamiliar with the overwhelming evidence of an influential Conspiracy, which is gaining momentum in its diabolical plan to build a tyrannical New World Order. Freedom First Society provides Americans with the organization, programs, concerted-action campaigns, and educational tools to expose and rout that Conspiracy.”
According to the Freedom First Society’s 2007 Launch Special Report discusses the organization’s views and goals. A key concern of the Freedom First Society, like its predecessor the John Birch Society, is a belief in a wide ranging international conspiracy to destroy American sovereignty and freedom. According to the Freedom First Society, “Moreover, we agree vehemently with Robert Welch (founder of the John Birch Society) that no organization or leader can stop the Conspiracy’s destruction of America if that leader or that organization can’t say the word.”
The Freedom First Society’s notions regarding “the Conspiracy” encompass many different topics. One of these is education. Julianne Young has authored several columns on the Freedom First Society’s website related to education and the plot to establish a new world order. These include columns titled, “School Children and National Security”, and “Wake Up, Little Chickens!”
Young, and other leaders of the Freedom First Society, over the past several years have been actively engaged in recruiting new members. Most recently the Vance Smith, national CEO and founder of the Freedom First Society, joined Young and others in Blackfoot to recruit new members, and engage them in political action.
This has not been the organization’s first efforts are recruitment in East Idaho. In 2014 the Freedom First Society attempted to use LDS Church facilities in East Idaho as a location to proselytize new members. The LDS Church refused the group access.
Freedom First’s views are outside of normal Republican or conservative beliefs. In fact, the organization over the years, like its predecessor the John Birch Society, has often attacked many well-respected conservatives, including even Ronald Reagan. For Young, the Bingham County legislative race represents an important test to see if voters will embrace the Freedom First Society’s agenda and notions of a global conspiracy. The race is further evidence that the 2018 will be an interesting primary year.