NASHVILLE, Tenn.—A Christian who faced persecution for her faith in Communist Romania in the 1980s and barely survived an assassination attempt orchestrated by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu warns that the undermining of parental rights in the U.S. today echoes Ceausescu’s totalitarian government.

“It’s the same system that the socialists use in order for parents to be put in jail that the students, kids, will be taught in school to report their [parents] to school,” Virginia Prodan, a human rights lawyer who grew up in Communist Romania but came to the U.S. after President Ronald Reagan secured her release, tells “The Daily Signal Podcast.”

She raised the alarm in a February interview at the National Religious Broadcasters convention here in Nashville.

“Never in the history of the United States [did] the government work to teach children from a young age prostitution and to teach children values against what parents’ values are, to control, even at the point where they want to do things with children at school that the parents will not be allowed to find out,” Prodan says.

She is referring to the debate over parental rights in education, which began as parents began to see what their kids were learning as they took classes over Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid outcry about schools’ requiring face masks and pushing racial lessons, parents began sounding the alarm about sexualized materials in school libraries.

When parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty demand schools remove sexually explicit materials, however, opponents claim these groups are “banning books” and targeting the LGBTQ community.

California has passed a law forcing schools to train teachers to identify vulnerable “LGBTQ+ youth” and watch out for “non-affirming” parents. The Biden administration is considering a rule to exclude parents from fostering children if they refuse to toe the line on gender ideology.

Prodan recalls growing up in Communist Romania, where students would be encouraged to rat out their parents for opposing the government.

“In some states here in America we already have that. This needs to be stopped because there is no way out,” she says.

“I remember as a child watching my parents outside of the home being politically correct and giving up all the rights that the communist government asked them to give; also I watched them inside of home whispering how horrible the government was and they were convinced that the government will take more rights tomorrow,” Prodan recalls.

When she applied for law school, the communist government ran a background check on her, looking for three things: whether her parents organized a revolt against the government; whether her parents were ever reported by their own children; and whether her parents were Christians.

“I see that the similarity here in America, that people are fearful of the government more than fearful of God,” Prodan adds. “Your kids, your relatives, people around you are watching you, and as a Christian, if you don’t stand up for Christ’s value and trust God, but you are fearful of the government, you will go on that path of destruction, destruction of your whole life, and … part of the destruction of the system that we have here in America.”

“What I see in America is if we don’t speak up, our country—our free country—will be conquered by our fear,” she warns.

Prodan tells her story, captured in her book “Saving My Assassin: A Memoir (The True Story of a Christian Attorney’s Battle for Religious Liberty in Romania).”

“I suffered persecution in Romania,” she says. “I was beaten, tortured, put under house arrest. The government sent a killer to kill me … and by the grace of God, I share the gospel. I am alive.”

Prodan recalls going to law school in Romania and seeking passionately for the truth in her practice of law. She became disheartened, but then came across a Christian whose joy and peace she found infectious. He brought her to church, and she discovered Jesus, who said he is the way, the truth, and the life. She felt as if God himself was talking directly to her through that Bible verse.

“I understood that he had a mission for me, to defend Christian and human rights cases,” she tells “The Daily Signal Podcast.”

Yet that mission brought Prodan much suffering at the hands of Ceausescu’s regime, then allied with the Soviet Union. She was beaten and arrested, and at one point, a trained assassin arrived at her office, planning to kill her.

The assassin came to her office under the pretext of hiring her to be his lawyer, but then revealed his true intentions, pulling a gun out and pointing it at her head. “He was saying that because he took this assignment, he would be elevated to the honor to be No. 1 in dictator’s rank, and so forth,” Prodan recalls.

“I believe with all my heart what he said, that he will pull the trigger and I will die,” she says. “My knee was shaking, my face was shaking. I heard my heart in my ears. I believe my heart, my face was red because I felt like I was on fire or something.”

“In all this noise, I heard the whisper of God: ‘Share the gospel,'” Prodan adds. “I thought, ‘I’m going to die, I’m going to go to heaven. That’s my last opportunity.'”

Then, a miracle happened.

“As I share the gospel with him, his shoulders relaxed, he put the gun on the table, he nodded several times, and to make the story short, he accepted Christ right there in front of me,” Prodan says. “I remember he said, ‘Virginia, I will come to your church, but I will come as a secret police. But I am going to be your brother in Christ.'”

Meanwhile, the American press had been covering Prodan’s persecution in Romania, and, as president, Reagan demanded that Ceausescu allow her to leave the country and come to the U.S.

“So why I am telling you this?” she asks. “Because I want you to be confident that when you see only the evil one screaming at you, threatening you that he will take your job or will take your kids or will put you to jail or whatever they will threaten you [with], remember that God is working behind the scene. We’re supposed to walk by faith, not by sight. One day you will find out. Remain faithful.”

“We are conquerors in Christ,” she says, paraphrasing Romans 8:37. “He changed Romania through me and he wants to change America through each one of us.”

Ceausescu, the dictator who tried to assassinate Prodan, died in December 1989 amid the Romanian revolution. Reagan had successfully negotiated Prodan’s release, and she watched communism fall in her country from the safety of the U.S.

Listen to the full interview below.

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