Dozens of panicked Tennesseans took to the streets carrying placards and handguns amid fears that Common Core is promoting Islamic principles in public schools.
“I think now is the time where we have got to stand up and make a voice and do something,” said protest organizer Matthew Young. “They are teaching how to convert to Islam, they are teaching Allah is God.”
A counter-protest Friday drew nearly as many people, said demonstrator Whitney Prater, who complained about local coverage of the dueling demonstration.
“Our local media went to great lengths to not cover our counter-protest,” Prater said. “They even took all of their pictures and videos in such an angle that it is like we weren’t there.”
She claims the counter-protesters were thanked by a school principal, teacher, and several students.
The wide-ranging nature of conservative grievances on display called to mind the famous exchange from the 1953 film, “The Wild Ones.”
“What are you rebelling against, Johnny?” asked actress Peggy Maley.
“Whaddya got?” replied Marlon Brando.
Prater said the demonstration was organized by activists who are also trying to nullify the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and photos taken from the event showed conservative activists protesting Planned Parenthood and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“All lives matter — even the not yet born,” read a handmade sign held by a man who was wearing a holstered handgun.
Another photo showed the same man standing next to a woman holding a sign with artwork that called for an end to the shooting of fetuses.
A spokeswoman for Johnson City Schools said Islam is taught from a historical perspective alongside other major world religions.
“When we talk about Islam or any, any teaching of any country or history of a nation in our world, we teach it from a historical perspective,” said Debra Bentley, a department supervisor.
Bentley said the state would review federal Common Core standards, as well as social studies standards, starting in January.
She pointed out that middle school students currently must meet 10 social studies standards related to Christianity, compared with three for Islam.