FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Betsy DeVos Grant Recipient Urged the Indoctrination of Youth Like ‘Stalin, Hitler and Lenin’
Troubling DeVos Links to Radical Christian Leadership Academy Makes Her Unsuitable as Secretary of Education, Says Truth Wins Out
CHICAGO – Truth Wins Out expressed alarm today over the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education after newly surfaced video, released by researcher Bruce Wilson, showed that DeVos funded an extremist organization that sought to indoctrinate youth like “Stalin, Hitler and Lenin.” The organization, the Michigan-based Student Statesmanship Institute (SSI), teaches teens, mainly homeschooled and from Christian private schools, about a “biblical worldview” and trains them for careers in politics, law, media, and business.
In the video, “SSI: Celebrating 20 Years,” former Michigan Lt. Governor Dick Posthumus, now Governor Rick Snyders top adviser for legislative affairs, said “Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, they knew one thing – that to change a culture, to change a country, you had to reach the children.” (Begins at :24)
“Stalin, Hitler, and Lenin are inappropriate role models for educating children,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Betsy DeVos’ history of funding extremist organizations makes her uniquely unsuited to be Secretary of Education. It seems like a more befitting title for DeVos would be Secretary of Indoctrination.”
SSI’s 2010 fundraising banquet also featured former United States Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA). Following Santorum’s speech, SSI’s leader, James Muffett, stated, “may God give us hundreds, and thousands, of Rick Santorums in the next generation.”
Betsy DeVos has been listed on the SSI advisory board as recently as 2015, and has been featured as an active SSI program participant nearly as far back as the program had a functional website
SSI’s current “Ambassador League” web page states that students, “are given a variety of Biblical issues to study: Truth, Mercy and Justice, The Nature of Man, The Blessings of Ten Commandments, Lordship of Christ, Homosexuality, Sanctity of Life, Inspiration and Inerrancy of the Bible, Self-government and Self-control, Sanctity of Marriage, and Civil Government.”
SSI leader James Muffett’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit Foundation for Traditional Values is the educational wing spun off from Muffett’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit Citizens for Traditional Values. CTV originated as an outgrowth of several Michigan political organizations founded for Pat Robertson’s presidential bid in 1988. CTV’s political activities include campaigns against LGBT rights, attacks on the teaching of evolution in schools and the promotion of abstinence-only sex education in schools.
James Muffett specializes in giving a presentation called “The Greatest Story Never Told” which claims the United States was originally founded as an expressly Christian nation. At the end of the presentation, Muffett suggests all of the world’s societies are to be put under the dominion of (and shall bow down to) the Christian god. There are explicit culture war themes too – antiabortion, anti-separation of church and state, anti-evolution, pro-traditional marriage. Near the end, Muffett showcases the Providence Foundation book America’s Providential History that refers extensively to writings from the explicitly theocratic Christian Reconstructionism movement.
In his 1996 book, “The Religious Right in Michigan Politics,” author Russ Bellant states that Betsy DeVos was the honorary chairperson for the first Foundation for Traditional Values fundraiser in 1993. According to Bellant, the DeVos family and its foundations have funded FTV from the start.
IRS 990 tax records back to 1999 show that James Muffett’s Foundation for Traditional Values has received financial support from three different foundations associated with Betsy DeVos, two DeVos family foundations (Betsy and Dick DeVos Family Foundation, Richard and Helen Family Foundation – these two have tightly interlocking boards with 3 shared directors) and the Prince Family Foundation, which has listed Betsy DeVos as a vice president for at least 17 years straight according to CNN. (see 990 tax forms and breakdown of funding, below).
Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation (EIN 382902412) SSI (FTV) Funding 1999-2010.The Foundation shares 3 board members – Jerry L. Tubergen, Robert H. Schierbeek, Jeffrey K. Lambert – with Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation
1999 – 10,000
2000 – 21,300
2001 – 20,000
2002 – 20,000
2003 – 25,000
2004 – 25,000
2005 – 25,000
2006 – 26,090
2007 – 25,000
2008 – 20,000
2009 – 10,000
2010 – 5,000
Total, 1999-2010 : $232,390
Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation (EIN 382190330)
2004 – 3,000
2005 – 3,000
2006 – 3,000
2007 – 3,000
2008 – 5,000
2009 – 5,000
2010 – 5,000
2011 – 10,000
Total 2004-2011 – $37,000
(FOOTNOTE: In 2010 the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation gave a $100,000 grant to National Christian Foundation. NCF began to fund SSI in 2009, continued into 2014
NCF to SSI
2009 – 1,500
2010 – 1,750
2011 – 9,750
2012 – 8,000
2013 – 11,250
2014 – 7,800
Total 2009-2014 – $40,050
Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.