After Christian Hate Group Protests Anti-Bullying Event, Schools Are Starting to Cave in to Their Demands

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how the American Family Association was urging parents to keep their kids at home on “Mix It Up at Lunch” Day, an event sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center that encourages students to break from their cliques for a day and eat lunch with different people. The goal is to make friends with students whom you might not otherwise have met. It’s a laudable goal.

The problem, according to the AFA, was that this was really just a thinly-veiled attempt by the SPLC to promote homosexuality.

Then again, to the AFA, everything is a thinly-veiled attempt to promote homosexuality.

This is what the American Family Association is afraid of. THIS!

Now, the New York Times is reporting on the effects of the AFA’s boycott. It’s not pretty. There were 2,500 schools listed as participating before the boycott began:

By Friday, about 200 schools had canceled, [the SPLC's Maureen] Costello said. But exactly why was unclear. Of 20 schools that had canceled and were contacted by The New York Times, only one chose to comment.

The SPLC can’t believe anyone would be opposed to “mixing it up” since it seems like such a positive idea. It’s not all about sexuality. It’s about differences, period:

The program is not about sexual orientation but rather about breaking up social cliques, which are especially evident in a school cafeteria, Ms. Costello said.

In some schools, cliques are socioeconomic. In others they are ethnic or religious or based on sexual orientation. By giving students a way to mix with other students, self-imposed social barriers can be broken down and bullying can be curbed, she said.

“I was surprised that [the AFA] completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which organizes the program. “It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic.”

I’m surprised she’s surprised. Lying is what the conservative Christian groups do.

They lie about what will happen if gay marriage is legalized. They lie about what will happen if President Obama completes his first term. They lie about what happens during “legitimate rape.” They obviously lie about the whole Jesus thing, but I don’t even care about that one right now.

Here’s what the AFA is really afraid of: That children of Christian parents will befriend students who are gay or lesbian, and they’ll realize that there’s nothing wrong or immoral or evil about them. Since that contradicts the lies these kids are taught in church, it’ll push them further away from Christianity.

In other words, when kids make friends who are “different” from them, they’ll realize we’re all a lot more similar than we thought.

Who knew Jesus was opposed to that?

In any case, that goes against everything the AFA stands for. The AFA wants LGBT students to feel like there is something wrong with them because it feeds the narrative that Jesus can make everything better. The AFA cares about that narrative so much that they’ll do whatever it takes to push their agenda, even if it means lying to parents about the “hidden goal” behind a truly wonderful event.

Here’s the upside to all this.

Even if schools are canceling the “Mix It Up at Lunch” events, that doesn’t mean students can’t “Mix It Up” on their own. Sit by someone you don’t know. Start conversations with students who seem like they could use a friend. Break free of your social circles for a day and see what comes of it. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Parents can do something, too. If your kids’ school is hosting the event, call up the principal and thank him or her for standing up against the Christian hate group.

Christian churches should also encourage this. Again, this isn’t about “promoting” homosexuality so you wouldn’t be hypocrites for supporting this event. Take a stand against the AFA; stop letting them speak for you if you disagree with them, because I guarantee groups like the AFA are redefining Christianity in a way that makes the rest of you look horrible. It’s unfortunate, since most churches aren’t awful places, but if pastors aren’t willing to be a voice of reason in this instance, then they’re part of the problem.

Even thought it’s the New York Times, it’s encouraging to see so many Christians on the right side of this issue in the comment thread, but we need more people willing to stand up against Bryan Fischer and the rest of his heartless cohorts. If you’re a Christian, I think you have even more of a duty to do so, since it’s your faith Fischer is hijacking.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    This is ridiculous. As I said on the last post, there is absolutely NOTHING to suggest this event is all about “promoting homosexuality.” If you Googled “mix it up” and “homosexuality” at the time of your first post, all there was to support this idea was the AFA’s own words, which had been reposted over and over again by credulous fundamentalists. You can apparently make people believe anything if you assert it with enough confidence on enough websites.

  • Travelingstu

    The AFA and groups cut from similar cloth know nothing but fear, and fear is their main tactic in getting what they want, which is turning society back to the 1950′s.

    • Ibis3

      which is turning society back to the 1950′s 1590s.

      FIFY.

  • jose

    Please schools, we’re trying to raise ignorant bigots here and you’re ruining it with these initiatives!

  • Trickster Goddess

    Interesting that the photo promoting diversity has the white kid front and center while all the kids with darker skin are hidden behind her or squeezed into the frame sideways. Also, while everyone else is grinning or smiling, she has has a calmer, more serious expression on her face.

    The way the picture is composed reminds me of those old timey patriarchal family photos.

    • http://www.facebook.com/smccann27 Sean McCann

      What makes you think she is the “white kid”?

      • http://www.facebook.com/smccann27 Sean McCann

        BTW, I just posted the URL of the image, but the way it appears is as an “attached file”. does that mean that the DISQUS service is re-hosting the content? That seems pretty shady to me. 

      • Stephanie A.

        Have to agree with Sean, here. I know American Indians that are very “white” skinned. And being Hispanic myself, I have cousins that are very “white” skinned as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/smccann27 Sean McCann
    • coyotenose

       Look at her body language. She isn’t calm or serious. She’s nervous. Assuming this picture was taken directly in the context of MIU Day, she’s anxious because she’s intimately surrounded by people she doesn’t know well yet, and has put on her “game face”.

      The composition is mediocre because the photo wasn’t taken by a professional. Notice she isn’t actually in the center. She’s in front, along with a probably Muslim student who is just turned away a bit. Someone has to be in front, and for whatever reason, they gathered so that these two were.

    • Deven Kale

      I wouldn’t worry about the racial balance, personally. Only 3 out of the 8 seem anywhere close to Caucasian, so I would say the balance there is pretty normal. If I were to have any real complaint it’s that there’s only one male, but since it’s most likely an actual group of friends who let them use their picture I’m not all that surprised. I was usually that one guy in a group of girls myself when I was in High School.

    • Guest

      Really? You are the opposite side of the spectrum example of seeing Monsters where none exist. For Muhammed’s sake, how overly sensitive and ridiculously are you going to be?

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

    I suppose the fact that most students are liberals and a massive amount of research suggest that people think and behave a lot like people around them is just a happy coincidence for you.

    I’m not a Christian but I can see how this would be threat to them and most likely you do too. Would you be as enthusiastic if the liberal students were in minority and your kids came home with creationists ideas? 

    • Meme642

      they should know creationist ideas, no big deal there….children should be exposed to all diff types of belief systems

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

         Not really an answer since you don’t mention the minority situation and its consequences.

        • Deven Kale

           Atheists, the vast majority of people on this site, are a minority. I think he did take the minority situation into account, and said he’d be okay with it anyway.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513566395 Jackie McClanahan

      So for fear of students having ideas we don’t like, we should keep them in a bubble and pretend they’ll never have to deal with people different than them?

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

         Keeping someone in a bubble and prompting people to hang out with those they don’t wish to hang out with are pretty far from logically equivalent.

        • Octoberfurst

           So you are ok with kids hanging out exclusively with their own little cliques and think that asking them to hang out with people different from them for ONE DAY is terrible?  Yes heaven forbid that a white kid hang out with a black kid or a straight kid hang out with a gay kid.  Makes you wanna swoon doesn’t it?

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

             No, I don’t think it’s horrible, but I think it should be up to them. It’s putting ideology on the curriculum.

            • 3lemenope

              What, precisely, about “meeting people you don’t know for one day” is an ideological imperative?

            • Octoberfurst

              What is “ideological” about wanting kids to meet people outside their clique?

        • IndyFitz

          Not at all.  The AFA is clearly advocating keeping them in their bubbles.

          Your wording is interesting.  You seem to believe that people are “prompting people to hand out with those they don’t wish to hang out with” — which would indicate an assumption that students are being forced into this somehow.

          Do you feel students are being “prompted” or forced or peer-pressured or such into hanging out with people they don’t want to hang out with?

          I read that the SPLC is encouraging students to break from their cliques and have lunch with those they normally wouldn’t have lunch with.  I see “encouragement” and I see “lunch.”  I don’t see “requirement” and I don’t see “forced to live together” or anything sinister.

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

      If my kids come home with creationist or other religious ideas, I’m happy to sit down and discuss them. I have no difficulty explaining to my kids why I think creationism is wrong.

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

         Which only means that you can’t grasp what it’s like to be in minority. They won’t care what you say. It’s like telling them to wear a cap when it’s cold outside. If their peers thinks that’s dorky they will not be persuaded regardless of your competence.

        • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

          I, an atheist, can’t grasp what it’s like to be in a minority? Are you serious???

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

             You can’t grasp their situation. It corresponds to your children being assimilated by a creationist majority.

            • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

              Except one view is scientifically sound, and one is blatantly unconstitutional with no proof to back its assertions.  Believing something crazy doesn’t give you the right to scream, “DISCRIMINATION!!” and trample others’ rights, even if they’re in the majority, just because your beliefs are those of a minority.  My minority belief that women are inferior to men doesn’t make my opinion valid or deserving of respect just because women make me personally uncomfortable.

              • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

                 Eh? I only said I understand how they can see this as a threat. You’re digressing and making strawmen.

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  And I’m explaining how regardless of how they may see this as a threat, their point of view does not deserve consideration in this case.  If kids are being indoctrinated into creationism, the school is putting up with illegal and unconstitutional behavior.  It is not the same thing as someone suggesting they sit at different lunch tables.  They may feel they’re being discriminated against, but it is NOT the same thing.  Cripes.  We can grasp the situation just fine, and upon analysis, it doesn’t hold up.  I can understand why they feel that way, butr that doesnt’ make their view valid.

                • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

                  So I guess we can agree that they have reason to be concerned but with the difference that you don’t care since it doesn’t violate the constitution?

                  And the question regarding if your children were assimilated by creationist remains unanswered since this can be done without violating any laws. Just good old peer pressure.

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  Stick rule.  This is getting pathetic.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5AZNE5QKOS3TG6YZNRPRRZ7MJM eva unit zero

                 Creationism is not unconstitutional. You have a wildly incorrect interpretation of the Constitution if you think that. Forcing schools to teach it is unconstitutional, but the belief is not, in contrast to what you stated. Furthermore, it is scientifically impossible to prove (or disprove) the existence of God; therefore any link to atheism or agnosticism when discussion evolution is equally unconstitutional.

      • C Peterson

        Creationism is a matter of fact, not philosophy. You shouldn’t explain to your kids why you think it is wrong, but why it is wrong. And that’s a lot easier point to make!

        • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

          Agreed:-).

    • Sindigo

      Kids should be exposed to all kinds of beliefs and ways of life. As a kid I was taken to a variety of churches of various denominations, I had muslim, mormon and Jehovah’s witness friends, my father was a conservative politician and my godfather a member of the British Communist party. I still made up my own mind and every kid should be allowed to do the same. 

      I would love to hear you explain how being introduced to different people and ideas would be a “threat” to a child.

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

         I was referring to the parents, although alienating children from their parents may be a threat to them. I guess it depends on age and personality.

        • Sindigo

          I would suggest that if, as a parent you’re worried that exposing your child to an opinion that may differ from yours (which in my case would have included Dungeons & Dragons, heavy metal music, atheism and pretty much every political opinion I came to hold) will alienate them from you then I would suggest that your relationship has bigger problems than you are likely to solve by barring them from being introduced to a homosexual. In that case, you should you should home-school your kids on an off-grid ranch somewhere, not send them to a public school.

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

             It’s not a matter of exposure, but exposure to a majority with different values.

            I think the mere fact that these parents have chosen public schools suggest that they are ok with some exposure. But to a point. Instructing children to mix it up because they don’t do so by their own accord is little else than social engineering, and if we are to believe social psychologists this would mean assimilation by the liberal majority (since most students are liberal).

            • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

              I’m sorry, are students actually being forced to sit with someone else, or nudged in that direction via a gentle suggestion?  And again, please cite a source showing that elementary through high school students are a liberal majority. (Edited for misspelling)

              • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

                I can’t tell how it’s implemented but does it matter if you “nudge” whatever that means. They should be allowed to fraternize with whoever they wish.

                I can’t seem to find any surveys on this, but according to PEW it’s clear that from 18 people tend to be more liberal than the average and then less so as you go up in age groups. Is this even controversial?

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  Christ, no one is stopping anyone from fraternizing with anyone.  Stop strawmanning.

                  And yeah, it’s apparently controverisal enough that you can’t produce any evidence for it.  Please show me the political leanings of elementary-age children.

                • IndyFitz

                   You clearly have drawn conclusions and are arguing from your standpoint. There is no forcing here. You seem to be stuck in the idea that the students have no choice — maybe that peer pressure or “nudging” will make them feel as though they must do it?  This is like saying that because the school announces tryouts for the spring play that all students will feel that they MUST try out, or that announcing a dance means they all know they HAVE to go, or that because the school is touting its new series of audio-engineering classes, all students interested in literature will feel they have no option but to cave and learn about audio.

            • Sindigo

              “Social engineering” is a grandiose term when you are describing encouraging elementary and high school kids to mix a bit more than usual. High school is a clique-y place and I just don’t see anything wrong in initiatives that try to avoid that. As for “assimilation by the liberal majority” I just don’t think you can apply terms like that to teenagers. Students at University maybe but more education tends to lead people to become more liberal. Who’dve thunk it, eh?

              Parents who are concerned by who their kids are hanging around with when they are out of their supervision shouldn’t be sending them to public schools.  They should keep them at home. Besides, if you are so worried that your kids’ mere exposure to a person they don’t usually hang with will challenge your relationship with them then either your opinions can’t stand up to a lot of scrutiny or you have a sucky relationship with your kid.

              The AFA is using this issue to push their agenda, nothing more. They simply hope that they can whip parents up into enough of a frenzy that they’ll make the main media outlets.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mrs.schaarschmidt Barb Schaarschmidt

           Why is it even a thought that you would have to alienate a child from his or her parents because they have different beliefs? That makes no sense at all.

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

             For instance, I would imagine the idea that your child or parent is going to hell would be rather alienating.

            • Deven Kale

               And you think a previously atheist kid is going to suddenly start believing their parents are going to hell through one day of sitting with a Christian at lunch? That seems to be a bit of a stretch to me, even in a school where most of the kids are conservative christians.

            • Deven Kale

               And you think a previously atheist kid is going to suddenly start believing their parents are going to hell through one day of sitting with a Christian at lunch? That seems to be a bit of a stretch to me, even in a school where most of the kids are conservative christians.

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

         No, you wouldn’t because I’ve already been through it a dozen times by now. Maybe you guys here need that Mix it up event instead. You sound like a bunch of clones.

    • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

      No.  Just…no.  They’re inserting their own ridiculous agenda into a harmless community-building exercise.  Like one of the commenters on the Times’ page said, “The American Family Association could find an anti-Christian agenda in my (Christian) wife’s recipe for turkey chili.”  They’re seeing monsters where there are none.

      There’s also no proof whatsoever that homosexuality is dangerous or morally bankrupt.  It isn’t considered a mental defect by any legitimate psychological organization (or anyone with an ounce of common sense), and hasn’t been for nearly 40 years.  Even if the entire point of Mix It Up Day really, truly was to push the “homosexual agenda,” (i.e. introducing students to the normalized concept of same-sex attraction) it would be far more scientifically (and constitutionally) sound than someone pushing creationist ideas in the lunchroom.  Apples and oranges.  It would be as nefarious and illegal as Talk to a Left-Handed Person Day.  If the AFA is threatened by this, that’s their own goddamn problem.  Unprovable bigoted hangups are NOT the responsibility of the people being discriminated against.  People are welcome to hold on to their discriminatory views as long and dearly as they’d like to, but without any proof that they’re right (aside from an Iron-Age text that’s been rewritten and edited ad infinitum), they do not get to call the shots for the rest of our reality-based society and government.  How would you treat this group if it were against Mix It Up Day because boys would come into close contact with girls on their periods?  They’ve got the same source material, the same justification (my god said so!) and the same amount of scientific proof on their side.

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

        Hardly any of this is a response to my comment, except for this,

        “How would you treat this group if it were against Mix It Up Day because
        boys would come into close contact with girls on their periods?”

        I haven’t suggested a particular policy to any  real or hypothetical scenario. I’ve merely stated that I can understand their concern.

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

          Maybe if your comment made more sense, I would have answered it more to your liking.  You didn’t merely state you understood their concern–you insinuated that children were being brainwashed by groupthink ["I suppose the fact that most students are liberals (citation needed, especially if you're talking about elementary through high school) and a massive amount of research suggest that people think and behave a lot like people around them is just a happy coincidence for you] and then compared introducing students to their peers being akin to teaching creationism.  Again, apples and oranges.  Even in the most extreme case, if Mix It Up Day was exclusively a part of some deep-reaching “homosexual agenda,” homosexuality’s harmlessness and regular occurrence in nature is backed by actual scientific proof, whereas creationism has been discredited time and time again.  If my children were being exposed to creationist theory in a public school, it would be unconstitutional.  Being exposed to peers of different races, economic backgrounds and sexual orientations isn’t.  It doesn’t matter how these fundamentalists feel.  If they can’t back their judgements with science or simple facts, they do not deserve consideration.  They are the ones reading far too deeply into a harmless exercise, and thus bringing any sense of martyrdom they feel upon themselves.  Just because I personally see, say, redheads as a threat to my children (because a holy book said so), it doesn’t give me a leg to stand on when I scream, “DISCRIMINATION!!” on Mix It Up Day and demand that my kids stay home so they don’t sit with any redheads.  This is common sense.  Sure. they can feel however they’d like to, but that doesn’t make their point legitimate.  Their feeling threatened by this deserves as much consideration and respect as someone who is threatened by their child befriending someone of another race.

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

             Not apples and oranges since they are as unsympathetic to your views as you are to theirs. And brainwashed no, I referred to social psychology and how it illustrates a likely outcome of these kinds of events. But I won’t deny that I feel that this is social engineering because children are instructed to behave in a particular way as to promote certain political ideals.

            “If my children were being exposed to creationist theory in a public school, it would be unconstitutional.”

            Not if was during a religion class. And certainly not during recess by their peers.

            Also, when did the constitution become the arbiter in this issue? Does it contain the truth or does it somehow contradict that there is a threat of assimilation?

            “If they can’t back their judgements with science or simple facts, they do not deserve consideration.”

            Yeah, fuck those in my out-group. That’s what this is all about.

            • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

              It’s apples and oranges.  You are comparing illegal behavior to a harmless suggestion.  I understand they they may see teaching the normality of homosexuality as a threat, but that is flat-out not the same thing as teaching children unfounded, illegal religious dogma in a public school.  My being able to sympathize and know where they are coming from Biblically doesn’t make their view valid.  Not all views are worthy of the same level of respect and consideration.  They’re not being outlawed from teaching their children whatever they would like to, but without being able to prove their assertions, they do not deserve common-sense respect, and it is not comparable to suggsting kids sit at a different lunch table for a day.

              Again, please cite your source(s) regarding the political leanings of kids K-12.

              No one said anything about kids talking to one another at recess about religion.  Obviously that wouldn’t be unconstitutional.  Since the issue at hand is parental outcry over a school-sponsored event, I don’t know why you’d even bring that up.

              And no, this isn’t about “fuck those in my out-group.” Get a grip.  It’s about common effing sense.  If someone is actively discriminating against other people with no concrete justification, their views do NOT deserve respect.  They can believe whatever batshit they want to, but I don’t have to respect their view, and nor does anyone else who lives in reality. 

              Again, I can understand why they would feel this way as a result of their warped worldview.  That doesn’t make it OK for them to expect the rest of society to bow to their whim.

              • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

                What illegal behavior are you talking about? I’ve only said that they have a right to be concerned – is that illegal? You’re drifting away to a discussion about teaching creationism in school. I never talked about that so it’s off topic as a reply to my comment.

                “No one said anything about kids talking to one another at recess about
                religion.  Obviously that wouldn’t be unconstitutional.  Since the issue
                at hand is parental outcry over a school-sponsored event, I don’t know
                why you’d even bring that up.”

                Because that is how the threat of assimilation would look from your perspective. It was an attempt to show what that threat would look like when directed at you.

                “And no, this isn’t about “fuck those in my out-group.” Get a grip.  It’s
                about common effing sense.  If someone is actively discriminating
                against other people with no concrete justification, their views do NOT
                deserve respect. ”

                But how does that relate to their concern of being assimilated? I doesn’t constitute a discrimination. Is asking that your children befriend whoever they choose to befriend somehow discrimination, or is this another digression?

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  I’m invoking stick rule.  You keep making unfounded claims, constructing strawmen and making nonsensical arguments.  I’m not going to keep discussing this with someone who can’t hold a cogent, logical argument and keeps changing the focus of his or her posts. 

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  What is “stick rule”?

                • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

                  You have to be smarter than a stick to be worth arguing with.  Trying to talk to Staffan is like arguing with a brick wall, and I had better things to do yesterday.  We atheists are clearly unable to grasp what it’s like being in the minority, and have no sense of empathy or sympathy for the plight of the poor, frightened bigots.

                • Deven Kale

                   What’s the “stick rule”? I can’t find anything about it in a quick 2-minute web search.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mrs.schaarschmidt Barb Schaarschmidt

       Yes, I would be enthusiastic if my kid came home with creationist ideas. I would sit down with her and discuss them. She would be able to consider them. She may even believe them for a time, which is her right. Because if she is exposed to all different kinds of ideas and has a chance to consider them all, in time she will probably realize that creationism is wrong. And although I am absolutely an atheist, if she grew up to be a Christian, that would be her right. As long as she wasn’t some kind of extremist, I wouldn’t even try to convince her she is wrong, as long as she came to that conclusion by way of having all of the evidence to examine and making a choice.

      That’s the difference between someone like me and a certain type of Christian. I don’t need to dictate to anyone what they should believe, and the sky would not fall if someone – even someone in my own family – chose to believe differently from me. Of my kids, the three that have reached adulthood all seem to be atheists. My youngest daughter has not yet decided on anything . That’s good, she should explore a lot more before defining any belief or lack thereof.

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

        “As long as she wasn’t some kind of extremist, I wouldn’t even try to
        convince her she is wrong, as long as she came to that conclusion by way
        of having all of the evidence to examine and making a choice. ”

        Meaning as long as she doesn’t stray too far from my in-group because that would bother me. Just maybe that’s the concern regarding the Mix it up-event?

        • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

           “Meaning as long as she doesn’t stray too far from my in-group because
          that would bother me. Just maybe that’s the concern regarding the Mix it
          up-event?”

          No, you twit. I would argue that the vast majority of atheists and even many, many religious believers can see the harm in religious extremism; it’s not the belief in and of itself, it’s the HARM THAT IT DOES TO OTHERS. 

          Psychologically speaking, I do believe that all religions do some harm, but there is a significant amount of daylight between a religion that advocates the death penalty for homosexuals and the  warm-fuzzy rituals of of a cultural Catholic, for example.  It makes perfect sense that an atheist without the religious reasoning and motivation for bigotry would be MORE upset and uncomfortable with a child who a) abandoned critical thinking and b) now holds perspectives that cause potential harm to others (significantly more).

          If your child grows up to become a serial killer, would you object? Or can I safely say that you would be wholly accepting, since you adamantly divide the world between “in-groups” and “out-groups”? I mean, just because the kid doesn’t want to be a part of your law-abiding “in-group”, why should you force him/her to think differently?

          If you can’t see the difference, you are an idiot and understand neither law nor personal autonomy.

    • Baby_Raptor

      If my hypothetical children came home with Creationist ideas, I’d sit down with them and thoroughly explain why Creationism is bullshit. 

      This situation highlights the differences between the Tealiban and Liberals: Liberal aren’t afraid of facts, and we aren’t afraid of things that challenge our world view. We don’t hide like little chickens from everything we disapprove of. 

      And frankly, the fact that they want to is sick. It’s not something you should agree with or support. People need to be made to live in reality, whether they like it or not. All of the Tealiban’s delusion is harming this country something fierce.

      • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

        If you sit down with them in a Creationist majority society they wouldn’t listen. That’s why I can see why they are worried. None of you who replied to my comment seem to want to envision what life would be like if the roles were reversed. If your kids wouldn’t listen to you because all their friends are Creationists. I think if you were honest you’d admitt that you too would try to defend your families from this threat by keeping some sort of distance.

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

          We CAN understand why they would feel this way.  Many of us were taught the same (or similar things) growing up.  Many of us unconditionally love family members who still hold strong religious beliefs.  Being afraid of change, or of something you feel is morally wrong, is pretty much universal.  We can well envision the reverse because many of us have been the religious (or lack thereof) minority growing up, and had our views laughed at, or threatened with hell.  I can personally understand why someone brainwashed to ignore reality and take on this worldview would be terrified by what the AFA is claiming.

          That being said, being sympathetic to their worldview does not mean I have to respect it, nor does it mean I won’t argue against it.  You seem to be conflating the two.  While I can understand where they are coming from (terrified of being sent to hell for questioning or disbelieving), I do not understand making things up and continuing to believe them even when you’ve been shown to be wrong.  Sympathy doesn’t have to mean agreement on any level.

        • Andsben

           No one is listening to you because you aren’t making good points. Creationists ARE THE MAJORITY. Most people who are here on this site are here in spite of the fact that we grew up in this CHRISTIAN MAJORITY. Many of us left the CHRISTIAN MAJORITY because of persuasive arguments from the ATHEIST MINORITY.

          You say we can’t envision what life would be like if the roles were reversed, but the roles ARE reversed from what you stated they are. You described a world opposite to ours and claim we can’t envision the world we grew up in.

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

            No, they would be reversed if their was a school policy instructing you to fraternize with creationists. And 46 percent is not a majority.

            • amycas

               I live in Texas. Here, creationism is the majority. That 46% who believed in creationism were actually a plurality of the responses. The poll you are referring to broke people down to three categories: creationism, theistic evolution and evolution. 46% of Americans fit in the “creationism” category, while %32 believed in theistic evolution and only %15 believed in evolution with no divine intervention. It seems you were wrong, creationists are not in the minority, they still maintain a plurality of American belief on the subject. The 46% was also not broken down by state, so it’s likely that the number who are creationists is even higher in states like Texas (where I live).

              “they would be reversed if their was a school policy instructing you to fraternize with creationists. ”

              Seeing as how 46% of Americans are creationists, it would seem about the same percentage of the students on “Mix it up” day, would be creationists as well. Therefore, since the school is encouraging everyone to eat with somebody they don’t normally hang out with, the school IS encouraging kids to fraternize with creationists.

        • Forrest Cahoon

          Many people who read this blog do exactly that; they live in a Creationist majority society and they explain to their kids why that perspective is wrongheaded. For you to assert “they wouldn’t listen” — with all due respect, I think that’s a hypothetical you’re throwing out for the sake of argument which doesn’t really match up with the experience of many parents who are actually facing this situation.

          • http://staffanspersonalityblog.wordpress.com/ Staffan

             It’s my experience that children are more influenced by their peers than their parents. And the reason your children may not have been influenced by creationism could be that you live in separate worlds. And like I said to another commentator 46 percent is not a majority.

            • amycas

               %46 is the plurality of belief though. Only %15 of Americans believe in evolution without divine intervention, placing most of the readers here squarely in the “minority” camp on this issue.

    • http://twitter.com/LorriTiger243 Rebel

      Uh…liberal students are in the minority, and they do come home with creationist ideas all the time. At least in the US, not sure where you’re from. 

    • C Peterson

      Where do you get the idea that most students are liberals? Do you mean like the liberal students at schools in third-world states like South Carolina and Texas, demanding prayers before football games?

      I’ve been in many schools, all over the country, and overwhelmingly, the political views of students are largely in line with those of their parents and the community. Before college, very few students develop world views all that different from their parents, except in trivial respects.

    • IndyFitz

      That’s the point the AFA is missing.  It isn’t about indoctrinating kids into a liberal way of thinking.  It’s exposing them to different people and teaching them that it’s okay that others think and live differently.  Personally, if my kids mixed it up with a majority that believed in sky fairies and hated homosexuals, I wouldn’t be worried at all, because my kids would know better than to believe in sky fairies or to hate homosexuals.  I would encourage a creationist-heavy school to mix it up with kids like mine who would not become another lemming and possibly get some of the lemmings thinking critically for a change.

    • RobMcCune

       Your right, high school cliques are made up by the liberal media. High School, as any one who went knows, is about a battle of of political, social and religious ideas. It’s not as though teens and tweens would be so immature as to form tight knit groups over trivial differences or anything.

      No it’s only our subversive attempt at social engineering, after our bureaucratic Solyndra mind control experiment failed, we had to do something. We took imaginary problems like cliques and bullying and used it as an excuse to get children away from their peers in order to be assimilated into our hivemind.

      But now I’m afraid you know too much.

    • Isilzha

      Your kid can come home from church with all the “creationist” ideas you’d want!  So, just keep your religious ideology OUT of our PUBLIC schools.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6O7TY36KKR4RN2JRA7MLV6LEZY Stan Dalone

      Most students are liberals?  That’s news to me.

  • Puzzled

    The boycott’s reasoning is absurd, but I too would protest against having SPLC programs in my school.  The SPLC is a bullying, hate-mongering group, just as surely as the Christian group is.  I’ve been branded a terrorist by them many times over for my political beliefs.

    • Baby_Raptor

      I think that says way more about you than it does the SPLC. The SPLC stands up for common decency. 

    • NoDoubtAboutIt

      Wow – you must be a total anti-American scumbag.

      • C Peterson

        If history teaches us anything, it’s that hating people who are “different” is a good old American value.

    • C Peterson

      Nobody is a terrorist simply by virtue of their beliefs. But if the SPLC considers you hateful for your beliefs, I’m more likely to believe them (a respectable organization fighting hate and bullying) than I am you… especially given your own distorted view of the SPLC (which almost certainly must accompany a distorted view of reality).

    • Cortex_Returns

      Pray tell, what political beliefs would those be?

    • IndyFitz

      Really?  The SPLC has specifically branded YOU a terrorist?  And you’re willing to share your real name with us so we can check with the SPLC and see just what those evil bastards are claiming is so bad about you?

    • Puzzled

       I suppose I should thank everyone for showing me just how intolerant this community can be as well.  The SPLC warns of the following terrorist associations:  opposition to the Federal Reserve, returning veterans, Constitutionalist, and libertarian.  Clearly, my libertarianism is a distorted view of reality.  Also, for believing in limited government, I must be an anti-American scumbag; it is anti-American to think differently, to question authority, and to believe that the government should have some limit to its powers. 

      Because, you know, Morris Dees has no political axes to grind. 

      Glad to see the atheist community welcomes dissent and discussion. 

      • RobMcCune

        So let me get this straight, because the commenters here won’t change their opinions due to unspecified criticisms of some random person on the internet, were intolerant?

        And now that you’ve justified yourself by claiming they’re persecuting you by observing that cranks who advocate violence identify themselves with the same labels as you. Persecution complex much? Now we’re supposed to disregard everything the SPLC says?

        Delusional troll is delusional.

      • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

        Please explain to us how criticism of your claims equals intolerance? Or do you feel entitled to spout off whatever you want with no possibility whatsoever of negative response?

        Next stop: You’re being persecuted!

      • Indorri

        I sympathize that you’re treated badly for your beliefs. If what you say is true, it would be unconscionable for the SPLC to label you in such a way, even if I agree with their evaluation of groups like Focus and programs like Mix It Up.

        • coyotenose

           However, it isn’t true. He doesn’t understand what the SPLC says.

      • Earl G.

        Please provide evidence that the SPLC labels libertarians, veterans, etc. as terrorists.

      • Deven Kale

         No, you misunderstand what they’re talking about. What they are saying is that people with these certain political leanings are more likely to be be members of a home-grown terrorist group than those without them. They are not claiming that every person who is a member of these groups are terrorists, or that being a member of this group will eventually make you become a terrorist.

        It’s simply the recognition of a correlation between certain political beliefs and home-grown terrorism. They do not claim either one causes the other. You’re getting angry and offended at them for no good reason.

      • Antinomian

        The tin foil can be found in aisle four….

        • Isilzha

           They’re right behind the bank of camera and below the ominous looking sprayer heads!

  • EivindKjorstad

    “children of Christian parents will befriend students who are gay or
    lesbian, and they’ll realize that there’s nothing wrong or immoral or
    evil about them.”

    That is indeed the fear.

    It’s hard to believe that God is fair and yet also that God punishes with eternal torture people who ain’t actually done anything to harm anyone. All they did was fall in love with the wrong person, or believe in the wrong God (or worse: believe in no God)

    Twice I’ve had muslims who became my friends tell me that it’s caused them confusion, because it’s difficult to imagine that a fair God would consider eternal punishment something I deserve. Thus there’s only 3 possible conclusions:

    1) There is no punishment for believing the wrong thing, or having the wrong sexuality or whatever. This also implies that there’s no reward for believing the right thing, because the absence of a reward is a punishment.

    2) There is a God, and he punishes people who do nothing wrong. This implies he is not a fair God.

    3) There is no God.

    Neither of these conclusions are wanted by fundamentalists.

    • Pseudonym

      Speaking on behalf of only myself, these kids who run the risk of being pushed away from Christianity are far better off as atheists than being part of that kind of Christianity.

      Yes, I’m a Christian. That’s just me. Your mileage may vary.

      Better a tolerant, loving atheist than an intolerant, hateful Christian.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6O7TY36KKR4RN2JRA7MLV6LEZY Stan Dalone

        Thank you Pseudonym.  If more Christians were like you, a lot of us wouldn’t be so up in arms.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Here’s my response to the AFA as a Christian:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/10/opposing-mix-it-up-day-bigotry-and-isolationism-in-jesus-name.html

    • Blacksheep

      very nice, James.

    • IndyFitz

       Nice.  Why can’t more Christians interpret Christianity with that kind of tolerance and positivity?

      • Blacksheep

        Indy,
        Most Christians that I know absolutely interpret Christianity with tolerance and positivity. There’s no doubt that this forum skims the news for stories that truly represent the worst of our faith, which is an easy trick for virtually any group of people. But I understand – it wouldn’t be very fun to hear about Christian kids at a soup kitchen, or helping poor people, etc. (but I guess most news is that way).

        • IndyFitz

          I think thatunfairly represents us as slavering only at the rare times when Christians do bad things. I think Christians do bad things a lot. I think EVERYONE does bad things a lot. That’s human nature. But Christians justify their bad things in the name of religion. Furthermore, serving food at a soup kitchen isn’t news because that’s the sort of thing good people should be doing — and what Christians really should be doing, given all the nice things the fictional Jesus taught. One of the purposes of this forum is to expose when the religious oppress the nonreligious or try to force theirreligions on everyone, and this story is a perfect example of that: angry, hateful Christians trying to ensure their brainwashed young aren’t exposed to real positivity, tolerance, and goodness. It doesn’t shit on the truly good Christians out there, but points out the truly bad ones. It’s hard to demonize this forum for doing that sort of duty.

          For the record, I may be an atheist but I grew up around LOTS of Christians and have many Christian friends. And they’ve never been as truly positive and tolerant as they claim to be, or as other Christians claim them to be.

        • amycas

           Actually, I would love to hear more stories about those things.

  • Chris Kilroy

    I have a feeling that parents keeping their kids home would count as an unexcused absence. You can’t just cut school on random days. Schools should publicize not only the truth of the event, but the consequences of cutting school. This group should not be encouraging parents to have their kids cut school. There’s something crazy wrong with that idea. And as the organizers have pointed out, this has nothing to do with homosexuality. Kids need to be encouraged to break out of their shell and interact with those who are different from them. Diversity brings strength. 

  • Mzengungogo

    To the person posting about a “fair” God: There is no claim that God is fair. Fair is a human construct based upon how we think things should be. But even then, every person has a different evaluation of “Fair.” The universe is not fair and neither can any version of God be.

    • Andsben

      The Bible claims that god is “just”. You’d be hard pressed to find a way in which justice is significantly different from fairness.

      • Sherimarie23

        I agree with your first post completely but I have to admit that when I read this reply here, I disagreed at first. To me the term ‘just’ wasnt really synonymous with ‘fair’ and so I could see where the previous poster was coming from. However, I looked up the term ‘just’ (because Id never actually LOOKED it up in spite of knowing how to use the word) and low and behold this is the definition I found: just/jəst/
        Adjective:Based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair: “a just society”. But, I also agree that fair is based upon our own sense of what we feel, so I have to give points to both of you for valid arguments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=867420127 Mark Blackburn

    yep because every new friend you make is potentially a homosexual . oh no making friends with other humans who are totally normal nice people. bunch of homophobes and racist’s. i don’t understand Christianity 

    • Glasofruix

       Neither do christians.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Johnston/1064888053 Scott Johnston

    All I have to say is, You can’t fix stupid!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

       Ramen to that!

  • OWSR

    Yeah I’ve never understood cliques, my school never had them~ Yeah you had your circle of friends, because lets be honest the entire school can’t hang out as a group all the time, but we weren’t automatically divided by whether we were Goths, or Jocks or what-have-you, I had friends from all walks of life and interests and so did everyone else. This whole clique thing is incredibly stupid and is a thing that shouldn’t exist~

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SZYZHSPKTGSQBUYEBJCEQN4ZF4 Raymond

     Life + fear = religion
    Life – fear = living

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Deanna-Jackson/617808744 Deanna Jackson

    Fuck these guys.  Schools should never give in to these clowns.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001219758556 Anthony James

    Really! Atheists are concerned about how children in school eat their lunches and with  whom!!! What sheer nonsense and so typical of this “let’s be tolerant” garbage thinking that is supposed to pass for social concern. Just another attempt by agenda-driven adults interfering in the natural socialization of children, and they always do so at schools because that’s where they can best influence children to their way of thinking – and children make for such easy targets!

    For your information, Mr. Mehta, my “eating patterns” changed every year at school just by way of natural development, and no adults were needed! And I’m sure you haven’t given AFA even close to a real and honest review for their objections.


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