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It is my hope that IFI subscribers will even read articles about schools other than their own. When I write about a problem in a particular school, I always address the problematic assumptions that underlie whatever particular issue I am addressing. Those assumptions need to be analyzed and understood because they are pervasive and will manifest sooner or later in problems in all schools.
My goal is to address the weaknesses in the arguments used to defend, for example, anti-bullying curricula that specifically address homosexuality and Gender Identity Disorder, so that people will not be deceived and so that they will be equipped to confront the problems in their own public schools.
Last Thursday, I wrote an article about Beye Elementary School in Oak Park, exposing the pro-homosexual activism that has arrived on its doorstep and which will be arriving on the doorsteps of every elementary school unless taxpayers become educated and develop some spine.
In response, I received several negative emails which are reprinted (unedited) below followed by my responses to them. The reason I’m reprinting these emails and my responses is that the specious ideas and ad hominem arguments embodied in these emails are common and often effective in silencing conservative voices:
You guys crack me up. I find it appalling you’re using religion to justify bulling other people. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) I think God wanted us as human beings to grow and learn and to better ourselves, not spend our time judging other people and why they do things. I’m not a baptized christian, but I grew up in a catholic school. When did men become the judges of other men? Food to think about while you go on your religious crusade to purify schools of the wicked. I can’t believe you all have the free time to sit around and bully others.
Don’t be a hater.
The message by Laurie Higgins on your website today is just what most Oak Parkers expect – and are more than ready to confront – from an intolerant advocacy group such as yours. Bring it on! You’ll that Oak Park is different – we strive to be a a safe haven from hate. We believe that love, respect, and tolerance indeed will triumph above all evil – including the small-minded evil (in the name of religion, no less!) promoted by the likes of the Illinois Family Institute. That’s how we – gay and straight – are raising our children in Oak Park. So stick to your conservative constituency and keep your gospel of hate away from Oak Park.
I am outraged at the misinformed and ignorant view that your organization promotes. The fact that you’ve hijacked the American flag for use on your website is also outrageous. Your views are wholly unamerican and hateful. They have more in common with Hitler’s 3rd reich than with the freedoms we celebrate here in the United States. I live in Oak Park and am proud of the diversity and acceptance of our village and its school districts… my children are fortunate to live, play and work with those who are different from them whether by race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. They are richer, wiser and BETTER human beings for it.
Just wanted to let you know that it is groups like yours that really make hating conservatives so easy.Beye School has every right to introduce their students to the reality of the world! Whether you believe in it or not, it exists and children need to understand what that means! That is their right and it’s not right for you to butt in and decide for the whole world what is right…God did not judge, neither did Jesus…so who gives you the right to do so?I am not gay nor do I have children, but I am glad that these students are getting information that I never got growing up…prejudices start young and your statements makes it clear where you stand on these issues. I am disappointed that you would think that making this charge helps your group. It certainly motivated me to write this to you to tell you the opposite. Bring it!
Are you a joke? Jesus would run back into the tomb if he met you people.
Those who wrote these emails are making the common mistake (or employing the common tactic) of arguing that moral disapproval of conduct constitutes hatred of persons or bullying. Nowhere in the text of my article is there anything to suggest that I hate those who self-identify as homosexual or that I advocate hatred. Similarly, nowhere in the text of my article–or my private conversations–have I ever or would I ever recommend bullying.
My beliefs about the morality of volitional homosexual acts have no bearing whatsoever on my feelings about persons. My beliefs about homosexuality do not diminish my recognition of the infinite worth of those who self-identify as homosexual, and my beliefs do not diminish the pleasure I take in their company or the respect I have for their admirable qualities.
Of course, those who make the specious claim that moral disapproval of conduct constitutes either hatred of persons or bullying never apply it consistently or to themselves. They never say, for example, that their moral disapproval of gossip, aggression, fornication, adultery, or polyamory constitutes hatred of those who engage in gossip, aggression, fornication, adultery, or polyamory.
Perhaps they hate those whose beliefs they disagree with or whose conduct they disapprove of, but they ought not project their habits or experiences on to others.
Contrary to what one of the writers asserted, the ideas that are promoted in public schools are my business and the business of every taxpayer. Every Illinois public school receives some state funds, and therefore every Illinois taxpayer should care deeply about what their hard-earned money subsidizes.
This same writer is absolutely wrong and presumptuous in her claim that the public servants who are employed by Beye School have “every right to introduce their students to the reality of the world.” This is an astounding claim. Are these “educators” going to introduce elementary school children to the reality of adult consensual incest, paraphilias, polyamory, and Tiger Woods?
No, the emailer is wrong: teachers have no right to introduce non-objective, non-factual, values-laden, unproven, controversial beliefs about the nature and morality of homosexuality to other people’s children.
What struck me as both troubling and ironic is her statement that “it is groups like yours that really make hating conservatives so easy.” It is this kind of hatred as well as the hostility in the email that said “Are you a joke? Jesus would run back into the tomb if he met you people,” and in the one in which I was called a “hater” that result in conservatives choosing to self-censor.
We must not yield to this kind of bullying. Into the vacuum that our silence creates, the other side continues to pour the lie that moral claims constitute hatred. We must speak the truth boldly, unequivocally, and persistently in order to protect children, preserve our rights, promote the health of society, and restore the integrity of public education.
Despite what one of the writers claimed, it is not I who is deciding what is right for the “whole world.” It is activist-educators who censor all resources that affirm the view that volitional homosexual acts are immoral, while at the same time presenting resources that affirm the views that homosexuality is ontologically analogous to race and morally equivalent to heterosexuality. Those activist-educators do not value philosophical diversity; nor are they interested in fostering critical thinking. They’re interested in using other people’s money to indoctrinate other people’s children with their socio-political vision.
Another writer accused me of being “un-American.” I’m quite certain that if she read our founding documents, she would find no statements of affirmation of volitional homosexual acts. The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal,” but not that all desires are worthy of respect, and certainly not that all forms of sexual conduct are worthy of respect.
I’m continually amazed at the misunderstanding and misapplication of Scripture. God, of course does judge. And when on earth, Jesus did judge between right and wrong conduct. For example, He said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”
Followers of Christ are certainly not prohibited from making moral judgments. The erroneous claim that the Bible prohibits making judgments between right and wrong must be examined in light of the following verses: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24), and “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice” (Psalms 37:30). “Judge not lest ye be judged” means that we are not to engage in unrighteous judgment. We are not to hypocritically condemn the speck in the eye of others while ignoring the plank in our own. We’re to recognize the universality of sin and offer forgiveness as we have been forgiven. This verse does not entail a refusal to judge between right and wrong behavior. It does not prohibit humans from making distinctions between moral and immoral conduct.
It’s absurd to claim that the Bible prohibits Christians from making statements about what constitutes moral conduct. If it did mean that, we could not say that slavery, racism, bestiality, polyamory, selfishness, fornication, adultery, aggression, incest, lust, or gossip is immoral, for surely those moral propositions constitute the kind of judging that repel my critics.
What is ironic is that both of the emails that claim that society ought not judge contained unambiguous judgments of both my beliefs and my actions.
Once we forfeit the right to make statements about what constitutes moral behavior, we forfeit the right to be parents, and we forfeit the right to a just society.