Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Sentinel Reports

The Sentinel is a local newspaper that you have to pay for online. I hope they don't mind that we reproduce their story here.
CRC courts controversy and anti-gay agenda
by Kelli Gavant, Staff Writer

They claim to be a parental group fighting religious discrimination, but their opponents say they are a small group of parents obsessed with homosexuality and preventing the teaching of fact-based education.

The Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC) has garnered a lot of attention recently for their efforts to reverse proposed revisions in Montgomery County's sex education curriculum.

The organization, headed by Michelle Turner, a Silver Spring mother of six, formed last December in response to the Montgomery County Board of Education's approval of a new family life and human development curriculum for eighth and tenth grades. Turner said she became involved when she saw that "level-headed, civilized, non-threatening individuals were upset" by curriculum changes.

The CRC has been vocal in its opposition to content related to sexual orientation and the inclusion of a video that demonstrates how to put on a condom.

"Our objection to the proposed changes on religious grounds is primarily due to the fact that the changes in the sex ed curriculum will discriminate against those children and their families who have religious view that do not support normalization of homosexual lifestyles and who feel that there is not enough emphasis on abstinence by the MCPS [Montgomery County Public Schools] in the new changes," said CRC spokesperson Steve Fisher.

"Essentially, it's a very small group of parents who are somewhat obsessed with the issue of homosexuality and preventing the teaching of fact-based, science-based education," said Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland, Maryland's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. "It's unfortunate that their noise makes it appear that there is not broad support for the curriculum that will be piloted in Montgomery County because the vast majority of parents in Montgomery County want their children to receive a quality education."

On March 19, the group hosted a town meeting at Rockville's Johns Hopkins University campus. State Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel), the program's final speaker, used the podium at the meeting to promote his personal campaign to spread "the hate of the homosexual activist."

The CRC seems to be distancing itself from the speakers they scheduled, in the wake of inflammatory statements made at the meeting.

"The CRC does not endorse any of the speakers or support their topics per se," explained Fisher. "... Several members of the CRC were uncomfortable with Del. Dwyer's talk and others felt that his and some of the other speakers' information needed to be out in the public for debate and awareness, even if it was controversial."

"As far as Mr. Dwyer goes, I thought we made it clear that the speakers should not have strong religious overtones," said Turner. "When he started his comments, I was a little taken aback. But a number of the members said they were glad he spoke the way he did.", a group composed mainly of parents, formed in opposition to the CRC. Jim Kennedy is one spokesperson for the group. "They may be saying they don't agree with those extreme views," but Kennedy said, "I was there at the first meeting when they were saying those same things. They talk about taking back the government and imposing their moral standards."

Kennedy also said the CRC has distorted the curriculum "to make it sound like the school board is encouraging experimentation, promoting homosexuality, destroying the concept of the family, and so on."

The CRC has criticized the process used to pass the changes. Ironically, she sits on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development. "I didn't like that lack of opportunity for parents to comment," Turner said.

"I fully understand that some parents may have questions about the proposed curriculum revisions," said Fishback, chair of the advisory committee. "But answering such questions becomes very difficult when a well-organized and apparently well-funded group that is opposed to the sensible health education repeatedly seeks to inflame people by misstating and misrepresenting what the Board is piloting this spring."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanna bang Kelli so hard I can't even express it in words.

June 29, 2005 8:21 PM  

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