Homosexuality and Public Education
Hardly a day goes by, it seems, that a story concerning homosexuality is not in the news. Hollywood and the mainstream media have been pushing for the acceptance of these God-condemned, unnatural, “shameful,” “vile passions” for several years (Romans 1:26-27; cf. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Genesis 19:1-11; see Miller and Harrub, 2004), and have shown no signs of letting up. Whether it is highlighting the latest movie star who has “come out of the closet” or the latest artist who has spoken out on behalf of homosexual marriage (cf. “Miley Cyrus…,” 2011), much has been, and is being, done to immerse Americans in a sea of acceptance—the acceptance of a sin (homosexuality) that Americans once widely considered abominable (see Miller, 2008, pp. 82-85). Sadly, whereas in 1982 one in three Americans accepted “homosexuality as a lifestyle,” according to George Gallup, Jr. and D. Michael Lindsay, acceptance of homosexuality increased to nearly 50% by 1999 (p. 129).
One area in which gay rights activists have been most successful in promoting the homosexual agenda is in America’s public school system. Despite the presence of thousands of morally minded, Christian public school teachers (many of whom are family and friends), America’s education system is becoming more and more a “place of persuasion” for gay rights activists. The idea is: change the minds of students today, and you will change the direction of states tomorrow (see Harrub, 2006). Consider several examples over just the past four years of homosexual indoctrination, inundation, and toleration in the public school system.
Parker v. Hurley
In January 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed that public school teachers in Massachusetts have the constitutional right, not only to instruct their students regarding the alleged normalcy of homosexuality, but to do so without notifying parents (Parker v. Hurley, 2008). Circuit Judges Lynch, Stahl, and Howard ruled in favor of the Lexington, Massachusetts public school system, and upheld an earlier ruling of U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf, who believes “it is reasonable for public schools to attempt to teach understanding and respect for gays and lesbians” (Unruh, 2008), and to do so without teachers needing to consult parents. If first grade teachers in Massachusetts want to read books about Daddy’s Roommate or Jack and Jim to their six- and seven-year-olds, they not only have every legal right to do so, but are even encouraged by the state to promote such materials. According to both the judicial system and the Lexington, Massachusetts school system, if teachers want to read a book about a prince who rejects all of the princesses who wish to marry him, and instead, chooses to marry another prince (shown kissing on the last page of King and King), teachers are free to expose youth to such material. Parents can “quibble” and Christians can object, but such is the way of life in Massachusetts’ public schools. [NOTE: Amazingly, the plaintiffs in Parker v. Hurley were not even challenging the use of “nondiscrimination curriculum” (i.e., books that depict and celebrate homosexual marriages), but simply “the school district’s refusal to provide them [parents—EL] with prior notice and to allow for exemption from such instruction” (Parker v. Hurley, 2008, emp. added). But, since Massachusetts courts believe that reading books about men kissing and marrying men is not a “human sexuality issue” or “indoctrination,” parental notice is said to be unnecessary.]
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S “SAFE SCHOOLS” CZAR
In May 2009, President Obama appointed Kevin Jennings, “who has advocated promoting homosexuality in schools” (Lott, 2009), as director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools (i.e., “safe schools” czar). Jennings is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which, as of 2009 had “over 40 chapters at schools nationwide. He has also published six books on gay rights and education” (Lott). Years earlier, in March 1995, Jennings explained in a speech titled “Winning the Culture War,” how the most effective way for gay activists to get a foot in the door of public schools was to repackage the gay movement as a safety issue.
If the Radical Right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language—“promoting homosexuality” is one example—is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo that we are “after their kids.” We must learn from the abortion struggle, where the clever claiming of the term “pro-life” allowed those who opposed abortion on demand to frame the issue to their advantage, to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to be painted into a corner before the debate even begins.
In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. We immediately seized upon the opponent’s calling card—safety—and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students’ safety by creating a climate where violence, name-calling, health problems, and suicide are common. Titling our report “Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth,” we automatically threw our opponents onto the defensive and stole their best line of attack. This framing short-circuited their arguments and left them back-pedaling from day one. Finding the effective frame for your community is the key to victory. It must be linked to universal values that everyone in the community has in common (quoted in Camenker, n.d., emp. added).
Ironically, and sadly, 14 years after delivering this speech, Kevin Jennings became, not just Massachusetts’—but America’s—“safe schools” (i.e., “gay-agenda-driven”) czar.
NEA’s Outspoken Homosexual Agenda
In July 2009, the National Education Association (NEA), which claims to represent the interest of most of the 3.2 million public school teachers and administrators in the U.S. (“NEA Executive Director…,” 2010), held its annual convention in San Diego, California. At the convention, retiring General Counsel Bob Chanin delivered a speech in which he stated:
When I first came to NEA in the early ’60s it had few enemies…. It was the proverbial sleeping giant: a conservative, apolitical, do-nothing organization. But then,NEA began to change. It embraced collective bargaining. It supported teacher strikes. It established a political action committee. It spoke out for affirmative action, and it defended gay and lesbian rights…. So the bad news, or depending on your point of view, the good news, is that NEA and its affiliates will continue to be attacked by conservative and right-wing groups as long as we continue to be effective advocates for public education, for education employees, and for human and civil rights (“NEA Power,” 2009, emp. added).
Following these comments (for which Chanin received a loud ovation), he stated:
And that brings me to my final, and most important point, which is why, at least in my opinion, NEA and its affiliates are such effective advocates…. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees (“NEA Power,” emp. added).
Sadly, at this same convention, the NEA, which the previous year gave $50 million to Barak Obama’s presidential campaign (Chagnon, 2009), voted by nearly a two-thirds majority “to throw their full support behind homosexual ‘marriage’ by committing to use its resources and political muscle to take down any legislation that hinders the homosexual movement” (Heck, 2009).
“Harvey Milk Day”
In October 2009, California passed a law that designated every May 22 as gay day, which public schools (K-12) are expected to celebrate. The day is officially called “Harvey Milk Day” in honor of Mr. Milk, a 1970s homosexual activist (Tran, 2009). California teachers and students are expected to commemorate the life of Milk, similar to how they celebrate the contributions of Martin Luther King, Jr.
U.S. Secretary of Education
On June 7, 2011, President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, spoke at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Youth Summit via video. Secretary Duncan stated:
I’m absolutely thrilled that Capital Pride Week is being kicked off with such an important and historic event…. My commitment to LGBT students is unequivocal and it goes back to when I first supported a charter school for LGBT students in Chicago…. I’m pleased to announce we are also releasing a new ‘Dear Colleague’ letter. It clarifies the rights of students to form clubs, such as gay-straight alliances, under the Equal Access Act…. Schools must treat all student-initiated clubs equally, including those of LGBT students. I’m so proud to have the department host this year’s first ever federal LGBT youth summit. We seek to promote a new and unprecedented level of commitment in protecting LGBT students (“Secretary Arne Duncan…,” 2011, emp. added).
It would be one thing for San Francisco’s Superintendent of Schools to come out with such unashamed, “unprecedented” support of LGBT conferences and school clubs, but Duncan is the U.S. Secretary of Education. With such outspoken support from President Obama’s Secretary of Education, and his former “safe schools” czar among many others, it should not be surprising that in 2011, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) reported that 4,000 student-lead “Gay-Straight Alliance” clubs were in existence (and registered with GLSEN) in schools across America (“About Gay…,” 2011). Astonishingly, about 1,000 of these clubs have sprung into existence in just the past three years (cf. Just the Facts…, 2008, p. 13).
New California Law
On July 14, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that will “require public schools in the state [of California—EL] to teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” (“California Governor…,” 2011, emp. added). In their coverage of this story, CNN did just what homosexual activists want in regard to categorizing homosexual Americans: they implied that homosexuals should be placed in the same category as racial and ethnic groups. “California law,” wrote a CNN wire staff writer, “already requires state schools to teach about the contributions of Native Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Asian-Americans, among other groups” (“California Governor…”). So, they argue, why shouldn’t California teach homosexual history, too? California State Senator Mark Leno said regarding the new law: “Today we are making history in California by ensuring that our textbooks and instructional materials no longer exclude the contributions of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Americans” (“California Governor…”).
Can we not just teach history from a historical-accomplishment standpoint, rather than from the angle of who a person slept with? Exposing children (as young as five-year-olds) to the alleged normalcy of certain people’s “vile-passion” past is abominable (cf. Romans 1:26-27; Leviticus 18:22-28). One wonders what will happen to California teachers who refuse to teach “homosexual history.”
Pro-Homosexuals’ Pressure on Public School Officials
For years public school officials have been pressured by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and other organizations to discourage religious activities on school campuses. At the same time, superintendents, principals, and other school leaders around the country have been “increasingly pressured by pro-homosexual organizations to integrate homosexual education into school curricula. These organizations recommend promoting homosexuality as a normal, immutable trait that should be validated during childhood, as early as kindergarten” (“On the Promotion…,” 2011).
In January 2008, for example, a coalition, including the NEA and Interfaith Alliance, produced a 20-page pamphlet titled “Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth” and mailed it to every public school superintendent in the U.S. (“On the Promotion…”). The publication was not only endorsed by the NEA, but also by the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (Just the Facts..., 2008). The stated purpose of the pamphlet was to provide principals, educators, and school personnel “accurate information that will help you respond to a recent upsurge in promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy and religious ministries” (p. 2). Focus on the Family was one, if not the only, “religious ministry” specifically named. The liberal, gay-agenda-driven coalition who funded and endorsed the pamphlet wanted to warn educators of alleged false information that Focus on the Family had promoted in the media regarding the ability of and need for homosexuals to change their behavior. According to the coalition, “The promotion in schools of efforts to change sexual orientation by therapy or through religious ministries seems likely to exacerbate the risk of harassment, harm, and fear for these youth” (p. 4).
Throughout the booklet the so-called “Just the Facts Coalition” repeatedly expressed their views about the need for homosexuals to be accepted and protected by school officials, while strongly encouraging the silencing of any criticism of homosexuality. “[H]omosexuality,” they declared, “is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be ‘cured’” (p. 6, emp. added). Time and again, the coalition attempted to pressure educators to reject any and all promotion of the “homosexuality-is-sinful” stance.
[E]fforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public. However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure (i.e., sin; p. 5, emp. added).
Ex-gay ministry and transformational ministry are terms used to describe efforts by some religious individuals and organizations to change sexual orientation through religious ministries. These individuals and organizations tend to have negative attitudes toward homosexuality that are based in their particular religious perspectives. In general, efforts to change sexual orientation through religious ministries take the approach that sexual orientation can be changed through repentance and faith. In addition, some individuals and groups who promote efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy are also associated with religious perspectives that take a negative attitude toward homosexuality…. Because ex-gay and transformational ministries usually characterize homosexuality as sinful or evil, promotion in schools of such ministries or of therapies associated with such ministries would likely exacerbate the risk of marginalization, harassment, harm, and fear experienced by lesbian, gay, and bisexual students (p. 10).
The coalition also made it a point to remind educators that “a public school counselor or teacher cannot proselytize to students or attempt to impose his or her religious beliefs about whether or not homosexuality is sinful” (p. 11, emp. added).
How sad it is that the day has come in America where teachers are told to keep silent about the very things that are destroying this country (cf. Miller, 2008 and 2010). One wonders if teachers can tell their students that any sexual relation outside of a lawful marriage is sinful? (Students desperately need to hear this biblical truth—Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 13:4). What about pedophilia or bestiality? Can teachers tell their students that anything is morally wrong? Can teachers inform their students that it is immoral to cheat or steal? What about lying or cursing? Must 21st-century teachers simply refrain from saying anything about sin in fear of hurting someone’s feelings? In the end, such weak, spineless, pathetic policies only hurt America’s youth and the nation as a whole. Unfortunately, the NEA and several other education associations felt that it was imperative to reach America’s 16,000 superintendents with their homosexually-slanted “Facts About Sexual Orientation.”
It might be tempting for Christians in middle America to dismiss the homosexual agenda in public school systems as an east or west coast issue and not a middle-America problem. Though there are some more-conservative areas of the country where various school systems (thankfully) have been less impacted by homosexual activists, the fact is, the homosexual agenda is becoming more and more an issue in more and more places every year.
On April 25, 2006 (one day before GLSEN’s student-lead national Day of Silence, in which students attempt to remain silent all day in school “to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment”—“Day of Silence,” 2011), a questionnaire approved by two teachers in Port Washington, Wisconsin was handed out to nearly 400 students. The questionnaire, which was not authorized by the principal, asked teens several questions regarding their “heterosexuality,” including—“If you have never slept with someone of your same gender, then how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?” (Kertscher, 2006). Thankfully, both the principal and the president of the local school board said that the survey was “inappropriate” and “will never go out again” (Kaufman, 2006).
Two years after the above-mentioned questionnaire was handed out in Port Washington, Wisconsin, World Net Daily columnist Drew Zahn reported that a similar questionnaire was administered about 150 miles away at Pecatonica High School in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. Some of the questions included the following: (1) Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of? (2) Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex? (3) Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet? (4) Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual? (5) Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems that s/he would face? (Zahn, 2008). Unfortunately, Pecatonica’s principal was not as remorseful as Port Washington’s. Principal Dave McSherry approved of the questionnaire and contended that it was “part of a comprehensive curriculum in critical thinking skills, preparing the students to make decisions on their own in college and beyond” (Zahn).
On November 7, 2008, a Carmel, Indiana bus driver lectured her student passengers about toleration. She then called one of the students “a stupid little bigot” for telling others that she could not have voted for Obama as president because she is against abortion and gay marriage (Cox, 2010). “I don’t want to hear one more word about anyone going to hell if they are gay…because it is none of your…business,” the driver stated. The bus’s surveillance video also caught the driver saying that she would “eat the girl alive.” According to the American Family Association, “when the girl’s father complained to the school about the bus driver’s actions, he was told that the behavior of the driver fell within the scope of her employment” (“School Bus Driver…,” 2010).
More recently, in August 2011, a school board in Florida suspended its 2010-11 Teacher of the Year over the following statement he made about homosexual marriage on his personal Facebook page: “I almost threw up.... Now they showed two guys kissing. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool.... God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?.... I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one” (as quoted in Padgett, 2011).
On September 20, 2011, a ninth-grade honors student in Fort Worth, Texas was given a disciplinary referral form, one day of in-school suspension, and two days of out-of-school suspension (Khalil, 2011). What was his offense? While in German class, “when conversation shifted to religion and homosexuality in Germany,” Dakota Ary said to a friend that “he was a Christian and ‘being a homosexual is wrong’” (Stames, 2011). This one statement, which was overheard by the teacher (who previously had posted a picture in the classroom of two men kissing), allegedly warranted a reprimand and three days of suspension. Thankfully, administrators dropped the suspension completely, but only after Dakota’s mother solicited the help of a constitutional attorney (Khalil).
A life-long educator and current church leader in the heart of the “Bible Belt,” recently informed us that his former principal actively sought to replace outgoing teachers, first and foremost, with lesbians.
As a former public school student, as a husband of a former public school teacher, and as a friend of many great past and present public school teachers and administers, it brings me no joy to underscore the negative impact that the homosexual agenda has had, and is having, in public school systems around the country. Nevertheless, Christians in America need to be aware of the many destructive steps homosexual activists are taking in public education.
What To Do
What can be done? First, the Church must lovingly and courageously teach on the sinfulness of homosexuality. Second, parents, especially those with children in public schools, must instruct their children in what the Bible teaches about homosexuality (and many other subjects). Young people are learning earlier and earlier in life about homosexuality from someone somewhere, perhaps even in their public school classrooms. [NOTE: One of the best ways you can teach your young children at home about this sensitive issue is by acquiring Apologetics Press’s book, Does God Love Michael’s Two Daddies? The book, written by Tennessee State Representative Sheila Butt, promotes God’s love for all individuals, while at the same time showing, in a loving way, that homosexuality is sinful (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:9-11), and not something to be “celebrated.”] Third, if you are a public school teacher, which is a very noble occupation, stand firm in your biblical beliefs and courageously refuse to do anything to lead your students to believe that homosexuality is “just an alternative lifestyle.” (Perhaps you could place Does God Love Michael’s Two Daddies? in your school library.) Also, refuse to join NEA, and let your superiors and colleagues know that as a Christian you are steadfastly opposed to NEA’s ungodly, homosexual agenda. (Alternative groups that provide liability insurance and legal services are available.) Finally, especially if you are in an area where homosexuality is being promoted as a good and wholesome alternative lifestyle, you may choose to do what a growing number of Christian parents are doing, and what renowned pro-family authors and speakers, such as Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, have publicly urged parents to do—remove your children from public schools altogether (see Kupelian, 2005, p. 151-153). Due in large part to the deterioration of the government-run public school system, approximately 12% of students in the U.S. are now educated in private or home schools (“Fast Facts,” 2007). Though many great public school teachers are diligently working to educate and mentor young people in the noblest of ways, more and more Americans recognize the dire threat that so many liberal, agenda-driven public school workers pose to the moral values of millions of children across America.
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