Focus on the Family Goes After LGBT Students

share

Comments

This is a seriously

Submitted by Joanne Fernandes on 3 September 2010 - 7:04pm.

This is a seriously under-publicized issue that is all too often the topic of headlines only after some child has been horrifically hurt or traumatized in some way. This is a very personal issue that needs the publicity so that real changes can occur. I'm sickened by parts of what I read in this article and encouraged by others because sexual preference is not contagious. When Vermont first made same sex marriages legal, "Take Back Vermont" signs sprouted up everywhere from supermarket bulletin boards, to automobile stickers, and those ignorant words were even painted on the sides of barns and houses. I often asked those people I knew who either spoke that slogan or had it displayed somewhere "So exactly who stole Vermont, and where did they take it, that we need to "take it back"?" and the resultant answer in almost every case was silence.
Bullying is primarily a learned behavior from what I've seen in my experiences, regardless of the source of that education; I just think it's a damn shame that this subject matter is one that is reinforced by the staff of our schools. It's time to advocate for those students and prevent more ignorance from leaking through the cracks. This article is a step in the right direction.

This reminded me of my first

Submitted by RJ on 13 September 2010 - 10:33pm.

This reminded me of my first year in the classroom. Students are perceptive! I lived my life in the closet, became open about my sexual orientation (not a preference let's please remember), then was scared back into the closet when I became a teacher. My perceptive students knew, somehow, or at very least suspected it. So when I was called a faggot in class, I immediately sought disciplinary referral.

When my paperwork finally made it to the principal, she said she would handle it. Weeks went by and I continued to have behavioral/management issues with this student. Nothing was done. When I finally brought it up again, the student was reprimanded, told to apologize, and do his homework.

I was then very discretely told "keep that stuff to yourself. What your preferences are shouldn't be discussed in a classroom, at any level."

Then I watched the tenured ELA teacher, pregnant, discuss baby names with her students, proudly stating that her husband had picked out some very strange names.

Keep it to myself? Teaching tolerance became my mission, because our students through this can one day reach acceptance. After I came out to a few students, many sought out my advice, not on sexual-orientation issues, but on academic issues, on growing up issues, on father and mother issues. They trusted me because I was honest.

Homophobia is learned and fortunately for me it hadn't been reinforced in many of my students' homes.

We need more resources for LGBT teachers and they need the support to feel like they won't be fired for being gay. Most of us (at least everyone I know) are! Of course not for being gay, but for teaching it. Outraged parents...fearful admins....the list goes on...

Your post made me so sad that

Submitted by Michele on 6 October 2010 - 12:13pm.

Your post made me so sad that you had to experience such cruelty. I am a teacher although not gay, grew up with a brother who was severely handicapped. I know how cruel some people can be and do not tolerate any form of discrimination and/or cruelty in or out of my classroom. I immediately address, correct and re-teach humanity. All life is precious! Thank you for sharing your story.

I am a pre-service teacher,

Submitted by David on 6 October 2010 - 11:11pm.

I am a pre-service teacher, also gay, who is not worried about the ramifications of my sexual orientation becoming public knowledge. I live my life openly, bravely, truthfully, and I will model for my students what it means to be proud of who I am as a person. I will not hide or proclaim, for I am not a martyr nor a superhero, but instead I will do what I have been hired to do - teach the next generation to love writing and literature.

Even universities who have

Submitted by CC on 4 September 2010 - 12:21am.

Even universities who have policies often do not enforce them because there are no federal laws, or agencies, over seeing and enforcing universities to enforce policies meant to protect LGBTQI students. It appears that gender expression is more of a problem than being Gay sexual orientation is not as visible a gender expression. Regradless, all issues of sex and gender and the need to protect minorities are important. Overall, the US is far behind the times in offering LGBTQI protections as a class of people!
To learn more about problems at Penn State Univ. Go to:
http://communitypsychologyatpsh.blogspot.com/

Maureen, thank you for

Submitted by Trevor Barton on 4 September 2010 - 10:06am.

Maureen, thank you for writing this compassionate, clear, concise piece. I stand up with you! I believe in building a more human world for ALL people. Your article offers us the hammer, nails, and wood to do just that.

I certainly hope the SLPC

Submitted by Marlene on 7 September 2010 - 5:05am.

I certainly hope the SLPC takes FOTF to court over their deceptive website URL!

Well, a court is certainly

Submitted by Keith on 9 September 2010 - 1:25am.

Well, a court is certainly one place to settle a matter of opinion (certainly, it seems, far too many people regard lawsuits as the preferred method for settling a minor squabble) but in what way does the URL deceive? I submit that an ordinary person would interpret "TrueTolerance.org" as an assertion by the owner that the subject of that site is what the owner regards as the best definition of tolerance, implicitly stating that other interpretations of the term are less correct. As this is precisely what the owners of the website are attempting to assert, there isn't the slightest hint of deception in the URL. Without meaning to insult, it seems to me that you regard the URL as deceptive because you think Focus On The Family's opinion is wrong; this is certainly your right but to accuse FotF of deception for stating something you do not agree with is hyperbole at the very least.

It so happens, by the way, that their position is not entirely without merit given the facts as they stand. Tolerance implies to live with something you do not like and it is at least arguable that advocating for the right of a student to disagree with and even be disgusted by the LGBT community and, additionally, the right to express this view without being subject to disciplinary action is advocacy of tolerance above and beyond that which the Southern Poverty Law Center believes in based on their expressed views and policy suggestions. For the inclusion of any category, including LGBT, in anti-bullying programs, curriculum, and laws implies a belief that the expression of a negative opinion related to that category by a student ought to be preached against, disciplined, or punished just as one would justifiably punish a bully for railing on and abusing another student because of a perceived or actual difference. After all, even the most polite expression of an anti-LGBT belief (which, if true tolerance is operative, must be tolerated) can be emotionally wounding to an LGBT student and inflicting emotional wounds is at the core of bullying. Tragically, it is often the case that anti-bullying policies protecting the LGBT student closes off any possibility of tolerance for a student whose views may be seized upon as an instance of bullying; needless to say, this situation is NOT an example of true tolerance... which is why FotF feels the need to create a website called TrueTolerance.org to advocate for a more inclusive tolerance. As much as it may make people uncomfortable, this advocacy is as legitimate of a purpose as is the advocacy of the Southern Poverty Law Center via Tolerance.org

It's a misleading name.

Submitted by Tim on 9 September 2010 - 9:43pm.

It's a misleading name. Truetolerance.org does not advocate some more inclusive sort of tolerance. The premise from truetolerance.org is that some advocating tolerance have ulterior motives—to indoctrination children using a homosexual agenda. Everything on this site has to do with this. A site about true tolerance would be quite different. It's a very misleading.

Provided that what we are

Submitted by Thomas Copeland on 17 September 2010 - 5:17pm.

Provided that what we are asked to tolerate is not aggressive acts of intolerance, I can see no way of forbidding people from verbally opposing support for those who fail to conform to societal norms. The ACLU, after all, supports freedom of expression for all points of view; you may remember the celebrated case of the ACLU's support of a neo-Nazi rally in Skokie, IL, in the '70s. Nor is there any way of preventing children from having their feelings hurt when classmates express opinions that offend them; this is not what tolerance is all about. It is about treating everyone with respect. It is about human dignity. Believe what you must, but remain civil and self-disciplined in what you say and what you do to one another. That is the lesson that tolerance has to teach both the young and their elders.

Keith, Are you suggesting

Submitted by antonio on 4 January 2011 - 4:39pm.

Keith, Are you suggesting that true tolerance means that if knowing someone is LGBT and knowing nothing else about their actions or behavior, that is a rational reason to be "disgusted." Frankly, there are many behaviors of heterosexuals I find disgusting but I am not disgusted with someone who i find is a heterosexual.
Further are you able to appreciate that "disgust" is a personal reaction and not one that legally or morally justifies the disgusted to become violent.
I suggest that Homosexual tendencies lurk disturbingly within people who are so concerned with what other people do sexually and particularly those who knowing someone is LGBTQ fills in the blanks until they find something to be disgusted about. Those folks are disturbed and I have to wonder why Focus doesn't spend more time with them rather than fueling the flames of hate toward children who they speculate are LGBTQ.

Religion has rights but children have rights too. children are within the care custody and control of adults. That doesn't give those adults the right to teach a child to hate themselves or permanently scar them emotionally. Jesus says harm one of these children and you are better off dead. How many children has Focus harmed. How many have you harmed? Perhaps there was no intent to harm and you may even act with good motives but Jesus didn't say you had to intend harm. When you deal with the vulnerable, the trusting and the innocent you act at your own risk when you try to teach them your values. Let me assure you, there is no reported experience or expert opinion that all the teaching and preaching in the world can change a sexual orientation. it can supress and repress it but even Exodus no longer claims to change it. Teaching one to hate themselves is the evil Jesus is talking about.
antonio

I absolutely do not agree

Submitted by Reyn on 20 May 2011 - 12:12pm.

I absolutely do not agree with you. On the other hand, I am not tolerant of intolerance, and I do not consider that there is a need for me to be. Two decades ago I had the agonizing experience of accompanying younger friends to bury one of our friends - a teenager who had played D and D with us and who was a fine young man who - as far as I knew - was popular in school and loved by his huge extended family. We didn't know why he committed suicide, although I had suspicions. It was two years before the cause came out. Hated by those in his church for who he was - even if they didn't know who it was that they were hating -- too honest to pretend to himself that refusing to have sex changed who he was, or that in fact, he could change who he was -- rejected by those inside that huge family that looked so seamless from the outside, he took his own life to stop the pain. He didn't leave a note or say a word, and the only reason I heard anything confirming the cause was someone who, racked with guilt, could not be silent any longer about their self-perceived effect in causing the event. I still remember helping pick one of his closest friends, a 15 year old, off the coffin as they started to cover it, and he still knelt in the dirt beating on it.

You can take the false true tolerance of those who want to tolerate hate and stuff it wherever you like -- I will have no part of it.

Regards,

Reyn

Here in Pennsylvania no

Submitted by Eileen Burke on 7 September 2010 - 8:20pm.

Here in Pennsylvania no public school teacher has the right to mention sex to any public school student. This is the law. The schools cannot teach about birth control. They may teach about STD's only with written parental consent. So you can see that a lecture with sex or sexuality as its subject is probably illegal. A teacher risks not only the loss of his or her job, but possibly of his or her teaching license.
But, yes, many schools do have anti-bullying lectures. Most forms of bullying would violate school rules, anyway. If administrators seem to be refusing to enforce a school's rules of conduct in some cases, this should certainly be investigated.
How a Pennsylvania school might address this issue ( bullying of gay students) would be to have a series of meetings with not only parental permission, but parental attendance. This could be done--but also please remember that some of our schools have as many as 4,000 students--1,000 in each grade, from 9-12, 1,000 in each lunch, going from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm.
It is such a positive thing that bullying is being exposed--perhaps the media attention garnered by the bullying of LGBT students will help to expose bullying in all its forms--finally. If you could sort out students for gender, race, religion, class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, you would still find that many students have been taught to seek an object or outlet for their frustrations in some other human being--and they would soon choose one, even from among students who seemed to be a homogeneous body.
An old TV show from a series my own daughter used to watch made this point very well. The students went to visit Salem, Massachusetts, and were encouraged to act out a 'witch hunt'--which threatened to actually get out of hand.
The show was 'Sabrina the Teenage Witch'--the year must have been the late 1990's. It should be required viewing in middle schools and high schools.
epaburke@gmail.com

Focus on the Family has every

Submitted by Kristi on 9 September 2010 - 9:00am.

Focus on the Family has every right to present the gospel message that homosexuality is morally wrong. Just because they don't accept what you preach and teach does NOT make them wrong. They are not preaching hate of the gay/lesbian/bi/transgender person. They preach love the person, but without accepting their choice of lifestyle.

You don't live in my head,

Submitted by KD on 10 September 2010 - 6:52pm.

You don't live in my head, okay? I am kind of tired of anti-LGBT people presuming that they know the aetiology of my sexual orientation. I just happen to be queer. I didn't wake up one morning and go 'hmm, I'm going to be queer.' I just realised it.

Also, not everyone shares your religious beliefs. Any religious belief that promotes the curtailment of civil rights for a minority group is a religious belief to which I cannot subscribe.

Who said that you should join

Submitted by Linda Rosenblum on 13 September 2010 - 3:11pm.

Who said that you should join that faith if you disagree with it? Can't you affirm that some people have differing views? Isn't that what tolerance is? Just because a faith group defines homosexuality as sin doesn't necessarily mean that it supports denial of civil rights. I think everybody's marriage should be a civil union. That way if a couple wants their church to sanctify a union, they do it AFTER they have a civil service. Everybody is equal under the law.

I totally agree about the

Submitted by Michael on 6 October 2010 - 8:45am.

I totally agree about the civil marriage. Our Baptist church has been observing that for most of its lifetime and has been performing same sex unions since 1979

Then your Baptist church

Submitted by Jimmy Ragsdale on 13 December 2010 - 6:16pm.

Then your Baptist church isn't officially "Baptist" is it? Because same-sex marriage doesn't sit well with any Baptist organization that I'm aware of. If it's in your Charter, Constitution or ByLaws, then it's an unoffical off-shoot and NOT Baptist.

Well, that's not necessarily

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 8 July 2011 - 6:06pm.

Well, that's not necessarily true, Jimmy. Who are you to decide whether or not this person's church is Baptist or not. They may follow the same basic principles of the Baptist denomination, but to their credit, that are not homophobes. I say, congratulations are in order for behaving truly Christ-like.

Besides, there are dozens of Christian denominations out there, and sub-divisions and off-shoots of those, and none of them agree on what will land you in Heaven or Hell. It's ridiculous. Yet many of them talk crap about each other, as they they each have the one and only "truth" and all the others are "wrong".

Organized religion. sigh.

Again, thank God for the Christ-like ones at least.

I guess that's part of the

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 8 July 2011 - 6:01pm.

I guess that's part of the point. Everyone is obviously NOT equal under the law, as they should be. Otherwise, all gay marriages would be legal, OR ALL marriages would indeed be civil unions, and TN would not be in danger of enacting a ridiculous "Don't say gay" law....

I am absolutely intolerant: of rape, murder, theft, etc., including anything that perpetuates hate.

Focus on the Family does have

Submitted by Garrett on 27 September 2010 - 10:03pm.

Focus on the Family does have the right to say what they want, but please do not refer to it as the Gospel message and please do not imply they have the right to allow more people to grow up feeling they can bully anyone they don't agree with. First, homosexuality is not mentioned once in any of the four "Gospels" listed in the current Bible. There are actually many gay-friendly churches that have a different interpretation of the Bible and homosexuality (and your opinion is merely another interpretation). Second, I will agree that this group has all the right in the world to say whatever they want, but that does not give them the right to stop others from talking out against an unbelievably large problem.

Do you, as a Christian,

Submitted by GMBH on 27 October 2010 - 10:33am.

Do you, as a Christian, remember what Jesus said about not casting stones, hence not judging others? Practice it and Christians will get more respect. I'm a Christian but am afraid to say so because of you "Christians" who make this religion seem so icky!!!!! Stop your moralizing and start practicing love.

Being a Christian can be

Submitted by Michelle on 12 October 2011 - 9:58am.

Being a Christian can be tough. Throughout the Bible, it is repeatedly said to follow God's laws and be an example unto others. It also says to hold other Christians accountable. Some may consider this to be judgmental, while others appreciate having the constant reminder from others to follow the laws of God.

You know I grew up in a

Submitted by Miss_Darlene on 7 November 2010 - 7:56pm.

You know I grew up in a religious home and we were taught the Bible almost every night and you know what I am Bisexual I have always known but never knew what it was. You keep saying that homosexuality is a sin and a choice and can be cured! But lady I prayed, wished, and heck did "therapy" and all I got was that I am still Bisexual and confused. It's people like you that is fanning the flames of homophobia bullying and intolerance instead of telling people how to live their lives be more concerned about yours. Stay out of my life and bed room what I do in there is of my own business and not yours. I would not be surprised to find out that if some or one of your children came out and admitted to being gay since most conservative, religious homes foster homosexuality and do not cry if you drive your children to commit suicides for your intolerance. As well as don't quote those "Family" groups that can "cure" homosexuality or any other sexuality other than hetero, those are discredited and biased run by bigots like you!

P.S. Yes I attend a Private, Religious University and I am a Christian
P.S.S. go to Soulforce.org and read their FREE Pamphlets addressing homosexuality

Kristi, you have obviously

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 8 July 2011 - 5:59pm.

Kristi, you have obviously never thought outside your own "box", nor suffered the pain of being told by someone with supposed Biblical sanction that there is something wrong with you. Queer folk do not "choose" to be queer, just as you did not choose to be straight. It is not a choice. If you believe that God created us all, in His image, then perhaps even God is a bit queer, as homosexuality exists clearly in nature among other animals besides the human animal. So unless you think God makes mistakes, there is nothing wrong with a queer person, or their queer behavior, including whom they fall in love with. By saying you "love the sinner but hate the sin", yada, blah, et al, you are saying there is something wrong with the person that needs to change, and while that may be true in your personal interpretation of the Bible, please remember among other things that not everyone is a Christian.... And even within Christianity, Jesus never said a word about being gay. If it was so horrible, why is that?

Focus on the Family is doing nothing but perpetuating divisions, arrogance, irrational judgment and intolerance against queer people, and that in turn perpetuates prejudice, stereotypes, intolerance, discrimination and hate. Period.

Yes, of course they can think and preach whatever they want, but I find it sad that what they are preaching is so ignorant, and likely to continue the hate. Anytime you teach your children that being gay is "wrong", etc., it easily then turns into teasing, bullying, violence, etc.

Very sad. Focus on the Family has a right to say and teach what they please. Thank God I have the right to discern that they are ignorant, and then say what I think about their "teachings" in return, in an attempt to minimize the damage they are doing.

In 20 years, I think my

Submitted by Trevor Barton on 9 September 2010 - 10:07am.

In 20 years, I think my children will see Focus on the Family as I see the White Citizens Councils of the Civil Rights Movement.

Exactly! Good point,

Submitted by Lianna Costantino on 8 July 2011 - 6:07pm.

Exactly! Good point, Trevor!

As a Christian mother

Submitted by Linda Rosenblum on 13 September 2010 - 2:52pm.

As a Christian mother (married to a Jewish husband), I find it disturbing that every article I have read in Teaching Tolerance concerning homosexuality in schools does not allow for families who believe homosexuality is a sin to have a valid viewpoint. I, nor any other Christian, believes that bullying is appropriate to anyone for any reason, including bullying homosexuals. However, I agree with the Focus on the Family position that I do not want my seven-year-old to be taught in school specifically about homosexuals. It is simply appropriate to teach children to treat others respectfully. I'm not sure I agree that there is an underlying "homosexual agenda" in anti-bullying policies that specifically talk about homosexuality, but I do think that as a parent I have the right to teach my child that our faith does not find homosexuality appropriate behavior. I certainly don't think that she needs to know about homosexuality at seven either. When she is old enought to ask me about it I will explain my views, I don't want the school to intervene in my faith or beliefs.

There seems to be a

Submitted by Maureen Costello on 14 September 2010 - 10:40am.

There seems to be a widespread misconception that seven-years olds are being given graphic lessons about sexuality. At that age, kids are learning about families, and they should be learning that there are lots of different kinds of families. Some come with two parents of opposite gender; some have grandparents at the helm; some have single moms; and some have two moms or two dads. Some are mixed, racially or religiously. Any of these might offend someone's religious or personal beliefs, but the reality is that all of these families exist, they all pay taxes, and they share the benefits of living in this country. Public schools exist to serve ALL the people in a community, and lessons that say that certain families are not legitimate and not deserving of equal respect shouldn't be part of any public institution to which everyone has access.

Beautifully said, Maureen.

Submitted by Brenda Beazley on 30 November 2012 - 10:34pm.

Beautifully said, Maureen.

Ms Costello's reply is

Submitted by Anne on 15 September 2010 - 8:23am.

Ms Costello's reply is excellent, but I want to add one or two things.

I'm pretty sure Jesus said something about treating others the way you would want to be treated. Would you want your child tormented in school to the point of being constantly emotionally and physically battered, too afraid to be able to learn, always miserable. All because of something she couldn't change if she wanted to. Because that's what comes as a result of Focus on the Family and others who want us to "tolerate" the bullying.

Are your beliefs so weak that they can not exist around people who believe differently? Why is it so threatening just to learn about, and live among, people that aren't in your group?

Finally, it really is not only invalid that some people think homosexuality is a "sin", but it is that viewpoint that leads to all the hate and bullying:

To paraphrase the amazing Steven Weinberg...Good people do good things and bad people do bad things, but for good people to do bad things, we need religion - food for thought?

"Are your beliefs so weak

Submitted by Karen on 23 November 2010 - 11:49am.

"Are your beliefs so weak that they can not exist around people who believe differently? Why is it so threatening just to learn about, and live among, people that aren't in your group?"

I might ask the same question of you? Are you so afraid of a belief different than yours, that you must try to silence Christians and their faith and belief through charging them with "hate speech"? Is it so threatening to allow others to speak out? Even when they are not in "your group"?

"Finally, it really is not only invalid that some people think homosexuality is a "sin", but it is that viewpoint that leads to all the hate and bullying:"

Are you practicing tolerance with this statement? Your viewpoint has actually led to hate and bullying towards me? Should I then work to silence you? How it is that you deem your viewpoint valid and mine not? I have a viewpoint. You have a viewpoint. We disagree. It's that simple.

How many dead do you want?

Submitted by Reyn on 20 May 2011 - 12:18pm.

How many dead do you want? How many of them would you prefer to kill yourself? Or do you prefer to kill them by socially engineering a situation so intolerable that they kill themselves? Does that help you sleep at night?

Human sexuality is not a choice, you may pretend to think it is, you may even actually think it is, but you know, lots of people have thought lots of things that are not true -- some of them will be waking up this Sunday with some more egg on their face, others argued that flight would never happen, that breaking the sound barrier would have catastrophic effects, and so forth. Religion? What you believe and how you express it? That is a choice. I knew, as recently as a decade ago, people who still used the Bible to justify racism. They were at least as sincere as you are. I had no tolerance for them, and frankly, I have no tolerance for you. I am sick to death of the victimizers finding someway to claim that they are the victims.

You are not a victim. Leave others alone, and oddly, they will leave you alone. You do NOT have a right to harm another, to harass another (and that includes proselytizing in public), or to attempt to manipulate society or law to enforce your prejudices on another -- whether those prejudices are based on race or sexuality or gender. You are not a victim, get up off your knees pretending - go out and work like the rest of us, with respect for our colleagues no matter who they are -- and expect the same of your children.

I routinely work with evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Both I and they obey the strictures I listed above. You want a world where only I do.

Regards,

Reyn

See, the problem with you

Submitted by somebodys mom on 5 October 2010 - 2:16pm.

See, the problem with you wanting to protect your child from any knowledge that homosexuals exist is that it requires everyone who is a homosexual to pretend that they are not.

As the parent of someone who came out during middle school, I would suggest that sweeping our differences under the rug until a child reaches puberty, is a serious mistake. First, as I pointed out above, it puts an unfair onus on all of the "different" people to act a certain way to support the denial of their existence. Second, it never works. There are no well-kept secrets. Somebody will always have an older brother or sister, or aunt or uncle, or parent or friend somewhere in their family tree who balks and comes to Thanksgiving with their same-sex partner, or date, or holds hands in public or (horror of horrors) kisses someone within sight of the children. And the children that know can be relied upon to tell.

So, we can choose a path of denial that leads to illicit (and frequent misguided) information being shared "behind the barn," figuratively, or we can be honest with our children at all ages. Yes, some people are gay. That means that they love people who are the same sex. Simple answer for a third grader. Why are they that way? Don't know. They seem to prefer that, God made them that way--pick from the list. What you are asking (or Focus on the Family is asking anyway) is that when the subject comes up (as it always will), we should lie. We should tell children that these are bad people, that they made bad choices, that God doesn't love them, or worst, that they are dangerous. Or lay on that horribly complex truism: "love the sinner, hate the sin." Now regardless what moral beliefs you may hold, the "bad choices" theme is dishonest. It is not backed up by any honest sociological, medical or psychological research--in fact the opposite tends to be supported by research.

When we present all this morally confusing denial-based garbage to children they understand that something is wrong--the adults that they rely on won't talk about it. They draw their own conclusions. They jump on bandwagons of verbal and emotional abuse--perhaps unwittingly at first, but continue to do so because there is no response that explains to them why they ought not call someone a this, that or the other.

My church--which consciously adopted policies and practices of openness, wrestled with what you raise, which is, how do we continue to embrace those who violently oppose our openness? Perhaps we love the sinner and hate the sin?

Linda darling just remember

Submitted by Michael on 6 October 2010 - 9:00am.

Linda darling just remember that the homosexual ajenda was take from a satire,not a written document. Also your child could be harassed because she has a Jewish Father. At one time you would have been in an illegal marriage as interfaith marriages were not sanctioned or even allowed. The Bible says in marriage your are not to be unequally yoked(married outside your religious views.How many LGBT people do you know personally ? Children seem to know about homosexuality to start bullying at an early age from somewhere most likely at home in a poor quality environment. I was bullied in the early to mid 60's and that was before there was an adjenda so to speak. I was not physically bullied but the way people treat you is very harmful.Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for them and be kind. Enough said if you do not get my point maybe you will one day understand that we are kind loving people that do not need your bigoted hatred.In Christ there is no race gender age or any other category all are one in Christ. Whosoever will may come.!!

Michael- Why is calling sin a

Submitted by Linda Rosenblum on 12 October 2010 - 11:41am.

Michael-
Why is calling sin a sin equal to hatred? I never said that I oppose gay marriage. If you read my other post, I think all marriages should be civil unions and if a couple chooses to have a religious ceremony AFTER their civil marriage, go for it. That way, all marriages are equal under the law. By the way, my daughter does have a friend "with two mommys." It is not an issue. I haven't told her it is wrong or right and she has never asked. She knows that bullying is wrong under any circumstances. Sexual behavior is an adult matter and until my daughter is old enough to know "what married people do", loving her neighbor is all she needs to be taught. And yes Christ did hang out with drunks and sinners but he also said to repent and sin no more, not continue in sin because you want to. I'm not sure what to make of your comment about my Jewish husband. Yes, people did discriminate against Jews, my ancestors were burned at the stake and drowned in the river for their religious beliefs, what does that have to do with condoning homosexuality?

Linda---we are talking about

Submitted by YMC on 16 October 2010 - 12:48pm.

Linda---we are talking about homophobic bullying against schoolchildren on this thread. We are not talking about adult sexual behavior, adult sins, or anything dealing with adult choices. We are talking about bullying in school---a form of degradation that has already driven a dozen or so American kids to commit SUICIDE! Do you even care about that problem? If not, what are you doing here?

And for the last time, homophobic bullying happens to all types of students, from kindergarten up to high school. If your child were called homophobic names in school (despite your professed hatred of homosexuality), what would you do? Would you give her the same insensitive insulting spiel you've touted here, or would you do everything in your power to keep her safe? That's what I want to know? Where you do stand as a mother?

Where did I ever "profess

Submitted by Linda Rosenblum on 29 October 2010 - 1:28pm.

Where did I ever "profess hatred"? I only said that my faith, as I understand the scriptures not as other people interpret them, finds homosexuality a sin. I interact with people of many faiths, beliefs and lifestyles (homosexuals included) on a daily basis as does everyone else in a diverse society. I don't insult them, bully them, tell them they are wrong, or tell them my opinions just because they may differ from my own. In fact I find that many of the posters who responded to my first statement, prove my point that you are truly intolerant of those who don't think the same way you do. You call me hateful and insulting, insensitive. Just because I don't agree with you on the issue of homosexual relationships. It is not my responsibility to tell other people how to live, they are free to do as they wish. Can I not be afforded the same courtesy? If you didn't read my whole post, I support a civil marriage open to everyone equally under the law. Churches can sanctify their own religious services apart from a civil marriage. The church and state should be separated.

I totally agree that any bullying of any kind is wrong and I teach my daughter as such. Yes as a mother of course I want to keep my child safe. I don't tell her that her friends family is wrong or that she should think of them as anything but friends. She knows that name calling of any kind is wrong and again, I don't see it is necessary to tell children that homosexual names are more wrong than any other names. If she asks what the name means I will provide age appropriate responses.

Linda, You write that your

Submitted by Cat on 18 October 2010 - 6:08pm.

Linda,

You write that your daughter has a friend with two mommies and that it is "not an issue." Yet you wrote earlier that you would teach her that homosexuality is a sin when she reaches some appropriate age (which you chose not to define). So when are you going to tell your daughter that her friend with two mommies is living in a sinful situation? How do you think she will react? What impact do you think it will have on your daughter and her friend with "two mommies"? You daughter no doubt will be terribly confused. Did it occur to you that perhaps you may be sowing the seeds for ostracism and/or bullying when you tell her that homosexuality is sinful?

I don't buy the idea of "love the sinner and hate the sin." It is by definition a contradiction. There's hate in that sentence no matter how you twist it. It's a form of bigotry no matter how you slice, dice or cut it.

And the reason the previous poster brought up the fact that you are married to a Jewish man is probably because he was hoping you would see your own hypocrisy. Do you feel that antisemitism is a legitimate viewpoint simply because you don't share it? How would you feel if one of your daughter's friends had parents who found marriages between Jews and Christians sinful...but they were just waiting for the appropriate age to pass along that bit of bigotry to their child?

Their are always going to be

Submitted by Linda Rosenblum on 29 October 2010 - 1:35pm.

Their are always going to be people who disagree with your own personal morals and values. How do you handle these with your own children? It is not about waiting to the "appropriate age to pass along this bit of bigotry" to one's children. Are those who disagree with my values also intolerant of my faith? Is that not bigotry as well? Hypocrisy is in the eye of the beholder. We all have beliefs and morals that others will or will not agree with. Isn't the point of this whole magazine and website to promote tolerance?

All of you who call me hateful don't know me personally and yet cast judgement only because I say that my faith teaches homosexuality is a sin. You don't know anything else about my life and yet you call me a bigot. Differences in faith does not mean that I teach my child to hate or that I hate. It only means that I disagree with some other peoples values. Period. I don't bully or ostracize others because of their faiths or beliefs. I can agree to disagree. Why can't you?

When I was a teenager, I was

Submitted by Noah Bradford on 13 September 2010 - 8:08pm.

When I was a teenager, I was often afraid to go to school. As a gay teen, I experienced harassment on a daily basis, and school administration never inervened. My safety was often in question. In the 9th grade, a boy threatened to kill me. I wish groups like SPLC and GLSEN were available back then. Don't let anyone else experience what I had to.

Opponents of tolerance for

Submitted by Thomas Copeland on 17 September 2010 - 4:37pm.

Opponents of tolerance for GLBT children nearly always claim to have the children's welfare at heart. They wish to spare them the opprobrium they will suffer if their behavior conflicts with societal norms. They take societal attitudes as an unchangeable given and silently imply that acts of oppression are inevitable, given the attitudes they spring from. By contrast, they do not acknowledge the changelessness of sexual orientation but rather reduce homosexuality to a matter of behavior, arguing that behavior can and should be modified.

This muddled thinking is illustrated in a letter entitled “Tolerance of LGBT Is Not Edifying." This letter originated in this blog and was published in the fall issue of TEACHING TOLERANCE. The author discusses homosexuality as a form of “behavior” only, not as a matter of desire, but she discusses the oppression that LGBT kids face as a matter of their society’s opinions and judgments, not as a matter of behavior. A meeting of minds can occur only when the disputants agree that both homosexual acts and societal oppression are forms of behavior which arise from the minds and hearts of individuals. The author of the letter claims that “the public” will never approve of homosexual behavior, but in fact opinions and attitudes and even values are susceptible of change. Tolerance does not require that they change, of course; all it requires is that they not lead to acts of oppression but be subject to discipline. The case is slightly different in the case of homosexual persons. Yes, their behavior can be modified to conform to society’s expectations, but what it arises from is not beliefs, opinions, or values, which may be changed; it arises instead from desire, whose sources are hidden within the soul and which cannot be modified by the will. This fact, which every gay person learns the hard way, is what opponents to LGBT tolerance dare not accept. It is so much easier to believe that society’s attitudes are unchangeable and that we can somehow frighten kids into changing their desires by forbidding certain behaviors. How sad to be the child of a parent holding such a belief!

These so called "christians"

Submitted by Jason Winks on 20 September 2010 - 11:55am.

These so called "christians" keep saying that they have a right to their opinions. That homosexuality should not be taugh in the classroom. They act as if you can go through life without ever meeting or knowing about any homosexuals if you just try hard enough. If they force homosexuals to be quiet about themselves then maybe we can get to a time where no one knows they exist. They will become a big secret. Somehow that might make it easier for them to prevent their children from being homosexuals. What these narrowminded morons don't seem to know is that it is impossible to go through life without meeting a homosexual. Ten percent of the human population is homosexual. You can't walk into a room of more than ten peopole without there being a really good chance of running into a homosexual. The number may vary slightly as not all homosexuals are honest and upfront about themselves, but in general the number is pretty consistent. Why is that? No matter how much or how little these idiots try to fight against homosexuality it will never go away. You can not change a persons basic biological imperatives. Maybe it's just a naturally occuring biochemical reaction in the brain or maybe it is gods plan for population control. Maybe god wants there to be childless couples on hand for the raising of children abandoned by accidents or bad parents. We don't know, but what we do know is that there always seems to be about the same percentage of homosexuals in the world at any given time. To say that a teacher can't teach about homosexuality is to say that teachers should not teach about anything at all. There should be no schools. Just keep your kids at home and horse whip them if they are infatuated with a member of their same sex. When they talk about "teaching homosexuality" in schools, these freaks act like a teacher is going to pull out a dvd of Power Tool 2 and introduce the boys to a full on lesson in rimjobs and anal stimulation. This is not hardly the case. I am pretty sure that most teachers who mention homosexuality are just rounding out the childrens world view. These people exist. This is a fact. Just as the names of our states and their capitals are facts. Just as the Nazi party attempting genocide of the Jewish people during WWII is fact. Just as the biochemical make up of a plant is fact. These so called "christians" are deluded moronic bigots who use their religion to slap other poeple across the face on a regular basis. You say I should respect your beliefs? Your beliefs, which you keep trying to force on me, say that I shouldn't exist and that if I HAVE to exist I should sit quietly and alone in a closet until I die. No love or human contact in my life. No thank you. Your beliefs also caused people to "donate" 22 million dollars plus to try stopping gay marriage in California. Really? Once the ban on gay marriage was repealed it meant that all you did was waste 22 million dollars to hurt some gay peoples feelings. You know how many homeless people could be clothed, fed and housed on 22 million dollars? Was it worth it you self righteous bigots? We exist. We will always exist. We do your hair and nails. We plan your weddings. We do your taxes. We teach your children. We cook your dinner. We sit next to you on the bus and on the plane. We work in the next cubicle. We are your brothers and sisters, your aunts and uncles and your mothers and fathers. We even sit next to you in church. GET OVER YOURSELVES! True Christians are Christ-like. Stop teaching and preaching hate please. We have lives to live and your hate and ignorance is interfering.

if there was a "like" button

Submitted by Dustin Cox on 3 October 2010 - 6:28pm.

if there was a "like" button for this comment, i would click it until my finger fell off.

The best thing I've read all

Submitted by Julie Mushing on 24 September 2010 - 1:28pm.

The best thing I've read all year

Everyone should read this!

Sharon Underwood is an American woman from White River Junction, Vermont who became famous in 2000 after a local newspaper published a letter she had written decrying the treatment her son had received from his school peers as a result of him being gay.

Underwood's letter, the result of more than two decades of anger built up by "standard gay bashing", was subsequently reproduced in newspapers, emails and on websites around the world, including that of Democratic National Committee treasurer Andrew Tobias, who posted it under the headline "The best thing I've read all year"
http://www.andrewtobias.com/newcolumns/000504.html

One thing that is missing

Submitted by PamC on 27 September 2010 - 8:17am.

One thing that is missing from FoF's arguments: anti-bullying programs target bullying *behaviors*, such as name-calling and repeated physical & verbal harassment. In our school, we are very specific: calling someone "gay" or "f****t" is wrong and students using those terms will get a consequence. In over 20 years, I have never heard a middle school or high school student call someone gay as a compliment. AND MOST KIDS USE THESE TERMS TOWARDS ANY STUDENT THEY WANT TO HUMILIATE, not just those who identify as gay. So being against bullying behavior that includes anti-gay epithets protects ALL students from such attacks, not just LGBT students. In my entire career as an educator, parents of effeminate straight boys have advocated for staff to take more direct action against student use of these terms far more frequently than students who identify as gay or their parents.

You don't have to teach about sex or sexuality to teach anti-bullying. Just describe the name-calling you want to forbid and define harassment clearly. If a student wishes to say that, in their religion, "homosexuality is sinful," as long as the student isn't targeting one particular student repeatedly or trying to physically harm others, that's free speech, not bullying behavior. But by the same reasoning, that student may hear from others that, in other belief systems, being gay isn't sinful. Open forum includes all opinions & beliefs, not just one's own. And promoting civil behavior towards one another is something that should be expected from school staff.

That is almost exactly what I

Submitted by Brian on 1 October 2010 - 8:59am.

That is almost exactly what I was thinking as I read this article. FoF is correct that programs need to target all bullying but the fallback position of many, if not most bullies, is to accuse another child of being gay. Where FoF goes off the deep end is suggesting that there is some kind of gay conspiracy, that is just bizarre.

Through our agency, I have worked for over 10 years in schools consulting on bullying and safety issues (free of charge) and I have never seen anything in their programs that support FoF's assertions. Wanting to be treated with respect and not harassed and bullied does not constitute any kind of 'agenda,' mostly, it's just asking everyone to follow the Golden Rule -- if everyone did that, most of the world's problems would dissolve.

Thanks for this clear

Submitted by Nikki on 5 October 2010 - 10:10am.

Thanks for this clear rebuttal and excellent explanation for why anti-gay bullying needs to be addressed explicitly, and how it can be addressed while being fair to those of all beliefs.

First of all, Focus on the

Submitted by Chris on 5 October 2010 - 7:18am.

First of all, Focus on the Family is a political lobbying group masquerading as a religious organization. They have no interest in children, workers, or public policy, except as effective fronts to raise money from their benighted donors for their Republican masters.

Religion, like science, is a way of observing, explaining, and understanding the world. Religion explains the world based on beliefs, science uses facts. That's the reason science is a better way of observing and understanding the world.

The religious have realized they can't win. What they have to offer is inferior to what science has to offer, and it's really just a matter of time. Who are you going to believe? The guy who tells you the sun is driven across the sky by a guy named Helios, or the guy who says, here's a telescope, and here's the chemical reactions we've used empircal methods to observe? The bible believer who tells you he knows gays are deviants because some Bronze Age collection of scriptures says so, or scientific research that demonstrates observable, reproducible causes for same-sex orientation?

High-flown assertions aside, this phony-baloney Candi chick is embarrassingly stupid and toxically hateful. I wish people like her would follow the tenets of their religion. Go home, Candi,submit graciously to your undoubtedly equally moronic husband, bake some cookies, and pop out a few more slope-browed children. Stay off the public stage that your god makes it clear you don't have the right genitals for, and that your inane blatherings make it clear you don't have the brains for.

Can we now please categorize

Submitted by Dave on 6 October 2010 - 1:32am.

Can we now please categorize Focus on the Family as a hate group!?!?!?!?!

I have been a supporter of

Submitted by Lori Scelza-Pond, R.N. on 19 October 2010 - 8:14am.

I have been a supporter of the SPLC since 2003. (I wish I had known about them before then!) I applaud Ms. Costello on her frank and open response to Focus on the Family's website. Once again, without critizism, the facts have been given by someone from the SPLC. No finger pointing, no stamping of feet, no hurling of insults. The Center continues to address those organizations who, although they are fighting for their own agenda, are actually continuing to harm our children and put blinders on the publics' eye.
As a school nurse in an upper elementary setting, I see first hand the behaviors that are already learned about tolerance and acceptance. Children react to differences of any sort, based on what they are learning at home and hearing from the adults around them. They also are afraid to show their own differences and to accept others, for fear of retaliation from their peers.
Many groups are continuing to teach today's generation their limited, biased and intolerant ways. They get a 'warped' sense of normal from TV and movies, and especially the internet. Everyone wants, needs and lives to belong to someone, a group, a church, a society. The need for acceptance in innate.
SPLC continues to fight and speak up against groups that foster an aura of hate, intolerance and injustice. They are the true voice of the oppressed and mistreated. I encourage anyone who wants to change our world and raise our children to be kind, loving, tolerant and accepting to join them in their quest, their fight and their hope that we can put an end to the biggoted, racist, intolerant, unjust, and unaccepting world that those before us have created, and many people today continue to support. I know I for one, will always be a part of what the SPLC is trying to accomplish.

Here is the ACTUAL Gospel for

Submitted by Adel Wilder on 4 January 2011 - 12:21pm.

Here is the ACTUAL Gospel for the lovers and the feaful haters:

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

True Tolerance reminds me of

Submitted by antonio on 4 January 2011 - 3:50pm.

True Tolerance reminds me of the Ronald Reagan quip, "truly needy. Its as if truth has layers much like adults and children reading Peanuts.

I recently read that the current head of Focus on the Family had done s 140 degree turn from Mr. Dobson, neither approving nor disapproving of LGBTQ people but fully welcoming them without condition. Is that just a new evil tactic--split your message so that everyone is deceived and happy?

By the way thank you SoPo. I only knew you back when we were all marching and waiting to be buried in swampland.
I'm impressed.
antonio

I am one of those Christians

Submitted by Christy on 17 February 2011 - 5:33am.

I am one of those Christians who does not listen to Focus on The Family. Their views about LGBT students are totally against what is taught to us in the Bible. There is not one verse in the entire Bible that would condone the poor treatment of LGBT students. We are surrounded by those who practice and preach intolerance that we sometimes fail to see the truth. Truth is that the Jesus they talk about so much would sit down with someone who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender. I also think that bullies need more than a simple reprimand. As a psychology student who is currently studying ethics, I think that some additional counseling may be required for both parties.

I just found out about this

Submitted by Randy on 17 February 2011 - 6:35pm.

I just found out about this strand when I read Linda Rosenblum's post in the Letters section of Teaching Tolerance. After reading what she had to say, it stirred so many emotions in me that I felt I had to respond to it immediately. Being an educator in an elementary school and having been raised in a Pentecostal church, I understand what Mrs. Rosenblum was trying to express, even though I completely disagree with her.

Mrs. Rosenblum is concerned about lack of articles supporting her belief that "homosexuality is a sin." It appears to me that the reason for this is that the purpose of the publication Teaching Tolerance is to promote tolerance. The statement "homosexuality is a sin" is not tolerant any more than "slaves obey your masters" or "Muslims, Jews, Buddists, and Sihks will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven" are statements of tolerance. Additionally, I would dare to say that the statement “homosexuality is a sin” is not a very Christian statement to make, since it seems neither Christ-like nor did Jesus make one statement about homosexuality in the entirety of the Bible.

I believe Mrs. Rosenblum’s claims that she doesn’t approve of or condone bullying. I would disagree with her, however, that no “other Christian believes that bullying is appropriate to anyone for any reason.” I have seen many instances where Christians have used their belief that they have the Truth to bully and demean others who do not share those beliefs or run contrary to the teachings of their church.

I don't believe that anyone on here thinks that Mrs. Rosenblum, or anyone else, doesn't have the right to have her own beliefs. That is what tolerance is about, allowing for our differences while not infringing on the rights of others who are different. Everyone has the right to hold their own beliefs. Tolerance is knowing that you don’t have the right to share your beliefs with others if it can be harmful to them physically or emotionally. What other people seem to be taking issue with is the fact that Mrs. Rosenblum believes that homosexuality and homosexuals should not be part of the school curriculum.

It appears that the fear that Mrs. Rosenblum and many other Christian parents have is that their young children will be introduced to the topic of sex at an early age. I agree with them that I would not want my children to be discussing sex in the elementary school either. But, as has been vehemently explained by other posters to this blog, the topic of homosexuality in the elementary school is confined to the fact that some children have two moms or two dads. No one is suggesting having a class discussion about sexual relations between two women or two men any more than they would discuss sex between a man and a woman.

I think that the crux of the matter is Mrs. Rosenblum’s and many other Christians’ beliefs that “homosexuality is a sin.” If you take this to be a fact, then if homosexuality equates to a sin and a sin is bad, then sinners are bad. Humans are innately conditioned to discard or disparage anything that is negative. So I don’t understand how any rational thinking person can believe that teaching children that one group of people are sinners, they will not be likely to bully or harass them. You cannot teach children that one group of people, for whatever reason, is less than another and not expect them to exhibit bullying behaviors.

Another issue in this whole discussion is that many Christians will say that they hate the act of homosexuality, but love the homosexuals. The statement does not make sense to many people because how can you extricate something as innate as your sexuality from your being. It is a vital part of who we are as humans. It would be impossible for straight people to separate their heterosexuality from their daily life. Homosexuality is not just one act that someone does and therefore not something that can be stopped or removed.

If parents would spend more time teaching their children about how all humans have the Divine in them rather than trying to prove who is right and who is wrong, the issue of bullying would cease to be a problem in our schools.

I also just found out about

Submitted by SarahG on 29 June 2011 - 3:36pm.

I also just found out about this and I would like to address two points. I am a social studies teacher.

1) Who most people in this discussion fail to include are the children of gay parents. Most of the bullying discussion focuses on children who are gay themselves. I am not an elementary school teacher, but I would assume that there are many gay people who did not know they were gay until middle school or high school. However, there are many children (gay and straight) who have gay parents or relatives. These children are also bullied, and to fail to include their families in elementary school discussion of family formation opens them up to bullying and damages their self-esteem. I think we can all agree that no child has the power to choose his or her family or control his or her parents' sexual orientation, so clearly this has nothing to do with behavior modification. Failing to protect these (or ANY) children from being bullied is quite simply unconscionable.

Every person has the right to an opinion but no one has the right to take their opinion, turn it into law, and use it to hurt other people. Laws promoting homophobia measurably hurt gay people, their families, and everyone else, just as laws promoting racial discrimination and laws permitting slavery did the same. As a historian (MA and BA in US history) I see very little difference between today's discussion of LGBT families in the schools and the discussions 50-60 years ago about desegregating schools. Somehow no one's white children were adversely affected by attending classes with children of other colors, just as no discussion of same-sex families that I have seen or heard of in a school setting have adversely affected the student body. The whole discussion of which families are appropriate and who children should associate with smacks of elitism, something I'm sure Jesus was not too happy with.

2) There's been a lot of talk about how sex is not an appropriate discussion in elementary school. I wish people had talked to me about sex in elementary school. My dad badly molested me from 1st grade through 5th grade and if my schools had ever approached sex as something to discuss openly and frankly, maybe I would have spoken up more and gotten myself some help while he was doing it. Schools tend to say something along the lines of "if somebody touches you in a way you don't like, tell [insert authority role here]!" and frankly, that's entirely inadequate. You leave it up to the 6 year old to figure out what all of that means, and most 6 year olds are still trying to figure out their own bodies, much less what "you don't like" means or who is safe to tell. What if the molestor is a cop? Or a doctor? Or a nurse? Or a teacher? Or a reverend? Or other authority figure?

I'm sure people will argue that it's far more important to keep the 75% of girls and 85% of boys who are not molested safe from understanding what sex is - to protect their innocence - than to protect the kids who have already been "damaged" from further harm. However, if we as a society really wanted to protect *everybody,* we would stop sacrificing some students in favor of others. (And, frankly, our whole idea of childhood and innocence concerning sex is very, very recent - like, in the last century. Most kids born before the 20th century knew all about sex from an early age and strangely they did not turn into sexual deviants.)

I'm a Christian and am

Submitted by Teresa on 31 July 2011 - 2:58pm.

I'm a Christian and am studying the Bible and especially the passages used most often as justification for the discrimination of LGBT people. If one actually studies the meaning of the passages and meaning placed on them in the culture at the time not one of them have anything to do with homosexuality.

The other point is general human rights and anti-bullying rules don't work. If sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are not individually spelled out they they don't exist and both human rights and anti-bullying won't work. It's that simple.

Teachers need training in how to handle bullying in every case and these cases include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression and the administration have to be given the teeth to make this all work. Hate groups use lies and half truths to fight against making a safe environment both in school and life for LGBT children and adults. I'm not saying Focus on the Family is a hate group as I don't know enough about the organization to comment but what I've seen so far doesn't impress me.