Monday, September 18, 2006

CRC and the WCTU: Perfect

This was a piece of information I hadn't heard before, but it's kind of fun. I'll get to it, but need to fill in a little first...

The anti-MCPS group Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum passed out literature at some voting places last week. They had a little handout that listed the candidates for school board and some quotes, and noted which ones were supported by groups that supported the right to abortion or women's rights (NARAL, NOW, etc.). They had a little note at the bottom that said:
The MCEA (Montgomery County Teacher Association) is part of NEA (National Educators Association). The NEA has endorsed same-sex marriage.

NOW (National Organization of Women) asserts the right of lesbians to live their lives with dignity and security, and the rights of equal marriage for all.

So ... you can see what the message is. Like us, they're a 501(c)(3), so they can't really tell you who to vote for, but they can give you "information." Whatever, I don't care if they do that. People like them are going to do whatever it is that people like them do. These things have a different meaning for them than for the rest of us. These messages are meant to horrify, y'know.

They handed out another thing, a page all full of text, with the title:
Why you need to get involved even if you don't have kids in public schools.....

A couple of points they note. California added "sexual identity" to its anti-discrimination laws. But...
... the teaching of most mainstream religions is that homosexual behavior is a sin. This religious belief is directly in conflict with the gay agenda. Similar laws in Australia and Canada have been used to justify enforcing "tolerance training" or acceptance of homosexual behavior even on the Catholic parochial schools.

Then there's a little piece of a news article, I guess, from Canberra, Australia.

(They do get outraged about the idea that somebody would say you can't discriminate against somebody.)

And there was this.
In Kentucky, the ACLU in the Boyd County school district threatened to force all students to attend sexual orientation and gender identity "tolerance training", with no opt-out capability.

Turns out, back in 2003 some students had sued this school to let them have a Gay-Straight Alliance club on campus. The result was that the club was allowed and the school also had to write up some anti-harassment policies and conduct diversity training for all staff and students. The school complied with that order, but some parents tried to get their kids out of the training, and instead the students were given an unexcused absence.

So in February, 2005, those parents filed their own lawsuit. Summarized in a judge's opinion:
Plaintiffs state that they have sincerely held religious beliefs that homosexuality is harmful to those who practice it and harmful to society as a whole. They further believe that homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic. They state that because they must love and care for others, they must inform those who are engaged in a destructive lifestyle that they are wrong and that they are engaging in behavior that is harmful not only to themselves, but to society as a whole. However, Plaintiffs allege that they are prohibited from conveying their views on homosexuality by virtue of the Boards’s policies and practices.

So nice, they just want the right to tell other people how terrible they are.

Hmmm, here's a little tidbit from the judge's ruling that you might find interesting...
Plaintiffs urge that the Fall 2004 student training impinged upon their First Amendment rights as well. Plaintiffs maintain that while the training is replete with positive statements regarding homosexuality, critical or negative statements are prohibited. Plaintiffs argue that such viewpoint discrimination is unconstitutional. However, Plaintiff claim fails on both the law and the facts.


This is, of course, a preview of the lawsuit that will inevitably come when the CRC and PFOX realize nobody is going to play their game. This judge slaps back the "viewpoint discrimination" angle, neatly.

Ah, more interesting stuff ... the judge talks about our little ol' county... This ruling is a tutorial for the MCPS legal team. You guys hear that? This judge tells you exactly what you have to do next time.

In sum: these nuts tried to sue for the right to insult and badmouth gay people, and they lost.

Now, you can take this however you want, but the fact is a United States District Court upheld the order for anti-discrimination training.

Anyway, I suggest you read that judge's opinion, and also the ACLU's description of the event HERE (you have to scroll down). They had a serious problem at that school, with violent harassment, out of control.

The CRC's handout also asked:
Does Montgomery County want to go the way of Massachusetts?

And I know, when I first read that line, my first thought was no. Because I've been to Massachusetts and I can hardly understand them when they talk.

Oh, but they meant the news story where a second-grade class read a story about a family with two princes getting married. You can get a flavor of what's going on up there HERE.

And then the CRC's paper says, in big letters:
Montgomery County Board of Education approved using this language in our health classes as guidance for teachers discussing homosexuality:

Myth: It isn't "normal" to be homosexual or have homosexual feelings.
Myth: Homosexuality is a sin.
The "right" answer to this question is that some religions are "biblically misguided."

And there's a little footnote that says Approved Teacher Resource: Issues and News: Myths and Facts, Family Pride Coalition.

Well, I gotta point out something:

The phrase "biblically misguided" isn't mentioned anywhere in any materials in the curriculum or associated with it. That's something they keep saying, but it's not true. The phrase "biblically misguided" comes from the judge, not the school district. There is also a slightly more clever lie, that the school board approved "using this language in our health classes." No, it wasn't for use in health classes, it was for teachers only.

They know this, it's just that the truth does not serve them well. Or vice versa.

The CRC document has one more quote from the curriculum:
Gender: gender is a social construct and is largely artificial. It is someone's sense of maleness or femaleness based on behavior, identity, and/or how he or she expresses "male" or "female" traits.

And it gives a source. This is another background resource, something teachers might see, but not students.

OK, is that really something you want to fight about? Defining the word "gender?"

I mean, what do you think it means? I don't even get that one ...

Well, anyway, that wasn't even the part I wanted to talk about. The really interesting thing is who was handing their stuff out at one polling place. Because there is a connection here that I wouldn't have made in a million years.

Their stuff was being handed out by the local representative of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU.

Remember? That was the group of gals with the hatchets, a-bustin' up the bars and a-sendin' the men-folk scatterin', back in the day. That is, back in the days before Prohibition, which the WCTU can pretty much claim responsibility for. Now, there was a success story for you!

You don't think people drank more during Prohibition than at any time in our country's history? Maybe the history of the world?

The WCTU was the prototype of the CRC, of the group that works to impose its moralistic views on everyone else. And the failure of Prohibition should be the lesson for all, about how these things turn out. It's not to say that alcohol is good for you, it wasn't really about that. It was about people making their own choices.

It turns out this WCTU lady -- and who knew that group still existed? -- has been busy around the county for a long time. She has organized people to oppose the Day of Silence when gay people are recognized. She wants to put the Ten Commandments into courtrooms. The whole thing.

Oh, this is good. In 1999, when Montgomery County passed legislation to give benefits to same-sex partners, The Post reported:
But the measure has inflamed social conservatives, who say the measure undermines traditional heterosexual marriage by extending the rights that come with it to homosexuals. In the front row of the council hearing room, members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union held up yellow signs imploring council members to: "Say No to Sodomy Subsidies."

Bunny Galladora, national public relations director for the group [and CRC founding member: JimK], said the temperance union is consulting with lawyers to determine ways of preventing the bill from becoming law. She noted that sodomy is a felony in Maryland.

Sodomy Subsidies. Wow. That's good, eh? By the way, sodomy was not a felony in Maryland at the time she said that. Not that that sort of thing really matters to those guys.

Well, it's a perfect piece of information, it helps all this fit together. It's just perfect to think of the CRC as the modern day WCTU. Looking back at the first bulletin board of the Recall Group, I see that this association between them and WCTU has always been there, from the start.

They're a-bustin' up the schoolhouses just like they used to bust up the bars. Gonna put a stop to this-here sinnin'.

If we let them.


Blogger digger said...

In schools when we talk about anti-harassment policies, we examine the question of students' first amendment rights to share their views opposing gay people, as we should, and look at the boundaries between harassment and expression. But aren't the people who ask for religious exceptions just asking for the right to be mean? I know Christ was opposed to stone-throwing, and Paul weighs in on the question of the wisdom of publicly chastising others for what you view as their sinfulness). I'm not sure I would stand up in public to defend my right to put other people down (but then again, I would defend my right to speak out against reparative therapy; is there a difference, or am I just being hypocritical?).

Here's my analogy: speech about the sinfulness of lgbt people is incendiary, in the same way that speech that is pejorative of racial minorities is incendiary; it creates conflict where there was none before. Perhaps in a class where there is a teacher-led discussion of controversial issues, there would be room for expression of ideas that I personally would find insulting. But not under other circumstances. I think people should not make expressions that put down colleagues or peers, except in those special statements. Certainly not in math class or in the hallways. We would definitely not tolerate such expression about racial minorities.

Just my thoughts. I'm interested in cogent responses.


September 19, 2006 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NEA ("National Educators (sic) Association") has NOT, I repeat, NOT endorsed "gay marriage". This is just one of the lies promulgated by those who also accuse the NEA of being a "terrorist organization". Ahhh...Bunny Galladora has re-emerged from her cave. She was one of the very vocal cry-baby minority on the FLHD committee back in the late 1990's. Folks who are so obsessed with human sexuality need to, finally, get a life!

September 19, 2006 10:21 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...


Thank you. The piece is very informative. Those who read the United States District Court's decision will note that the judge is David Bunning, a recent Bush appointee, who is the son of conservative Republican Senator James Bunning. As has been pointed out earlier in this space, there is no real legal dispute that a public school system has the right to decide what is in its curriculum, so long as it does not advance a particular religious viewpoint.

Judge Bunning, unfortunately, repeated the incorrect statements made or suggested by Judge Williams last year, stating that the language in certain teacher background resources were "handouts" or part of the curriculum.

By bringing an 11th hour lawsuit, to which MCPS did not have adequate time to respond, CRC and Jerry Falwell's Liberty Counsel perpetrated a libel on MCPS. If those materials were in the actual curriculum, I would have agreed that it was unconstitutional. But they were not; Judge Williams was tricked into thinking they were.

At the end of the day, that libel will not matter, because I expect that a sound, medically accurate health education curriculum will emerge in Montgomery County, and any legal challenge will fail.

But we should all remember that CRC told lies about MCPS that are being repeated in court decisions. CRC should be ashamed -- but of course, they are not, because they keep restating the lies. We will keep calling them out on their lies.

September 19, 2006 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David S. Fishback said...

CRC should be ashamed -- but of course, they are not, because they keep restating the lies. We will keep calling them out on their lies.
Fishback you are so full of it. You are the kind of person that gives the legal profession a bad name what kind of law do you practice? Come on tell us what is the value of your legal opinion?

© 2006 National School Boards Association
Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum v. Montgomery County Public Schools, No. 05-1194 (D.Md. May 5, 2005)

A Maryland federal district court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) barring Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) from implementing its pilot sex education program that addresses the issue of "sexual variation." Specifically, the curriculum, which plaintiffs characterize as "endorsing a homosexual lifestyle," describes a number of terms related to sexual orientation and contains myths and facts about sexual orientation. The court concluded that the potential harm to the plaintiffs' free speech and establish clause rights outweigh any potential harm to MCPS if implementation of the program is temporarily delayed. The dispute began when MCPS announced that it was planning to introduce a pilot sex education program in 10% of the district's schools.

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC) and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) filed suit against MCPS, seeking to prevent the district from implementing the pilot program. In their motion for a TRO, plaintiffs claimed that their free speech and establishment clause rights have been violated. According to the court, to obtain a TRO the plaintiffs must satisfy a four factored balancing test: (1) the likelihood of irreparable harm to the plaintiff if the preliminary injunction is denied; (2) the likelihood of harm to the defendant if the requested relief is granted; (3) the likelihood that the plaintiff will succeed on the merits; and, (4) the public interest. It noted that the first two factors of the test are the most important. Addressing the irreparable harm to the plaintiff factor, the district court found that the free speech and establishment clause allegations were sufficient to pose an "imminent threat" to the plaintiffs' First Amendment liberties.

However, the court rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the program increases the health risk to students because the "pro-gay" message encourages students to engage in unsafe sexual behavior. It concluded that this claim was "highly speculative and attenuated" requiring "more than a few logical leaps" for the court to find that a message encouraging tolerance of homosexuality would somehow encourage students to engage in "promiscuous, unprotected, homosexual acts." Regarding the harm to MCPS, the court found no evidence that a temporary delay in implementing the program would be anything more than an inconvenience. Turning to likelihood of success on the merits factor, the district court analyzed each First Amendment claim separately. It agreed with the plaintiffs that the pilot program appears to discriminate between religious sects, favoring sects that condone the homosexuality. It found that the program singled out certain Christian sects, in particular Baptists, who oppose homosexuality as "unenlightened and Biblically misguided."

As a result, the court concluded that plaintiffs' establishment clause claim warranted further judicial examination. It also found that the plaintiffs' free speech claim warranted further investigation because the manner in which the program presents homosexuality appears to constitute viewpoint discrimination. Specifically, the court found that the program opens up the classroom to the subject of the moral rightness of the homosexual lifestyle and then only presents the view that homosexuality is natural and a morally correct lifestyle. Lastly, the district court concluded that the public interest was best served by protecting the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights. In addition, it found that the public interest was served by preventing "[MCPS] from promoting particular religious beliefs in the public schools and preventing [MCPS] from disseminating one-sided information on a controversial topic."© 2006 National School Boards Association 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

September 19, 2006 12:36 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I'm sorry for jumping across threads, but I'm tired.

Orin, I would really like to know why you spend so much time meddling in other people's business? With the "War on Terror" (whatever that means)you're off fighting against real soldiers like McCain and Warner. Yet you live in Colorado where the worst ongoing war is the war of fungus vs. aspen. You weren't attacked on 9/11 -- I was, both my current home and place of birth. Yet you have the nerve to advocate stripping this country of its Constitution and its moral standing.

And then we get back to sex, the root problem for all of you. Originally I sensed you were someone who truly was libertarian, who believed in letting others live as they please, and you just didn't want schools teaching about sex. As if sex is different from biology or math - whatever. But your intolerance on matters of sexuality is just a reflection of your authoritarianism on issues of war and peace.

September 19, 2006 1:55 PM  
Blogger andrear said...

Personally, I found the giant drawing of cucumber with a big red circle and line over it- with the words NO CUKEs underneath quite a highlight on a day when the MC BOE(elections- not ed) fouled the election and my new polling place. CRC misinformation, lies- well, yes, I expect that-but the sign was quite fetching! Mind you, I had to go to a different polling place to find them-CRC wouldn't have the nerve to set up in my neighborhood. Of course, the MC BOE made it impossible anyway - giving those working for anyone almost no space and angering our precinct- even before we found out how hard it would be to vote.

September 19, 2006 2:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home