"Christian Blogging Mom" Glennon Doyle Melton has backed out of an event held at The DeVos Place Convention Center and sponsored by the family of education secretary Betsy DeVos because she "cannot accept money from a source whose agenda flies directly in the face of my values."
In a Facebook post published on February 17, the "Love Wins" author wrote: "As a public person who holds other public people to the highest standards of transparency and integrity, I cannot accept money from a source whose agenda flies directly in the face of my values: Namely, my commitment to the integrity of excellent public education for all our nation's children as a bedrock of our communities and the foundation of our nation's future; and my conviction that government officials should be bound, not to the dictates of those who write large checks, but to the most vital needs of the people they've been elected to serve. I have decided that the next right thing is to pull myself out of the event, and then accept the consequences of that decision."
While the blogger received over 6,000 favorable reactions, some expressed confusion over her decision.
Wrote Yvonne Figueredo Szponar: "I don't understand this. If the family supports your mission as a diamond level sponsor, why don't you see that as a positive thing? Wouldn't this have been a wonderful opportunity to build bridges and have a dialogue about your differences?"
Added Susan Dudick Cropp: "I really don't understand the hate toward Devos. I am a public school teacher and I get that she is not an educator but is that why we hate this woman? She is in favor of going into poor cities and pulling kids out and offering them a better education in a charter school. I am in favor of this idea. There isn't quality education in poor cities in America. I think everyone has jumped on a bandwagon and you need to ask yourself why you hate this woman? It doesn't make sense to me."
Amid unprecedented backlash, DeVos was nominated to the post in November by then President-elect Donald Trump, who at the time called her a "brilliant and passionate education advocate." However, when it came to her confirmation, two Republican senators said they could not back her, leaving the vote tied at 50-50. She was confirmed on Feb. 7 in the Senate only after Vice President Pence cast the first-ever vote to break a tie for a Cabinet nominee.
The Washington Post notes that DeVos' backers see her as a "champion of school choice and alternatives to traditional public schools, while opponents say her decades of advocacy work show that she wants to privatize the public education system."
Prior to her confirmation, Melton - who also actively supported presidential candidate Hillary Clinton - took to her popular "Momastery" blog to criticize DeVos for displaying "a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)" among other issues.
She also urged her followers to call their Senators and voice their opposition to DeVos, and even provided a script for them to use.
Reads the script, in part: "I'm calling to urge [SENATOR'S NAME] to vote against the Betsy DeVos confirmation as Secretary of Education. There are numerous reasons to oppose her confirmation, but I'm concerned with her complete ignorance around special education...[SENATOR'S NAME] will lose my vote if [HE/SHE] votes to confirm Betsy DeVos."
As reported previously by The Gospel Herald, Melton regularly speaks at Christian events and mainline Protestant and non-denominational churches around the world. However, she actively endorsed same-sex marriages for year, and said she believes such unions do not violate Biblical principles. Last week, she announced her engagement to girlfriend Abby Wambach.