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Yesterday, I posted Part I of my response to a troubling email that was sent to the entire faculty of Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL by an English teacher. There were two central reasons that I decided to write in some depth about this incident.
First, the fact that a teacher would presume to use all-school email to express her personal beliefs on the controversial issue of homosexuality reveals an attitude of entitlement shared by all too many public school educators. They erroneously believe it is their right and duty to use their publicly subsidized jobs to transform the moral convictions of society, including other people’s children, and they count on the public remaining largely unaware of their moral reformation efforts.
These teachers use professional development workshops; curricular resources and activities, including textbooks, newspaper and periodical articles, essays, novels, films, plays, and speakers; classroom comments; and even all-school emails to advance their personal, unproven beliefs on the nature and morality of homosexuality. The efforts of these activist ideologues must be exposed and opposed.
The second reason for discussing this email is that it embodies a number of arguable ideas that dominate discourse and curricula in public schools and that need to be analyzed and vigorously challenged. The time is long past for taxpayers to demand evidence for specious claims as well as to demand ideological parity, without which education becomes indoctrination.
Some Stevenson faculty members were angry that I would publicly criticize English teacher Bill Fritz who is the gay-straight alliance sponsor and who attended the dance for students who identify as homosexual. Mr. Fritz is a public servant, a representative of the government, and he agreed to make a public statement to the press. In so doing, his judgment, his words, and his actions became legitimate objects of scrutiny, analysis, and criticism. If Mr. Fritz or any other public educator does not want his judgment, words, and actions scrutinized, analyzed, or criticized by the public, he should not accept a government salary, or if he does, he should not express–either implicitly or explicitly–his personal moral beliefs on controversial topics while executing his publicly subsidized duties.
Here is Part II of my response:
1. This teacher’s claim that Illinois Family Institute is committed to book banning likely grows out of our opposition to the teaching of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes at Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools. Does she actually believe that opposition to the use of public money to subsidize the teaching of a book that includes the most obscene and profane language imaginable; references to oral sex, semen, and ejaculation; and depictions of graphic homosexual acts constitutes a repressive book banning effort? In order to prove that they are not “book banners,” are educators prohibited from ever taking into account the nature and extent of profanity, obscenity, religious denigration, and depictions of graphic sex?
2. Since she’s so evidently and admirably concerned about censorship, is she sending emails to the faculty and administration expressing her concern about the embarrassing and unethical ideological imbalance in the Stevenson library book collection which has scores of books written from a liberal perspective on the topic of homosexuality but has virtually none written from a conservative perspective? Is she actively lobbying the administration and faculty to ensure that in every context in which students are exposed to liberal views on homosexuality they are exposed to conservative scholarship as well? After all, how can students learn to think critically without balanced presentations of controversial issues?
3. Perhaps when public educators use public resources to subsidize activities that embody and promulgate what many view as profoundly immoral beliefs, a “vitriolic,” denunciation is in order.
4. If the unproven beliefs of public educators on the nature and morality of homosexuality are wrong, then they may, indeed, be harming rather than helping students when they affirm the morality of acting on same-sex attraction.
5. She claims that my position constitutes “ignorant prejudice.” “Prejudice” refers to “an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” As such, opinions–even negative opinions–formed after careful consideration do not constitute prejudice.
6. Taxpayers must demand that public educators refrain from making the specious claims, either implicitly or explicitly, that homosexuality is equivalent or analogous to race or biological sex. Homosexuality is ontologically utterly distinct from race or biological sex. If public educators persist in making this claim, then taxpayers should demand that they provide evidence for it.
7. I imagine that those students who are sexually and emotionally attracted to multiple people concurrently, and those students who are emotionally and sexually attracted to relatives, and those students who are emotionally and sexually attracted to children, and those who are powerfully drawn to pornography would “feel” much better and much less ashamed if society would just stop vilifying polyamory, consensual incest, “intergenerational sex,” and pornography use. In fact, if society would just stop making any and all pesky little judgmental moral claims, perhaps we could rid the world once and for all of guilt, thus enhancing the “social and emotional well being” of all. To hell with their eternal lives so long as we can make their temporal lives as guilt-free and pleasant as possible.
And I’m certain that the social and emotional wellbeing of conservative students would be enhanced if public school educators would stop presenting resources to them that embody or affirm liberal assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality or the view that the belief that homosexual conduct is immoral constitutes hatred.
All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, and as such are of equal worth and equally deserving of compassion and respect. Not all beliefs or behaviors, however, are of equal worth or equally deserving of respect. Those who identify as homosexual are of infinite value because of their humanness — not because of their sexual feelings and volitional sexual conduct.
Christians have lost sight of how truly evil it is to affirm sexual deviance to anyone, but especially to children and teens. We are supposed to lead children in the paths of righteousness. In order to do that, we must regain a proper biblical response to sin.
If we truly love teens who experience same-sex attraction, we would tell them the truth. We would acknowledge that they don’t choose their impulses or feelings. We would tell them that they share in common with all humans the experience of feelings that are unbidden and unwelcome. We would tell them that simply because we experience a feeling doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right to act upon it. We would tell them that the persistence or seeming intractability of feelings is not proof that those feelings are morally legitimate to act upon. We would tell them that they share in common with all humans the task of figuring out which of our myriad messy impulses are morally legitimate to act upon. We would tell them that our impulses and feelings do not define us. We would tell them that we and God love them deeply and unconditionally, and that we will walk alongside them as they struggle against sinful impulses. We would tell them that God offers them forgiveness and freedom.
And if we truly love children and teens, we would tell public educators to do the very narrowly circumscribed job they were hired to do, which does not include arrogating to themselves the right to use public resources to inculcate other people’s children with unproven, controversial, ahistorical, subversive, faith-based theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.
Remove this topic from public schools. Leave the topic of homosexuality to families, churches, synagogues, mosques, and private organizations to address.
If, however, public school administrators and faculty members insist on using public resources and instructional time to address it in school, then they have an ethical, pedagogical obligation to spend equal time and equivalent resources exploring all sides of this contentious, unsettled cultural issue on which diverse peoples hold diverse opinions.