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    http://www.catholic.org/diocese/diocese_story.php?id=21901 Gay history month in city schools seen part of trend By Susan Brinkmann 11/6/2006 The Catholic
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 7, 2006
      http://www.catholic.org/diocese/diocese_story.php?id=21901

      Gay history month in city schools seen part of trend

      By Susan Brinkmann
      11/6/2006
      The Catholic Standard and Times

      PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (The Catholic Standard and Times) - The surprise
      addition of Gay and Lesbian History Month to the Philadelphia public
      school system's October calendar has caused concern among local
      parents, and may be a harbinger of things to come.

      Not so, says Cecilia Cummings, senior vice president of
      communications and community relations for the school system.

      "There's a real misconception that the corridors of the school
      district are going to look like a gay pride parade, and that is not
      what is happening," Cummings said. "The district is not hosting any
      activities."

      At most, the city's 35 Gay-Straight Alliance clubs, which meet after
      school, were permitted to recognize the month with special
      activities, she said.

      For the first time, this year ninth-grade students will read a
      collection of short stories titled, "Am I Blue?" which is about
      people who have been affected by the coming-out experiences of
      youth.

      "But this has nothing to do with Gay and Lesbian history month,"
      Cummings said.

      She confirmed that her office has received more than 100 complaints
      from parents about the inclusion of gay and lesbian history in the
      schools' calendar.

      "There have been a lot of people who don't agree," she said. "I
      don't know where this is going to land."

      Thomas O'Brien, Ph.D, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese
      of Philadelphia, says the controversy shows parents the importance
      of a Catholic education.

      "Catholic schools support parents in their primary duty to teach
      truth regarding God's intended purpose for man and woman," O'Brien
      said. "Parents need to know that Catholic schools are a beam of
      light shining the darkness of this world.

      "Just as, by nature, we desire to do what is best for the ones we
      love, so too we speak the truth for the greater good - eternal life
      with God," he said.

      Parents of city school children may only hope for better results
      than those of other school districts across the nation that have
      adopted similar policies.

      For instance, until two parent groups hired Liberty Counsel lawyers
      to stop it, a Maryland school district curriculum was about to teach
      8th- and 10th-graders that Jesus condoned homosexuality because He
      never mentioned it by name, that Christians often use the Bible to
      justify hatred and that being homosexual is similar to being left-
      handed.

      Meanwhile, a legal battle has been raging in Massachusetts for
      several years over a school that teaches about homosexuality to
      kindergartners without parental permission. Homosexual activists
      filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, claiming they have
      the right to teach their doctrine to grade-school students
      regardless of the students' religious beliefs and without their
      parents consent.

      In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger recently vetoed several
      bills that would have changed school textbooks to require positive
      portrayals of transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality.

      And in Kentucky's Boyd County school district, all students and
      faculty are under a court order to attend diversity sessions that
      normalize homosexuality, after the school lost a court battle to
      prevent a student homosexual rights group from forming on campus.

      Some of the fuel behind the movement is coming from what many
      believe is an overly cozy alliance between the National Education
      Association (NEA) and gay activist organizations, such as the Gay,
      Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation's leading
      pro-homosexuality education group.

      "GLSEN is very closely aligned with the Gay-Lesbian caucus inside
      the NEA," said Jeralee Smith, a California school teacher and the
      outgoing chair of the NEA's Ex-Gay Educators Caucus.

      "When the NEA's Gay Lesbian Caucus started, I'm sure they wanted to
      see a gay president in charge of the NEA," Smith said. "Well, that
      happened when Bob Chase became president. Chase was outed as a gay
      man by the Washington Blade around the end of his term as NEA
      president.

      "It was during Bob Chase's presidency that the Sexual Orientation
      Task Force was initiated, giving a whole arm of NEA leadership to
      gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender (GLBT) causes," Smith said. "In
      2002, a 60-page document detailing NEA's support of GLBT causes was
      adopted by the NEA executive committee, and handed to NEA delegates
      as a report which, technically, didn't even require a vote."

      Since that time, pro-homosexuality curricula have been steadily
      creeping into schools across the country, says Regina Griggs,
      executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays
      (PFOX).

      "Programs like this are in all 50 states, and probably in every
      major county in the country," Griggs said. "These programs are not
      just out to indoctrinate students. We're dealing with people who are
      telling students they're born gay, and you can't change. And none of
      the information being provided to students comes from the federal
      government or other verifiable sources. None."

      The information provided to students is coming from activist
      organizations such as GLSEN, not the Centers for Disease Control or
      other credible sources.

      "Not only are they promoting the lifestyle, they're telling us it's
      dangerous to suggest gays can change, and that all the mental health
      and medical organizations say it's dangerous to suggest change,"
      Griggs said. "Well, that's an outright lie.

      "The Mental Health Association never said that," she said. "The
      psychiatric and mental health associations support a patient's right
      to self-determination."

      Neglecting to inform students fully of the known health risks
      associated with the homosexual lifestyle is not just alarming, but
      dangerous, according to experts.

      "The fundamental issue here is that children have the right to be
      informed - to know the truth," said Richard P. Fitzgibbons, a
      suburban-Philadelphia psychiatrist. He is the lead author of the
      Catholic Medical Association's, "Homosexuality and Hope."

      "The norm in this lifestyle is rampant promiscuity, and there is
      significant published research demonstrating three-to-five times
      more psychiatric illnesses in those in the lifestyle," Fitzgibbons
      said.

      The physical risks, such as dramatically increased rates of
      HIV/AIDS, anal cancer and other sexually transmitted diseases, are
      so high that some studies have shown up to a 20 year reduction in
      the life-span of sexually active homosexual males.

      "They're advocating a lifestyle that is filled with serious medical
      and psychiatric illnesses, but they're deliberately not telling the
      children," Fitzgibbons said. "Either these schools don't know, and
      in fairness to them they may not know, but they have a
      responsibility to know it, particularly school psychologists. All
      health professionals have a responsibility to provide informed
      consent."

      The bottom line, Fitzgibbons said, is: "Children have the right to
      know the truth in order to protect themselves, their mental health,
      their emotional health, and to protect their well-being."

      Denial of those rights is landing many school administrators in
      court.

      "The lawsuits parents are winning have to do with equal treatment,
      equal access," said Rena Lindevaldsen, a full-time law professor at
      Liberty University School of Law and its chief attorney.

      "Say you have a school-sponsored panel on sexual orientation, you've
      got to present both sides," she said. "If you allow a day of silence
      to take place, you have to allow students to hand out counter-
      literature. Those are the battles we're winning. But on parental
      rights, we're losing."

      Three U.S. circuit courts have decided against parents who wanted
      the right to remove their children from a pro-homosexuality class or
      event, Lindevaldsen said. "These courts have held that parents can
      decide where to send their child to school, but once they put that
      child in a public school, they have no rights over what happens in
      the school,"she said. "Three circuit courts in this country have
      said that you have no rights as parents."

      What if a student later becomes ill, after having been encouraged to
      embrace the lifestyle by a school program that deliberately withheld
      information about the risks? Could the student sue?

      Absolutely, Lindevaldsen said.

      "We'd love to get a plaintiff that looks like that," she said. "I
      was recently contacted by somebody who, because of one-sided
      information being provided by doctors, went through a sex-change
      operation. His mental issues just got worse, and he now realizes
      this isn't the choice anyone should make. He wants to sue because he
      wasn't provided with full information."

      In the meantime, Lindevaldsen said, "This is all politics. It's all
      politics in the courts and it's all politics in the schools. And the
      pawns are our children."

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