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Christian professor started a hate website that forced “teacher of the year” to flee the state

Scott Yenor
Scott Yenor Photo: Screenshot

A Boise State University (BSU) professor was the driving force behind a far-right, Christian nationalist website that was rife with conspiracy theories and anti-LGBTQ+ content. The website sought to channel conservative outrage into right-wing takeovers of Idaho school boards and the state’s legislature.

According to a report in The Guardian, Scott Yenor, a BSU political science professor and the senior director of state coalitions at conservative think tank The Claremont Institute, has never publicly disclosed the extent of his involvement with the now-defunct site Action Idaho. But documents reportedly reveal that he, in fact, pitched the idea for the site as early as May 2021 and was instrumental in seeking funding.

A May 2021 email to his wife Amy Yenor included a donor pitch for “a media outlet to organize conservative political opinion and activism” in Idaho. The site, which would take on “issues and fights that will make the state more congenial to conservatives,” would be called “Action Idaho,” according to a document attached to the email.

A presentation deck also included in the May 2021 email adds that the proposed outlet would create a “playbook for citizens and their legislators, for elections, for school board actions, for creating a new culture, and for rallying people to build a greater Idaho on the ruins of what is a faltering establishment” and that the site “needs to identify friends of that culture and support them (i.e., in business, schools, politicians, churches), while identifying enemies of that culture and expose them and seek to undermine their public support.”

According to The Guardian, Yenor actively sought funding for the site from Claremont Institute board chairman Thomas D. Klingenstein. As the outlet reported last month, the Claremont Institute’s president, Ryan P. Williams is a founding board member of the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), a secretive, male-only fraternal order that is reportedly rooted in extreme Christian nationalism and religious autocracy. The SACR aims to replace the U.S. government with an authoritarian regime. Yenor is also the president of SACR’s Boise lodge. Klingenstein has also reportedly appeared in videos in which he encouraged conservatives to join in a “cold civil war” against “woke communists.”

One document sent to Klingenstein described Yenor as a member of Action Idaho’s board of directors alongside former Trump White House advisor Theo Wold and Josh Turnbow, a film director and former deputy assistant to Trump who was made a director at the Claremont Institute in January.

Yenor also tried to recruit conservative writer Pedro Gonzalez to be the site’s editor-in-chief and executive director. A November 2021 email to Gonzalez from Yenor’s son, Jackson Yenor, included a document describing the position’s duties, which included establishing “the reputation of Action Idaho as a Christian nationalist, populist authority both locally and nationally.”

Yenor confirmed that Gonzalez declined the offer. Yenor reportedly responded to the rest of The Guardians’ inquiries with what the publication described as “personal abuse.”

Action Idaho launched sometime between December 2021 and early 2022. One of its anti-LGBTQ+ posts focused on June 2022 Pride celebrations. Following the arrest of 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front en route to disrupt a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Action Idaho published a post with the headline “LGBTQ+ Pride Fest is a Groomer Fest.”

The site was also one of several conservative outlets that attacked Idaho’s 2023 Teacher of the Year, Karen Lauritzen, for her social media posts supporting LGBTQ+ people. “Would Lauritzen be happy to cultivate transgender ideologies among your children? Probably,” Action Idaho’s 2023 post read. Lauritzen faced intense harassment as a result, forcing her to leave Idaho altogether.

After posting for nearly two years, Action Idaho’s URL,, now redirects to an online gambling site.  

Lindsay Schubiner, director of programs at civil rights nonprofit Western States Center, described Action Idaho as “yet another dangerous attempt to mainstream extremism in Idaho politics.”

“It is particularly troubling that the driving force behind it is an educator,” Schubiner said of Yenor. “Boise State University leaders should not be silent; bigotry on campus impacts the quality of education of every single student.”

Over the weekend, the editorial board of The Idaho Statesman called for BSU to fire Yenor.

“This goes beyond mere ideology (although we could argue that Christian nationalism and anti-LGBTQ ideology are fireable offenses). Yenor’s actions cross the line into apparent misuse of taxpayer dollars,” they wrote of Yenor’s use of his BSU email account in communications setting up Action Idaho. “If Scott Yenor wants to set up a repugnant, vile ‘Trumpian’ propaganda machine to influence elections, he can go find some far-right private university to employ him, not a public, taxpayer-supported institution.”

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