Carrie: Have you seen the “Freedom Is the Cure” event promoted by an Idaho legislator on Facebook?

Jerry: What’s it about?

Jerry Scheid and Carrie Scheid

Jerry Scheid and Carrie Scheid

Carrie: They claim to be “advancing our Constitutional Republic.” It’s happening Aug. 1 in Twin Falls.

Jerry: Why is that on your radar?

Carrie: “Freedom Is the Cure” is currently the masthead banner for the national John Birch Society website. The event master of ceremonies is Tom Munds, Idaho’s John Birch Society coordinator.

Jerry: The John Birch Society? Do they still exist?

Carrie: Apparently, like Lazarus, they have risen from the dead.

Jerry: I think “Zombie Convention” is a more accurate description. My recollection is that the Birchers saw communists under every rock and behind every bush.

Carrie: Indeed, they accused President Eisenhower of being a communist.

Jerry: Even ultra-conservative Republicans put them in the same class as the Flat Earth Society. What conspiracy are they saving us from now?

Carrie: Until recently, they were fixated on “Agenda 21,” a nefarious plot by the United Nations to seek world domination using bike paths, walkable downtowns and sustainable development.

Jerry: Scary stuff. Anything else?

Carrie: According to their website, their latest conspiracy theory involves the deep state/big government taking away our “rights, liberties and freedoms” under the guise of protecting public health.

Jerry: So that’s what “Freedom Is the Cure” is about?

Carrie: Apparently. And the event “presenters” are a rogues’ gallery of right-wing Idaho extremists.

Jerry: I see Eric Parker is one of the speakers. He’s the guy from Hailey whose claim to fame was aiming a rifle at law enforcement officials during the Nevada Bundy ranch stand-off.

Carrie: Also speaking is wannabe anarchist Ammon Bundy. You can’t invite Parker without Bundy being there.

Jerry: Another speaker is Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman who has promoted the “Disobey Idaho” effort encouraging citizens to break the law.

Carrie: In the interest of full disclosure, I did file an IRS complaint against the Idaho Freedom Foundation for doing that. The IRS does not permit 501©(3) charities to be lawbreakers

Jerry: I see five Republican Idaho House representatives are on the speaker list: Tammy Nichols, Christy Zito, Chad Christensen, Dorothy Moon and Judy Boyle. Each of them also attended the June 23 illegal special session of the Idaho Legislature.

Carrie: As I recall, only 15 out of 105 legislators attended. It was a gigantic flop.

Jerry: Getting back to the Freedom event, I see they have some anti-vaxxers as speakers.

Carrie: Yup. Just what we need when scientists are working on a COVID-19 vaccine.

Jerry: Somebody named Pastor Diego Rodriguez is giving the closing prayer. He’s the communications and marketing director for a PAC called “Freedom Man.” Their website claims if you attend a “weak church that shut its doors because of the coronavirus scare, (you) should leave that church immediately.”

Carrie: Isn’t it hypocritical that their idea of freedom of religion means your church has to agree with them.

Jerry: Good point. I am also sorry to see Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is on the speaker list.

Carrie: I’m not surprised. She loves hanging out with the militia guys.

Jerry: As Idaho’s number two elected official, she should be working with Gov. Little on getting us safely through this pandemic rather than sowing division among Idahoans.

Carrie: It’s embarrassing and disturbing that she and some Idaho legislators are promoting John Birch Society conspiracy theories when we are facing a genuine public health crisis.

Jerry: Here’s some advice for the Birchers: “never assume conspiracy for what stupidity can explain.”

Jerry is a retired farmer/rancher and native Idahoan. Carrie is a retired nonprofit administrator.