Public statement to the community from the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights

Kitsap County

Council for Human Rights

August 19, 2021

A public statement to the Kitsap County Community from the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights

Council for Human Rights logo

Kitsap County Community Members –

The Kitsap County Council for Human Rights is comprised of residents of Kitsap County appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to 1) advise county government and the Kitsap County community on issues related to discrimination, violence and harassment based on race or national origin, religion, age, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, or economic status, and 2) to promote equitable treatment of all people and reduce prejudice through education, resource referrals, and advocacy.1

With this mission as our directive, and with the belief that the freedoms of opinion and expression are indispensable to each individual and essential in society, the members of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights issue this statement declaring our opposition to Joseph Backholm, founder of the Family Research Council and former head of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, who is scheduled to speak at Gateway Fellowship in Poulsbo on August 22.

Backholm’s organizations engage in hate speech2 and Backholm is a purveyor of anti-LGBTQ+3 and other discriminatory ideologies, with an active career of fighting against the rights of fellow Americans. He spent years campaigning for “bathroom bills” that aimed to prevent transgender people from using restrooms that align with their gender identity. He is scheduled to speak in Poulsbo on Sunday as an authority on critical race theory, sharing his previously articulated stance: “Some people claim that since Jesus cares about oppression, critical [race] theory and intersectionality should be embraced by Christians. But critical [race] theory and intersectionality are not consistent with Christianity.”4

The Council urges Kitsap community members to learn about critical race theory directly from the academics with whom it originated, including Kimberlé Crenshaw, Richard Delgado, Cheryl Harris, Derrick Bell, Alan Freeman, Charles R. Lawrence III, Mari Matsuda, and Patricia J. Williams.

In addition, the Kitsap Public Health Board recently adopted Resolution 2021-01, declaring racism a public health crisis, and committing the Health Board and Kitsap Public Health District to taking specific, meaningful actions to address institutionalized and systemic racism.5 Backholm’s racist rhetoric regarding members of our BIPOC community preserves and potentially advances the very institutionalized and systemic racism that the Health Board seeks to address.

The Kitsap County Council for Human Rights stands with those who are concerned about Backholm’s prejudicial viewpoints having a home in our community and believe that his rhetoric is in direct contradiction to the Council’s Vision: Kitsap County shall be a caring, supportive, and safe community for everyone that values each individual, celebrates individual differences, and recognizes the importance of each person's contribution.

The Council is entirely dedicated to providing education and fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all people living in, working in, or visiting Kitsap County. We encourage individuals to utilize the following resources to explore differing perspectives on these important topics, which have significant implications for all of our basic human rights.

Respectfully Submitted,

Members of the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights



2 (p. 34)

3 initiative

4  From the transcript of a video that Backholm narrates, found on “What Would You Say?," a Program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview