Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Point Is To Waste Your Money

Man, yesterday was a hot one, wasn't it? This time of year it's humid, stuffy. This is when you're glad there's air conditioning. So far this morning it's not too bad, but I admit I'm glad I'm indoors looking out.

It looks like the CRC and the other groups are getting ready to sue the school district again. They brag on their bogus web sites:
Win or lose this lawsuit will cost taxpayers big bucks which could be used to help special needs children or support other programs.

And what a triumph that would be, eh?

From the very start they have felt that suing in itself was worth doing. One of them said in an online discussion in January, 2005:
Lawsuits tend to get peoples attention - merit or no merit because it forces them to deal with their legal team on a continuing basis.

So here we go again, wasting the people's money, merit or no merit.

The Thomas More site gives four objections that the CRC and other groups have to the new curricululm.

Shall we look at those?
(1) it teaches students that homosexuality is "innate," which is an unproven theory.

I don't think the legal attack is going to get very far with this. First of all, the consensus of the medical and scientific communities is that sexual orientation is innate. Second, everybody knows it's innate. People who try to change their sexual orientation fail. Even the "ex-gay" groups have realized that the most they can do is resist their feelings, they'll never change them.

I'm not sure what exactly they dislike about this statement, about the idea of innateness. They wouldn't mind if the schools taught that people were innately heterosexual, but the idea that you could be anything else really bugs them. Maybe it has to do with the idea that God makes some people gay, maybe that's the hard part. Why would He do that? That just might be too hard to understand, for some people. Generally, I think this is part of the PFOX-ish delusion that people can stop being gay. If it's innate, then you can only change so much, you can't really change your true nature, and they can't accept that.

I would think they'd appreciate these statements, as it would help explain the Ted Haggard type of phenomenon, which we have seen numerous times, where a paragon of straightness turns out to have a secret homosexual life. They should be able to look at someone like Ted Haggard and say, he was torn in a struggle between his religious values and the way he is -- innately.

Anyway, there is simply no case to be made that sexual orientation is anything but innate. They probably have some NARTH guys ready to testify, maybe Richard Cohen can sit in the witness box, but it wouldn't be hard at all for MCPS to trot out some actual experts, some professors and doctors who will read the statements of the AMA, the APA's (both Psychiatric and Psychological), and other groups. They can't win on this. No one expects "scientific proof" for everything in a health class, especially since any scientist will tell you that nothing in science is ever proven.
(2) it teaches students that anal sex is just another sexual option without warning students of the increased HIV/AIDS risk of anal sex, even with a condom.

They're off on the wrong foot here, distorting the curriculum content before they've even gotten into the courtroom yet.

"Anal sex" is mentioned in one place in the sex-ed classes. It is mentioned in the condom lesson, because in fact it is good practice to use a condom for anal, as well as vaginal, sex. Nowhere is it said or implied to be "just another sexual option."

The CRC thinks that anal sex is something that gay men do. To them, it's nothing but a dirty way to spread HIV. Let me note that one, not all gay men engage in anal sex, and two, lots of straight people do. Do the numbers: it is overwhelmingly a heterosexual thing to do. A recent survey reported by the CDC found that 3.7 percent of men have had anal sex with another man; forty percent of men and thirty-nine percent of women have had anal sex with someone of the opposite sex.

We should also point out that there is an STD section to the Health curriculum, where health risks are discussed. I understand that section will come under review in the next year or so. If there is not enough about the special risks of anal sex in these days of AIDS, then that should be corrected. But so far the CRC and the Thomas More Law Center have not mentioned the STD section -- this latest appeal concerns the new lessons, which are about sexual orientation and condom use.
(3) it labels as "homophobic" children who hold traditional religious or moral beliefs about homosexuality.

Homophobia is not mentioned at all in the eighth grade classes. In tenth grade a definition is given: Homophobia—"an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people." (Random House Webster’s Dictionary, 2001)

There is also a paragraph in a textbook chapter that says:
Homophobia is a fear or hatred of people believed to be homosexual. The term is used broadly to describe any range of negative attitudes toward or about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgender people. Homophobia may be shown in ways as mild as laughing at a gay joke or as severe and violent as gay bashing or murder. Like any other prejudice, homophobia is learned. Children are not born hating; they learn to hate and fear from messages they receive while growing up.

OK, now look at that, and show us where "children who hold traditional religious or moral beliefs about homosexuality" are going to be labeled homophobic.

Homophobia is an attitude, which can be demonstrated in a lot of ways. Laughing at gay jokes: homophobia "may be shown in ways as mild" as that. Bashing and murdering gay people: homophobic. Considering them sinners and praying for their souls: not mentioned. The only thing I can see here is that the suers want to imply that there is a "traditional religious or moral belief" that gay jokes are funny. How far can they get with that?
(4) it teaches students that transgenderism is just another "sexual orientation," even though transgenderism has been classified as a mental disorder.

I don't know what they think they're going to gain here. True, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has a section on Gender Identity Disorder. Some people live their whole lives feeling that they are in the wrong body. Do the suers deny that? I don't see how they could. Is it a mental disorder? Well, this is an interesting question. It's got to be terribly painful to live every day feeling you are a fake, that your life is a lie, and knowing that people are not addressing the real you. Also remember, by diagnosing the situation as a disorder, it may be possible to get insurance companies to pay for the treatment, which sometimes is sexual reassignment surgery.

These guys like to say that it's a mental disorder, but it's not clear what mileage they hope to get out of that. I think -- this is just a guess -- that they must believe transgender people decide to be that way, like a fashion statement or something. And again, it might be too difficult for some people to imagine that God would make somebody that way.

There is, in truth, something not-perfect about the way the curriculum throws gender identity topics in with sexual orientation. Gender identity is who you are, orientation is who you're attracted to, they're two different things. But I don't think the religious right's lawyers would come to town to sue the district for violating the strict hierarchical form of the taxonomy.

That's their four points, that's what they say they're taking to court.

The strategy since Day One has been to wear the county down. Keep whining, keep complaining, keep suing, and eventually it will just be too expensive and too much hassle; then the majority will give up the fight and the nutty ones can have their way.

It's hard to get excited about defending the school district, partly because this is just so obvious. It's like opposing torture -- who in the world would want to torture people? You feel silly saying you're against it. But, look, it turns out you have to. At some point you have to take a stand and say, they are entitled to their beliefs, but we're not going to let a handful of extremists call the shots in our school district.

30 Comments:

Anonymous Jor-el said...

It's pretty sad how scared some people are of the gospel. From yesterday's Washington Post:

"The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington sent a letter to the Washington Nationals saying it is "very concerned" about the team's plan to host a postgame Christian fair tomorrow, complete with player testimonials and a Christian rock performance.

"Faith Night" allows fans who pay an extra $10 to stay after the game and visit booths from various Christian organizations. Nationals officials said they would stage a similar event for any faith group.

But Interfaith Conference officials say it's divisive to promote ticket sales using religion"

How far we have gone down this insane road. The idea that people have different religious beliefs is divisive?

"The letter expresses concern that, while the game is still going on, religious groups will start handing out literature and that religious players will engage in "extraordinary" displays of faith."

Oh dear. What if someone doesn't believe in the same thing as the players? This could be ackward!

The Nats' owners, by the way, are Jewish-Americans who attend a non-Messianic congregation.

August 05, 2007 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IFCMW members are the Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Jewish, Latter-day Saints, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Sikh and Zoroastrian faith communities.
http://www.ifcmw.org/Default.asp?page=who_we_are

Your beef is with them, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. You can let them know how you feel about "how scared some people are of the gospel" by contacting them via their website.
http://www.ifcmw.org/Default.asp?page=contact

Or better yet, you should join their organization because you will most likely fit right in. As I RECALL, it was CRC/PFOX who objected to the one line and few teacher resources in the first revised curriculum that pointed out a few facts about different religions' views of homosexuality. Who's afraid of facts about different religions?

And what exactly are you trying to say when you point out "The Nats' owners, by the way, are Jewish-Americans who attend a non-Messianic congregation."?

August 05, 2007 2:16 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Alliance Defense Fund put out a press release saying they and PFOX settled with Arlington, claiming victory. I'll call APS tomorrow and find out the real scoop.

rrjr

August 05, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Here's a URL to the press release, which is pretty minimal:

http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/news/story.aspx?cid=4199

August 05, 2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

At first I could not figure out why Jim would not post the URL for the CRC's new site; after having found the link (and NO, I will not post it) I understand why. And these folks think they are going to attract a following, much less gain any sort of cooperation from the MCPS by using other people's names for their own purposes??? This is not ethical, period...I don't care how one slices or dices the issue, it is not right.

August 05, 2007 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year the Washington Post had a story about a group that was studying the bible with some of the Nationals players. This group was teaching the players that Jews would not be going to a nice place when they died. One of the players, Ryan Church, was very concerned for his ex-girlfriend who is Jewish. Religion has no place in baseball.

August 05, 2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Jor-el said...

"Last year the Washington Post had a story about a group that was studying the bible with some of the Nationals players. This group was teaching the players that Jews would not be going to a nice place when they died."

Shocking. Isn't that the position of orthodox Christianity?

"One of the players, Ryan Church, was very concerned for his ex-girlfriend who is Jewish."

And?

"Religion has no place in baseball."

Sure it does. Baseball is not a government agency.

August 06, 2007 12:17 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Jor-el,

You are so unwanted here. The church's orthodox position is that Jews are going to hell? Still?

Why in the world would I even bother to have a dialogue with you in that case? If you want to believe it, or any of your other religious positions, then fine. But to throw that out in a public forum on sex-ed? What good would it do if I said that my people thought your people were lunatics? Would that advance the cause of a free and tolerant society?

August 06, 2007 4:07 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

And I find it hard to believe that the lawyers at the Thomas More Center haven't done the minimal amount of work to understand that gender identity is not a sexual orientation. Gee. Don't people ever listen just a little bit? Do they really think this is going to impress a judge?

August 06, 2007 4:08 AM  
Anonymous Jor-el said...

"You are so unwanted here. The church's orthodox position is that Jews are going to hell? Still?"

Only Jews that don't believe in Jesus. I was just assuming that's what was meant.

I remember once having a conversation with a Jewish friend who told me that according to his religion, everyone is going to hell. What do you think?

"Why in the world would I even bother to have a dialogue with you in that case?"

I didn't know the basis of the dialogue was a belief in universal and unconditional salvation. Christians believe that the only way to God is through Jesus.

"If you want to believe it, or any of your other religious positions, then fine."

Actually, I'd rather not believe it but it happens to be what scripture says.

"But to throw that out in a public forum on sex-ed?"

You might want to read back. I didn't bring it up.

"What good would it do if I said that my people thought your people were lunatics?"

Well, it wouldn't really bother me. It wouldn't conform to Jewish scripture though.

"Would that advance the cause of a free and tolerant society?"

Honest expression of different views probably serves that cause more than supression of them.

August 06, 2007 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Jor-el said...

"Do they really think this is going to impress a judge?"

This judge will likely have the same impression as the last judge:

The new curriculum presents not facts but a world view and it's failure to acknowledge that is viewpoint discrimination.

MCPS believes it can ignore that part of Judge Williams finding on the merits of the last case. When the taxpayers ask how they could lose in court twice, they can't say they weren't warned .

August 06, 2007 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Jor-el, you brought up baseball on this forum. I just added what I believed.

August 06, 2007 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jo-rel says: "The new curriculum presents not facts but a world view and it's (sic) failure to acknowledge that is viewpoint discrimination." Who came up with this specious argument? You apparently do not understand the purpose and nature of education. An argument could be easily made that all education is "viewpoint discrimination". Yes...education discriminates: it pits fact against fiction. I suppose you would also argue that members of the Ku Klux Klan are "discriminated" against in the curriculum because their "viewpoint" about racial superiority is not given equal credence in our school curricula?

August 06, 2007 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

The new curriculum presents not facts but a world view and it's failure to acknowledge that is viewpoint discrimination.

In contrast to Anonjo's notions, here are some facts about public school curricula and viewpoint discrimination as explained by the State Board of Education,Opinion No. 07-30:

The Appellants contend that the three additional lessons violate the free speech rights of students because the lessons express only one viewpoint on homosexuality and do not reflect their viewpoint. (Appeal at 16, 18). The local board argues that the First Amendment free speech clause does not impose viewpoint neutrality on a school's curriculum nor does it require the inclusion of all viewpoints in the curriculum. (Motion at 18-25)

The case law supports the local board's argument. As the Supreme Court has recognized, "local school boards must be permitted to establish and apply their curriculum in such a way as to transmit community values." Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853, 864 (1982). The local board has decided that the three additional lessons transmit community values concerning tolerance of sexual diversity. In doing so, the school board necessarily discriminates among the viewpoints it wishes to convey. The Supreme Court has accepted that result recognizing that school curricula are not subject to viewpoint-neutrality analysis: "Much like a university selecting a commencement speaker, a public institution selecting speakers for a lecture series, or a public school prescribing its curriculum, a broadcaster by its nature will facilitate the expression of some viewpoints instead of others." Arkansas Educ. Television Comm'n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666, 674 (1998)(emphasis added); see also, Down v. Los Angeles Unified School District, 228 F.3d 1003, 1014-1016 (9th Circ 2000), cert. denied 532 U.S. 994 (2001).

August 06, 2007 11:36 AM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

"Who came up with this specious argument?"

Judge Williams, who found the last attempt at a gay agenda curriculum unconstitutional.

"You apparently do not understand the purpose and nature of education."

How about enabling the student to worthlily fulfill their role as citizen?

"An argument could be easily made that all education is "viewpoint discrimination". Yes...education discriminates: it pits fact against fiction."

Well, fact is, the curriculum goes beyond the facts and attempts to advocate the gay agenda.

"I suppose you would also argue that members of the Ku Klux Klan are "discriminated" against in the curriculum because their "viewpoint" about racial superiority is not given equal credence in our school curricula?"

Sorry, not comparable. It is established that race is a biological trait. A person can have any racial make-up and still have wholesome and healthy desires. Homosexuality is not a biological trait but a desire itself. Don't be confused because there are measurable biological effects resulting from this desire.

Desire is chosen and can have consequences. Race isn't and doesn't.

August 06, 2007 2:18 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Mr. Brando,

Judaism doesn't seriously consider the existence of what you call hell, Jews don't believe in Jesus, viewpoint discrimination is as fake a concept as "ex-gay."

The reason this country is still intact today is because there isn't a "free airing" of these religious differences in the public square. These are personal matters, and it is people like you who want to goad others and ultimately impose your belief on people like me that are the great threat to our free society.

Btw, why don't you take seriously what the Jewish or Islamic or Hindu scriptures say, rather than just the Christian one? You're not innately a Christian, are you?

August 06, 2007 4:13 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

"I suppose you would also argue that members of the Ku Klux Klan are "discriminated" against in the curriculum because their "viewpoint" about racial superiority is not given equal credence in our school curricula?"

Sorry, not comparable...Desire is chosen and can have consequences. Race isn't and doesn't.


You completely missed the point. The analogy was not about race and orientation. The comment was about "viewpoint[s]" and the analogy was about "racial superiority." Your viewpoint is one of "heterosexual superiority." Viewpoints of "racial superiority" and "heterosexual superiority" are exactly comparable. No one, not even a child of a KKK Grand Wizard is born hating blacks; those kids have to be taught to hate minorities. And no one, not even the child of a devout evangelical is born hating gays; those kids have to be taught to hate too.

You might want to ask the friends and family members of James Byrd, Jr. and the countless other blacks who lost their lives to vigilantism if there can be CONSEQUENCES to being of a minority race or not.

August 06, 2007 4:27 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I checked on the PFOX suit against Arlington. Arlington has clarified, rather than changed its policy, and promises to treat PFOX as they do everyone else (which is what they did before, regardless of what ADF and PFOX whined about). APS has backpack mail for elementary and middle schools, but not high schools (again, a clarification rather than a change in policy). PFOX, I suppose, could distribute their nefarious flyers to elementary and middle school students if they wanted.

It's much of a tempest in a teapot. It seems to me that ADF's claims of victory for a Christian group (PFOX, which I thought claimed to be secular!) in their press release is dishonest. Isn't there a commandment about that sort of thing? Oh yes, in the fight against the queers, there are no sins; I forgot.

My mother asked me if I ever belonged to the ex-gay groups. I didn't tell her; there are things she just doesn't need to worry about.

rrjr

August 06, 2007 7:12 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Robert,

Why would she worry? You're a better man now that you're past that, and who better than you can explain to her and others the damage wrought by these groups?

August 07, 2007 8:58 AM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

"the damage wrought by these groups"

This "damage" you guys are always referencing is the horrible thought that someone might not be jazzed about having gay feelings. What you fail to realize is they probably already felt that way anyway.

You also fail to mention the positives. During the time gays are seeking this help, they are much less likely to be involved in self-endangering activity.

Who knows how many lives have been saved by reparative therapy?

August 07, 2007 1:21 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

"Viewpoints of "racial superiority" and "heterosexual superiority" are exactly comparable."

No they aren't.

A race can't be joined. Thinking one race is superior to others is an attack on those who are part of that other race.

Heterosexuality is a club open to all. Thinking it is superior to other types of sexuality is an encouragement to join the club.

August 07, 2007 1:28 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Dana,

I guess I'm embarassed that I was involved in all that, and for so long. How could I have been so foolish and deluded? My mother would blame herself, I think, or my grandparents. I don't want to get into a discussion with anyone I love about whose fault it was.

Robert

August 07, 2007 1:31 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Dear Joe/Jor-el/anonymoid,

Hush. You don't know what you're talking about, you're just chattering to hear your own voice.

rrjr

August 07, 2007 1:32 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

Robert

Those reparative therapy groups are helping people resist self-destructive behaviors. Even if it's only temporary, at least, those people are safe for a while.

Every day lived safely is one not lived dangerously.

August 07, 2007 2:31 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 07, 2007 3:27 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Jorel said ""I suppose you would also argue that members of the Ku Klux Klan are "discriminated" against in the curriculum because their "viewpoint" about racial superiority is not given equal credence in our school curricula?"

Sorry, not comparable...Desire is chosen and can have consequences. Race isn't and doesn't."

By your logic Islamists are descriminated against because their viewpoint that Christians are going to hell is not given equal credence - the school teaches that everyone is equal.

You also fail to mention the positives. During the time gays are seeking this help, they are much less likely to be involved in self-endangering activity.

Joe said "This "damage" you guys are always referencing is the horrible thought that someone might not be jazzed about having gay feelings."

Having same sex attractions doesn't bother anyone, its the thought of being looked down upon and discriminated against because of those attractions that bothers people - the problem is not the attractions, its the bigotry of people like you.

Joe said "What you fail to realize is they probably already felt that way anyway."

People learn that gays are hated before they learn they have same sex attractions. Being gay in and of itself does not make anyone feel unhappy.

Joe said "You also fail to mention the positives. During the time gays are seeking this help, they are much less likely to be involved in self-endangering activity. Who knows how many lives have been saved by reparative therapy?".

Many gays are driven to suicide by "conversion therapy". They're lied to and told they can't live a happy gay life and when they fail to change suicide seems like the only option. Such "therapy" reinforces the shame that society has heaped upon gays and encourages them to seek out anonymous sex to maintain anonymity. Most of the men caught in anonymous sex are heterosexualy married - they wouldn't be doing this if they didn't need to maintain the cover of not being gay. If they were socially encouraged to marry someone they are sexually attracted to they'd have no need for anonymous sex. Once again "conversion therapy" kills.

August 07, 2007 3:41 PM  
Anonymous joltin' joe said...

"By your logic Islamists are descriminated against because their viewpoint that Christians are going to hell is not given equal credence - the school teaches that everyone is equal."

Not comparable, Randi. Religion is given special handling because of constitutional consideration.

Alas, despite your imagination, sexuality is not constitutionally handled.

August 07, 2007 4:10 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Its the same thing Joe. According to you if the school teaches that all people are equal it can't discriminate against the viewpoints that Christians are hell destined or that blacks are inferior.

If the school can do what is right and exclude those hateful viewpoints it can do what is right and exclude the viewpoint that its bad or wrong to be gay.

August 07, 2007 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"During the time gays are seeking this help, those reparative therapy groups are helping people resist self-destructive behaviors. Even if it's only temporary, at least, those people are safe for a while."

"They are much less likely to be involved in self-endangering activity."

Bullspit. At residential treatment centers, gays are locked up like prisoners for weeks at a time with other gays. Only a delusional fool would believe males in this situation would be less likely to hook up.

Hundreds of studies demonstrate what men in prison do with to satisfy their sexual drive but there are no studies showing that gays in conversion therapy treatment facilities are any "less likely to be involved" in hooking up.

August 07, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger Randi Schimnosky said...

Anonymous, I've read quite a few stories of gays in "conversion therapy" getting sexually involved with other people there.

August 08, 2007 1:46 PM  

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