The legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriages will have far-reaching, devastating and pernicious cultural consequences, including within our public schools. Here are some of the ineluctable changes in public education that Illinoisans can expect if “same-sex marriage” is legalized:
- If Illinois legalizes “same-sex marriage,” parents can expect elementary school teachers to include homosexuality in discussions of family and marriage.
- Elementary schools will not be able to keep picture books that portray homosexuality positively out of their libraries and classrooms. Those who still harbor the stereotype of librarians as conservative stuffed shirts will be surprised to learn that librarians and university programs in library science are, like teacher education programs, notoriously liberal.
Ironically, the program one would most associate with diversity of thought and the free exploration of ideas has been actively promoting one set of ideas about homosexuality. The infamous American Library Association has been fervently soliciting homosexuality-affirming books from publishers while still making time to adopt formal positions on the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Yes, picture books affirming homosexuality are already in many elementary school libraries, but there are libraries that have been able to keep them out. They just don’t purchase them. If Illinois changes marriage law to recognize homosexual unions as marriage, it will become more difficult for those communities that want to keep all images and ideas about homosexuality out of their schools to do so.
Some make the absurd argument that since families led by homosexuals exist, schools must teach about them. The truth is, however, that schools have no obligation to teach about every phenomenon that exists, nor do they have to include resources that affirm every phenomenon that exists. Does anyone believe that if a student being raised by polyamorists were enrolled in a public elementary school, teachers or administrators would feel obligated to include books in their libraries that affirm polyamorous family structures?
- Public schools will be hiring teachers who are in legal “homosexual marriages.” These teachers will put photos of their homosexual spouses on their desks and talk about their homosexual spouses to their students. Such images and ideas coming from teachers whom children love and admire will powerfully shape the feelings and beliefs of young boys and girls, particularly when such images and ideas are reinforced countless times in other cultural contexts. Such images and ideas will undermine what is being taught at home.
Some will argue that schools are already hiring teachers in homosexual relationships, so the legalization of same-sex marriage won’t change anything. They are only partly correct. Although schools are, unfortunately, already hiring teachers in homosexual relationships, once the government recognizes homosexual unions as marriages, administrators and school boards—particularly in elementary schools—will have the social stigma that makes them reluctant to hire teachers in homosexual unions knocked out from under them. And this, of course, is the chief motivation for homosexuals to pursue same-sex marriage when they already have all the benefits and privileges of marriage through Illinois’ civil union law.
- For years, activists within and without our public schools have been exploiting public education to advance their unproven, non-factual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality. This will continue and intensify whether or not we change our marriage laws. But changing our marriage laws will inarguably make it more difficult to keep Leftist ideas about homosexuality in general and marriage and family in particular out of our schools. Our youngest, most impressionable children will be taught both implicitly and explicitly the following lies, and all resources that challenge these lies will be censored as hate-filled bigotry:
- Children will be taught that homosexuality is normative and good.
- Children will be taught that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality and equally able to contribute to human flourishing.
- Children will be taught that marriage has no inherent connection to either sexual complementarity or reproductive potential.
- Children will be taught that children do not have any inherent rights to know and be raised by a mother and a father.
- Children will be taught that men and women are inherently indistinguishable (Ironically, this is at odds with what homosexuals in other contexts claim. When homosexual men and women say they are only attracted to persons of the same-sex, they are implicitly acknowledging the truth that men and women are inherently different and that those differences are not merely anatomical).
- Children will be taught that either mothers or fathers are expendable.
- Children will be taught that mothers and fathers contribute nothing unique to a child’s development.
- Children will be taught that the government’s interest and involvement in marriage has nothing inherently to do with reproductive potential or the needs and rights of children.
- Children will be taught in social studies classes that including sexual complementarity in the legal definition of marriage was a violation of the civil rights of those who wanted to marry someone of their same sex.
- Children will be taught eventually that opposition to the legalization of “same-sex marriage” was equivalent to opposition to the legalization of interracial marriage. They will be taught that opposition to both was motivated by ignorance and hatred.
Already liberal “educators” exploit bullying-prevention programs, sex education, and English, social studies, and theater classes to advance their personal beliefs about homosexuality. We have lost sight of the truth that no arm of the government has the right to propagate non-factual beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality—including public schools.
One word about public school teachers who profess to be Christians: You are not exempt from the obligation to speak truth simply because it may cost you personally or professionally. You have an obligation to stand for truth and to protect children. Recently theologian and pastor Peter Leithart wrote about the moral obligation pastors have to stand for truth on the issue of homosexuality. He wrote that if they are not willing to endure persecution on this subject, they should get out of the business. I would argue that this moral imperative applies to Christian teachers in public schools as well. And yes, you will be hated.
Far too many Christian teachers in public schools have stood by silently as lies and political activism have infiltrated public schools through plays, novels, essays, magazine articles, films, guest speakers, anti-bullying resources, sex education, discussions of “family diversity,” picture books, and professional development activities. Their silence ensures that in coming years the presence of homosexuality-affirming resources will be greater, the suppression of dissenting ideas greater, and the oppression of conservative teachers greater. They need to ask themselves if there’s anything they’re willing to sacrifice to protect children from lies?
There are several obstacles that serve to prevent the public from recognizing the educational consequences of redefining marriage. First, we are an intellectually lazy culture that doesn’t want to spend any time imagining the logical outcomes of ideas, policies and laws.
Second, we are a cowardly bunch, unwilling to express counter-cultural ideas unless we’re guaranteed that doing so will be cost-free. If we think that expressing our views to a teacher, administrator, school board, colleague, boss, friend, neighbor, member of our church, pastor, priest, lawmaker, or the local press will cost us anything, we choose self-censorship. Though the cost could be public excoriation, loss of employment, or a lawsuit, the cost we’re unwilling to pay is most often as trivial as having someone become angry with us. We should be ashamed of such cowardice.
Anyone who proclaims that the redefinition of legal marriage will have no effect on the culture is either foolish or lying. Adopting what Robert George, Ryan Anderson and Sherif Girgis call the “revisionist view” of marriage will radically alter the cultural landscape in countless and profoundly harmful ways.
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