Many states and localities are looking to expand the availability of preschool, but Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore apparently believed this push was misguided and could result in the Nazi-style indoctrination of America’s children.
In 2007, Moore wrote an op-ed on the conservative site WorldNetDaily saying preschool was “detrimental to children and our country.” His column was a response to Hillary Clinton’s proposal for universal pre-kindergarten classes for four-year-olds.
Moore wrote that Clinton was so keen on the idea because she wanted to fill children’s heads with liberal ideas ― essentially brainwashing them and turning them into her own Hitler Youth.
“Any attempt to extend government-controlled education to pre-kindergarten children is another unjustifiable attempt to indoctrinate our youth,” Moore wrote. He added:
Why, then, do social liberals like Hillary Clinton push so hard for the expansion of preschool programs? Perhaps they understand the truth of Proverbs 22:6 better than most parents: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” When the mind of a young child is subjected to state control before fundamental concepts and basic beliefs are formulated, the child is much more likely to learn a liberal social and political philosophy with the state as his or her master. Creation and God-given rights are more easily replaced with evolution and government-granted rights. Totalitarian regimes like those of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin knew well the value of a “youth corps.” As Hans Schemm, leader of the Nazi Teacher’s League, once observed, “Those who have the youth on their side control the future.”
Moore also railed against public schools, arguing that they don’t properly teach K-12 students and that allowing them to teach preschoolers would only enable them to fail that age group as well.
Moore’s campaign did not return a request for comment on whether he still holds these views on preschool.
“After coming out against free speech and freedom of religion, Roy Moore has found his latest target: pre-school, comparing it to the Hitler Youth,” said Allison Teixeira Sulier, spokeswoman for the Democratic research group American Bridge.
“Since Moore is the newest standard bearer for the GOP, Republicans should tell the country whether they think pre-K turns kids into Nazis and if not, immediately disavow this disgusting person. That would of course require these same Republicans to grow spines, so maybe we won’t hold our breath,” she added.
Head Start, the federally funded program that provides preschool to low-income children, had more than 15,000 slots and more than 2,000 early Head Start (birth to age 3) slots in 2016.
“We have made enormous strides in recent years in recognizing the importance of brain development and the role quality early childhood education makes in improving education, health, and socio-emotional outcomes. There is science showing enormous return on investment for early childhood programs,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the bipartisan children’s advocacy group First Focus.
“It is disappointing that a man running for the U.S. Senate would express ideas that ignore science and would push both children and our country in the wrong direction,” he added.
Moore recently won a runoff election for his party’s nomination for the Dec. 12 special Senate election. He defeated Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who had the endorsement of the GOP establishment and heavy backing from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Moore is known for his controversial positions and remarks. As chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he ordered state probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling declaring marriage equality the law of the land.
He is running against Democrat Doug Jones. As a U.S. attorney, Jones prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan members who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.