ABCs, Crayons, and Homosexuality? How Jerry Brown’s Disregard for Religious Liberty Might Affect Your Kindergarteners

On January 1st, California public schools will be required to teach children about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in their social sciences curriculum.  Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill on Thursday, in a move that guarantees that the religious liberty of California residents who send their kids to public schools will be violated.  But, the effects will be felt throughout the entire country’s public school systems.

I’m the product of public schools, where I learned about dangling participles, Davy Crockett, and the safest way to carry a shot gun through a forest on hunting expeditions.  (No exaggeration – in 7th grade, one semester of science was exclusively hunter’s safety.)  Our modest, rural schools weren’t flashy, but we were educated well enough that my husband – who attended Kentucky public schools — thrived at Harvard Law School and I held my own at New York University.

When we had our own kids, we sent our daughter to public school and congratulated ourselves for not spending as much money for kindergarten as the annual Gross National Product of Kazakhstan. I told one parent “I’ll teach your toddler to identify yellow in exchange for your $14,000 tuition.”  Even more than avoiding private school’s price, I believed the racial, financial, and religious diversity of public school was good for her general education.

On our first day, I nervously walked her into the concrete playground and worried she wouldn’t eat her lunch quickly enough or grasp the complicated art of shoe-tying.  But after surviving the first tearful week, her year was marked with the typical joys of school — visiting the fire station and playing the first blonde mother of Martin Luther King Jr. in the school play.  Then, about half-way through the year, the Philadelphia Public School system began using a curriculum that advocates moral equivalence between heterosexual and homosexual parents.  This gave me pause.  While I wanted her to be around people of all faiths, I didn’t want the schools to undermine our own.  A religious Jew with a daughter at the school successfully convinced our school not to teach this curriculum, but the public school “culture war” was just beginning.

When we sent her to a magnet school, they only allowed a politically correct version of the Pledge of Allegiance from the intercom every day, deleting “under God” so no one – except Americans who believe in the democratically-decided Pledge – would be offended.  Teachers wore “John Kerry for President” buttons during class and the art projects on the walls declared “Americans hate George Bush because he is a liar.”  Additionally, the school system proudly proclaimed October as “Gay and Lesbian History Month” on the school calendars it sent home to the families of its students.

Gov. Brown’s bill is only the most recent – and dramatic – example of public schools going awry. But just because you live in America’s heartland, don’t think you are protected from this kind of teaching in your schools.  First of all, the nation’s worst cultural ideas usually are born in the larger urban areas, and then they slowly encroach upon America’s heartland.  Secondly, many book publishers – because of the large size of California’s population — customize their textbooks to meet California’s standards.  Especially in this economy, textbook manufacturers will not want to make books for each state.  More than likely, this is headed toward your children.

What can we learn from Gov. Brown and the Bizarro World of the public school system? That they are not encumbered by a pesky little thing called the United States Constitution. For Christians, the establishment clause has been wrongly used to establish a “wall of separation between church and state.”  Teachers, for example, cannot (and should not) explicitly promote Christianity in public schools.   But for liberals, the establishment clause is meaningless.  Their ideas are considered “secular,” even though the scope of modern liberalism encompasses almost every area of life – from sexuality to family to poverty and race relations.  Therefore, they’re able to launch a complete assault on almost everything a Christian student believes, and there’s nothing a parent or the courts can do to stop them.

The bottom line is this: both the Left and the Right hold political world views with the same amount of religious intensity, yet only one side is allowed to use a branch of the government to promote their viewpoint.

By the time California’s Governor signed this into law this week, we had already packed our backpacks and headed to a private Christian school in Tennessee.  I like to say that this is the second religious school she’s attended.  The first – run by the Philadelphia Public School System – taught her reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, and the ideology of the Left.  The second – run by Zion Presbyterian Church – teaches her reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, and the worldview of Christianity.

This means we’re faced with large monthly tuition bills to cover her private education, but the price of public education was just more than we could afford.

About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • Elisabeth Wood

    Right on target.

  • David Juszczyk

    So far off target as to have left me wondering what the target was.

  • renee’

    It is because of these reasons (and more) that I will consider homeschooling my children one day.

  • Donalbain

    Ohnoes! Children might learn about gay people! The horror! The horror!
    They might also learn about niggers and spics!

  • Kristin

    Whitewashing history for the sake of the sensitivities of evangelists isn’t promoting the left’s agenda, it’s keeping the reality of history intact. But, does the Right really care about history, science, or anything based in empirical fact? After reading this article, I would say no.

  • Angela Henderson

    Since when is it against a person’s religious liberty to recognize that certain people exist? (ex. contributions of different races, genders, and *gasp* gay people) It is the gaping silence about the fact gay people exist that perpetuates the bullying and discrimination. We’re regular people, folks…and many of us are born and bred U.S. citizens who pay taxes, have children, are part of your families, and just trying to make a living like you.

    It is one thing to not “believe” in Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster or even unicorns. It is quite another to completely ignore that gay people are real and do exist. Gay people are not something you “believe” in. We are.

  • nancy

    So, in your view, we should just pretend our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters don’t exist? This curriculum isn’t about “promoting” homosexuality, it’s acknowledging the existence and contributions of gays and lesbians. And it’s about making sure all of our children feel safe and valued at school–even those who may be gay or lesbian.

    And to suggest that the religious right doesn’t have any impact on school curriculum is laughable. What about the teaching of “intelligent design”? That’s not science, that’s the Christian view of creation.

    Giving our children as much information as possible, in an age-appropriate manner, is the best way to prepare them for life after school. Or would you prefer that our little darlings not learn about anyone or anything different from themselves until they graduate, in which case they’ll be woefully unprepared to face life in “the real world.”

  • TheresaEmilyAnn

    The Author did not have a problem with people of different genders (she is female and learned hunting safety), race or religion (she wants her kids to be around people who are different), or science (she took science classes as stated in the first paragraph). Her problem is with the acknowledgement and acceptance of gay people in history, and teaching that it’s an acceptable lifestyle.

    I disagree with her, but at the same time don’t know how to argue against her beliefs. Maybe except for one of the arguments another commenter brought up about the well-being of other students who might come out being bi or gay. Esp in how America got big on stopping the bullying of students of all kinds, including those who are, or are perceived to be gay. Still fact is There ARE gay people today, gay students, gay familys TODAY, and there have been in the past. I don’t see a problem recognizing them. Though I do understand the author’s position on being allowed her own beliefs too.

    Then again if you think about it, no matter where she sends her kids, or how much she pays for their education, they will wind up meeting people different from her and themselves. And they will decide what they think, and how they feel about people with different sexualities, and their own personal beliefs on all things, no matter what they’re taught to believe

  • Lady Anonymous

    Spot on, Nancy. I am sick and tired of the left’s ideology being pushed down our children’s throats. Children don’t need a political education, nor do they need to be schooled in any teacher’s personal brand of politics. Stick to reading, writing, arithmetic and basic history. It is DISGUSTING that this perversion is now being forced on our kids.

  • Bob the Commentator

    So we’re going to spend precious tax dollars to change “Joe Smith invented the left-handed monkey wrench” to Joe Smith, a gay man, invented the left-handed monkey wrench”? Don’t forget the $ to republish in Spanish as well as English. That valuable informmation should be available to everyone.

    I’ll bet none of our textbooks mention that Christians established the first hospitals


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