Bullied student takes his life

Greensburg, Indiana is the scene of another suicide involving anti-gay harassment.

 

In contrast to some advice givers, I would say Greensburg schools need to talk about sexual orientation related harassment in their schools.

Tonight my local school district rolls out a bullying prevention program. I am on the committee charged with making it work and I have already heard concerns that the exercise is just some kind of left-leaning pro-gay thing. My reply is that my children in elementary school have been called anti-gay slurs. I live in a small town full of truly caring people and we still need to discuss respect for all. They do in Greensburg. I bet they do in your town too.

(Hat tip to Timothy Kincaid)

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  • Mary

    I’d like to see data from the school records that show drop out rate, demographics etc…. My bet is that this school is showing an intolerance for gays especially? And no one wants to talk about it. What is the religious make-up of the surrounding community?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Why doesn’t Kevin Jennings go on the road and do a school safety tour?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    They are about 11% more religious than the national average.

    22% Catholic Church

    16% American Baptist Church

    7% United Methodist Church

    16% Other Christian

    39% Not Affiliated

    They also have as their US Representative Mike Pence (R), one of the most anti-gay folks in the House of Representatives.

    Pence opposes the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, saying “the American people don’t want the American military to be used to advance a liberal political agenda.” This despite polls consistently showing that over 70% of Americans – including majorities or Republicans, self-describe conservatives, and Christians – support repealing this discriminatory policy.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    Can you direct me to the site where you culled your data?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    Do you think that Kevin Jennings would be welcomed at Greensburg High School?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Warren,

    I commend you for putting the interests of the children as your top priority.

  • David

    Debbie:

    I was going to post something about the inherent cruelty and sadism of most Christians, but by posting your hilarious joke just centimeters below a video about a 15 year old kid who killed himself, I think you have illustrated my point nicely. Thanks!

    For another illustration, here’s Linda Harvey of Mission America (good friend of Peter Labarbera, enemy of Throckmorton) on how gays are to blame for the violence directed against them and how anti-bullying programs are part of a socialist revolutionary effort linked to Bill Ayers:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzFrtx2p74w

  • Mary

    I was going to post something about the inherent cruelty and sadism of most Christians

    Do you know MOST christians? I find some people in every group who are cruel and outspoken and do not represent the whole. Sometimes the media gives them more attention – just as you have here. It has been my experience that THEY are not most anything – just some that are really squeaky.

  • Debbie Thurman

    What makes you think I was joking, David?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Timothy, I don’t know anything about Greensburg High School, except that they have a problem with bullying that apparently led to the tragic suicide of a gay student. Jennings is the DOE Safety czar. What is the DOE doing about this serious problem? Warren is “putting his money where his mouth is.” How about Jennings?

  • Debbie Thurman

    OK, I’ll answer my own question. Jennings spoke at a bullying summit recently. Is that enough?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    Jennings is trying to get support for the Federal Safe Schools Improvement Act which would make uniform policies to oppose bullying required for all schools that receive federal funds.

    Of course the usual suspects are all lined up opposed to the bill.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Jennings is trying to get support for the Federal Safe Schools Improvement Act which would make uniform policies to oppose bullying required for all schools that receive federal funds.

    H.R. 2262. Just read it. Not sure what the specific objections are. Sounds pretty straightforward, but I am not privy to the behind-the-scenes stuff or just what Jennings has done/is doing.

    In his capacity as a DOE heavy, I still think Jennings could have more of a presence and a voice, given the recent unfortunate events.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    This is the oddest thing for me to do but I am going to defend Kevin Jennings.

    Jennings spent the better part of his initial months on the job fending off a media campaign, partly driven by an audio I provided, designed to get him fired. I still think he was not as candid as he should have been. I think he could have and perhaps still should speak more candidly about the issue with Brewster but he did eventually admit he erred in his response to the boy. To me, that was important and vindicated my interest in the story.

    That being said, he has had to keep a low profile to avoid the work of his office being further politicized. He could have stepped down to avoid it but he didn’t. Now, still there, he has started to make more public appearances. Given that the President stuck with him, and he is now starting to work on the issues, I do hope he becomes more visible.

    On a practical level, let me offer this. The only barriers I have heard on the local scene have not come because Jennings is not active. No one has said, “Hey, if this was such a problem, why don’t the Safe Schools Czar give another speech?”

    What I have heard is inspired from the other end of the spectrum. “Is this just another one of them tolerance deals?” “You know, those programs are really just ways for the gays to get into the schools.”

    Now, in fairness to my fair city which I love, these comments are few. Honestly, though, at the local level, what Jennings does publicly won’t matter much and might hurt if the right wing makes his orientation and his past mistakes the issue instead of the real problem at hand.

    I now return the control of the blog comment block to you.

  • Lynn David

    I find it odd that the guy taking complaints in the Greensburg CSC is named Rodney King (not sure if that is from students though). The school policy on bullying in the school handbook.

    SEVERE PENALTY POLICY

    A severe penalty is recognized as a discipline measure that is used to correct or alter the disruptive behavior of a student. Wednesday School, suspension and/or suspension pending expulsion are the forms of severe penalties to be used. For severe penalties there will be parent/guardian contact. Students that are expelled or suspended from school shall not be on Greensburg Community School Corporation property or attend any school function during the time of this penalty without administrative authorization. Failure to comply will result in student being charged with trespass.

    .

    12. Bullying – “Bullying” refers to overt, repeated acts or gestures by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate or harm the other student. “Bullying” includes, but is not limited to, verbal or written communications that are transmitted, physical acts that are committed, or any other behaviors committed. Any student who believes he/she is being bullied should report the incident to a building administrator immediately.

    .

    a. Wednesday detention

    b. Suspension

    c. Suspension/expulsion

    BTW… no GLSEN at Greensburg.

  • David Blakeslee

    Jennings as a topic is a distraction…

    He has made his errors along the way which have compromised his ability to talk across the isle.

    Obama made a poor pick…somebody who already had a lot of baggage.

    Back to the point: ridicule…narcissistic devaluing…levied at marginalized adolescent peers. It makes them incredibly vulnerable to suicidal ideation and substance abuse.

    Christians shouldn’t confront this as a political two step.

  • Pianomankugie

    To say that being against bullying is the same as being pro-gay is totally illogical. If I am against eating apples does that make me for eating pears?

    Now if someone is against an anti-bullying program because that particular program also is (or is perceived to be ) pro-gay, then they have let their anti-gay feelings trump the need for the anti-bullying program. Not good.

    And if someone insists that an anti-bullying program also be explicitly pro-gay, they are letting their pro-gay feelings also trump the need for the anti-bullying program. Not good.

    Can we not be explicitly against all bullying, including being against the bullying of gay or perceived gay students, without there being any relevance at all to whether we personally are pro-gay, anti-gay, or indifferent to the private lives of others?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Apologies for the Jennings “distraction.” Someone without his baggage in that post would be in a position to be more proactive and perhaps make a difference. It is what it is and it is germane. And it’s government as usual, which is why I wonder how much good passing the Safety Act now before Congress will actually do. Programs are meaningless without teeth.

    It will take real people, parents in particular, and students themselves, taking this bull by the horns and wrestling it to the ground to solve the bullying problem. Someone standing up and saying, “This is my school, and I am not going to allow a few errant students to hijack it,” will carry tremendous weight. Gay indoctrination is entirely another subject, as is Christian discrimination. The two issues can and should be separated.

  • stephen

    Apart from being being smeared by the right because he’s gay what is this baggage carried by Mr. Jennings?

    There is no such thing as ‘gay indoctrination’. Much of the mischief here is caused by the mistaken idea that one can somehow be ‘recruited’ into the ‘gay lifestyle’.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Stephen, it’s recruitment, so-to-speak, to the cause (that gay is OK) and not the feeling of being gay that is being referred to (unless you live in Uganda).

    The discussion of Jennings’ baggage (Google his name) has been censured here, but Warren devoted a blog post to it a while back, as he said.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    This is what Focus on the Family would consider an ideal anti-bullying policy:

    12. Bullying – “Bullying” refers to overt, repeated acts or gestures by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate or harm the other student. “Bullying” includes, but is not limited to, verbal or written communications that are transmitted, physical acts that are committed, or any other behaviors committed. Any student who believes he/she is being bullied should report the incident to a building administrator immediately.

    It makes no mention of any classifications of victims, it defines bullying in a way so as to de-emphasize any culture of oppression, and it recognizes no need for support or protection. Teachers are not mentioned, there is no one whose job it is to observe, track or oppose bullying, and the onus is on the victim to take action.

    And it was exactly as effective as such policies are: not at all.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Stephen,

    As Debbie hinted at, many conservative Christians believe that it is the duty of Christian kids to create and support a culture of disapproval towards homosexuality. They believe that it is a matter of faith that they must never take a position that accepts homosexuality as an reputable part of society.

    And thus you run into a dilemma.

    It is extremely difficult to tell a gay kid “don’t kill yourself” without also telling him that he’s OK. It is difficult to simultaneously cultivate a culture of disapproval towards homosexuality while also telling kids not to show contempt for homosexuals.

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

  • Debbie Thurman

    As Debbie hinted at, many conservative Christians believe that it is the duty of Christian kids to create and support a culture of disapproval towards homosexuality.

    How’s that? Where’s that?

    No one living today can “create a culture of disapproval” toward homosexuality. It has long existed, whether we like it or not. If Christians have any duty to fulfill relative to gays, it is to obey the commandment to love their neighbors as themselves. They also have a duty to protect the Church from the “leaven” of sin of all sorts. They are not given a mandate to protect the culture.

  • stephen

    Timothy,

    I realize that. If gays weren’t around they’d have to invent us. We’re so useful to them to define all the things they’re not. That’s the function of the school fag. Teenage boys can use him to define what they most fear about themselves and control it. One would have thought is a matter of simple human decency to protect all children. But apparently not. So this boy is dead and his death is used by some as an excuse for sniping at Kevin Jennings. And the efforts of gay groups and others to protect children becomes indoctrination and recruitment.

  • Frank

    Homosexuality is not a chosen condition. There is no right of Christians or anyone else for that matter to suppress knowledge of the existence of gay people any more than there is a right for secularists drive Christians back into catacombs.

    If homosexual orientation becomes an issue at a school, it is necessary to make a statement that gay students have a right to an education and to an environment conducive to that education. Anyone who contests these rights should have his or her parental rights revoke by child protective services.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Timothy Kincaid wrote:

    It is difficult to simultaneously cultivate a culture of disapproval towards homosexuality while also telling kids not to show contempt for homosexuals.

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    That’s it in a nutshell.

    Two more GLBT youths, both 15-year-old boys, have hanged themselves after enduring anti-gay bullying at school. The two deaths are just the latest in a long string of suicides linked to school anti-gay bullying. Earlier victims have been as young as 11.

    A news anchor at a CBS affiliate WCCO in Anoka, Minnesota, reported on Sept. 13 on the hanging death of 15-year old Justin Aaberg, a student in the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota, who had come out as gay two years earlier and endured anti-gay harassment at school. The anchor said that there had been “a record number of suicides” in the school district, “mostly among gay students.” The article cited a teacher–who commented anonymously for fear of reprisal–who said that he thought three of the students who had killed themselves were struggling with their sexuality.

    That’s what a “culture of disapproval” means. It’s one of deliberately instilled fear. To suppress via terror – of social sanction, of physical violence, of reprisal.

    Two Anoka-Hennepin School District teachers were accused last year of tag-teaming a student whom they harassed, insinuating that he was gay and embarrassing him in front of his classmates. The student, who was not gay, eventually transferred to another district and brought suit against Anoka-Hennepin. The district settled with him for $25,000. The teachers in the case were placed on leave, and remain on leave currently, the WCCO report said.

    Yes, you get “collateral damage” too. Kids who aren’t even gay suffer the same fate. Not just from other kids, but from teachers.

    I’m certain FotF don’t want this to happen. But they consider it an acceptable price to pay, just as they do the deaths of gay kids.

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    Exactly.

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman…. No one living today can “create a culture of disapproval” toward homosexuality.

    Then how are kids getting goaded by bullying into committing suicide?

  • Eddy

    The Anoka-Hennepin school district is not noted for being a hotbed of conservative Christianity. I maintain that as long as we continue to view anti-gay bullying through such a narrow lens–always trying to ascribe the blame to those nasty conservative Christians–our efforts to resolve the bullying crisis will miss their mark.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Lynn David, it would be helpful if you would read an entire thought rather than reposting and rendering incomplete judgment on only half of it.

    Eddy makes a valid point. The “culture of disapproval” eclipses the borders of evangelicalism and goes to what many view as a violation of natural law.

    Are kids going so far as to goad each other into suicide (“Go ahead, jump!”)? Are parents saying gay students have no right to an education? Hyperbole. But I can see that the net results may look the same.

    In this world, there always has been and always be a pecking order, especially among kids, that places “the other” outside the circle and starves it. It’s an evil manifestation of our fallen nature. The very Christian faith that is denigrated here is really the only solution to moderating such base behavior.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    From some who have been through the system:

    I am a 1984 graduate of Anoka Sr. High school. It is depressing to see that NOTHING has changed in this district. I moved from the Anoka area shortly after graduation to a more rural area. Surprisingly, the people in the more rural area are more accepting of gays and lesbians.

    Other targets of bullies that I recall were any minority students and students in special education programs,regardless of why such students may be in those programs. Although Anoka had many wonderful teachers, there were some who were just horrible and fostered an environment of intolerance for those who did not “fit in”. Wealthy white students and their families ruled the social structure of the schools and the community.

    I graduated in 88 from Anoka’s sister school Blaine Sr High. It really is a strange area in some ways. I basically coparented a boy (straight) with my best friend, he graduated from Anoka Senior High in 2007. He and his friends had no problems accepting me. Though I should point out that this same friend has a niece who is mixed race and her car was set on fire in the high school parking lot. But I think the main issue there, is that there is a very strong Evangelical Christian presence in that whole area. It swept through the neighborhood I grew up in the early 80s like a tidal wave. Today I still have some minimal contact with old family friends from those days who actually had Michelle Bachman at their daughters wedding, and not any of us atheists :O. Evangelical Christianity is frankly very very harmful IMO, and the root cause of the problems here.

    BTW not mentioned here is taht there is a shadow group formed in the district that is actively opposing any anti-bullying programs that mention GLBT. and they have the nerve to act like they are the ones being picked on.

    I myself have no idea about the situation. I live in Australia. Furthermore, those comments were from a site far to the Left of myself. I don’t see Evangelistic Christianity is by its nature harmful – there are too many counter-examples, like our esteemed host, Dr T.

    Nonetheless, I believe that these comments are substantially true. That there is a strong Evangelical presence that supports FotF’s stance on bullying of gay kids : that cultivating a culture of disapproval of homosexuality is even more important than ensuring the safety of kids perceived to be gay. Furthermore, that they think their whole way of life, their society, their religion and the nation itself is under direct attack from those who disagree.

    That, as Rep Sally Kern has said, Gays are a bigger threat to the USA than Islamic Terrorists. They feel threatened, that they are the ones being persecuted, and are only acting in self-defence. Typical narcissism.

  • Eddy

    I believe Zoe demonstrates my point rather well. After providing the two block quotes, Zoe says

    :

    Nonetheless, I believe that these comments are substantially true. That there is a strong Evangelical presence that supports FotF’s stance on bullying of gay kids

    Now, please go back and read the first block quote. Where is the mention of conservative or evangelical Christianity?

    Note two things: 1) The other principle targets of the bullies were minorities and kids in special ed. (Are we to assume that conservative or evangelical Christians are behind the bullying of minorities? of kids in special ed?) 2) The conclusion was that the perps were ‘wealthy white students and their families’.

    Zoe has provided two in person accounts, both subjective, and one views the perpetrators as wealthy whites and the other views them as evangelical Christians.

    I maintain that as long as we continue to view anti-gay bullying through such a narrow lens–always trying to ascribe the blame to those nasty conservative Christians–our efforts to resolve the bullying crisis will miss their mark.

  • David Blakeslee

    “A culture of disapproval”

    What a great phrase.

    It is amorphous…and without blame. No target.

    Social mores are often the extension of religious belief and profound personal experiences accumulated over time…and handed down both actively and passively through each generation.

    The sexual revolution generally has been an attack on these social mores using the rule of “exception.” This involves taking the stereotype of the well rooted Social Mores and turning it on its ear with individual accounts which clearly differ from the stereotype.

    The second step is to encourage compassion for these outliers (or it may turn out to be quite common stories which make up a new stereotype).

    The third step is to imply both overtly and covertly that religious dogma is both outdated and bigoted.

    All of this has been applied to the heterosexual transformation of social mores over the last 50 years.

    It is completely reasonable that members of the LGBT use this same model to have the same freedom that heterosexuals have earned by “deconstructing” social mores…or a “culture of disapproval.”

  • David Blakeslee

    …and what I have not said that I need to add.

    Christian values become the clear target as Christianity per say is part of the root cause of these social mores (I have argued before that attributing anti-gay sentiment in culture to Christianity is a simplistic view and poorly formulated by the secularist).

    Even though bullies, tormentors and perpetrators are often not practicing Christians.

    Christians speak out about their values and they are conflated with criminals.

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren,

    Isn’t it more reasonable to view anti-gay bullying as a function of sadism (a clear non-Christian value)…furthermore that those who engage in it are trying to bolster a weak sense of self, both personally and sexually?

    The pleasure that the bully gets has little to do with religious faith (although it could) and more with the emotional jolt associated with victimizing a vulnerable person who emulates for the bully, his own self-hated weaknesses (which must be denied).

    The emotional charge is powerful, but temporary, and needs to be compulsively repeated in order to allay the inner terrors of the bully.

    THAT is why it is so dangerous to the victim and why the bully must be stopped. It is compulsive and sadistic.

    It is why, perhaps, Matthew Shepard’s murder was so brutal.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    stephen,

    Yes, some do see any mention of anti-bullying program as a platform to rail against “gay indoctrination”. Sometimes it is effective at derailing the conversation, other times not so much.

    I would say that this particular time it was effective. Notice how we are no longer talking about bullying but instead defending evangelicals and talking about social mores.

    Dead kids? Not nearly as important as protecting society from any acceptance of gay people.

  • Eddy

    Correction: We were no longer talking about the real issue of bullying but were bashing evangelicals instead.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    “A culture of disapproval”

    What a great phrase.

    It came out of an exchange with Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute after she wrote a piece in which she said:

    Dr. Throckmorton believes that “Christian students should be leading the way to make schools safe and build bridges to those who often equate ‘Christian’ with condemnation.” In this statement, Dr. Throckmorton glaringly omits the truth that Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct. And to those who view homosexuality as moral, this necessary Christian condemnation of homosexual behavior renders homosexual students unsafe.

    She bristled when I equated that sentiment to endorsement of bullying. In my follow up, I noted Laurie’s objections:

    This is why they fight so hard against the Day of Silence and Gay-Straight Alliances. Not because of sex, but because these groups help counter the culture of disapproval and condemnation.

    Because what Laurie wants more than anything is that the culture and society be dominated by disapproval and rejection of gays. Not gay sex, but gay identity.

    Laurie said that I “hit the nail on the head.”

    Whenever i hear of anti-bullying programs being equated to “gay indoctrination”, I recall this conversation. It really is about a culture of disapproval.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I suspect that very few of the kids doing the physical bashing are actively Christian, evangelical or otherwise. And those most actively engaged in consistent bullying are probably not predominantly religious kids either.

    But they do – or their parents, pastors, and church family do – foster, and cultivate a culture of disapproval and condemnation. And that is both unfortunate and unChristian.

  • Eddy

    Oh Lordy. Another pet phrase to contend with: culture of disapproval. (Ironically, it’s a buzz phrase that indicates a judgement/disapproval of evangelicals.) As for me, I’ll try to continue to talk in plain English. Funny how we want one side to avoid speaking in Christianese and yet don’t apply that to the other side.

    Yes, most conservative Christians do disapprove of homosexuality. Some of them even disapprove of it disproportionately. But 1) disapproval and condemnation are not one and the same and 2) to presume that the conservatives are a culture of disapproval is tantamount to presuming that gays are a culture of hedonistic pursuit…it may be true of some but it is very offensive to presume it’s true of all or most.

  • Mary

    bashing evangelicals

    A rose is a rose is a rose.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    I’m amused that you have declared that “it’s a buzz phrase that indicates a judgement/disapproval of evangelicals.” Really? Is it?

    If you read my comment immediately preceding yours, you would know that this is not a “pet phrase”. In fact, those reading here on Warren’s site saw it first.

    But you’ve already decided that it means judgment of you.

    Projecting much?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    By the way, in

    Timothy Kincaid# ~ Sep 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    “A culture of disapproval”

    What a great phrase.

    That should have been in quotes. It was a cut and paste from David Blakeslee’s comment

  • Debbie Thurman

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    Timothy, you said that, and then Zoe repeated it. No, Eddy is not projecting at all.

  • Mary

    How can we expect children to do any better than what we model here? The answer is not continued bickering, blaming, or pointing fingers and laughing at the other. Does anyone have an idea as to how to solve these issues that exist even amongst oursleves?

  • Eddy

    LOL. Yes, Debbie is correct. David was quoting Timothy. The close of Timothy’s post directed to Stephen ended with:

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    And, the phrase has been used 11 times on this thread since Timothy introduced it…seems like a ‘buzz phrase in the making’.

    And then there’s the insistence on crossing the line into the personal. My comments went to the phrase itself and how it impacted dialogue. Response though included:

    But you’ve already decided that it means judgment of you.

    Projecting much?

    Where did I say that it means a judgement of me? I suggested that it implied judgement of evangelical or conservative Christians. While it’s true that either or both of those labels might apply to me; nothing in what I wrote suggests that I take the phrase as a personal judgement.

    Makes me wonder WHO is projecting….

  • Lynn David

    Mary…. Does anyone have an idea as to how to solve these issues that exist even amongst oursleves?

    One could go back several thousand years to correct the misconceptions that have been ingrained in human societies. Got a time machine?

    Or humans could start using that brain that they so proudly claim raises themselves above the animal instead of working in the instinctual level of the animal.

    Eddy…. Oh Lordy. Another pet phrase to contend with: culture of disapproval. (Ironically, it’s a buzz phrase that indicates a judgement/disapproval of evangelicals.)

    Since our American culture (and that of the world at large) is surely a mix of religions, why must you assume that the phrase only applies to evangelicals?

  • Mary

    We can start by avoiding the self centered commenting and focusing on how to keep children safe.

    Something like, a remark that does not encourage is not allowed.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Does anyone have an idea as to how to solve these issues that exist even amongst oursleves?

    I gave it a shot yesterday:

    The very Christian faith that is denigrated here is really the only solution to moderating such base behavior.

    I know of no better way to deal with human nature than seeking to instill faith-based morals in our kids. As we have discussed here before, morality does not come out of a vacuum.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Oh, Lordy.

    So, back to the subject at hand. I think perhaps its time for those who want to change the subject to go on record.

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

    Anyone care to join me?

    Eddy?

    Debbie?

  • Eddy

    LynnDavid–

    Sorry, I’m only in this conversation and only speaking to its use as a buzz phrase here.(I do make tremendous effort to ‘stay in the room’…) So I’m speaking to that usage–as it first appeared:

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    as it was elaborated upon by Zoe:

    That there is a strong Evangelical presence that supports FotF’s stance on bullying of gay kids : that cultivating a culture of disapproval of homosexuality is even more important than ensuring the safety of kids perceived to be gay.

    Laurie Higgins (as quoted by Timothy) and then Timothy popped in again with:

    And those most actively engaged in consistent bullying are probably not predominantly religious kids either.

    But they do – or their parents, pastors, and church family do – foster, and cultivate a culture of disapproval and condemnation.

    You closed with:

    Since our American culture (and that of the world at large) is surely a mix of religions, why must you assume that the phrase only applies to evangelicals?

    Are you suggesting that that it actually is becoming a more globally used buzz-phrase and that it’s proper usage only applies to conservative (for want of a better word) religious folks whether they be Christian or other?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    Thanks for the trail on the terminology.

    Now, do you agree with the following?

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    No, I don’t care to join you in your statement. To me it’s a bandaid trying heroically to cover a wound that requires more. And, many people, once they see that a bandaid has been applied, will assume that the issue has been addressed. I’m going to hold hope for treatment that will address the issue more comprehensively. And I’ll also hold hope for a ‘care team’ that actually models the respect that they are trying to encourage in the youth they want to impact.

  • Lynn David

    I’m saying your vaunted evangelicals aren’t the only fish in the American cultural sea.

    Hows that for a mixed metaphor?

  • Mary

    Oh my goodness! Look at us!

  • Eddy

    LOL. And I’m saying that they were the only fish presented on today’s menu. And that’s what I was addressing.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    No, I don’t care to join you in your statement.

    Thank you for responding. That helps put your other comments in context.

    Lynn David?

    Mary?

    Debbie?

    David Blakeslee?

    Anyone else want to weigh in on whether you can support the following statement?

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

  • Eddy

    LOL. Not sure how my last response helped you with the context of my other remarks. I thought their context was already pretty clear from the get-go and I only echoed it again. But, hey, if it helped you get a grasp on what I’m saying then ‘cool’.

    I maintain that as long as we continue to view anti-gay bullying through such a narrow lens–always trying to ascribe the blame to those nasty conservative Christians–our efforts to resolve the bullying crisis will miss their mark.

  • Mary

    I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

    I oppose bullying for ANY reason. So this statment needs to be stronger and broader. It’s not just gay kids or percieved gay kids being picked on. A short trip through this blog and one can see the kinds of disagreeements that are separating people.

    If we were kids again, how would we handle it?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    That’s why I used the word “including”

    I very much doubt that anyone here objects to discussing race-based bullying or religion-based bullying. But before we go any further on off track I want to flush out the real positions of people. So I’ll go right back to my original language – the language that matters to this discussion.

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

  • Eddy

    Mary–Well said! I’ve been trying through the course of our conversations re bullying to remember what it was like. I remember the high school bullying–when the taunts went towards sexuality–but I also remember the grade school bullying before any of our hormones had kicked in.

    The intolerance for difference…the singling out of the smaller, the weaker. And what was in it for the bully? Why did he (usually he) feel the need to bully? What, if anything, could address this problem at its core?

    (I had written more but realized how easily it could be misconstrued and, since that’s the flavor of the day, I opted to delete it…at least for now. Time to head out for the evening.)

  • Debbie Thurman

    I also am opposed to all bullying and support addressing that in schools. If schools want to spell out every reason they can think of under the sun that a kid may be bullied, let them do that.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    Is that a yes?

  • Mary

    If we are going to mention one reason then we have to mention all. But I caution, that gay is the soup de jour. What kind of statment can encompass a civil conduct that will work today as well as in the future.

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    Girls bully just as much and it can get very mean. But I think you’ve got a good start. what can we do when faced with the intolerance of difference.

    Have a good night.

  • Lynn David

    Well Timothy, I’m for naming every reason enumerated that someone might have to seek to force another person down. I’ve been beat up once for being Roman Catholic and a few times for being gay when I was young. Stung the same no matter what the reason, physically, that is. But bulllying certainly weighs more on your mind when you are gay.

  • Lynn David

    Pardon my grammar, I think I’m thinking in French.

    Or just drop the word “enumerated.”

  • Mary

    Bullying wieghs on the mind of the victim regardless of the reason. Just because ur gay does not mean that is the worst reason to be bullied. Getting pushed, shoved, kicked, picked on, made fun of, ostracised etc…etc.. for ANY reason really hurts.

  • David Blakeslee

    I think the focus on evangelicals and fundamentalists as perpetrators is a second kind of abuse…

    If the perpetrators are non-religious haters (something Timothy quickly agrees to) who are preying on the weak and the vulnerable…simpler to just confront them.

    Easy to identify through their behavior, rather than slandering all evangelicals or fundamentalists at a public school.

    It has always been about Narcissistic devaluing and marginalizing the weak and the vulnerable…that is something we all agree upon, I think.

    Timothy?

    Eddy?

    Debbie?

    Lynn David?

    Mary?

    I wish we could agree that such bullying is sadistic in nature and compulsively rewarding for the perpetrator…making it exponentially more dangerous for the victim the longer it goes on.

    Secondly, I wish Christians would stand as protectors.

  • Stephen

    I think this is a bigger problem in the States than elsewhere because of the terrific pressures on kids to conform to social norms. I didn’t go to school here and find the peer pressures very strange. Proms? Cheerleaders? Frat houses? Doesn’t happen elsewhere. Of course the pressures to conform in American society in general are fierce and Americans get very uneasy going against the grain. And other societies have different structures and not that there aren’t great things about the country, I daresay personal freedoms are more generous but the pressure not to make use of them is formidable. My point is do we know how much this happens for example in France, or Sweden, or Denmark, or the UK? That might teach us more about how to deal with it here.

  • David Blakeslee

    It seems odd, from a cultural perspective, to devalue those who practice a particular religion which is adaptive and healthy and tolerant to dissuade people who are anti-social from abusing the weak and the vulnerable.

    Religious practice is positively associated with a number of health indicators.

    Frankly, marginalizing those who practice religiously as haters and bigots seems a distortion of their religious practice.

    I am not sure I am saying this as clear as I would like.

    If I apply it to heterosexuality it might be easier: We have paid a high price for marginalizing religious beliefs in our culture when it came to sexuality for heterosexuals. At the time those who opposed changing those beliefs were mocked as Victorian, Puritans and Pharisees.

    Maybe somebody else can help me articulate this better, sincerely.

  • Mary

    I wish we could agree that such bullying is sadistic in nature and compulsively rewarding for the perpetrator…making it exponentially more dangerous for the victim the longer it goes on.

    Secondly, I wish Christians would stand as protectors

    Yup!

  • Lynn David

    Mary….. Bullying wieghs on the mind of the victim regardless of the reason. Just because ur gay does not mean that is the worst reason to be bullied. Getting pushed, shoved, kicked, picked on, made fun of, ostracised etc…etc.. for ANY reason really hurts.

    Not necessarily, Mary. As a Roman Catholic youth I had family, friends, a parish and faith to back me up. As a young gay person, I had no one in support (this was back in the late 60s) and I would imagine that could still be true for some youth today.

  • Mary

    Lynn David,

    Yes, necessarily. Children are bullied because they are fat, stupid, poor, ugly, smell, wear weird cltohes etc… Really – it does not matter how much support you may have, being bullied really hurts. It is not just gay children who suffer. My goodness! There is no special class of individual who gets more hurt than the kid who gets hurt! Saying it is because someone is gay really diminishes the harm and experiences of others who suffer. I suppose the suicide of that young girl who was mocked on FB wasn’t really hurting as bad you ever have hurt?

    Back to the issue of solving the problem. Is there a statement that is broad enough and strong enough to be inclusive of all individuals whether they are the bullied or the bully?

  • Lynn David

    Mary…. I thought you were speaking directly to my post that came before yours concerning religious bullying vs. bullying one who is gay. That is what I was considering with my comment.

  • Eddy

    Just got in from karaoke…it’s late and I’m tired BUT…when I saw there were 14 posts while I was out, I was almost afraid to start reading. I’m glad I got over my fear. Oh my goodness! It appears that an actual conversation (exchange of ideas) is occurring. Thanks to all who have contributed.

    LynnDavid: I appreciated your comments about the bullying you experienced. While you did experience bullying both for being Roman Catholic and for being gay, your point about the gay abuse being somehow tougher is a valid point worth exploring.

    Mary: Your itemization of the various reasons (apart from race and sexuality) that are used as excuses for bullying also rounds out the picture.

    David: I think you are saying that it is an unfair generalization to lay the responsibility for bullying of gays (or for fixing it) on religious people. Especially, when, at the same time, the tendency is to mock religious values. 1) Those identified as ‘goody two shoes’ are also bullied. 2) The prevailing sentiment behind the anti-bullying programs seems to be weighted with the presumption that religious belief is the underlying cause of bullying directed at gays.

    Timothy: You weren’t a part of the fourteen but my #2 addressed to David probably best describes the resistance that bloggers here have to the statement(s) you wanted agreement to. While your statements are sound and agreeable taken at face value, we happen to be an informed group. We know that an actual anti-bullying program is more than your statement that would take less than a minute to deliver to a high school assembly. Even when you list all the ‘targets of bullying’, you’ve still got little more than a minute. The concern is what goes on…what’s said…what’s inferred in the remainder of the anti-bullying session.

    I’m not sure if this blogsite is truly representative but, if it is, it would seem that the remaining 29 to 50 minutes (depending on the length of the session devoted to anti-bullying) would involve a whole lot of speculation as to motive. And it appears that a whole lot of that speculation is misdirected at religious conservatives. The notion that ‘they call it sin…they call it wrong…and that fuels the bullies’ is way too simplistic. Those same religious conservatives (touching on what David said) regard heterosexual fornication as sin and wrong…yet bullying for those reasons is non-existent. Other behaviors are also denounced as sin and wrong (culture of disapproval?) without resulting in bullying.

    We are–or can be–a think tank. Let’s move beyond the simplistic and dare to explore the complexity that lies before us. Bullying sucks!!!! Big time! Those of us who have been its victims cannot fully express how it affected and shaped our lives. I’d wind up in the nurses office several times a year physically sick over my fears of gym class. I loved school…loved learning but dreaded moments when I wasn’t surrounded by friends and was thus vulnerable to attacks. But friends had their own school day to follow and couldn’t be there for me at every moment. Bullies were famous for being sneaky…like some National Geographic special, they were quick to pounce on the vulnerable one who wound up on the edge of the herd. Quite frankly, there’s enough going on in a day at school that no one’s principal concern ought to be devoted to ‘how to stay in the middle of the herd’. And, the unfairness of it all is a further insult…a further injustice. In almost every circumstance that I’ve ever heard of, the bullying victims (yes, including the gay ones) have generally been a person of a higher caliber than the bully. Emotionally and intellectually they strike me as ‘better’ than the bully. I realize that that may come across as a generalization but I can’t bring myself to delete it now that I’ve said it. If it is a generalization, it’s one I strongly believe.

    Sorry…I feel I’ve gone off on a rant. Perhaps it’s best I honor my overdue bedtime.

  • Michael BUssee

    Does NARTH still cite Joseph Berger as an expert advisor? Does Exodus still believe that Anti-bullying programs are a “tool to crush Christian evangelism”? I have not checked in awhile, but in light of this tragedy, it would be interesting to know.

  • Michael Bussee

    And it appears that a whole lot of that speculation is misdirected at religious conservatives. The notion that ‘they call it sin…they call it wrong…and that fuels the bullies’ is way too simplistic. Those same religious conservatives (touching on what David said) regard heterosexual fornication as sin and wrong…yet bullying for those reasons is non-existent. Other behaviors are also denounced as sin and wrong (culture of disapproval?) without resulting in bullying.

    Like Eddy, when it comes to schoolyard bullying, I am also curious as to why there is such animosity towards guys who seem to be or are gay, but not towards straight guys who fornicate with chicks. Is the special fear, digust — even hatred of gays inborn or learned? Some of both? If it’s learned, who teaches it?

    Straight fornication is often regarded by male peers as a badge of emerging manhood, a riate of passage. “Scoring” gets a “high-five” or a “way to go, dude” — not name calling, bullying or a punch in the face. What is it about real or percieved homosexuality that elicits such responses?

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

    I completely support this statement, but I suspect Exodus would not want sexual orientation mentioned specifically for fear that such a statement could be used to “crush Christian evangelism”.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    Rather than getting caught up in the politics of bullying and what Exodus or NARTH or any other organization says, can we as a group focus on the solution? And instead of worrying about who or what may have interupted the progress of bullying statutes, let real people – that would be us in this conversation, work on putting together a workable solution.

    Lynn David,

    Thanks for the clarification. I think many of us can take our own personal experiences and then think about the children who were pushed to suicide – since so far we were not. We never felt as shamed, humiliated, crushed, defeated as did they – obviously.

    Whenever a child is prompted to suicide (and in this discussion through bullying) it is horrible. Regardless of why that child was bullied.

    We need a strong, broad, and progressive statment – that will work today as well as in the future. Something that promotes civility towards others – all others. This means we have to negotiate with those whom we may disagree or have a different religious background or theology.

    We can start by agreeing like Eddy said “Bullying sucks!”

    Or as Bill and Ted said ” Be excellent to each other!”

  • Eddy

    We’re only beginning to discuss possibilities but I believe that the special fear/disgust/hatred needs to be examined more closely. One way would be to recognize that the three words are not synonymous and do not always travel together. One bully might be responding out of fear; another out of disgust and still another out of hatred. And it’s also possible that the motivator is ‘none of the above’. Their real reason for bullying is simply that they ARE a bully; they found a person who can’t or won’t fight back and who isn’t surrounded by others who can fight back. But the bully needs to justify their actions (to themselves? to others?). And they feel that ‘gay’ justifies it.

    I also believe that a closer look would demonstrate that, even at times when anti-gay epithets are used, the real motivation isn’t orientation at all. Nowadays, you call someone ‘queer’ and it’s sexual…but the word ‘queer’ originally meant ‘odd’ or ‘different’. It was used so often against gays that many even embraced the term. The word ‘gay’ seems to be morphing in the opposite direction. For the last half century, it’s primary meaning was sexual but now it is taking on a meaning among the young that means little more than ‘odd’ or ‘different’.

    At the moment, I do not see the value in discussing either Narth or Exodus and their take on anti-bullying programs. Neither group has been discussed in this thread up til now; neither group has a spokesperson present in the conversation.

  • stephen

    The kids aren’t bullied because they’re gay but because they don’t fit the norms, either of gender, class, race (the bookish, well-spoken black boy doesn’t do so well either), class, appearance, etc. The boys and girls bullied for being gay most often don’t fit cultural ideas of how their gender should look or behave. The bullies are acting for the greater society. They’re not necessarily aberrant or deranged or evil. If we view them as such we don’t see what’s going on, though we do shift the responsibility off our own shoulders. Bullies are policing the boundaries set by us. They act on the signals they receive from their parents and from others in the society in which they live, which is usually pretty small. A teenager’s world is usually pretty circumscribed, particularly in the smaller towns of the US. They don’t invent its boundaries but they do learn how to take their place in the adult world by defining to themselves where those boundaries lie and who must be made outcasts because they don’t fit in. But we define the boundaries. If the kids pick on others it’s because we want them to.

    So does this happen in other countries? Or is this really an American phenomenon like pistols in the A&P and for-profit hospitals and prisons?

    The question isn’t whether we include one particular set of children. The question is how can we continue to exclude them.

  • Mary

    I suppose we can look at motivations for bullying though I think the range is far and wide. Whether it is fear, hatred, anger, or just plain sadism at work – bullying has a similar focus and intent – to harm another person for being “other” than you.

  • Mary

    In reconsideration, we can take a three path approach to eliminating bullying.

    1) Focus on the immediate needs of the victims to eliminate the practice – a just knock it off policy sort of speak

    2) Provide guidance for those who have been bullied

    3)Provide guidance for those who have engaged in bullying and really delve into the solution of handling why a person is motivated to harm another and focus on bringing a positive response.

  • Mary

    If the kids pick on others it’s because we want them to

    So we have to focus on our model behavior. What are our actions and words saying to others about those who believe and act differently than we do? Is another person bringing real or percieved “harm, danger or threat” to our lives.

    Can we accept a civil boundary that allows each to his own without imposing a damage onto another?

  • Eddy

    Mary–

    I’d add at least one more step. Instill a sense of ‘I am my brother’s keeper’ in the rest of the students. Define ‘brother’ as in ‘the brotherhood of man’ . Provide examples of how this would play out in various bullying situtations.

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    While that has reiligous overtone to it, I think we can find that in most belief systems a similar philosphy and that would be a good motivating factor for promoting goodwill towards others.

  • Evan

    It’s encouraging that commenters have moved beyond the Christians vs gays explanation and are looking into more basic causes. I think David Blakeslee is right in his characterisation of the bully and other commenters asked some good questions on what would be the right approach to tackle bullies.

    I would say that I doubt kids have a full grasp of the meaning of the many labels they apply to those kids they reject or bully. Kids’ worlds are like games within games, reflecting adults’ worlds in their ‘serious game.’ So I think they pick up from the adults’ wordosphere whatever they find threatening enough to use against those they perceive as weak or unusual.

    Do bullies only bully the gender nonconformist? I think not. What about the boys who like to bully girls, to make girls feel scared of them? This might actually lead to them either being traumatised or imprinted by the experience, which may make some girls attracted in the future to misbehaving boys. Something similar may happen with the presumably future gay boys.

    Given the motivation that many boys have to exercise their domination, it may be that not all acts of bullying are motivated by something defective in their self or in their home environment. I remember when I was a boy, together with other boys from my neighbourhood we used to enjoy defeating girls, taunting them and sometimes chasing them. Were we defective? We had no idea why we were doing this but it felt so exciting. So if an adult came out and punished us, we wouldn’t understand either why we should refrain from doing that. But we’d feel frustrated, slightly threatened and angry to retaliate.

    What policy in the world could curb that motivation? Shaming: may work in some, may deter even more, but the bullying can continue on other fronts. Punishment: works only once and later if the memory brings it back, but much weaker. Incentives to join those kids in common activities, to get more familiar with them: might work better, but there’s no guarantee that it will continue to work into adulthood too. Retaliation: that’s the mother of all cures, because fear is the most powerful deterrent and whoever is taught to go beyond fear puts himself on the same footing with the aggressor, but those who make policies want to shape good kids. So retaliation is out of the question.

    Since it’s important for society to shape good kids, who don’t pick on others and are respectful of others and considerate, probably a mix of the first would work better.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    I agree that a multi-faceted approach is the one that can be successful. The point of this and several recent posts is that some Christian groups want to remove one facet from the approach. They want to keep educators from naming one of the possible problems. This is not realistic.

  • David Blakeslee

    It appears we have lost Timothy for a while, I hope he returns and can comment on how bullies “are not Christians” either practicing or well informed. He has earlier, but I would welcome a more detailed response.

    Furthermore, focusing on Christianity is a distraction (Focusing on Lousy Christian Leaders is Not!)…it is important to turn the fellowship against this leadership.

    From Mary : KNOCK IT OFF! sounds like a simple and good confrontational policy about bullying. Short, to the point. Easily modeled by children. These needs to be followed up with faculty about referral for mental health services for victims and sanctions against bullies in school.

    Christianity as practiced in the US has been the key to so many transformations of bigotry, hatred and marginalization in this culture…it is certainly up to the tiny task of school bullying.

    It is about sadism…especially when practiced by Fred Phelps.

  • Eddy

    Warren said:

    The point of this and several recent posts is that some Christian groups want to remove one facet from the approach. They want to keep educators from naming one of the possible problems. This is not realistic.

    I am not absolutely sure of this but the sense I get is that we are caught up in some serious miscommunication. There are a few (and thank God only a very few) Christians who actually seem to think that bullying gays is a good thing…that they somehow deserve it or invite it. I honestly don’t know how to communicate with them or if they are worth the time and effort. However, I believe that most who appear to be against ‘naming one of the possible problems’ are actually against something larger (whether it actually exists or not). They believe that anti-bullying programs are being championed by pro-gays and that the program influence goes much farther than just ‘naming one of the possible problems’. As even this conversation has indicated, there’s an undercurrent of 1) laying a good deal of the blame for bullying on the religious and 2) there’s an underlying message (as Timothy noted) that the simple expression of disapproval (i.e. calling it ‘sin’ or ‘wrong’) is a major contributing factor to the bullying.

    Speaking in terms of what’s realistic…I don’t believe it’s realistic to lay ‘a good deal of the blame for bullying on the religious’. As I’ve already said, I feel that’s way too simplistic and is off the mark. Further, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect religious people to go silent about things they believe to be wrong or sinful.

    Does the latter leave us without recourse? without talking points? I don’t think so. I believe that the religious can be compelled to see their own hypocrisy. The crowd of ‘bullies’ threw the ‘woman caught in adultery’ at Jesus’ feet and Jesus stood up to her accusers. While it’s true that he also said ‘Go and sin no more’, the sense was that his defense of her wasn’t conditional. In other words, if she hadn’t turned from her behavior, there is nothing to indicate that Jesus would have turned her back over to the bullies. What’s more significant is that Jesus took the opportunity to say “Hey! You’re sinners too! Let the one of you who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to unite our voices on that message because we sidetrack into whether it is or isn’t sin. If only we could say, ‘It doesn’t matter whether it is or isn’t sin, bullying is inappropriate and Jesus provides a model response. Step up!’

    Back in the days when I was in full-time ministry, I cited how being bullied only strengthened my identification with the cause for which I was being bullied. (Bully me for being short and I develop increased solidarity with other short people. Bully me for being different…a geek or a nerd and I’ll likely bond more strongly with others who are different…who are geeks and nerds. Bullying is actually counter-productive if their goal is to change someone.)

  • Evan

    To Eddy:

    I think they would perceive your identification with the victim as part of a mentality of learned helplessness. People who play power games like to put others to test. If they don’t respond in kind, they must be one of ‘those.’ If they respond in kind, they’re ‘one of us.’

    Not being very considerate is part of wanting to put others to test. Catch 22.

    You either get out of it by being tested or remain one of them. In a way, I think it comes with social competition.

  • Michael Bussee

    I agree that a multi-faceted approach is the one that can be successful. The point of this and several recent posts is that some Christian groups want to remove one facet from the approach” and want to keep educators from naming one of the possible problems. This is not realistic.

    I mentioned two organizations that believe they have solutions to the “gay issue”, but who “want to remove one facet from the (anti-bullying) approach”. They want to keep educators from naming one of the possible problems.” I think it’s important that all organizations Christian and non-Christian) that claim to care about gays and bullying adopt the “more realistic” approach.

    Neither organization may be in favor of bullying (I have no doubt that Exodus is oppposed to it, but I am not so sure about NARTH.) Neither group may have a spokesperson on this thread at present, but I know that Exodus reads Dr. Throckmorton — and I am praying that they reconsider their unrealistic approach.

  • David Blakeslee

    Here is another example, unrelated to gays, but highlighting minority status and vulnerability and sadism:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/dad-loses-cool-threatens-students-bus/story?id=11660119

    This father did what is understandable and defensible:

    “This young lady has been bullied since the first day of school. This is a new school for her. It was an overwhelming experience. She’s currently on suicide watch because of this matter. So we would just ask everyone to reserve judgment,” Alexander said.

  • Eddy

    but I know that Exodus reads Dr. Throckmorton — and I am praying that they reconsider their unrealistic approach.

    Okay…I’ll bite. What exactly IS the unrealistic approach that Exodus has? (I don’t think I’m really interested in debating it but I’m honestly not sure I know what their stance is beyond the anti-bullying statement that they posted.)

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

    The score so far of those who would specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation:

    YES: Timothy Kincaid, Michael Bussee, Warren Throckmorton, and maybe Debbie

    NO: Eddy

    REFUSING TO LET ANYONE KNOW: Mary, Evan, David Blakeslee

    I’m still interested in knowing. To me the rest of the talk is just avoidance until this question is answered.

  • David Blakeslee

    God bless you Timothy Kincaid.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David Blakeslee,

    I’ll address you:

    I think the focus on evangelicals and fundamentalists as perpetrators is a second kind of abuse…

    What do you mean? Are you saying that it is “abusive” to point out that evangelicals and fundamentalists are often instrumental in encouraging an anti-gay climate in public schools? Or are you saying something else?

    If the perpetrators are non-religious haters (something Timothy quickly agrees to) who are preying on the weak and the vulnerable…simpler to just confront them.

    Easy to identify through their behavior, rather than slandering all evangelicals or fundamentalists at a public school.

    No one is slandering evangelicals or fundamentalists.

    It has always been about Narcissistic devaluing and marginalizing the weak and the vulnerable…that is something we all agree upon, I think.

    No, it is about kids dying and when we try to help them, we have to fight against all of the people like Candi Cushman who wants to stop us.

    I wish we could agree that such bullying is sadistic in nature and compulsively rewarding for the perpetrator…making it exponentially more dangerous for the victim the longer it goes on.

    Yes. But it is also empowered and enabled by those who fight against anyone who wants to say, “the gay kids are okay, leave them alone.”

    Secondly, I wish Christians would stand as protectors.

    So do I. But I would settle for them getting out of the way and not hindering those who are already trying to protect kids.

    It seems odd, from a cultural perspective, to devalue those who practice a particular religion which is adaptive and healthy and tolerant to dissuade people who are anti-social from abusing the weak and the vulnerable.

    Ask gay kids if “those who practice a particular religion” are tolerant or “dissuade people who are anti-social from abusing the weak and the vulnerable.”

    I’m totally sincere. Ask them. I think you already know the answer, David.

    I think programs like Warren’s “Golden Rule Pledge” are indeed tolerant and dissuade people who are anti-social from abusing the weak and the vulnerable. Things like the “Day of Truth” actually contribute to the idea that gay kids are inferior and (being sinful) are legitimate targets.

    Which program is supported by most evangelical and fundamentalist leaders and organizations?

    Now, David, I think I’ve answered all of your specific questions. So let me tell you my point.

    I see gay kids dying. And I care.

    I see professionals trying to come up with programs to help the problem. I see that they are having success and I applaud them.

    I also see those who claim to speak for Christianity, morality, and decency who are fighting these programs for one and only one reason – because part of the message is that if a kid is gay then they are still okay, they are still “as good as” the student next to them, that they are a valued part of the community.

    And, as has been so clearly illustrated, some folks will fight tooth and toenail to keep “it’s okay to be gay” out of any anti-bullying message.

    But none of them fight any of the following messages:

    It’s okay to be African American, so don’t pick on Black kids

    It’s okay to be Hispanic, so don’t pick on Hispanic kids

    Now I know that some say “yes, but there is no morality component to those statements.”

    But they ALSO don’t object to:

    It’s okay to be Hindu, so don’t pick on Hindu kids

    It’s okay to be Muslim, so don’t pick on Muslim kids

    In fact, the ONLY thing that they object to at all – ever – is “It’s okay to be gay.” That’s it.

    You can worship graven images, no problem. But no one can dare tell the gay kids that it’s okay.

    And the crazy thing is that we aren’t talking about behavior here. Most of these kids have never so much as held hands with another person. But Candi Cushman – and everyone like her – opposes any message that tells this kid that they are okay.

    And I don’t care how much Christians talk about love, to the gay kid who hears that the parents in his school refuse to tell him that he’s okay, all he knows is that they hate him. They’d rather see him dead that tell him he’s okay.

    And what basis is there to tell him he’s wrong?

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    This is exactly the kind of statement that is unsupportable and offensive to the core:

    Are you saying that it is “abusive” to point out that evangelicals and fundamentalists are often instrumental in encouraging an anti-gay climate in public schools

    They are often instrumental in questioning the motives of anti-gay bullying programs.

    As Warren and I noted the the Montgomery paper, much of what passes for science, is actually facts fueled and distorted by advocacy groups. I think we agree that both sides have done this and this, in part is why skepticism exists.

    I think we agree on almost everything that follows (even though you say, No) until here:

    I’m totally sincere. Ask them. I think you already know the answer, David.

    I do ask them, routinely, I have many gay and lesbian friends of mine. I am a Christian. I stand up for them and support them as they face life on their terms with their choices. I have other Christian friends with even more from the GLBT community, and their attitude is about love and protection. Get out more Timothy.

    I think it is foolish culturally to smear a faith when the faith does not support that bullying behavior…we attack a large good for a small but important good, even though the large good is not responsible for the bad.

    It is fundamentally illogical and a possible explanation may go to the long held view by some on the Left that Religion, per se, is the enemy.

    I don’t know how “cut the baby” in half, Timothy (Solomon’s solution)…as Christianity has many views about sexuality that seem quite healthy and reasonable.

    I think a strong short-term solution that bi-passes all the politics is labeling it for what it is: sadistic, narcissistic, and compulsive (regardless of the target, there is no justification). Adults need to stand up in the school to protect kids.

    I know you don’t believe this:

    They’d rather see him dead that tell him he’s okay.

    Regarding your well thought out statement of Advocacy:

    I support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

    I would modify it as follows, making the last sentence more broad: I support such efforts including those who wish to denigrate, humiliate and marginalize based upon sexual behavior (cf, “slut”) or identification (cf., gay, lesbian and so on).

    We agree on a lot Timothy.

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    I do believe you’ve gone off the deep end in your attempt to bully people into a response to your statement. And, to me, your ‘either/or’ soapbox speeches are getting tiresome.

    The “I’m Timothy and I care that gay kids are dying and if you don’t endorse my statement then that means you don’t care” is pure bullshit! It’s a word I seldom use but I feel it’s entirely appropriate here.

    And I personally find this statement particularly audacious:

    To me the rest of the talk is just avoidance until this question is answered.

    You and I are clearly in disagreement on this one. I am very concerned about bullying, including the bullying of gay kids, and my comments reveal that despite your efforts to reduce them to a simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the statement you’ve crafted. I hear the heartfelt concerns of David, Evan, Steve, and Mary. I, for one, found that this conversation had taken one of the most positive turns ever noted on the Throck-blog…moving away from polarization and actually going the route of ‘constructive’. And you see that very same occurrence as ‘just avoidance’.

    And now I wonder. Does the will of Timothy trump all others? If the rest of us see value in continuing our talk in this new direction, will you allow it? You’ve now repeated your ‘yes’ or ‘no’ ultimatum five times so it is beginning to feel more like a demand than a request. My brain does tend towards thinking in themes…to some degree that may explain why I’m feeling like I’m standing up to a bully.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    This is exactly the kind of statement that is unsupportable and offensive to the core:

    Are you saying that it is “abusive” to point out that evangelicals and fundamentalists are often instrumental in encouraging an anti-gay climate in public schools

    They are often instrumental in questioning the motives of anti-gay bullying programs.

    Ken Hutcherson

    Candi Cushman

    Laurie Higgins

    any questions?

  • Eddy

    David–

    Could you clarify this statement?

    They are often instrumental in questioning the motives of anti-gay bullying programs

    .

    I’m thinking that you’ve got the hyphen in the wrong place. Bullying programs that are anti-gay? or people who are against ‘gay-bullying’ programs (which I presume to be programs that elevate bullying directed against gays over other targets of bullying)?

    No hurry…having a karaoke marathon this weekend so I’m heading out for the evening.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I do ask them, routinely, I have many gay and lesbian friends of mine. I am a Christian. I stand up for them and support them as they face life on their terms with their choices. I have other Christian friends with even more from the GLBT community, and their attitude is about love and protection. Get out more Timothy.

    I’m sure you do. But I didn’t say to ask your friends. I said

    Ask gay kids if “those who practice a particular religion” are tolerant or “dissuade people who are anti-social from abusing the weak and the vulnerable.”

    And you keep going on and on and on about how a faith is being smeared. I really don’t have any idea what you are talking about. Can you give me some concrete examples or what is worse that kids dying?

    I know you don’t believe this:

    They’d rather see him dead that tell him he’s okay.

    Either you haven’t talked to whom I’ve talked to or you don’t follow the news about bullying. I think that because you aren’t a raging loon you make the mistake of assuming that those who lead the battle against anti-bullying are also not raging loons.

    And thanks for answering the question. I”ll add you to the ‘yes’ list.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    And David, just to be clear

    MOST Christians, including most who oppose anti-bullying programs would never consciously choose dead kids over telling them that they are okay. Ultimately Christ’s message intervenes and they would back down immediately if they were ever convinced (as I am) that it often comes down to that choice.

    But consider the kid’s mindset.

    I don’t know if Billy Lucas was gay – that may only have been the impression of the other kids who picked on him.

    But take a same-sex attracted kid – or even some kid who may not be overly masculine who is wondering about his orientation at Greensburg High. There is no gay-straight alliance. There are no “safe place” classrooms. There is no teacher assigned to be a confidant. And if this kid doesn’t have a supportive parent (as Billy didn’t) then they literally have absolutely no adult at all – no one – telling them that they are okay.

    Can you imagine what it is like to be picked on and have absolutely no adult to turn to and absolutely no one countering the message that you are worthless.

    So, in that mindset, ask yourself what it would be like to hear that Christian Parents oppose a proposed anti-bullying program because it “promotes the homosexual agenda” and is “homosexual propaganda seeking to recruit children into a dangerous and immoral lifestyle.”

    What does that say to a kid?

    And let’s remember that on the day that Billy Lucas took his own life, he was told that he was gay and that he should go kill himself.

    As much as we wish (and oh how we wish) that some Christian kid had stood up for him, that didn’t happen.

  • Mary

    Oh my! Timothy I wrote very directly that I oppose bullying of ANY kind (that does speci9fically mean gay kids, too) I however, do not support a anti-bullying statement that separates out gay kids specifically.

  • Evan

    Timothy K,

    As an adult man, I am against kids being bullied, no matter for what reasons (when I was a kid I saw things differently). But I also think to some extent bullying is a natural result of power relations among kids. Which means one cannot eradicate it completely, but may discourage it.

    I would support more an approach that empowers the kid not to feel as vulnerable to other kids’ exercises of domination, to become more affiliated and have more group support. I’ve never been bullied in a group, but I’ve been bullied once while walking home back alone, by a group (for crossing their territory) and I have bullied others who were alone when I was part of a group. So it seems to me being part of a group is a big factor and can make you more confident in attacking others or deterring others from attacking you.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Oh my! Timothy I wrote very directly that I oppose bullying of ANY kind (that does speci9fically mean gay kids, too) I however, do not support a anti-bullying statement that separates out gay kids specifically.

    Okay, Mary, you go in the “No” column.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Evan

    You are right that “group mentality” often contributes to bullying. Its fine (in a kid’s mind) to pick on the kid that everyone picks on. Being ‘part of the group’ almost demands it at times.

    Sadly the kid who is the wrong race, or the wrong height, or is assumed to be gay may be defined as ‘not part of the group’ by that very attribute.

  • Mary

    timothy you are twisting my words and intent. You know that. There is more than black and white and what Timothy thinks.

  • Mary

    I do believe you’ve gone off the deep end in your attempt to bully people into a response to your statement. And, to me, your ‘either/or’ soapbox speeches are getting tiresome

    Yes, I am feeling this forced false decision on Timothy’s part. It is a form of intimidation. If we don’t say exactly what he wants to hear then we are put in the NO category or the anti-gay category? That’s a false choice.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    It’s really very very simple. All I want to know is whether you favor or oppose anti-bulling programs that talk about sexual orientation related harassment in schools.

    You and Eddy both said “No”.

  • Evan

    Timothy,

    I don’t see why perceived sexual orientation would be singled out as a reason for bullying. I think bullying in general can be a problem especially with vulnerable kids, so it should be addressed as a whole. I’m a no-agenda guy and this is how I see it.

    And what I had in mind was foremost school kids (<15yrs). After 15, maybe a policy targeted at teens perceived as gay would make much more sense than before. But frankly, when teens start making their choices, they're going to single out someone.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy: “Okay…I’ll bite. What exactly IS the unrealistic approach that Exodus has?”

    Warren: “The point of this and several recent posts is that some Christian groups want to remove one facet from the approach. They want to keep educators from naming one of the possible problems. This is not realistic.”

    Exodus is opposed to any Anti-bullying program that specifically mentions “sexual orientation”.That is not realistic.

  • Mary

    No Timothy I did not say that. I said your statment was not broad enough nor strong enough. and I support anti-bullying against gay kids. My other concern is that if we mention gay as one reason for anti-bullying then do we need to list all the others – fat, ugle, stupid, wierd, smells funny, mother is an alcoholic, dad is a player, etc…etc… I also think that in educating others about bullying that sexual orientation should be mentioned along with other ways people are defined. A single statment that only lists bulllying and then one definition of a trait for a person is too narrow.

  • David Blakeslee

    Excellent narrative above Timothy…I have been thinking about Solomon and the baby all afternoon. I would encourage you to think of it also.

    It may be a useful bridge to talk about the reluctance of Christian leaders to explicitly advocate for the protection and rights of gay and lesbian identified children.

    The Solomon story highlights the 1) cruelty of the lying mother and the 2) the immense compassion of the actual mother. It highlights how rules that are fair are sometimes cruel.

    Some Christian leaders might delight in a law that guts any real or explicit protection for GLBT identified children as it passively endangers such children and frustrated leaders of the GLBT community.

    You are right, like Lynn David, there is no community of protection for GLBT identified children in most public settings…unlike other minority groups.

  • Mary

    It may be a useful bridge to talk about the reluctance of Christian leaders to explicitly advocate for the protection and rights of gay and lesbian identified children

    My concern in singling out one specific reason for bullying will not tackle the problem of all bullying or most bullying situations in the future. It has nothing to do with supporting or not supporting gay kids.

  • Michael Bussee

    Let’s face it: We aren’t arguing about bullying. No reasonable person is in favor of it. We are arguing about a word – a concept — “orientation”. No one here seems strongly opposed to naming other frequent targets– like race, ethnicity, gender or religion. That’s oK. Sexual orientation” is the hang up.

    It seems to me that some folks (particularly legalist Christians) would rather take the risk of seeming “pro-bullying” than use the word “orientation” and appear to be progay — even if “all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective.” .

  • Mary

    No one here seems strongly opposed to naming other frequent targets– like race, ethnicity, gender or religion. That’s oK. Sexual orientation” is the hang up

    Not true. I’m for naming other frequent targets but let’s face it when it comes to kids – there is a multitude of targets from which to choose. No list is exhaustive and that’s why I am in favor of a broad and stronger statement.

  • Eddy

    Michael:

    Exodus is opposed to any Anti-bullying program that specifically mentions “sexual orientation”.

    Please support this conclusion with a link.

    Timothy:

    I said ‘no’ to your statement which was several sentences long. I actually believe that sexual orientation ought to be cited in an anti-bullying program as a specific example of an area where bullying happens and where it ought to be fought against. Spin whatever web you want to weave and I’ll hold onto my right to freedom of speech. I tried to explain the reasons for why I won’t endorse your statement…you don’t get it…and it really doesn’t matter to me that you do. Everytime you interpret my response, I’ll simply point again to what I’ve said. I’ve dealt with polarization before and am capable of standing up to it again. I have no solution to our miscommunication. And frankly, there is nothing in our relationship that compels me to try any further. That leaves me to communicating with the others…which I’ll continue to do unless you prohibit it. It also leaves me to reiterating my own viewpoints whenever you attempt to reinterpret them by your narrow understanding. It’s a blogsite not a church committee…I do believe that’s within the parameters.

  • Lynn David

    And of course my large post on more news from Greensburg and the Olweus Anti-Bullying program got caught by the filters.

    Warren, do you know about the Olweus Program? It doesn’t seem to mention GLBT students – at least when I Google-searched the website only one minor article popped up on a gay student (and that was taken from a source outside of Olweus).

    To be more exact the Greensburg plan is at:

    http://www.greensburg.k12.in.us/News%20Release.pdf

    Jason Foundation on high risk students(including GLBTs) concerning suicide:

    http://www.jasonfoundation.com/community/youth-suicide-facts/higher-risk-groups.php

    But the Olweus Anti?Bullying Program out of Clemson University is what the school uses (and is recommmended by Indiana state officials). At:

    http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/

    –or–

    http://www.olweus.org/

    I cannot find as yet how the Olweus Program concerns itself with GLBT students. Searched their site with Google and only one article popped up when I used the terms ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual.’

  • Lynn David

    And even my post telling you that my other post got filtered out is awaiting moderation.

    Oh well…. going to cut things down a bit.

    More news from TheINDYchannel.com:

    Decatur County Coroner Doug Banks said Lucas left a note that didn’t refer to bullying or blame anyone, but friends said he was bullied repeatedly, and classmates are questioning their own behavior, 6News’ Joanna Massee reported.

    Lucas had a history of fighting with his mother and problems at school. In two memorial pages on Facebook, friends remembered Lucas and said that poor treatment of him caused his death.

    “This is a memorial page for (William) Billy Lucas. He he was a great person, but everyone made fun of him at school and he couldn’t take it any more, so he decided to end his life,” read a posting on one of the pages.

    “Whenever you lose a student, something has failed,” said Phil Chapple, the school’s principal. “I think it (Facebook) is a way for students to express some of their emotions. It’s a place where they can say to others, you know, maybe we need to look at ourselves.”

    “We’ve had kids come forward and say you know they didn’t treat him the way they should’ve treated him, but then they also say sometimes Billy didn’t treat them the way he should’ve treated them,” Chapple said.

    Parents said bullying is a pervasive issue, and some think schools aren’t doing enough to address the problem.

    “My opinion, I don’t think they’re strongly doing enough,” said Karla Scheibler, who said her son was bullied in junior high school. “They just picked on him and called him a geek and all this stuff. It tore him apart.”

    A former student, who didn’t’ want to be identified, said he was 14 when he overdosed after being bullied.

    “I got picked on and bullied because I was gay,” the student said. “I took a handful of pills one night, and the only difference is I got to live and Billy didn’t.”

    The school brought in additional counselors last week and is forming a committee comprised of parents and teachers to try to address the bullying issue.

  • Lynn David

    From WISH-TV:

    GREENSBURNG, Ind. (WISH) – A school system is taking a big step just a week after a boy commits suicide after being bullied.

    New tonight, the superintendent of Greensburg Community Schools says in his ten years as the top official he has never had to deal with such a difficult situation.

    Tom Hunter is talking about the death of 15 year old Billy Lucas. He committed suicide and within a day dozens of fellow students said it was because the boy was bullied since he was ten. The school system issued a video statement on their website late Friday afternoon.

    Superintendent Tom Hunter says, “This is more than just a tragedy, it is devastating and our hearts go out to his family as they deal with this great personal loss. All of us at Greensburg have been proud of the programs and educational experiences we have provided for our students, but this situation has caused us to question whether we have done enough.”

    Greensburg Schools has come up with an action plan. They’ve called on a national organization called the Jason Foundation to train staff and the community next month. Secondly, they are working with the Indiana Department of Education on an anti-bullying program for the school. An outside expert will train staff on diversity and tolerance. Plus, there will be a community advisory committee and a request for a new position for a full time counselor to deal with bully issues.

    I-Team 8 has been the watchdog on schools for the last eight years since our investigation prompted Indiana’s only anti-bully law. We will stay on it. To see the entire new anti-bully plan click here http://www.greensburg.k12.in.us

    To be more exact the Greensburg plan is at:

    http://www.greensburg.k12.in.us/News%20Release.pdf

  • Jayhuck

    Oh Eddy – please – support your position with a link – any link that suggests that Exodus might be willing to talk about bullying while discussion sexual orientation – I have never seen anything that says they might

  • Jayhuck

    Everytime you interpret my response, I’ll simply point again to what I’ve said. I’ve dealt with polarization before and am capable of standing up to it again. I have no solution to our miscommunication.

    This is just worth repeating :)

  • Lynn David
  • Lynn David

    September 8th this article on bullying was published by Bay Windows.

  • Lynn David

    Not sure about Michael Dorn of Safe Havens who they are also employing. He has an anti-bullying program named Weakfish. He uses guns, knives and clubs??

  • Debbie Thurman

    YES: Timothy Kincaid, Michael Bussee, Warren Throckmorton, and maybe Debbie

    Sorry, I was away all day yesterday … in a peaceful place. Timothy, I am not an unqualified “yes” to your specific statement for the reasons others have already asserted here. It is not broad enough. I am for, as I said, specifying all known targets of bullying, of which gay or perceived gay kids are one. To make that the primary focus is wrong. To try and pretend it does not exist is equally wrong.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Oh Eddy – please – support your position with a link – any link that suggests that Exodus might be willing to talk about bullying while discussion sexual orientation – I have never seen anything that says they might

    Totally confused I am. Are you just trying to be your usual pithy self? I can’t find any statement of mine where I spoke for someone else and thus needed to link it.

  • Mary

    Bullying is defined

    as the repeated exposure of one child to intentionally harmful actions of one or more youth (Olweus, 1993).

    Lynn David – I like this definition of bullying. I have not finished the report, however it brings up many ideas.

  • Lynn David

    Well, Mary, I have two comments awaiting moderation. I learned of Olweus will reading up on the new Action Plan for Greensburg schools:

    http://www.greensburg.k12.in.us/News%20Release.pdf

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus is opposed to any Anti-bullying program that specifically mentions “sexual orientation”.

    I don’t have a link. I have weeks of wrangling with Alan Chambers and pushing him hard to get Exodus to adopt any official anti-bullying statement. He told me personallythat Exodus opposes anti-bullying programs. He won’t talk to me. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you give him a ring and find out for yourself?

    Alan was the one who wrote that they were against anti-bullying programs because they were a “tool to crush Christian evangelism”. He later removed that article without comment after I raised holy Hell about it. If he has changed his mind and Exodus now favors anti-bullying programs, including those that specifically mentions “sexual orientation”, I would be very surprised and pleased.

  • Michael Bussee

    Oh Eddy – please – support your position with a link – any link that suggests that Exodus might be willing to talk about bullying while discussion sexual orientation – I have never seen anything that says they might.

    Neither have I. I base my statements on my personal conversations with Alan Chambers and on Alan’s statement (which he later removed without comment) that Exodus opposes anti-bullying programs because they are a “tool to crush Christian Evangelism”.

  • Mary

    MIchael,

    Why are you obsessed with Exodus? Can you focus on anti-bullying efforts outside of that organization? They are NOT the end all and be all of anti-bullying efforts and research.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Olweus is very solid. It is the program we are using locally and follows whatever assessment results find. In the training which I attended there were two handouts on lgb related issues and they were received well with affirmation that anti-gay slurs would not be tolerated.

    I am not sure what will be tallied or counted in the program as it is still new in this systematic manner. I can tell you though that the program is clear in expectations for staff, teachers, students and parents. Where this is implemented consistently, results have been good.

  • Mary

    It also said that there had to be deliberate follow through on the part of staff, teachers, etc…?

  • Eddy

    Michael, If I’m reading your correctly, it seems that Exodus is not necessarily opposed to anti-bullying programs but rather to those anti-bullying programs that convey an anti-Christian (or anti-Evangelical) message.

    And it remains unclear whether he objects to the mere mention of sexual orientation or, if instead, he objects to sexual orientation being a major focus of anti-bullying programs when potshots are being taken at evangelicals.

    It would seem that a logical next step would be to examine the current anti-bullying programs that do mention sexual orientation and see whether they are indeed mixing an anti-Christian/anti-religious message in with the message as many suspect. Another step would be to examine the current and proposed programs to evaluate whether an undue focus is being given to orientation…and, if so, how to introduce a more well-rounded focus.

  • Mary

    And it remains unclear whether he objects to the mere mention of sexual orientation or, if instead, he objects to sexual orientation being a major focus of anti-bullying programs when potshots are being taken at evangelicals

    Kind of an important thing to distinguish. Would it be okay if we were to include in that sexual orientation those who are ex gay?

    That’s why a broad and strong definition like

    Bullying is defined

    as the repeated exposure of one child to intentionally harmful actions of one or more youth (Olweus, 1993).

    works well for me.

  • Eddy

    That wouldn’t make much sense to me since I haven’t yet heard of ex-gays being typical targets of bullying.

    I’m trying to get a handle on where we keep missing each other. My sense is that there is a special concern that is legitimate for specifically mentioning gays (and presumed gays) in anti-bullying programs. For most of the other usual ‘reasons’ for bullying, with the exception of smelly and overweight, there’s a strong sense of ‘this is how it is through no fault of my own’ (please don’t take the word ‘fault’ too literally) …race, stature, wearing glasses, being smart. BUT, since many do regard gay as a moral issue, some might view bullying as corrective and as justifiable. For this reason alone, it needs to be addressed in specific language.

    But the problem from the other side is viewing morality as the driving force of the bullying and then, by extension, judging conservative religious people as the source. It would seem that the bullies aren’t generally people driven by morality…instead they’ve picked up on the moral pronouncements as their justification (ironically ignoring a host of other moral pronouncements). In short, they appeal to morality to justify their personal bigotry while they themselves are not essentially moral people.

  • Lynn David

    Thank you for the info on Olweus, Warren.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    Some Christian leaders might delight in a law that guts any real or explicit protection for GLBT identified children as it passively endangers such children and frustrated leaders of the GLBT community.

    And those are the ones I’m most angry at. But I’m also frustrated at those who let their fear that ‘maybe possibly perhaps homosexuals will be presented in a light that isn’t condemnatory’ overrule their instinct to do good.

    I don’t know which is Candi Cushman. But she is doing real harm to children.

    I truly believe that a day will come when the church will be the loudest voice calling for compassion and for effectively protecting the children. Just as the church eventually took on the roll of counter-protesting the Phelps Family (recognizing that regardless of doctrine, Christians oppose hatred) so too will they some day speak out against bullying.

    Eddy,

    I actually believe that sexual orientation ought to be cited in an anti-bullying program as a specific example of an area where bullying happens and where it ought to be fought against.

    Okay… then I guess you are a “yes” because that’s really all I was asking.

    Either you agree with me and with Warren that anti-bullying programs should include sexual orientation in their discussions or you agree with Candi Cushman and Laurie Higgins that they should not.

    It would seem that the bullies aren’t generally people driven by morality…instead they’ve picked up on the moral pronouncements as their justification (ironically ignoring a host of other moral pronouncements). In short, they appeal to morality to justify their personal bigotry while they themselves are not essentially moral people.

    I agree.

    Debbie,

    I am for, as I said, specifying all known targets of bullying, of which gay or perceived gay kids are one.

    Okay, then we are in agreement

    To make that the primary focus is wrong.

    Programs should address what each school needs. Some may need to focus on race or religion or other attributes, some may need to focus on sexual orientation.

    To try and pretend it does not exist is equally wrong.

    I don’t know if it is the “primary focus” anywhere; I would doubt it. But studies show that a lot of schools do have problems in this area so it should be a big part of the solution in those schools.

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    The trouble with ‘statements’. Here is a portion of yours:

    And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.

    Please notice that it alludes to programs that currently exist or have existed (without citing what programs those are) and then says “I support such efforts” and goes on “including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.”. What it doesn’t make clear is that if under ‘such efforts’, programs that are top heavy with a gay slant are included or if programs that are heavy on blaming religion and morals are included. When the statement continues, it’s not clear whether it’s talking past tense, future tense or both. So, while I am in support of anti-bullying programs and even feel that gay bullying deserves specific mention I DO NOT SUPPORT those anti-bullying programs that are top-heavy with the gay slant or that simplistically lay the blame on religion and morality. Your statement, demanding either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ did not allow for that very important (at least to me) qualifier.

    Further, you never revealed the purpose behind your statement. Our feelings and convictions re gay bullying were being discussed and even elaborated upon but you chose to minimize that discussion while elevating the significance of your statement. I still don’t understand why. Why was it more important to you that we weigh in as either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the statement rather than allowing our stance (including the nuances) to be revealed through the course of the conversation?

    Further still, the more you asked it, the more your insistence suggested that there was some yet unseen significance to our endorsement. In a conversation where it’s very obvious that there’s a whole lot of mistrust, suspicion and judgement among the participants, your demands seemed both odd and suspect.

    LOL. If the options had been ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘yes with reservations’, I’d have answered with that latter choice.

  • Michael Bussee

    I actually believe that sexual orientation ought to be cited in an anti-bullying program as a specific example of an area where bullying happens and where it ought to be fought against.

    I agree.

  • hazemyth

    Are there really any programs that are “top heavy with a gay slant”?

    Are there really any “programs that are heavy on blaming religion and morals”?

    I know many people have said such things… But has such language been used in programs that have been or may be implemented… ? Or that anyone of any influence has proposed should be implemented?

  • hazemyth

    The above is directed solely at Eddy, though I used his phrasing. The concern aired quite generally has been the presence of some sort of covert ‘gay agenda’ or the like. But let’s be clear about what precisely is meant.

  • Michael Bussee

    Why are you obsessed with Exodus? Can you focus on anti-bullying efforts outside of that organization? They are NOT the end all and be all of anti-bullying efforts and research

    I focus on them because of my history with them and because helping gay people is their primary mission. Being gay themselves, they know personally how destructive anti-gay bullying can be. I expect more from them.

    Exodus claims to love gays. Let’s see them prove it by supporting anti-bullying programs that specifically mention sexual orientation — instead of opposing these programs as a “tool to crush Christian evangelism”.

  • stephen

    “I’m against any anti-bullying effort that singles out Jews or that tries to show anti-semitism in a bad light. We must of course love Jewish children but evangelicals must be able to call them Christ-killer and to spread the blood libel at will. To stop them doing so would interfere with the free expression of evangelical Christianity and morality.”

    I’d love to see how such a statement would fly today. I’m reading equivalents of it here about gay children.

    And by the way, such insults were common in England. My husband never walked home from school by himself. The Jewish kids would wait till three or four could walk home together. That way the Christian kids could yell at them but would be less likely to throw things or hit them.

  • Mary

    I expect more from them

    You should focus on what YOU can do.

  • Eddy

    hazemyth–

    I posted the following a few comments back, perhaps you missed it:

    It would seem that a logical next step would be to examine the current anti-bullying programs that do mention sexual orientation and see whether they are indeed mixing an anti-Christian/anti-religious message in with the message as many suspect. Another step would be to examine the current and proposed programs to evaluate whether an undue focus is being given to orientation…and, if so, how to introduce a more well-rounded focus.

    I wouldn’t be suggesting that we ‘examine…whether they are’ or ‘whether an undue focus is being given’ if I already had the answer. I’ve clearly cited that those are the objections being raised (actually presented by others on this blog from ‘the other side’) and, like you, I’d like to know if they have any substance. I really thought that I had gone about as conditional as a person can go…using the words ‘examine…whether’ twice and also. ‘suspect’ and ‘if’ so I’m a bit puzzled at why you pointedly directed your questions at me to the exclusion of others shortly after I asked them myself. Can you explain?

  • Michael Bussee

    You should focus on what YOU can do.

    Mary: I can and do support anti-bullying programs that specifically mention common targets of abuse, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Do you? I know that it really annoys you, but I can and will continue to encourage Exodus to do the same. You call it an “obession”. I think of it more as a “calling”. I honesltly think it is one of the things God has asked me to do.

    BTW: As a gay Christian, I am not in favor of any sort on anti-bullying program which would convey an “anti-Christian” or “anit-religious” message. That would encourage bullying on the basis of religion. I would be opposed to any anti-bullying program thought tried to promote an “agenda” — gay, Christian or otherwise.

    I would also oppose the bullying of any kid who dentified as “ex-gay”, any kid who was struggling with “ex-gay” attractions, who was percieved to be “ex-gay” or who embraced an “ex-gay” lifestyle. Since I believe that “ex-gays” are still almost always still homosexual in orientation, to bully them would be doubly wrong — both anti-religious and anti-gay.

    That said, I am trying to imagine an effective anti-bullying program where one could not specifically mention commonly targeted groups. How could you not mention groups or individual characteristics that are often bullied? How would the conversation go?

    Student: “Is it wrong to bully gay kids?”

    Teacher: “It’s wrong to bully anyone.”

    Student: “What about gay kids?”

    Teacher: “I’m sorry. I am not allowed address that specifically, could you rephrase your question?”

  • hazemyth

    Eddy,

    A thousand apologies!

    My last post should have read:

    The above is not directed solely at Eddy

    I meant to set you at ease that I was not picking on you. Unfortunately, my typo had the reverse effect. :-[

  • ken

    Timothy Kincaid# ~ Sep 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Either you agree with me and with Warren that anti-bullying programs should include sexual orientation in their discussions or you agree with Candi Cushman and Laurie Higgins that they should not.

    Timothy, the answer is not as simple as you lay it out. Some people may not be decided about the issue of including sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs. Further, even if someone does or does not agree it should be included, that does not mean they believe it is for the same reasons as you and Warren or Cushman and Higgins.

  • Michael Bussee

    These guys are about to break the record for a non-stop kiss — to raise awareness of LGBT youth suicide. The Trevor Project is a 24 hour suicide/crisis prevention hotline devoted to LGBT youth in crisis. 1-866-4U-TREVOR.

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/world-record-kiss—33-hours

  • Michael Bussee

    They did it. Thanks to these two guys. Let’s put an end to bullying and LGBT suicide. Advocate love. :)

  • Jayhuck

    Ken,

    Some people may not be decided about the issue of including sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs.

    That may be true – in fact, I’m sure it probably is, but in the meantime decisions have to be made – and they are going to be made either by one or the other group.

  • Mary

    – and they are going to be made either by one or the other group.

    Or we could find common ground. Anti-bullying programs work best when they are fully supported by parents, staff, teachers. One side or the other thinking does not solve the problem.

  • ken

    Jayhuck# ~ Sep 21, 2010 at 2:39 am

    “they are going to be made either by one or the other group.”

    But my point is there are not just TWO groups. And polarizing things into an US vs. THEM mentality isn’t going to help.

  • Mary

    Interesting news article on Cyber Bullying.

    States that both bully and victim feel depression.

    http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/21/cyber-bully-victims-isolated-dehumanized/?hpt=Sbin

  • David Blakeslee

    Thanks Mary,

    This is an interesting article and I would recommend it. I think I would like to emphasize that rightly or wrongly current LGBT anti-bullying programs are strongly politically driven and politically fought.

    That leads to fragmented facts which support a second kind of bullying…of your political enemies.

    Furthermore, Education in recent decades has focused on things like Self-Esteem with an inverted effect of creating an overestimation of ability…various educational programs and theories have been applied and rejected every few years.

    I really believe the starting point should be on the bully and his or her (relational aggression) psychopathology. I think this is more scientifically sound, less vulnerable to political manipulation…and more likely to aim the solution at the correct set of target behaviors rather than an amorphous political advocacy group or religion.

  • Eddy

    I’m with ken and Mary on this one. Ken’s main point was that it is too simplistic to narrow the players down to the two groups that Timothy dramatized and that Jayhuck reiterated. A good first step to dialogue is to acknowledge that there are many who are between the two points. Naturally, I know ‘my side’ better but there are many there who do sympathize with the real concerns of gay-identified students and want the bullying addressed but they have concerns that some of the programs have been hijacked for the advancement of political idealogy. They want to see a more balanced approach.

  • Jayhuck

    I’m not trying to polarize things Ken – I’m just saying that we either talk about orientation or we don’t – I don’t see any way in between? If you do, please tell me what it is. Finding common ground is good, but we are talking about one very specific part of this issue, which is do we talk about orientation or don’t we. We have to make a decision about this.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    That’s not what I’m talking about! I think you missed my point – I’m not against finding common ground, and I’m not about polarizing this issue. I’m also not talking in generalities – I’m talking about doing one very specific thing – My question to you and the others is, do we talk about orientation or don’t we? Where is the middle ground on this one very specific aspect of this issue.

  • Jayhuck

    And if we don’t talk about orientation, then we don’t really need to talk about race, or sex, right?

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Sorry but you’re way off point in your comments to me. I was going to suggest that you read back a few posts but I find that I made it clear even in my most recent post that ‘there are many there who do sympathize with the real concerns of gay-identified students and want the bullying addressed’. I imagine, in self-defense, you’ll now say ‘but you didn’t say ‘specifically”. No, I didn’t say that in this post…I said that in at least two posts on Sept. 18th though….that would be one day prior to the post by Ken that inspired your commentary.

    In summary:

    My question to you and the others is, do we talk about orientation or don’t we? Where is the middle ground on this one very specific aspect of this issue.

    My answer to both questions appeared here on the 18th? What part of it wasn’t in a version of English that you can understand?

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    Why don’t you read some of the past posts of the week.

  • David Blakeslee

    Will the argument come down to the choice between two words?

    Gay Identified vs. Gay Orientation

    One implies a subtle series of decisions in response to certain facts (SSA)

    The other implies an acceptance of what is (SSA).

    But then there is the second issue: Bullying is usually based upon perception of gender atypical behavior rather than the child being gay or lesbian in fact.

  • ken

    Jayhuck# ~ Sep 21, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “I’m not trying to polarize things Ken –”

    Whether you are trying to polarize things or not, your comments are doing that. Your comment (Jayhuck# ~ Sep 21, 2010 at 2:39 am) that I was responding to was classifying everyone into one of two opposing groups.

    “I’m just saying that we either talk about orientation or we don’t – I don’t see any way in between? ”

    And HOW do you want to talk about orientation? WHAT do you want to say about it? I suspect there are many people who will want answers to these questions before they decide if orientation should or shouldn’t be brought up in anti-bullying programs.

  • Eddy

    David–

    Since much of the bullying is indeed based on ‘non conformity to gender norms’ which may or not mean that the person is actually gay, it seems plausible that neither the term ‘orientation’ or the phrase ‘gay identified’ is necessary. Perhaps broadening the language to specify that an individual’s ‘perceived sexuality’ does not legitimize bullying behavior. To elaborate further, a moderator could then discuss how it doesn’t really matter if a person is gay or gay-identified, bullying is unacceptable on every level.

    This would be addressing the same needs and concerns without falling victim to linguistic landmines.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Okay.

    I get the trend of this conversation. Candi Cushman wins, Billy Lucas loses.

  • Eddy

    Criticism rejected as thoroughly off base and wrought with personal bias.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Yep, you bet I’m biased in favor of the kids who are bullied to death.

  • Mary

    Yep, you bet I’m biased in favor of the kids who are bullied to death

    So am I – you just can’t see passed the obvious. You don’t have to be gay or percieved gay to be bullieed to death.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Sure you don’t have to be gay or perceived to be gay to be bullied to death.

    But, oddly enough, that is what is happening.

    I care.

    In fact, I care more about dead children than I do about the Culture War. If I knew that there was a way to reduce the rate of bullying-based suicides, that would be more important to me than whether there was some unstated unspecified fear over propaganda.

    As I said way way back,

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    I know where my priorities lie.

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    Welcome back, I took a break too. I used to put people into little boxes too, when they didn’t see things my way. Usually they were bad and I was good…occasionally that would flip, and boy would it hurt.

    If I can support your concerns, there is not a larger culture (church, family, friends, mentors, after school groups and so on) to support children who are perceived as gender a typical, may be gay identified, or may have a gay orientation, whereas other minorities have places of support to readily get comfort and advice.

    It is precisely the lack of such a support system that makes them more vulnerable and requires creating an advocacy based model within the public school. In essence, we are trying to create within the school something that does not readily exist for the gender atypical child.

    The question goes to possible coercion, if that gender atypical child is not in fact gay or lesbian (identified or oriented), how do you propose a bullying program might address that?

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    You can play that tragic card all you want. Those of us here who you are criticizing in your little word game see right through your efforts. How dare you insinuate that just because we don’t line up 100% with the Timothy Kincaid model that we favor gay bullying?! How dare you insinuate after most of us have clarified our positions that we even remotely match the caricature that you’re presenting?!

    Yeah…we don’t see things quite your way. I happen to see a bigger picture. I see that big ol’ culture war out there and I actually believe that we can come to a mediation table and establish programs that will specifically challenge the bullying of gays or of those perceived to be gay but that aren’t infused with a political agenda or with an anti-morality or anti-religious bias. Sure, we’ll leave some people behind. We’ll leave the extremists behind…that would be the extremists on BOTH sides. By the sounds of it, we’ll be leaving you behind also based on your dogged insistence that it’s an ‘either/or’ situation and your visible hostility towards anyone who doesn’t see it quite your way.

    I realize that you don’t see that happening but I KNOW from experience that it does. It was just a few days ago when a woman told me that reading some things that I wrote changed her perspective on gay people altogether. She admitted to having both fear and loathing and she found both attitudes seriously diminished after reading my ‘stuff’. She repented of her unChristian attitudes. Yeah, that stuff still happens but only IF we’ll communicate and stop shutting each other down and out.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    The question goes to possible coercion, if that gender atypical child is not in fact gay or lesbian (identified or oriented), how do you propose a bullying program might address that?

    Every anti-bullying program I’ve ever ran across addressed perceptions rather than either attractions or identity. It doesn’t matter to me – or to the most radical gay activist – whether the kid is actually gay or not. What matters is that he’s being bullied and that’s what the programs address to the best of my knowledge.

    I appreciate that you have your priorities on the kids.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    You keep telling yourself that it’s a “bigger picture”. Just watch the news for the next kids to be a victim to you and Candi Cushman’s bigger picture.

    You’ve chosen your priorities. Live with them.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    I should say that they include perceptions as well as actual identity or orientation. It doesn’t matter which, the kid is the priority.

    And, for what it’s worth, Billy Lucas’ mother went to the news insisting that Billy wasn’t gay; he was too young; he couldn’t know. His social network profile listed him as “bisexual”.

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Timothy,

    Thanks for clarification…I think we can get there from here.

    I am pretty sure that Billy’s chosen label is a common place for gender confused kids, early in adolescence….

    Although I have heard some on this blog criticize adult men who have chosen that label as “actually gay”…but that is another topic.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I am pretty sure that Billy’s chosen label is a common place for gender confused kids, early in adolescence….

    I agree. Which is why adolescent identity is not the key to anti-bullying. It isn’t whether the kid is gay, but whether he’s being tormented.

  • Jayhuck

    Guys,

    I think its pretty clear we all agree bullying needs to be addressed – if we find out that a majority of bullying or even most of the severe bullying is being done to gay kids or black kids, then we have to address the specifics of the bullying – Simply saying its not ok to bully kids no matter what doesn’t seem to work.

    Ken,

    And HOW do you want to talk about orientation? WHAT do you want to say about it? I suspect there are many people who will want answers to these questions before they decide if orientation should or shouldn’t be brought up in anti-bullying programs.

    I was thinking that before we can answer those questions Ken, we needed to decide if we WANT to talk about the specifics aspects of bullying first or not – THEN we can get to the how and what. But, I’m beginning to understand what you are talking about. I agree, for those who aren’t sure if we talk about the specifics of bullying, I think several things need to be addressed

    1) Is there evidence that talking about the specific types of bullying helps or hinders programs to curb bullying – I think there’s evidence that it does

    2) Then we need to talk about how the specifics types of bullying need to be addressed – what it is we are going to say – and if there’s evidence out there of other programs that have been successful, I think we need to look at those as possible models

    I’m not against what you are saying Ken – I do get it – I think those questions can and should be addressed

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    My apologies – I found your old posts. I think we are in agreement, but I’ll go back and re-read them again just to make sure I don’t misunderstand what you are trying to say.

  • Mary

    Actually, the anti- bullying program MUST be supported to work. If parents, teachers, staff etc… don’t believe in the program then it won’t work.

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    I agree – sometimes that means talking to teachers, parents, etc… and educating them on bullying and bullying programs.

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    what I am trying to say is that if there is language that does not satisfy everyone then the program won’t be supported. Please read the articles and previous posts. INW, there needs to be a meeting of the minds on the issue so that the program once it is installed is effective. Otherwise a group can argue about language all day long – get what they want in writing but not have the human support of teachers, parents, staff etc… making the program ineffective and null.

  • Jayhuck

    I think we agree Mary!

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    I have NO connections to or sympathies with Candi Cushman. You can shove your bullshit where it belongs instead of in my direction. My remarks are clear to those who have ears to hear.

    I find that you have ‘crossed the line’ repeatedly here. I once had a modicum of respect for you…you have erased that with tactics that you once rose above. I actually had separated you from others–explaining to people that we often disagreed strongly but at least you were honest and logical in your disagreement. That isn’t true anymore.

    I need not say anything further. My words in my previous entries on this blog separate me clearly from Candi Cushman; you, sir, are hung by your own words.

    No need to address me further, If you choose to play your spin to the blog, I will decide whether to answer or not. But I have no time for liars. You KNOW from this dialogue that my bigger picture and Ms Cushman’s don’t coincide yet you persist in painting it as such. Your blind followers will, of course, agree with you…but the words are here for all who are actually open to the truth.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    I don’t think we are going to find common ground. We could not even agree on whether we agreed about schools being allowed to mention sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs.

    So rather than argue, I’ll leave you with the following names:

    Billy Wolfe, 15, was lucky. A straight boy, he was still picked on for being (as the Facebook page dedicated to tormenting him put it) “a little bitch. And a homosexual that NO ONE LIKES”. And though they beat him bloody, he had supportive and protective parents. He made it.

    These boys did not:

    Billy Lucas – 14

    Carl Walker-Hoover – 11

    Justin Aaberg – 15 (plus two classmates)

    Jaheem Herrera – 11

    Eric Mohat -17

    And the many many more who didn’t make it into the papers

  • Eddy

    Sorry Timothy…you’re off on a tangent of your own making. I will repeat that despite the spin you are trying to put on my stance…my words and my position are clear. Readers can go to my posts from the 18th and wonder for themselves just what game you are playing and to what ends.

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    that doesn’t mean pushing your own ideas down someone’s throat. It means compromising and working together to get a real solution.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    And a few statistics from GLSEN’s recently released 2009 survey of 7,261 middle and high school students:

    # 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.

    # 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.

    # 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as “faggot” or “dyke,” frequently or often at school.

    # Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.

    # 29.1% of LGBT students missed a class at least once and 30.0% missed at least one day of school in the past month because of safety concerns, compared to only 8.0% and 6.7%, respectively, of a national sample of secondary school students.

    # The reported grade point average of students who were more frequently harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender expression was almost half a grade lower than for students who were less often harassed (2.7 vs. 3.1).

    So forgive me if I find it difficult to prioritize concerns about whether someone feels that they are experiencing anti-religion bias.

    You see, Eddy, I never experience anti-gay bullying but I did experience some odd looks due to my religion. I was the sole kid in my school who couldn’t wear shorts or be on the “skins” team or swim in the same swimming pool as girls or dance. Yeah, it was at times uncomfortable to be odd due to religion.

    But it was no where near as bad as the kids who were not sexually conforming. Not even in the same ballpark.

  • Eddy

    It’s all blah blah blah anymore Timothy. You can direct it at me if you like. My words stand and you can paint whatever color you like.

    Try sticking to your stated beliefs. Just don’t paint me to suit your own color palette. I will guarantee you will NOT succeed!

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Be whatever color you like, Eddy.

    I’m just telling you where I’m coming from.

  • Evan

    This post talks about the suicide case of a high-school student, a 15-year old. Warren also mentions that there already are problems with sexual-orientation-motivated bullying in elementary school. If we had some statistics on how early and how frequent this type of bullying occurs, I think this would help the debate to a significant extent.

    For instance, if a SO-motivated bullying case takes place as early as elementary school, then I seriously doubt it is based on perceived sexual orientation, since neither bullies nor bullied can have a lived concept of sexual orientation at that age, and in very rare cases a sexual experience. So, as I said earlier in this thread, this type of bullying is a product of games of dominance and of using labels picked up from the adult register of insults.

    Here I have a slightly different opinion from Timothy Kincaid, because I think in the case of elementary schools, the focus of preventing bullying should start with the adults and the media. There are two things here: the impulse to bully and the motive used to intimidate someone. A policy can address the source of slurs, which is adults and media, and then deal with the factors which lead to the impulse to bully.

    Simultaneously, a program could work with kids who are more vulnerable and are usually targets of bullying. That should include those who are perceived as gender-atypical, as well as other categories such as shy and introverted kids. I know that researchers right now are pressing for more aggressive programs in schools to identify children who are at risk of future mental health problems from the earliest stages of development. Ultimately this is the goal of anti-bullying programs too, to prevent practices of intimidation and harassment which dent children’s stable development.

    I think it’s safe to assume that a platform that deals with all these issues in an integrated manner does not need at this stage policies that single out sexual orientation or gender nonconformism, since it would perpetuate the very idea that those who bully are trying to reify: that calling a child a particular name should put him in that category in real life too. That would validate the bullies’ point of view and should be contradicted.

    In the case of high-school programs, including sexual orientation in anti-bullying programs is much more justified. At this stage, teenagers can do more harm to others and have an understanding of sexual orientation that is based on inner experiences. The structure of the programs should, in my opinion, follow and reflect this gradation in development, both emotional and cognitive.

    I hope that this clarifies why and when I support including or excluding sexual-orientation-related issues in the more general effort to combat bullying. Because, ultimately, what is important is the prevention of disturbances in children’s development in general. I wrote this long reply because I get the feeling that the debate zoomed in on how to deal with sexual orientation issues and got a bit fixated on points of contention. Instead, I propose that the concerned debate should proceed from the general need to reduce bullying and its effects on children to the specific need to address sexual orientation in these programs. So it’s a question of how to include them in order to prevent bullying of all types, at different ages and stages of development. Let’s put the horses before the cart, so to speak.

    So — what do you think? I’m genuinly interested in your opinion on this proposal, but also on the matters above.

  • Evan

    Wow, while i was writing the reply, the debate advanced quite a bit :-)

  • Eddy

    No Timothy, you’re not. You’re trying to tell others where I’m coming from.

    And much like you did with this statement that you interjected to comment on the conversation the rest of us were having:

    Okay.

    I get the trend of this conversation. Candi Cushman wins, Billy Lucas loses.

    You have stepped in as judge and jury and, I’m sorry, but I don’t believe you have the right and you sure haven’t earned the respect. WE DISAGREE WITH YOU! WE THINK IT’S NOT’S AS BLACK AND WHITE AS “CANDI WINS, BILLY LOSES”. And we simply won’t be minimized by your irrational comments suggesting that because we see a middle ground, we ARE Candi Cushman.

    Now, stop pretending to respond to me when you won’t even acknowledge the actual words I have spoken or am speaking. Got it? I don’t play games, sir. And I do not allow my words to be twisted by anyone. Got it? If you want to have an honest disagreement with me, you’ll step up to the table…you’ll point out the error of my words or point out the real problems with my point of view. Anything short of that and I’ll call you for the bully that you are. Got it? I doubt it.

  • Eddy

    For those who were involved in actually having a conversation about this issue, I apologize. Obviously, I have reached the end of my patience. I’m stepping out of the conversation.

    Timothy, please respect that and make no further attempts to spin my words or my position. Speak for yourself only and not to the position of others.

    Folks, if he does, all I can say is go back and read my actual statements and compare them to the picture that gets painted.

    This is worse than going nowhere…

  • Mary

    For instance, if a SO-motivated bullying case takes place as early as elementary school, then I seriously doubt it is based on perceived sexual orientation, since neither bullies nor bullied can have a lived concept of sexual orientation at that age, and in very rare cases a sexual experience

    Grade school children know what gay means.

  • David Blakeslee

    Just remembered, about 15 years ago a close family member was bullied using relational aggression in elementary school.

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    that doesn’t mean pushing your own ideas down someone’s throat. It means compromising and working together to get a real solution.

    Good grief – when did I ever suggest this? All I said is that I agree with you – that and it may be necessary to meet with teachers, parents, etc and review bullying programs that have been successful and what made them successful. I’m all for reaching compromises but only if those compromises are things that are actually going to protect kids

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    Grade school children know what gay means.

    We differ here – I think grade school kids think they know what gay means – I don’t think they really know what it means. Usually, they have a very altered view of what it means

  • Mary

    LOL! Okay. You know best.

    You must spend time with grade age children, then.

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    I’m not saying I know best, I just remember being in grade school – we called people gay, we thought we knew what gay meant, we thought gay people were weird, abnormal, disturbed and we used the word to hurt others – I mean grade school kids today use the word gay in a pejorative sense all of the time, to describe things that are generally bad – does this mean they know what it means to be gay, or what gay people are like – no, it doesn’t.

    I think grade school kids may have somewhat of a grasp on what being gay is, or what it means, but I’ll bet they don’t truly understand it. If they did, I doubt they would use it to harass and bully others like they do.

  • Lynn David
    Grade school children know what gay means.

    Mary… We differ here – I think grade school kids think they know what gay means – I don’t think they really know what it means. Usually, they have a very altered view of what it means

    Oh, for whatever sakes. Kids are dissing gays on the playground from the time they enter puberty (or even just before), which for many of my friends back in the 60s was about the age of 10.

    .

    If you think elementary school kids don’t know about gays and lesbians and what it means then you’re lying to yourself. They learn hate like from their parents – primarily fathers, whether Christian or not (and in my day, Christianity was definitely nearly 100%). And if they have learned that hate then they have also learned many of the lies and gay people that of late have been seen on the most radically fundamentalist family and religious websites. I heard it all there first, on a Roman Catholic school playground. There I learned all the hate-filled words about what I was by the 5th grade.

    .

    And so just to add in a voice, Eddy, Timothy Kincaid is definitely more correct than you are.

  • Michael Bussee

    I agree strongly with everything Lynn David just posted. Every single word of it.

  • Michael Bussee

    There I learned all the hate-filled words about what I was by the 5th grade.

    So did I. They’ve got to be taught.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHKzn8aHyXg

  • Lynn David

    Yeah… but someday I have to learn to proofread better. I keep changing the sense of sentences on the fly and at the end my sentences don’t agree with the start.

    – “like from?” Drop the ‘like.’

    – “lies and gay people?” Make that “lies about gay people.’

    So, a couple of words you might take exception with!

  • Mary

    Let’s try to keep in mind that our experiences in grade school ARE NOT the experiences of children today. It is easy to extrapolate from our own experiences and say they are similar for children across the board. They are not.

    We should be listening to what is happening in the lives of children today.

  • Lynn David

    Perhaps not. But I was not from a city of much of any size. And it was not like we had much, if any, of a known gay culture in town.

  • Evan

    Mary:

    Grade school children know what gay means.

    That’s what I said, that they learn it from adults. So in their case the intervention can start with the environment they grow up in, because it’s adults and the media directed by adults that influence what they hear. The internet is not run by 10-year olds without adults’ permission. How do 10-year olds know who is supposed to be gay? They learn it from the media and what adults say. Adults are interested in promoting the idea that there are some people who are ‘not like us’, and calling them differently means they really are from a different category in real life too. Kids learn this and use it when they bully other kids who are usually more vulnerable. “Coincidentally”, many among those vulnerable kids are going to be gay, but not all. The “coincidence” comes from the fact that labelling a category to keep it separated and at a distance from the majority is adults’ own way of indirect bullying. So adults transfer their own cultural bullying to their kids who are less bound by laws not to attack the vulnerable.

    But both do the same thing: they attack the vulnerable and use labels to show that the vulnerable are not as they are, that they are something else, and that they despise what the vulnerable are and want to show them that, by calling them a name that puts them in a separated category, which is considered a minority by the world of the grown-ups. By this social mechanism, adults make sure that only very few will end up gay, because everyone else learns to play by the rules.

  • Evan

    Let’s try to keep in mind that our experiences in grade school ARE NOT the experiences of children today. It is easy to extrapolate from our own experiences and say they are similar for children across the board. They are not.

    We should be listening to what is happening in the lives of children today.

    Culturally not, but biologically they are similar. TOday kids use slurs a lot easier than 20 years ago. Actually calling someone else a fagg*t is kind of a game for boys, it’s like putting each other to test. Whoever is vulnerable will be guessed by this form of testing. So it’s not the same thing as using this slur 20 or 30 years ago. The rule is the same: who doesn’t respond in kind is not one of us. So the boy who puts another boy to test by being aggressive with him, if he doesn’t get an equal response he will think the other boy is a fagg*t because he’s not aggressive enough. Bullying is part of this mutual testing games which adults play too in more subtle forms.

  • David Blakeslee

    Eddy,

    Trying to track what happened here. When people feel strongly about certain topics, anger (sometimes righteous) focuses their arguments more simplistically and energetically.

    The world crystallizes into a pleasant, simplistic distortion, “I am good and those that agree with me are also, those that don’t agree with me are bad.”

    It is a variation on an old meme to discredit: “Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or No?”

    It is a function of vulnerability (which sometimes is paranoia) and immaturity.

    It is a form of bullying…I agree.

    Wanted to check in to support you. Hang in there.

  • David Blakeslee

    Regarding being culturally different…please watch Family Guy, South Park and the Simpson’s for a week.

    I remember watching various James Bond movies and others during latency and puberty. There were obvious allusions to Gay and Lesbian behaviors which I completely missed. I had no context for it.

    Watching those movies now, it is so clear.

    Much of what we see in children is culturally endorsed, NOT BY CHRISTIANS, but by media, ESPECIALLY SARCASM, CYNICISM AND DEVALUING.

    These characteristics ARE valued by the culture as a kind of HARDENED REALISM welded to INTELLIGENCE and INDIVIDUALISM.

    The culture builds the container for the NARCISSISTIC DISGUST and the children carry the poison and pour it out on the weak and the vulnerable.

    It is absurd to lay this at the feet of Christians, simplistic and unsupportable…we are increasingly unchurched and over exposed to media.

    Dealing with bullying effectively requires that we identify the behavior clearly, the immediate contextual factors which support it and the larger cultural factors that support it.

  • stephen

    Of course Evan and Lynn David are right. The kids police the boundaries set by their parents, ie, the society in which they find themselves. Bullying doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

  • stephen

    It is a form of bullying…I agree.

    Let’s not compare our irritation with those who don’t agree with us to victimized kids driven to kill themselves through despair and shame.

  • David Blakeslee

    Lets…

    It is an adult version, and we, as adults are better able to protect ourselves, but it is bullying in an adult form.

  • David Blakeslee

    …”irritation” is a feeling, what we do with the irritation reveals our attitudes and beliefs about those who irritate us….

    In this case disregarding clear meanings and concerns and simplifying someone’s thoughts. and conflating their beliefs with someone else.

    Describing this as mere “irritation” is minimization.

  • Eddy

    @ David–

    Thanks. I’m trying to keep myself to ‘read only’ mode.

  • Evan

    David Blakeslee said:

    It is a function of vulnerability (which sometimes is paranoia) and immaturity.

    That’s interesting to consider in an interactional sort of way, at the level of culture. Because, if for instance someone who feels victimised by the culture of bullying coming from the anti-gay world calls for programs to deal explicitly with sexual orientation-based bullying (he would be the vulnerable almost paranoid who distorts reality and sees too much hate directed at him), those who try to keep sexual minorites at a distance by calling them names and crying that gays are going to ruin the society are their matching twins, because they see an unseen danger and distort reality in the other direction, calling sexual minorities actions a threat to society, when we all know only a tiny part of the population are part of that camp. So how could a tiny minority who used to be vulnerable during their childhood be a real threat to society? This is the part I don’t fully understand but the answer should be something surprising.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    216 comments later, I am not clear we have advanced the ball.

    Mainly, I want to advance the idea that discussing anti-gay slurs requires at least two actions from adults.

    1. One must declare such slurs to be harmful and disrespectful on par with any other name calling.

    2. One must indicate that gay people exist, deserve respect and will not be harassed.

    Does anyone disagree with this?

    What would anyone like to add?

  • Eddy

    I agree with both. I do not disagree with either.

    Noted my special concerns previously so nothing to add.

  • Mary

    It is an adult version, and we, as adults are better able to protect ourselves, but it is bullying in an adult form

    Yes it is bullying. I am amazed at some of the ways people are justifying their own behavior here. Can we do better than this?

  • David Blakeslee

    Actually, I think we are reaching a consensus about language many of us can support.

    I think we are not reaching agreement about who the perpetrators are. Can you help with this Warren?

    Are the bullies informed Christians acting according to their faith, spurred on by their pastors? Is that the rule or the exception?

    I think we have agreed that the most vulnerable victims are those who display gender atypical behavior…they lack a support group in the family, in immediate culture and in the community.

    As with my family friend, this was catastrophic in late elementary school.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    David – The situation is complex but I know of no situations where pastors advise their students to go to school and harass kids. However…

    I do know Christian kids, otherwise leaders in their youth groups who are harassing gay kids over their morals in ways that they are not doing to other students who are doing things that the Christian kids believe to be wrong. In some situations, “standing up for one’s beliefs” is a euphemism for calling gay kids “fags” and telling them how worthless they are. Yes, I know this happens and have seen it and have talked to kids who later repent of it.

    I also have spoken with groups who admit they have witnessed harassment of gays and thought to themselves, “they have it coming” and/or “if I step in, I will get labeled gay.” They have it coming, they reason because they are sinners.

    Christian kids have been identified in my town as prominent perpetrators. That is why the schools reached out to the minister’s association for help. To our credit, we reached back and are working on it. To our shame, we weren’t there first.

    I want to see the end of the Day of Truth and to see the end of the need for the Day of Silence and I want the Golden Rule to be what Christians are known for instead of being on CNN opposite GLSEN. Would it not be the right stance to be along side GLSEN and other anti-bullying groups saying, we met together and worked out our differences for the sake of the kids?

    Which music should I cue – Imagine or Dream On?

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren,

    Ok…so here is what you are saying, I think:

    Christian youth leaders, are denigrating gender atyptical children in your schools.

    Pastors and lay leaders are confronting those youth who both denigrate and passively endorse the mistreatment of gender atypical children.

    This is where I think the Golden Rule may be more vigorously applied: integrating pastoral supervision over the simplistic, adolescent mind…building relationships with school personnel.

    Warren, if you could, I would like your opinion on the nature of bullying which results in torment and suicide.

  • David Blakeslee

    Music: Stairway to Heaven.

    And it’s whispered that soon if we all call the tune

    Then the piper will lead us to reason.

    And a new day will dawn for those who stand long

    And the forests will echo with laughter.

    If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now,

    It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.

    Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run

    There’s still time to change the road you’re on.

    And it makes me wonder.

    Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,

    The piper’s calling you to join him,

    Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know

    Your stairway lies on the whispering wind.

    I know you can play this….

  • stephen

    Warren, I think you put it very well indeed. My only point was that this does not happen in a vacuum. The kids learn from us. We should perhaps be more careful what we teach them.

  • David Blakeslee

    There is a bustle in the hedgerow…we have to tolerate that to get the spring cleaning of the May queen.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Pastors and lay leaders are confronting those youth who both denigrate and passively endorse the mistreatment of gender atypical children.

    They are in some situations, and not in others. I hope we can do a better job of this but I am pretty sure we have a ways to go. Adults reading who might have some involvement in youth work – ask yourselves if your group would be a safe place for a gay or GA youth to attend.

    Bullying that results in headlines involves regular degrading harassment, catch 22s for the victim, little connection to other students or adults who can help, lots of silent bystanders, and overall a sense that there is no way out of this. I think a series of studies of these children would be valuable but I know of no such systematic look at the recent cases. I know less about this than I want to know.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    stephen wrote:

    Warren, I think you put it very well indeed. My only point was that this does not happen in a vacuum. The kids learn from us. We should perhaps be more careful what we teach them.

    Yes, they do and yes, we should.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Stairway to Heaven.

    I can still hear my late brother playing and singing this. Talk about a guy who knew marginalization firsthand. He was a schizophrenic. Bipolar type.

    You all seem to be turning a corner in this discussion. Good. May it be the beginning of something that makes a real difference.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Warren: I agree 100%

    Michael: thank you

    David B: “paranoia and immaturity”? classy, David, real classy.

    Evan: We agree on much on this issue but I do not believe that the notion that ending up gay is something that can be socially manipulated conforms with any known credible research.

    Mary: I think children do know what gay “means” though probably on a simplistic level: “it’s when a boy likes another boy instead of a girl”.

  • Evan

    Timothy,

    Of course you can’t be manipulated into being gay, but here’s a picture: GID kids and adult transsexuals are the tip of an iceberg of homosexuality; homosexuality is the tip of another and bigger iceberg that wants to stay underwater. When the folks underwater get angry they slap the folks overwater, for being too visible.

    From my point of view, I think this becomes useless. In my generation, it’s quite visible what everyone is doing. I think people who are older are still trying to keep up appearances.

  • Evan

    And Timothy,

    What I proposed was to first focus on reducing bullying in general and then deal with the specific issues, including sexual orientation. I think this would have been a good solution, because it would have made people focus on a common ground everyone agrees on — reducing distress created by bullying and harassment — and then proceed to the specific issues. Only dealing with the anti-gay bullying will not solve the entire problem of bullying, on which I think everyone would agree.

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    glib to the end…when a fair-minded interaction with Eddy was entirely available.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Evan,

    I think I misunderstood your point.

    I disagree that it would be a good solution to focus on reducing bullying in general. Those who work to counter bullying uniformly state that this approach is not effective. I defer to their experience.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    I’ll let my comments stand for themselves.

    But I suspect the sound and fury were not generated by my failure to have a “fair-minded interaction”. Rather, I suspect they were generated by the recognition that prioritizing unsubstantiated fears of “anti-moral bias” over dead children might be viewed as being uncharitable.

    But who knows, there may have been entirely other motivations.

    In any case, it has passed now and all is calm.

  • Evan

    Timothy K,

    I’m not saying that the issues should be sidestepped or something. It’s not a strategy to keep the sexual orientation issues under the carpet. On the contrary, I proposed to first agree that harassing and bullying especially in kids will produce some effects that will dent their development and possibly put them on a self-destructive path. It has happened with kids who had a handicap for instance and it has happened with more or less gay individuals. Sometimes these events haunt them throughout their lives without them being aware of them. If you want to make people aware of the effect of their own behaviour you should include everyone, not just people who are part of a sexual minority. So definetely, sexual orientation issues should be addressed in a frontal manner, but why focus only on anti-gay issues? I thought the concern was for reducing distress created by bullying.

    If you know studies that prove the opposite, please quote them. This topic is quite poor in evidence.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Evan,

    Perhaps there is some confusion.

    All of the proposed anti-bullying programs are broad in scope and target a number of specific types of frequent bullying (race, origin, religion, disability, etc.). It is just that some parties (Focus on the Family, for example) object to such programs because they include steps to target and oppose anti-gay bullying among the various types of bullying.

    To the best of my knowledge, none of the anti-bullying programs focus only on anti-gay issues.

  • Eddy

    LOL. He is relentless isn’t he.

    You see, I was under the impression that this was a blogsite and a discussion forum and that actually exploring questions, issues and objections that present themselves as hurdles…well, that that was a good thing. And that learning from each other…and exchanging ideas…well, that that was a good thing.

    Silly me. I also thought that, through discussion, I could learn some things that might help me to identify the barriers that some religious folks have and provide me with an informed way of communicating with them towards the goal of changing their opinion.

    AND, silly me, for recognizing that many anti-bullying programs are in their formative stages and wanting to steer them in a correct and productive path rather than one that seems a bit off-base and simplistic in it’s understandings.

    Did I miss something? When the last comment is posted on this thread, will we, as a blog, be taking some form of action? Making some kind of official blog stand that will save a life? Or is this, in fact, a forum for discussion where we can examine our own views, learn from each other, and impact whatever community it is that we are a part of? Did my concerns over the ‘anti-morality bias’ hamper any such actions, stands or discussions?

    What a phenomenal display of ‘smoke and mirrors’ and polarizing rhetoric!! Yes, Virginia, there IS a gay agenda.

  • Evan

    Ah, OK, now I see.

  • Evan

    The last comment was addressed to Timothy Kincaid, if that wasn’t already clear. :-)

  • Evan

    Timothy,

    Then it’s quite simple, you can’t exclude one major reason for which kids are bullied, no matter who’s saying this.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Evan,

    Then we are in agreement.

  • Eddy

    What’s really amazing, Evan, is that I’m also in agreement and said so quite clearly on Sept. 18th.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    If you’d like to take some form of action, you can contribute to The Trevor Project.

    They run a nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for gay and questioning youth (though they never turn away anyone who asks for help). They handle tens of thousands of calls per year and are credited for saving countless of lives of teenagers.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    Excellent. Then we are in agreement. (I think… we did this round before)

  • Evan

    Eddy,

    Ok, then, I agree with that you said. I was trying to remove all the suspicion that exists on this subject on both sides. So if there is suspicion that someone is pushing an agenda using these programs, OK, let’s focus on the general, bullying is the problem and sexual orientation is one major issue among others. No one’s promoting anything, the focus is on reducing distress produced by bullying. I would ignore both Christian and gay agendas and focus on the psychological problems created by bullying and address them according to what evidence there is and according to the relative weight of their gravity.

  • Michael Bussee

    Dan Savage Creates YouTube Channel to Help Gay Teens

    Sex advice columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage has launched a YouTube channel called “It Gets Better.” He’s soliciting videos from fans who want to provide support and encouragement to gay teens who face adversity, discrimination and bullying in high school.

    Savage announced the new channel today in episode 205 of his podcast. He’s also hinted on his blog that further explanation will come in the next issue of his sex advice column “Savage Love.” The channel was created after Indiana teenager Billy Lucas committed suicide in response to bullying from his classmates, who assaulted him with epithets and told him to go home and kill himself because he was gay.”

    They’re right. It does tend to get better after High School. Actually, it got much better when I finally found others like me — in choir, drama and student government. It got even better when I started meeting gay Christians.

    LGBT teens need to know that they have options — including the option of being well-adjusted, gay and happy as adults. The haters, religious bigots and bullies don’t know that. It can and does get better. Here’s a youtube video of their story:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfZhjUVlWE&feature=player_embedded#!

  • Michael Bussee

    I would ignore both Christian and gay agendas and focus on the psychological problems created by bullying and address them according to what evidence there is and according to the relative weight of their gravity.

    I agree with Evan on this. The only “agenda” should be to find the most effective way to fight bullying itself and help those who are victims of it.

    When I was growing up, many teachers and parents thought of it as a normal part of boyhood and that it might “toughen you up”.

    So, little was done about it. I think we need to think of it for what it is — child abuse — and do everything we can to help both the bullies and those who suffer by their actions.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    The only “agenda” should be to find the most effective way to fight bullying itself and help those who are victims of it.

    Absolutely true

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren said:

    I do know Christian kids, otherwise leaders in their youth groups who are harassing gay kids over their morals in ways that they are not doing to other students who are doing things that the Christian kids believe to be wrong.

    Then they — and perhaps the Christian adults who raised them — have failed to fully grasp the Golden Rule or the Tale of the Good Samaritan. They have missed what is really means to be “Christian” — to behave as Christ did — more concerned with a holier-than-thou “morality” and “appearances” of righteousness than with love for God or neighbor.We are talking about chlldren here. His children. Ones who depend on adults to protect and defend — to set the example.

    Sadly, I have found that too many conservative Christians (particularly those who are very legalistic in their approach) seem to be more concerned that they might be seen as “supporting an agenda” than of truly helping someone in need. Jesus took that risk — hanging out with and ministering to the marginalized and despised of his day. They look and pass by, not wanting to soil themselves or their reputation — while children suffer and die.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Michael,

    It might be unfair to judge “many conservative Christians” based on Focus on the Family or other anti-gay advocacy groups. I suspect most conservative Christians are simply unaware of the extent of the problem or the way they might contribute to it and would readily take steps to stop their kids from engaging in this behavior if they became aware.

  • Eddy

    Eddy,

    If you’d like to take some form of action, you can contribute to The Trevor Project.

    They run a nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for gay and questioning youth (though they never turn away anyone who asks for help). They handle tens of thousands of calls per year and are credited for saving countless of lives of teenagers

    1) The topic is bullying.

    2) I stated that we’d all find our own areas of impact and likely within our community.

    3) You and I do not have any relationship basis for you to be offering me ‘helpful’ advice.

    4) A gay focus is YOUR major area of concern. While I am concerned for troubled gay youth, horror of horrors, I do have other concerns and priorities.

    5) Since my concerns re bullying and the bullying of gay youth were summarily dismissed here, I’m really not gung-ho about aligning myself with any organization that has a primarily gay focus.

    6) It’s a big world with a host of very serious problems. My friends tell me that the issues that surround me in my real world would keep Maury Povich going for about a month.

    Eddy,

    Excellent. Then we are in agreement. (I think… we did this round before)

    Yes, we did. And then I made the unfortunate mistake of expressing further opinions and trying to get a sense of where people stood behind a simple yes or no to your statement. Naturally, that could not be tolerated.

  • David Blakeslee

    Timothy,

    In any case, it has passed now and all is calm.

    I am glad you are feeling better.

    You may want to consider how your emotional downloads affect others, especially when you distort their views. It is painful to be on the receiving end.

  • David Blakeslee

    I think Christians, especially immature adolescents, can be easily coached to love using the following examples:

    The Good Samaritan

    The parable of the unforgiving servant

    the parable of the beam and the speck

    the event of the woman caught in adultery.

  • David Blakeslee

    Time to write an anti-bullying book for clergy, Warren.

  • Lynn David

    Took me a while to get back here.

    Warren has it wired.

    Kids know more than you might expect about gays – or rather they think that do. Part of what I heard on the 1960s Catholic playground was easily comparable to the Martin Ssempa’s pornographic-laced sermons about gays.

  • Lynn David

    Then there was the Texas talk-radio host who says the government is all behind “making homosexuals.” He says he’s seen the documents and its the MSG put in juice boxes.

    And speaking of an anti-bullying book for clergy. The church ministers of Samoa need to be educated on climate change. According to USP student Shaiza Janif: “We need to educate our ministers and not turn this into an agenda,” she said. Earlier in the week, the conference heard that the ministers had blamed homosexuals for climate change in Samoa.

    With idiocy like that in the world from the supposed mature sector of the population is it any wonder gays or lesbians get harrassed and bullied by their peers?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m just curious – what do you mean by “gay focus”?

    David,

    I think Christians, especially immature adolescents, can be easily coached to love using the following examples:

    The Good Samaritan

    The parable of the unforgiving servant

    the parable of the beam and the speck

    the event of the woman caught in adultery.

    You’d hope that would be the case don’t you, but it doesn’t appear to always work – sometimes with immature adolescents you have to spell things out – be a little more specific. Adults sometimes have trouble understanding parables and the meanings of Biblical stories, I don’t know why we should assume that immature adolescents would fair any better.

    I’m not saying they cant and I’m not saying that its not worthwhile to preach these ideas – I’m also not saying that all adolescents would miss the point – All I’m saying is that maybe, just maybe, only talking to immature adolescents in generalities and Biblical parables might not be enough

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    It’s a big world with a host of very serious problems. My friends tell me that the issues that surround me in my real world would keep Maury Povich going for about a month.

    That’s true Eddy, but in the spirit of you reminding me to stay on topic, let’s not forget this particular thread is discussing Bullying, and a great deal of it has been about the bullying of young gay people

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    Then it’s quite simple, you can’t exclude one major reason for which kids are bullied, no matter who’s saying this.

    I’m unclear what you mean by this? I don’t think Timothy is trying to exclude anything. At least that’s not what I hear him saying.

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    I’m sorry – I missed this:

    If you want to make people aware of the effect of their own behaviour you should include everyone, not just people who are part of a sexual minority. So definetely, sexual orientation issues should be addressed in a frontal manner, but why focus only on anti-gay issues? I thought the concern was for reducing distress created by bullying.

    I agree with you!

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    Let’s try to keep in mind that our experiences in grade school ARE NOT the experiences of children today. It is easy to extrapolate from our own experiences and say they are similar for children across the board. They are not.

    We should be listening to what is happening in the lives of children today.

    Perhaps you missed it in my earlier post, so I will repeat myself. I spoke of how kids today use the word gay to refer to things that are bad, off-color, off-putting, pejorative, etc… I think if kids really understood what gay meant, they wouldn’t use the word like this.

  • Jayhuck

    Warren,

    I absolutely agree with you

    Mary,

    Mary: I think children do know what gay “means” though probably on a simplistic level: “it’s when a boy likes another boy instead of a girl”.

    I think Tim said it better than I. I think you and I probably agree that kids do know what gay means, but I personally believe that they only understand it on a very simplistic level. Like I said before, if they understood it better, they would not use the word gay like they do today in such a terrible way.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Re ‘gay focus’…my comments throughout this thread make that very clear. I make a distinction between including the mention of gays in anti-bullying programs and addressing them and a caution about making the programs top-heavy (focussed) with a gay slant. I believe I’ve used ‘gay focus’ several times. In all cases, ‘focus’ is a definite word choice implying that the lens is directed more in the direction of gays than to other concerns.

    Re my comment:

    It’s a big world with a host of very serious problems. My friends tell me that the issues that surround me in my real world would keep Maury Povich going for about a month.

    And your rejoinder:

    That’s true Eddy, but in the spirit of you reminding me to stay on topic, let’s not forget this particular thread is discussing Bullying, and a great deal of it has been about the bullying of young gay people

    Not sure of your point. Did I step off topic? I don’t believe I did. In a discussion of community anti-bullying programs, it was TK who suggested that I get involved with a national, gay focussed, teen (youth) crisis line. While there’s some connection (the crisis that leads some gay teens to thoughts of suicide is bullying), it’s a step away from the focus of this thread. My clear priority while communicating on this blog site has been on impacting the church on it’s attitudes and, to a lesser degree, impacting society at large. TK’s suggestion bypassed that focus.

    If your suggestion is that I stepped off topic when I gave a one sentence reference to the other crises that surround me on a daily level, the criticism is unfounded. I was responding to TK’s slightly off-topic suggestion of how I might translate my stated concerns into action by giving very brief mention to the ‘real life’ priorities that surround me. Among those concerns that I did not enumerate are suicidal ideation by a young relative who isn’t gay but is still feeling crushed and overwhelmed by society’s demands. To that end, my comments were no more off-topic than Timothy’s. But, if it troubled you, then I apologize. I will try to avoid being lured off-topic.

  • Debbie Thurman

    All of the proposed anti-bullying programs are broad in scope and target a number of specific types of frequent bullying (race, origin, religion, disability, etc.). It is just that some parties (Focus on the Family, for example) object to such programs because they include steps to target and oppose anti-gay bullying among the various types of bullying.

    To the best of my knowledge, none of the anti-bullying programs focus only on anti-gay issues.

    Timothy, is it true that FOTF objects to adding anti-gay bullying to the list of motivating factors (i.e., that they tacitly approve of such bullying), or do they merely object to the sociopolitical agenda that is tied to some of those packages in the form of curriculum that pushes pro-gay sex education messages, even to very young children?

    What do we say about GLSEN as a bullying prevention organization? Their very name says it, I suppose. Their focus is clearly on gay issues. They have as much pro-gay bias/baggage as FOTF has on the anti-gay side. Not that there is not a legitimate role for them to play for these marginalized kids. But are they focused on just bringing awareness to the table or do they go farther in guilt-mongering and bringing an anti-religious message through the back door? Should there be room at the table for a possibility of change message for kids whose sexual identity is not yet formed? GLEN is strongly opposed to that.

    Seems to me we need to find a middle-ground approach that does not acquiesce to either extreme.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m just uncertain why you felt the need to mention other crises here since the topic has to do with bullying, and more specifically, anti-gay bullying

    As for the “gay focus” comments – I suppose I understand – but was anyone on here suggesting that anti-bullying programs be primarily gay-focused? Understanding this, I’m under the impression we all want the same thing – the mention of gay people and sexual orientation used in anti-bullying programs – am I right?

    I leave room open for the possibility that if the most egregious type of bullying is being being perpetrated against gay students, that the program be a little more gay-focused to address this issue (would you agree with me here?), but, in general, we seem to be in agreement

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Should there be room at the table for a possibility of change message for kids whose sexual identity is not yet formed? GLEN is strongly opposed to that.

    As are the majority of psychologists Debbie – change in this instance has to do with religion – its primary reason for being is religion not science – it has no place in a secular school that deals with kids who are both religious and non-religious, Christan and non-Christian. I do think that discussions on sexuality would be a good thing, but only by qualified psychologists in the area, not people driven primarily by their religious beliefs. And yes, FOTF is against discussing sexual orientation and gay students in anti-bullying programs – they said as much in an interview on CNN which was posted on this blog not too long ago.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I should have added that, by the same token, anti-religious messages from any group have no place in such programs either! Its funny that you use guilt-mongering, since I’ve thought of that as the domain of religion

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Please pay attention! I’m going to say this one more time.

    1) I am involved in a conversation about anti-bullying.

    2) TK suggested I get involved in a national gay-specific suicide and crisis hotline which, as legitmate as it surely is, is NOT about addressing the bullying epidemic.

    3) I cited the real reason why I can justify being in this anti-bullying conversation and why I’m not a heartless bastard for declining his suggestion that I direct my monies or concerns to that concern.

    4) TK was suggesting how I might spend my time and energies so it clearly justified my answering with the immediate real life priorities that consume my monies and energies.

    If you still don’t get it, let it drop. It’s even more of a detour from actually discussing anti-bullying.

    As for the “gay focus” comments – I suppose I understand – but was anyone on here suggesting that anti-bullying programs be primarily gay-focused?

    Before asking your questions, I’m going to suggest that you take the time to read at least the comments of those you are questioning. While I sympathize with the fact that you might not have daily access to the blogsite, you are asking questions that have already been addressed. Rather than call on us to repeat ourselves, I’m sure you could read or at least skim the pertinent comments in less than an hour’s time.

    One primary undercurrent to the discussion has been ‘the objection of Focus of the Family and others’ to anti-bullying programs. The unspecific use of ‘and others’ opened the door for objections other than those spoken by Candi. The referenced statements of hers seems to object to even the mention of gays in the programs but Michael introduced the statements of Alan Chambers where his stated objection was that some programs seemed to go beyond just citing gays as a group that is bullied but also laid the blame on religious concerns or morals. Past discussions have hinted at the allegation that some anti-bullying programs have an over-focus on gays (including the allegation that the programs are almost fully under the auspices of gay groups) and that the discussion goes beyond bullying and into both advocacy of gay political issues and a denigration of religious and moral standards.

    Efforts to actually discuss whether or not this is actually true have been thwarted. If it is true, I believe that the excesses need to be placed in check. If it is not true, then I believe we need to expose the untruth for the benefit of those conservatives who have heard and swallowed the lie.

    I’m under the impression we all want the same thing – the mention of gay people and sexual orientation used in anti-bullying programs – am I right?

    I leave room open for the possibility that if the most egregious type of bullying is being being perpetrated against gay students, that the program be a little more gay-focused to address this issue (would you agree with me here?), but, in general, we seem to be in agreement

    I will state for the umpteenth times that I answered both of these questions on the 18th. Please take the time to read those comments. If they do not answer your questions, please state clearly why they don’t and I will do my best to address your concerns.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I did – it seems we are in agreement. Please don’t confuse me with TK!

  • Eddy

    Its funny that you use guilt-mongering, since I’ve thought of that as the domain of religion

    LOL. And that is the problem. You can only see ‘guilt-mongering’ when it’s administered religiously. For clear examples of how others use it, go back through this thread and see how many times Timothy used ‘guilt-mongering’ as a means of censure. “I see you’re all talking about this…in the meantime gay kids are dying.” If that ain’t a guilt-trip, then nothing is.

  • Eddy

    I haven’t confused you with TK. and have no idea why you would suggest that I have. My comments went directly to your questions…or at least I thought they did.

  • Jayhuck

    Yes – I think we are in agreement as well that sometimes it may be necessary to have a program primarily gay-heavy as a response to the type of bullying going in a particular situation.

    Past discussions have hinted at the allegation that some anti-bullying programs have an over-focus on gays (including the allegation that the programs are almost fully under the auspices of gay groups) and that the discussion goes beyond bullying and into both advocacy of gay political issues and a denigration of religious and moral standards.

    Efforts to actually discuss whether or not this is actually true have been thwarted. If it is true, I believe that the excesses need to be placed in check. If it is not true, then I believe we need to expose the untruth for the benefit of those conservatives who have heard and swallowed the lie.

    I’m just thinking out loud here, but it seems this would be a good place for the Gay Christian Network to step in, or to have gay Christians step in and help with the discussion.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I should have added that, by the same token, anti-religious messages from any group have no place in such programs either! Its funny that you use guilt-mongering, since I’ve thought of that as the domain of religion

    It cuts both ways.

    Your aversion to bringing anything religion-associated into the school bullying programs, in effect, disenfranchises a great many families/students in this country. It’s like cutting off our nose to spite our face, collectively speaking. No intelligent person can really make a case that morality has no place in education, and morality springs from one source. It does not create itself in a vacuum, as I have stated here before, and it does not spring from the heart of man.

    To tell a child that his faith — even if it is childish faith that is being fully formed — is of no value in his education is, I submit, a form of bullying in itself. Of course it is a parent’s place, first and foremost, to help him develop that faith. Parents send their children to government-run schools and into the care of supposedly mature and safe adults who have the implied designation as temporary guardians. We are not a totally secular nation, and neither should our schools be totally secular institutions. Those guardians need to acknowledge that faith in God is an integral part of many students’ lives.

    To not give a student the whole truth, which includes that even the APA recognizes some degree of meaningful “religiously-mediated” change in undesired same-sex attractions, is intellectually dishonest.

    There’s a saying among parents that our job from the birth of our kids is to “civilize the little heathen.” Children are born self-centered and with a natural proclivity to dominate. Show me a better path to civil behavior than a faith-based moral code. There has to be a valid reason for a kid to behave. Teaching him why loving his neighbor as himself is important seals the deal for life. Yes, by all means, let’s bring the Golden Rule into schools. And let’s make sure kids know where it comes from. Otherwise, they may grow up to be President some day and forget that our unalienable rights are endowed by our Creator.

    You are painting FOTF with too narrow a brush. They have a much broader perspective than you give them credit for. There are also Christian psychologists in the world. James Dobson is one of them. Oh, and the guy who runs this blog is another.

  • Jayhuck

    They did Eddy – That post you are referring to should have been edited.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    LOL. And that is the problem. You can only see ‘guilt-mongering’ when it’s administered religiously. For clear examples of how others use it, go back through this thread and see how many times Timothy used ‘guilt-mongering’ as a means of censure. “I see you’re all talking about this…in the meantime gay kids are dying.” If that ain’t a guilt-trip, then nothing is.

    That is not true – its just that guilt-mongering has been the domain of religion for such a long time, its funny to have religious folk accuse others of using it – it has nothing to do with me believing that only religious folk use it

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

    “They have as much pro-gay bias/baggage as FOTF has on the anti-gay side. ”

    Can you back this statement up with any evidence? Certainly GLSEN is pro-gay. However, to simply claim they are the opposite of FOTF is not true. FOTF has some pretty obvious distortions of the facts on their web-site. Can you say the same of GSLEN? Can you cite any examples of anti-religious bias on the part of GLSEN?

    “Should there be room at the table for a possibility of change message for kids whose sexual identity is not yet formed? GLEN is strongly opposed to that.”

    No there shouldn’t be. Because there is NO CREDIBLE SCIENTIFIC evidence on the efficacy of changing orientation. Nor do I see why this topic would have any place in an anti-bullying program.

  • Debbie Thurman

    “They have as much pro-gay bias/baggage as FOTF has on the anti-gay side. ”

    Can you back this statement up with any evidence? Certainly GLSEN is pro-gay. However, to simply claim they are the opposite of FOTF is not true. FOTF has some pretty obvious distortions of the facts on their web-site. Can you say the same of GSLEN? Can you cite any examples of anti-religious bias on the part of GLSEN?

    You know not what you ask, Ken. It gets tiresome to always have to be pulling out the same proof over and over again. Just look at some old discussions here. Also, I am not saying GLSEN is the polar opposite of FOTF. That’s an extreme simplification.

    Here’s just one statement of Kevin Jennings: “Ex-gay messages have no place in our nation’s public schools. A line has been drawn. There is no ‘other side’ when you’re talking about lesbian, gay and bisexual students.” He was quoted in a Washington Times story of July 3, 2004: “NEA Groups Protest Award to Gay Studies Activist.” The activist was Virginia Uribe. Much already has been said on this blog about Jennings’ baggage.

    “Should there be room at the table for a possibility of change message for kids whose sexual identity is not yet formed? GLSEN is strongly opposed to that.”

    No there shouldn’t be. Because there is NO CREDIBLE SCIENTIFIC evidence on the efficacy of changing orientation. Nor do I see why this topic would have any place in an anti-bullying program

    .

    Sigh. Here we go again. No credible scientific evidence for homosexuality being an inborn or permanent state, either. That’s the problem with bringing up the change word. That horse also has been whipped to death here. I mean there are other choices than acquiescing for confused or unhappy SSA kids, not that a complete (polar-opposite) change will take place if they work hard enough at it.

    It is also not fair to say that the blood of all sexual-identity-conflicted kids who complete a suicide attempt is on the hands of Christians or “ex-gays.” Some of it is on the hands of those who insist that gay is the only way for them to live or who lead them away from the faith that could help them resolve some of their conflict. Yes, we know that faith is a two-edged sword that can be improperly used to push a kid over the edge, too. We don’t get to know everything that runs through the head of a kid who takes his own life. It has to be a mass of conflicting thoughts/impulses, the only escape from which they see is death.

  • David Blakeslee

    Heard a FOTF ad on the radio today about bullying.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    God bless you David Blakeslee

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie,

    Timothy, is it true that FOTF objects to adding anti-gay bullying to the list of motivating factors (i.e., that they tacitly approve of such bullying), or do they merely object to the sociopolitical agenda that is tied to some of those packages in the form of curriculum that pushes pro-gay sex education messages, even to very young children?

    It is true that they object to listing any motivating factors that includes sexual orientation.

    What do we say about GLSEN as a bullying prevention organization? Their very name says it, I suppose. Their focus is clearly on gay issues. They have as much pro-gay bias/baggage as FOTF has on the anti-gay side. Not that there is not a legitimate role for them to play for these marginalized kids. But are they focused on just bringing awareness to the table or do they go farther in guilt-mongering and bringing an anti-religious message through the back door?

    GLSEN works with a broader group. You can read their policy statement for yourself here

    Should there be room at the table for a possibility of change message for kids whose sexual identity is not yet formed?

    Sure, on the day that there is conclusive evidence of a proven and consistent pathway to “change”. Otherwise, no.

    I have no objection to advising children that they should craft their life in accordance with their values and to discuss matters of sexuality with their family. I’m not fond of lying to them.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    No credible scientific evidence for homosexuality being an inborn or permanent state, either.

    Except, of course, for the vast overwhelming majority of gay people who remain same-sex attracted for their entire life. Or even the permanency of the attractions of almost every single solitary person in the Jones and Yarhouse study.

    I’m not sure if that qualifies as “scientific evidence for homosexuality being a permanent state”, but it’s pretty convincing.

    I agree that there are “other choices” for “confused or unhappy SSA kids” and I have no objection to telling ALL children that they have the right to select a lifetime of celibacy. I’m sure that this is relevant also to children of all sexual orientations who are considering becoming nuns or Catholic priests.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Heard a FOTF ad on the radio today about bullying.

    Did it include objection to anti-bullying programs that include mention of sexual orientation?

  • Eddy

    Oh, Jayhuck, you can be so silly sometimes. Right after chastising me for venturing away from the topic of bullying, are you sure you want to go on record as simply ‘musing’

    That is not true – its just that guilt-mongering has been the domain of religion for such a long time, its funny to have religious folk accuse others of using it – it has nothing to do with me believing that only religious folk use it

    Are you suggesting that you cited that only for it’s rarity?

    Does the fact that you are humored by it advance the conversation in any way or does it come across more as a way to inject a criticism directed at religious folk? And why would it be funny? It’s a serious conversation about life and death for youth (as we’ve been reminded time and time again), I’m missing the humor.

    but it seems this would be a good place for the Gay Christian Network to step in, or to have gay Christians step in and help with the discussion.

    Yes, it would. And it would also be a good place for gay Christians to honor the opinions and efforts of the more conservative Christians who are actually in the conversation. It would seem that you all have pretty much ‘written off’ the conservative religious as being able to hear and respond to truth and to repent of unchristian attitudes and responses. I haven’t. It would be a good place for conservative Christians to step in and actually demonstrate that truth that confuses so many…that of actually loving the sinner while they are still a sinner.

    (I realize that many would wish that they’d also change their mind about it being a sin but the ‘love the sinner’ message is vital–both for the church and for the world. ‘While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”) (And naturally, with the ‘separation of church and state’, the conservative religious folks will have an extra challenge added to how they convey their message.)

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    “You know not what you ask, Ken.”

    I know EXACTLY what I’m asking. I’m asking YOU to support your claims (and innuendo) about GLSEN. the organization. All you’ve done is dredge up old dirt on Jennings, who, while the founder, is not the whole of the organization.

    “Also, I am not saying GLSEN is the polar opposite of FOTF. That’s an extreme simplification.”

    You said GLSEN has “as much pro-gay bias/baggage as FOTF has on the anti-gay side. ” that certainly sounds like you claiming it is the polar opposite of FOTF. If you wish to avoid these kinds of misunderstandings Debbie, I suggest you choose your words more carefully.

    He (Jennings) was quoted in a Washington Times story of July 3, 2004: “NEA Groups Protest Award to Gay Studies Activist.” The activist was Virginia Uribe. Much already has been said on this blog about Jennings’ baggage.

    The activist being protested was Jennings himself, (not Vigirinia Uribe), the award was the “2004 Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights”. The protesters were: NEA Republican Educators Caucus and NEA Ex-Gay Educators Caucus (hardly very surprising).

    You did get the quote of Jennings correct, which btw, I agree with, the ex-gay message (esp. from 6 years ago) has no place in public schools.

    “No credible scientific evidence for homosexuality being an inborn or permanent state, either. ”

    Actually there is a great deal of evidence that sexual ORIENTATION (as opposed to identity) is not changeable in the common case (at least for men, for women it does appear to be much more fluid) . Further, there is also significant credible (but not conclusive) evidence to indicate there are many factors (some of which are present at birth ex. genetics) that contribute to a person’s orientation. A far more accurate statement would be that it is unknown exactly what factors determine a person’s orientation.

    Again, I ask: what has this to do with anti-bullying programs?

    “It is also not fair to say that the blood of all sexual-identity-conflicted kids who complete a suicide attempt is on the hands of Christians or “ex-gays.””

    I agree. Do you have some cite where GLSEN claims this?

    “Some of it is on the hands of those who insist that gay is the only way for them to live or who lead them away from the faith that could help them resolve some of their conflict.”

    Again, can you cite any examples of kids committing suicide because of the support they got from gay affirming groups?

  • Debbie Thurman

    It is true that they object to listing any motivating factors that includes sexual orientation.

    Here’s what Candi Cushman said on Anderson Cooper 360:

    We believe all those children, without exception (she specifically mentioned gay bullying), should be protected from bullying. … Harming them is wrong for any reason. … I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay. I think that should be stopped. But our viewpoint comes from the belief that all human beings, all students are created in God’s image and they deserve to be protected because they are a human being uniquely created by God with innate dignity and worth and not because of the political sector (?) they identify with or how they identify sexually.

    So your comment is pure bull, Timothy.

    Rosalind Wiseman was just plain silly, by the way, in her response to that statement from Cushman. And Anderson Cooper was doing everything he could to put words in Cushman’s mouth. Watch the video.

    The GLSEN spokesman just stayed on her point: “When you name the problem, it stops.” Cushman never said, as Cooper tried several times to get her to, that FOTF was against naming the behavior. And we do know that some of the curriculum being presented to young children is politicized and overly sex-focused, especially on homosexuality. GLSEN’s reading list also confirms this.

    Further, your “proof” that homosexuality is a lifelong stable and immutable trait, temptation or behavior is not. You said it: “I’m not sure.” Like all human-nature variables, homosexuality has a shelf life. Does it maybe take a lifetime to render it impotent? That could be true for many or most cases. So? Has anybody done a lifelong study?

    How about all those kids who think they are bisexual? They are a walking study in mutability.

  • Debbie Thurman

    You said GLSEN has “as much pro-gay bias/baggage as FOTF has on the anti-gay side. ” that certainly sounds like you claiming it is the polar opposite of FOTF. If you wish to avoid these kinds of misunderstandings Debbie, I suggest you choose your words more carefully.

    Just read, think and avoid such misunderstandings, Ken. The King’s English.

    You did get the quote of Jennings correct, which btw, I agree with, the ex-gay message (esp. from 6 years ago) has no place in public schools.

    Then neither does the gay message.

    Actually there is a great deal of evidence that sexual ORIENTATION (as opposed to identity) is not changeable in the common case (at least for men, for women it does appear to be much more fluid) .

    Oops. There’s a little problem with that reasoning. Seems about half the kids in school are girls. OK, we’ll just give the change message to them.

    “It is also not fair to say that the blood of all sexual-identity-conflicted kids who complete a suicide attempt is on the hands of Christians or “ex-gays.””

    I agree. Do you have some cite where GLSEN claims this?

    Oh, just about every gay blog on the planet does. I didn’t name GLSEN as a defendant.

    As far as my last statement you questioned goes, again, you are trying to misdirect the point. I referred to kids being led away from their faith as a harmful thing and you wanted to focus on support from gay groups to such kids. If support translates to taking them away from the underpinnings of their faith, what kind of support is that?

  • Jayhuck

    Oh Eddy –

    Are you suggesting that you cited that only for it’s rarity?

    I wasn’t saying that bullying was humorous – please go back and re-read my post for goodness sakes.

    And in answer to your question above – Yes I was! :)

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Oops. There’s a little problem with that reasoning. Seems about half the kids in school are girls. OK, we’ll just give the change message to them.

    Nope, you don’t – because what you are pushing are your own personal religious beliefs and you dont get to do that in a school-wide way like that -

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    You quote above trying to prove Timothy wrong doesn’t suggest that Candi is in favor of discussing sexual orientation in Bullying programs. She made it very clear she was not.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Sorry for all the posts – you really need to re-read Timothy’s posts again before you accuse him of trying to lead kids away from their faith

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    It would seem that you all have pretty much ‘written off’ the conservative religious as being able to hear and respond to truth and to repent of unchristian attitudes and responses.

    I don’t know a single person on here who has written them off.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    How about you go back and read mine? I did not say that you said bullying was humorous…I suggested that it was an odd time, place and circumstance to interject a humorous observation that did not advance the discussion one iota.

  • David Blakeslee

    Jayhuck,

    I agree:

    You’d hope that would be the case don’t you, but it doesn’t appear to always work – sometimes with immature adolescents you have to spell things out – be a little more specific. Adults sometimes have trouble understanding parables and the meanings of Biblical stories, I don’t know why we should assume that immature adolescents would fair any better.

    I think you would use the passages for scriptural support of an explicit message of protecting these kids from the mob and not being a member or instigator of the mob.

    You are right about the vagueness of such parables for some adults.

    Explicit passages:

    If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a

    liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he

    has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (NIV).

    1Jn 4:20

    Coupled with love you neighbor as yourself. Any other suggestions?

  • Jayhuck

    What you said about my comment being humorous Eddy was this:

    And why would it be funny? It’s a serious conversation about life and death for youth (as we’ve been reminded time and time again), I’m missing the humor.

    The conversation dealing with life and death is actually, specifically, about bullying – My amusement had nothing to do with bullying

    I’m not surprised the humor was lost on you/you did not appreciate it. That is fine – now let’s get back to the discussion

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I think you would use the passages for scriptural support of an explicit message of protecting these kids from the mob and not being a member or instigator of the mob.

    I think we agree, as long as when you suggest there be an explicit message, we are going over the reasons kids Bully and specifically mentioning the groups they are bullying and why it is wrong to do so.

  • Timothy Kincaid
    It is true that they object to listing any motivating factors that includes sexual orientation

    .

    Here’s what Candi Cushman said on Anderson Cooper 360:

    We believe all those children, without exception (she specifically mentioned gay bullying), should be protected from bullying. … Harming them is wrong for any reason. … I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay. I think that should be stopped. But our viewpoint comes from the belief that all human beings, all students are created in God’s image and they deserve to be protected because they are a human being uniquely created by God with innate dignity and worth and not because of the political sector (?) they identify with or how they identify sexually.

    So your comment is pure bull, Timothy.

    Regardless of Cushman’s spin (or yours), she was on the interview specifically to object to listing any motivating factors that includes sexual orientation. I watched it Debbie, so I know what she said.

    She refused to answer Anderson Cooper when he asked if she opposed mentioning race and went right back to the talking point. Which you quoted here on her behalf. No one, literally no one (including you) was fooled.

    And, absent ANY evidence to substantiate (or even support) the notion that sexual orientation “has a shelf-life” or that it is mutable, it would be dishonest and irresponsible to say so to children.

    While you and Candi Cushman may wish to present faith-based (but unobservable) “facts” to children, I do not favor lying to them.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Its lucky for all of us here that everything you write always advances the conversation!

  • Eddy

    And ‘it’ was clearly referring to ‘ to have religious folk accuse others of using it”.

  • Debbie Thurman

    You quote above trying to prove Timothy wrong doesn’t suggest that Candi is in favor of discussing sexual orientation in Bullying programs. She made it very clear she was not.

    She made it clear she and FOTF are not in favor of the way it is being discussed. And maybe she has a valid point since it isn’t working very well to prevent bullying. Is it?

    you really need to re-read Timothy’s posts again before you accuse him of trying to lead kids away from their faith

    What????? Now, that’s a piece of work. I accused Timothy of doing that?

    Go to your room.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Then neither does the gay message.

    Just so we’re clear, the “gay message” I’m supporting is:

    1. One must declare anti-gay slurs to be harmful and disrespectful on par with any other name calling.

    2. One must indicate that gay people exist, deserve respect and will not be harassed.

    Some of it is on the hands of those who insist that gay is the only way for them to live or who lead them away from the faith that could help them resolve some of their conflict.

    Kindly point to the study that proves this assertion.

    If support translates to taking them away from the underpinnings of their faith, what kind of support is that?

    That depends on the “underpinnings of their faith.” If the faith is abusive, then it would be better to take them away. I’ve never advocated for taking away from faith (even conservative) that seeks to be supportive rather than punitive and demanding. If a church says “we disagree with same-sex sexual behavior but we will love and support you” I certainly have no problems.

  • Jayhuck

    OK – all differences and jibes aside – I think all of us on here, with perhaps the exception of Debbie – and correct me if I’m wrong here Debbie – can get behind Warren’s suggestions of:

    1. One must declare such slurs to be harmful and disrespectful on par with any other name calling.

    2. One must indicate that gay people exist, deserve respect and will not be harassed.

    If we can, this is a very good place to start – I’ll work on keeping my conversation-receding comments to myself

  • Eddy

    LOL. Ooh! a blast of snark.

    No Jayhuck, very little of what I say even has a chance of advancing the conversation. HMMM…now why is that? Could it be that even when I say something coherent and explain myself that someone like you comes in and asks ‘what did you mean by ‘gay focus’?’ And then, with every single reply that I give finds some other miniscule point to take exception to or to distort? LOL. And then, because I continue to clarify your distortions, you play the snark card.

    That’s okay. “A picture is worth a thousand words”…rather than explain ‘tactical rhetoric’ to people, I can simply point them here.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    She made it clear she and FOTF are not in favor of the way it is being discussed. And maybe she has a valid point since it isn’t working very well to prevent bullying. Is it?

    You really need to watch that interview again – Its been shown that programs that do not directly address issues like sexual orientation actually don’t appear to work.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    She made it clear she and FOTF are not in favor of the way it is being discussed. And maybe she has a valid point since it isn’t working very well to prevent bullying. Is it?

    Yes, actually, it is.

    Those schools which institute and commit to these specific types of anti-bullying programs see significant reductions in bullying, especially with those usually targeted for bullying.

  • David Blakeslee

    How would a school honor that some same sex attracted kids would not want to be publicly identified as such in order to get protection (gay is OK is not the issue, I don’t want to be harassed and my sexual attractions are noone’s business but my own)?

    How would a school honor that some same sex attracted kids would want to be identified as “not gay” but as religiously guided in their behavior?

    Putting everything on the table I think has to include some inclusion of these real variables.

    “Ex-gay” triggers some here as a label. But it has been amazing over the years to meet adult men and women who found their prior identification as Gay or Lesbian as a unhelpful and simplistic label. As they abandoned it, they found more meaning and more authenticity by pursuing the values in the context of their Faith.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I agree about that picture. Please do point them here.

  • David Blakeslee

    If change in orientation is more likely for women than men; and if lesbians outnumber gays in the population; then there is some sort of math involved in estimating the overall possibility of change for the gay and lesbian population.

    In that regard, an accurate message to children about the possibility of change (not the mechanism) would be educational.

    Although gays and lesbians identify as a class in order to advocate for shared rights, I think they are two distinct communities and need to be understood as such.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    How would a school honor that some same sex attracted kids would not want to be publicly identified as such in order to get protection (gay is OK is not the issue, I don’t want to be harassed and my sexual attractions are noone’s business but my own)?

    There is no need whatsoever to identify the kids who are being bullied – c’mon, sure you knew this?

    “Ex-gay” triggers some here as a label. But it has been amazing over the years to meet adult men and women who found their prior identification as Gay or Lesbian as a unhelpful and simplistic label. As they abandoned it, they found more meaning and more authenticity by pursuing the values in the context of their Faith.

    Its also been amazing to meet those that have found their prior identification as Ex-Gay to be an unhelpful and simplistic/confusing label as well. And who have found ” more authenticity by pursuing the values in the context of their Faith”

  • Debbie Thurman

    Regardless of Cushman’s spin (or yours), she was on the interview specifically to object to listing any motivating factors that includes sexual orientation. I watched it Debbie, so I know what she said.

    She was on the interview so the spin-meisters could entrap her. They didn’t. I watched it, too. And what is this “listing” supposed to mean? Let’s clarify that, shall we? She implied it could get ridiculous to try to list every factor that might instigate a bullying incident because some will get left out. And she ought not have replied to Cooper’s silly question. Good for her.

    Do you think a teacher or other adult can spot a bullying incident in progress? Does it matter more that the kid is being bullied or why he is being bullied? Cushman’s and FOTF’s message, underscored in that interview, is that all bullying is wrong for any reason, and it needs to be stopped. Politicizing bullying is also wrong. That is placing the cause above the child and his anguish. And I agree with them. Bullying should be dealt with swiftly and in a strong way, as near to the time of the incident as possible so that it does not escalate. Suspension is not too stiff of a sentence for the offender, if the incident merits it.

    Gee, any adult with common sense can intervene and stop this stuff. It’s not like we don’t remember what it felt like to be a kid. Why is this so out of hand? Because the inmates run the asylum!

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    In that regard, an accurate message to children about the possibility of change (not the mechanism) would be educational.

    In Churches or religious schools perhaps, not in Public schools – The idea behind change is religious in nature and needs to be understood as such – Its not an idea driven by science but by personal/individual beliefs

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    And she ought not have replied to Cooper’s silly question. Good for her.

    Good for her? Really? She avoided the question every time it was asked because she could not put forth an answer to a valid and good question – Shame on her – and you support her?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    You’re not addressing the fact that bullying programs that specifically cite the groups being bullied actually work -

  • Jayhuck

    You’re blind faith and support of FOTF does not serve you well Debbie!

  • Timothy Kincaid

    How would a school honor that some same sex attracted kids would not want to be publicly identified as such in order to get protection (gay is OK is not the issue, I don’t want to be harassed and my sexual attractions are noone’s business but my own)?

    I think that the focus is on preventing bullying. I’ve not seen a program that requires kids to identify as anything. Have you?

    How would a school honor that some same sex attracted kids would want to be identified as “not gay” but as religiously guided in their behavior?

    All anti-bullying programs include components to address anti-religion bullying.

    If change in orientation is more likely for women than men;

    A better term would be “less extremely rare but still very very rare”

    and if lesbians outnumber gays in the population;

    they do not, according to any study I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a good many)

    then there is some sort of math involved in estimating the overall possibility of change for the gay and lesbian population.

    Yes. If we define “change” as being “from generally same-sex attracted with little to no opposite attraction to generally opposite-sex attracted with little to no same-sex attraction”, then the numbers would be something like:

    Jones and Yarhouse: didn’t find any

    Spitzer: estimated less than 3%

    Those are the only sources of which I am aware that anyone attempted to quantify. Perhaps we could share that information with students.

  • Debbie Thurman

    OK – all differences and jibes aside – I think all of us on here, with perhaps the exception of Debbie – and correct me if I’m wrong here Debbie – can get behind Warren’s suggestions of:

    1. One must declare such slurs to be harmful and disrespectful on par with any other name calling.

    2. One must indicate that gay people exist, deserve respect and will not be harassed.

    What’s not to agree with in that? ALL bullying, name-calling, slurs, harassment and violence directed at another person is WRONG all the time. Golden Rule.

    To all of you, I’d ask is not fair also, then, to admit that people who are desiring not to acquiesce to a gay identity also exist and deserve not to be harassed?

  • David Blakeslee

    There is evidence…the quality of it is in question:

    And, absent ANY evidence to substantiate (or even support) the notion that sexual orientation “has a shelf-life” or that it is mutable, it would be dishonest and irresponsible to say so to children.

  • Eddy

    Could someone provide the link to Candi Cushman’s interview again. Since it seems that the interview itself is behind much of the misunderstanding, it would be good to have the link somewhere in this portion of the comments. (I went looking for it above and must be brain-weary…couldn’t find it.)

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    “Then neither does the gay message.”

    What message are you referring to: that there is nothing wrong with being gay. That gays can be happy and lead fulfilling lives. That it is wrong to pick on someone because you think they are gay. These messages most certainly do have a place in public schools.

    “Oops. There’s a little problem with that reasoning. Seems about half the kids in school are girls. OK, we’ll just give the change message to them.”

    And are you willing to tell girls who identify as straight that THEIR orientation is fluid as well or are you only interested in pushing the part that satisfies your personal agenda Debbie?

    “I didn’t name GLSEN as a defendant.”

    Yes you did at the start of this discussion. You implied that GLSEN was just as bad as FOTF when it comes to their biases. When I asked you to cite evidence to support this you can’t. You claim “that’s not what I said”, you dredge up stuff about Kevin Jennings (which still doesn’t support your claims even if it were official policy of GLSEN), and now you talking about blogs that have nothing to do with GLSEN. If you think this tactic will cover up the fact that you still have not cited any evidence to support your misleading claims about GLSEN you are mistaken.

    “I referred to kids being led away from their faith as a harmful thing and you wanted to focus on support from gay groups to such kids. If support translates to taking them away from the underpinnings of their faith, what kind of support is that?”

    Well. lets look at the statement again shall we:

    “Some of it is on the hands of those who insist that gay is the only way for them to live or who lead them away from the faith that could help them resolve some of their conflict.”

    You are talking about GAY kids (or those who identify as gay), and imply that those support them are leading them away from their faith and that this causes these kids to commit suicide. When I ask you to give an example of such a case you again fail to do so. Once again trying to claim “that’s not what I said”. Further, I doubt very much it is the support groups “leading them away” from there faith, and more the case of religious intolerance driving these kids away. But since you have yet to provide any examples of what you are talking about I can’t examine the situation.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Are you signing off on Warren’s suggestion that it be discussed that “gay people exist, deserve respect and will not be harassed”?

    Yes Debbie – those identifying as ex-gay deserve not to be harassed as well. Although I know a few people who are conservative and celibate but still identify as Gay – so we can’t always assume that because a person calls them-self gay, that he or she is accepting of their sexual orientation.

  • David Blakeslee

    Jayhuck,

    The idea behind change is religious in nature and needs to be understood as such – Its not an idea driven by science but by personal/individual beliefs

    I believe their are sound secular reasons that people who do not have a religious faith explore the possibility of change or decide not to identify as gay or lesbian.

    I think you and I have discussed in past that it is too simplistic to associate ambivalence or distaste for unwanted same sex attractions as being attributable to religious or cultural pressures alone.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    There is evidence…the quality of it is in question:

    In question by whom? Conservative religious people who don’t agree with it?

  • David Blakeslee

    It seems we are trying to figure out how broad the message can be…

    and if we can’t agree, how limiting the message can bring more consensus, but may be less accurate or effective.

  • Debbie Thurman

    You’re blind faith and support of FOTF does not serve you well Debbie!

    Jayhuck, my faith is not blind, and I will be an apologist for FOTF or any organization/person only as far as I can go. I am not in perfect lock-step with any.

    In Churches or religious schools perhaps, not in Public schools – The idea behind change is religious in nature and needs to be understood as such – Its not an idea driven by science but by personal/individual beliefs

    We do not check our faith or our morality at the door of the schoolhouse. It all carries over.

    You’re not addressing the fact that bullying programs that specifically cite the groups being bullied actually work -

    Once again, no one is objecting to saying it is wrong to bully a specific entity. The objection is on politicizing the message. I said programs are not working in general because they whole world suddenly is up in arms over bullying and suicides. If these programs, whatever they are, are so wonderful, there ought to be no objection to them.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    She was on the interview so the spin-meisters could entrap her.

    Ooooooooh. It was the spin-meisters. Why didn’t I (or anyone else) see that?

    And what is this “listing” supposed to mean? Let’s clarify that, shall we?

    OK. I provided the link (which you ignored) but the list is:

    To clarify that it can be based on any grounds set forth by a district or state; and to enumerate specific bases related to the highest frequency of such incidents, including conduct that is based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion.

    It’s based on frequency of events and if something else becomes common, they can address it.

    And she ought not have replied to Cooper’s silly question. Good for her.

    Yes, that could have made her explain her objection in honest terms which would not be good for her political effort.

    Do you think a teacher or other adult can spot a bullying incident in progress? Does it matter more that the kid is being bullied or why he is being bullied?

    See, Debby, that’s the problem. You and Candi want to address bullying in the same way you might address catching someone chewing gum. You want an after-the-fact response to individual incidents.

    Rather than address the epidemic of bullying, you want to handle it item by item, case by case. That does not and will not work.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I believe their are sound secular reasons that people who do not have a religious faith explore the possibility of change or decide not to identify as gay or lesbian.

    I think you and I have discussed in past that it is too simplistic to associate ambivalence or distaste for unwanted same sex attractions as being attributable to religious or cultural pressures alone.

    Not really David – not when the vast majority of the information out there regarding change is sponsored by, supported by, religion. People need to understand that change happens rarely and only to a few, that it is an idea PRIMARILY driven by religion/personal religious beliefs today, not science, etc…. As long as they know the facts, which include the realities of happy, healthy and values-driven lives for gay people, gay couples and gay families, I’m fine with them pursuing whatever they want!

  • Timothy Kincaid

    We do not check our faith or our morality at the door of the schoolhouse. It all carries over.

    Not to the curriculum, it doesn’t. Or at least not as long as this nation does not allow the establishment of religion.

    Once again, no one is objecting to saying it is wrong to bully a specific entity.

    You are factually incorrect. If that specific entity is “gay kids” then Focus on the Family does object.

    If these programs, whatever they are, are so wonderful, there ought to be no objection to them.

    I agree. There ought not.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    We do not check our faith or our morality at the door of the schoolhouse. It all carries over.

    I’m not asking you too – I’m asking that you realize it is a personal, religious belief that belongs to you, and that there are many people who disagree with you and who have other beliefs and that you respect them in the way you wish to be respected – that is all. A public school is not a place for religious indoctrination of any kind

  • Debbie Thurman

    Some of it is on the hands of those who insist that gay is the only way for them to live or who lead them away from the faith that could help them resolve some of their conflict.

    Kindly point to the study that proves this assertion.

    We don’t need a stinking study. Faith in God: good. “Causing one of these little ones to stumble”: not good. Millstone-around-the-neck-in-the-sea not good.

    If support translates to taking them away from the underpinnings of their faith, what kind of support is that?

    That depends on the “underpinnings of their faith.” If the faith is abusive, then it would be better to take them away. I’ve never advocated for taking away from faith (even conservative) that seeks to be supportive rather than punitive and demanding. If a church says “we disagree with same-sex sexual behavior but we will love and support you” I certainly have no problems.

    Note to all: When I say faith, it is in the God of Abraham and his son, Jesus Christ. It is pure, child-like faith in a never-changing God. It is not faith in a cause, a creed or a human being.

    I am so glad, Timothy, you made that last statement.

  • Jayhuck

    Ken,

    And are you willing to tell girls who identify as straight that THEIR orientation is fluid as well or are you only interested in pushing the part that satisfies your personal agenda Debbie?

    That is an excellent point.

  • David Blakeslee

    Jayhuck,

    The evidence for change precedes FOTF becoming an active sponsor for change.

    I don’t think I have the time or the space here to lay out all the articles, with flaws that suggest change in behavior is certainly possible (without psychological harm) and does occur (with positive mental health outcomes).

    It is a dilemma separating sexual behavior from morals, and then excluding religious beliefs as a viable means of understanding and organizing sexual behavior.

    Separation of Church and State issues as they related to public school, means that morals attached to sexual behavior are artificially de-linked from values that have transcendentally been adaptive for the culture.

  • David Blakeslee

    Ken,

    I suppose to be honest, we would have to do that.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Timothy, I will not let you get away with this obvious distortion:

    Once again, no one is objecting to saying it is wrong to bully a specific entity.

    You are factually incorrect. If that specific entity is “gay kids” then Focus on the Family does object.

    Candi Cushman: “I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay. I think that should be stopped.”

  • David Blakeslee

    BTW, if I recollect the data correctly, the move to heterosexuality is much greater than the move to homosexuality for women (2:1 ?).

  • Debbie Thurman

    And are you willing to tell girls who identify as straight that THEIR orientation is fluid as well or are you only interested in pushing the part that satisfies your personal agenda Debbie?

    That is an excellent point.

    I was utilizing a bit of hyperbole to make a point, Ken and Jayhuck.

  • Debbie Thurman

    A public school is not a place for religious indoctrination of any kind

    Never said it was, Jayhuck. It likewise is not a place for political agenda indoctrination.

  • David Blakeslee

    Jayhuck,

    As long as they know the facts, which include the realities of happy, healthy and values-driven lives for gay people, gay couples and gay families, I’m fine with them pursuing whatever they want!

    Everybody then. No problem here.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David,

    I don’t think I have the time or the space here to lay out all the articles, with flaws that suggest change in behavior is certainly possible (without psychological harm) and does occur (with positive mental health outcomes).

    I have the space:

    When Jones and Yarhouse looked at their prospective study they found that 9% could change behavior to be “functionally heterosexual” and another 11% could change behavior to be “celibate”. These were “highly motivated” devoutly religious adherents, though, so the real percentages may be somewhat less.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    I don’t think I have the time or the space here to lay out all the articles, with flaws that suggest change in behavior is certainly possible (without psychological harm) and does occur (with positive mental health outcomes).

    We’ve probably been over them all on here David – one of the best to date is the J&Y Study that we discussed in detail not all that long ago, and which showed that real change was actually rare, and sometimes the change doesn’t stick.

    It is a dilemma separating sexual behavior from morals, and then excluding religious beliefs as a viable means of understanding and organizing sexual behavior.

    David – you are excluding here by failing to realize there is a rather LARGE gay Christian community out there – have you ever visits GayChristian.net? Conservatives don’t have a monopoly on faith, or values, or religion, or morales – the sooner that is understand, the sooner we can all get along with things. I don’t know anyone on here who suggests we exclude religious beliefs as a viable means of understanding and organizing sexual behavior, but that has to be done with an understanding that there are many different beliefs out there, not all all people of all faiths agree, even between members of their own faith, and that we are a pluralistic society – made up of believers, non-believers and a host of people in between.

    Separation of Church and State issues as they related to public school, means that morals attached to sexual behavior are artificially de-linked from values that have transcendentally been adaptive for the culture.

    Whose culture are we talking about here? Are you saying that gay people cant be morale and have values?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    BTW, if I recollect the data correctly, the move to heterosexuality is much greater than the move to homosexuality for women (2:1 ?).

    source?

  • Debbie Thurman

    People need to understand that change happens rarely and only to a few, that it is an idea PRIMARILY driven by religion/personal religious beliefs today, not science, etc….

    Maybe that right there, Jayhuck, is the crux of the whole matter. As we move farther away from morality and faith in God, we lose the understanding of who we are (made in His image) and the power (perfected by Him in our weakness) to go the distance to be transformed.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Never said it was, Jayhuck. It likewise is not a place for political agenda indoctrination

    .

    I never said it was!

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Timothy, I will not let you get away with this obvious distortion:

    Once again, no one is objecting to saying it is wrong to bully a specific entity.

    You are factually incorrect. If that specific entity is “gay kids” then Focus on the Family does object.

    Candi Cushman: “I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay. I think that should be stopped.”

    Debbie, then I guess I shouldn’t let you get away with the above

    Candi Cushman opposes any anti-bullying program from “saying it is wrong to bully a specific entity” if that specific entity is sexual orientation.

    Oh, she’s fine with specific individual incidents, as long as there is no program which addresses the problem.

    I’m not really sure what’s going on here, Debbie. Are you really unfamiliar with FOTF’s position or are you lying?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Candi Cushman: “I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay. I think that should be stopped.”

    You and Candi do a great job of side-stepping the issue – this quote does not deal with bullying programs directly addressing sexual orientation – All this suggests is that FOTF is probably ok with a teacher confronting another child who may or may not be gay, and who the teacher may or may not be able to realize is gay.

    It has nothing to do with addressing successful anti-bullying programs that do specifically address sexual orientation – FOTF is NOT, I repeat NOT in favor of that – you need to listen to the interview again

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Incidentally, Debbie, remember when I noted that as you lose the argument based on logic you tend to revert to theological pronouncements?

    It’s happening again.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    And all of what I wrote above is assuming the teacher actually witnesses the act taking place -

  • David Blakeslee

    @ Jayhuck,

    I was talking about the heterosexual culture…please see teen pregnancy, domestic violence and sexual abuse when sexual behavior is de-linked from traditional values.

    @ Timothy,

    Don’t know where I can find that, as I recall it was a New Zealand study. I am not hopeful about relocating it, which is why I quoted it tentatively. I will look for it.

    Are we saying the Jones and Yarhouse is the definitive study? Wow.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    As we move farther away from morality and faith in God, we lose the understanding of who we are (made in His image) and the power (perfected by Him in our weakness) to go the distance to be transformed.

    What? Of course this is the cry of conservatives, but there are plenty of religious folk out there who disagree with you Debbie? May I remind you that many people in this country do not share your personal faith, nor do they necessarily share your beliefs.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    Are we saying the Jones and Yarhouse is the definitive study? Wow.

    Only that it is the best to date.

  • Jayhuck

    de-linked from traditional values.

    What and whose traditional values are you talking about?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Are we saying the Jones and Yarhouse is the definitive study? Wow.

    We are saying that as flawed as I believe it to be, it is the only (partly) prospective study that has ever been conducted (to the best of my knowledge).

  • Eddy

    Dang, I must be going blind! Still no link.

    Oh, this gets good. According to Jayhuck, ‘there are plenty of religious folks who disagree with Debbie ‘that As we move farther away from morality and faith in God, we lose the understanding of who we are (made in His image) and the power (perfected by Him in our weakness) to go the distance to be transformed’.

    Jayhuck cites that ‘this is the cry of conservatives, but there are plenty of religious folk out there who disagree with you’. Jayhuck can you expound on where those other religious folks disagree? Is it the first part? Do they thnk that moving farther away from morality and faith in God is a good thing? Is it the second? Do they reject the notion that we are made in His image? Or the third? that He offers strength or power in our weakness and desires us to be transformed?

    Fair is fair. If I needed to take the time to explain ‘gay focus’, I believe you need to take the time to expound on what you were saying here. As you can see from my questions, it wasn’t clear at all.

    And you accuse Debbie of side-stepping and yet you deliver this piece of gobbledygook.

    All this suggests is that FOTF is probably ok with a teacher confronting another child who may or may not be gay, and who the teacher may or may not be able to realize is gay.

    Let’s see now. Debbie’s quote doesn’t ‘suggest’ it actually ‘SAYS’…not that Candi is “probably ok” but that she SAID “I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay.” Where did you find evidence or support for ‘probably’ in that statement? And then, I’d love to know the purpose, other than obfuscation, of changing “identified as gay” to ‘who may or may not be gay, and who the teacher may or may not be able to realize is gay’.

    As your statement progressed, the remainder made a bit more sense but I still find myself unable to wade through whatever you were trying to say here. I concur that Candi’s statement addresses bullying that is happening or has happened rather than addressing prevention but that doesn’t help me with your own side-stepping while you were criticizing Debbie for sidestepping.

  • Debbie Thurman

    May I remind you that many people in this country do not share your personal faith, nor do they necessarily share your beliefs.

    That was rather the point I was making, Jayhuck. While my relationship with Christ is a personal one, faith in God is both a private and a public thing. It is to permeate every facet of our lives, to inform our choices and our interactions. It’s not this little thing we have on the side or that we leave at church on Sunday.

    Incidentally, Debbie, remember when I noted that as you lose the argument based on logic you tend to revert to theological pronouncements?

    It’s happening again.

    And I think it’s high time you dropped that pointless fallback accusation, Timothy. How dare you try to kick faith and morality to the curb. They are pertinent now and always, in this and in all discussions here. This is not a “theological” discussion. Get off that kick.

    Perhaps I am winning the argument and you are losing your cool. I don’t need to win, but I insist on being consistent in what I say that you can’t seem to comprehend.

    Oh, she’s fine with specific individual incidents, as long as there is no program which addresses the problem.

    And by the way, when did it become illegal for a teacher to address bullying in her classroom in a straightforward, preventive manner without a “program” telling her how to do it? Have teachers stopped doing that? If so, why? Could the NEA have anything to do with that?

    Look, you may not like what FOTF or Cushman have said, and I am not saying they have it completely right or they don’t misspeak now and then. But the clear implication here, and on Anderson Cooper’s show, is the accusation that they are heartless bullying-mongerers. And that just ain’t so. They are opposed to teachers using their I’m-bigger-than-you and-I’m-in-charge “bully pulpit” to pass off pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention. It happens, and they are speaking out against that and that only. Why is that so hard to see?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    . Jayhuck can you expound on where those other religious folks disagree? Is it the first part? Do they thnk that moving farther away from morality and faith in God is a good thing? Is it the second? Do they reject the notion that we are made in His image? Or the third? that He offers strength or power in our weakness and desires us to be transformed?

    Since you didn’t define gay focus for me but instead referred me to your earlier posts where you stated you dealt with it, I will instead you refer you to my previous posts over the last several years where we’ve discussed where Christians disagree with each other

    If you want to go down this road then we need to figure out what we both mean by morality, faith, God – what it means to be made in his image, how He desires for us to be transformed – we’ll need an entirely new thread dedicated to this – but that need wouldnt be new for us would it Eddy? – LOL

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    It’s not this little thing we have on the side or that we leave at church on Sunday.

    I get that Debbie – I agree – but it also means its personal and that you have to make room for and respect all others who don’t disagree with you.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    You’ve completely and utterly sidestepped the issue – Candi and FOTF do not want to support any programs that deal specifically with sexual orientation, even if they are successful – and why? Because they care more about their agenda than about the kids – that’s all I can gather from what she said in that interview.

  • Jayhuck

    sorry – meant to say “who don’t agree with you” :)

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    But the clear implication here, and on Anderson Cooper’s show, is the accusation that they are heartless bullying-mongerers. And that just ain’t so. They are opposed to teachers using their I’m-bigger-than-you and-I’m-in-charge “bully pulpit” to pass off pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention. It happens, and they are speaking out against that and that only. Why is that so hard to see?

    Implication? FOTF did it to themselves in that interview Debbie – if they came across as what you suggest it is because they shot themselves in the foot – specifically when Candi kept dodging the question Anderson asked about race. That FOTF is trying to paint this, and apparently you because you are in lock step with them, as a Bully Pulpit when programs that deal specifically with orientation are successful at curbing bullying, says a LOT about how they misspeak and don’t get it right.

  • Timothy Kincaid
    Oh, she’s fine with specific individual incidents, as long as there is no program which addresses the problem.

    And by the way, when did it become illegal for a teacher to address bullying in her classroom in a straightforward, preventive manner without a “program” telling her how to do it?

    No one said it was “illegal”. What I said was:

    Candi Cushman opposes any anti-bullying program from “saying it is wrong to bully a specific entity” if that specific entity is sexual orientation.

    They are opposed to teachers using their I’m-bigger-than-you and-I’m-in-charge “bully pulpit” to pass off pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention. It happens, and they are speaking out against that and that only. Why is that so hard to see?

    You have not provided examples of anti-bullying programs being “pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention.”

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I do understand that Candi Cushman and Focus on the Family are concerned about “pro-gay political fluff”. So much so, in fact, that they oppose anti-gay bullying programs which have proven to be effective at reducing bullying and, we must assume, saving lives.

    Those are their priorities. Candi sees opposing “pro-gay political fluff” as her most important job when it comes to bullying.

    Which is why I said

    It is extremely difficult to tell a gay kid “don’t kill yourself” without also telling him that he’s OK. It is difficult to simultaneously cultivate a culture of disapproval towards homosexuality while also telling kids not to show contempt for homosexuals.

    Some conservative Christians prioritize the protection of children. Others prioritize the conservation of a culture of disapproval.

    You’ll note that I didn’t assign a right or wrong, good or bad position to those priorities. Obviously I know which I respect more, but each of us needs to decide for ourselves which priority best fits our values and character.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    The link is here

  • Timothy Kincaid

    For clarity, the discussion with Candi Cushman was specifically in context of her opposition of HR 2262 which would add “bullying and harassment” to the current law which directs schools to implement programs designed to combat drugs and violence.

  • stephen

    Timothy,

    FoF raises huge amounts of money through its fag-bashing. As far as they’re concerned, anti-bullying programs that might do some good for GLBT kids are merely tools with which to raise more cash. It begins and ends there.

  • Debbie Thurman

    You have not provided examples of anti-bullying programs being “pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention.”

    Then I will go look for some. Tomorrow. I don’t want to keep going with this tonight.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I meant to add, in response to your take on my “illegal” comment, Timothy, that I said that, again, as rhetorical hyperbole. The point is there is nothing preventing them from addressing it in a meaningful way, covering all the bases, in the classroom. I would not be opposed to that. In fact, I’d volunteer to go into local classrooms and give such a presentation myself. It would carry a lot of weight coming from a teacher, of course.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Then I will go look for some. Tomorrow. I don’t want to keep going with this tonight.

    OK. I know there was one in Massachusetts (I think) in which a program criticized some religious beliefs. That was stopped immediately, but it did get some press and will likely be available through a quick google. But I only know of the one incident.

    I would not be opposed to that.

    I appreciate that. But Focus on the Family is opposed to that.

  • David Blakeslee

    Rereading Jones and Yarhouse:

    Change is possible in decreasing homoerotic attractions, attaining heterosexual attractions.

    This apparently does not result in worsening mental health.

    Better studies are needed.

    APA assertion of immutability is wrong.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    I DID tell you very clearly what I meant by ‘gay focus’ BOTH by referring back to my previous posts on this thread and by elaborating a bit in my response. That’s okay, though. I knew you were simply blathering (sounded good until you actually thought about it) and that you couldn’t support your statement made to Debbie.

    You see, you really can’t appeal to those ‘many statements’ you have made in times past. You cited a specific quote of Debbie’s and then said that many religious people disagree….so it wasn’t a generalized take on religion…it was a specific quote. Please also bear in mind that (as I’m sure you are aware) that these aren’t private conversations…they are being read by others. It is discourteous to someone new who might be reading to send them on a blind run into blog history. The direction I provided to my previous comments was not only on this very page…but I gave the date to make the searching easier…both for you and for anyone else who was trying to follow the conversation.

    LOL. And you accuse Debbie of side-stepping.

  • Eddy

    Timothy–

    Thanks for the link. I need to head out shortly but I’ll check it out in the morning.

  • Mary

    Talking about being ex gay in the classroom – should also be presented.

    There isn’t a whole lot of scientific evidence that drug rehabilitation works either. Look at the drug problem in America – it’s higher than the occurence of homosexuality and has a high relapse rate. But that has changed over time.

    And there are people like myself, like Debbie. No we are not in anyone’s study – well, at least I am not. The science is still young on sexual development. There is no conclusive evidence either way that sexuality is purely organic or causation from environment. At best, most people will agree that it is a mixture of the two – and no one really knows how it is all put together.

    Kids need to know that if their values do not support acting out on gay feelings then there are others who have also taken the path and there are many paths. One is changing, one is accepting the feelings but not acting on them, etc… etc..

  • David Blakeslee

    Agree with you Mary….

    but comparisons to drug and alcohol is only going to inflame the conversation for some.

    Keeping minds open while we protect vulnerable children is part of the agreement to work together.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    “And I think it’s high time you dropped that pointless fallback accusation, Timothy. How dare you try to kick faith and morality to the curb. They are pertinent now and always, in this and in all discussions here. This is not a “theological” discussion. Get off that kick.”

    It isn’t a pointless fallback accusation, but an relevant observation of your “debate” style. You repeat a pattern. You make inaccurate or false and inflamatory claims (which you probably got from some conservative christian site) and when asked to support those claims you instead make other inaccurate or misleading claims and ultimately falling back to an “it’s god’s will” argument. Arrogantly, presuming that YOUR particular interpretation, of YOUR particular version of YOUR particular religious text is the only one true interpretation of god’s will.

    “Perhaps I am winning the argument and you are losing your cool. I don’t need to win, but I insist on being consistent in what I say that you can’t seem to comprehend.”

    Or perhaps it is his frustration (which I share) in how you repeatedly make claims you do not (and probably can not) support.

  • Mary

    Keeping minds open while we protect vulnerable children is part of the agreement to work together

    Agreed. It’s does get tiresome to hear the same old rhetoric pulled out and it’s meaningless to people such as myself. I believed at one time there was no such thing as change. I wasted many years believing that line. And I’m sure there are many gays who tried to change and were disappointed. Just goes to show that we can’t name the game for everyone and must let others decide what they will do with their own bodies and lives – given the options.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    “And by the way, when did it become illegal for a teacher to address bullying in her classroom in a straightforward, preventive manner without a “program” telling her how to do it?”

    Who said it was “illegal” for a teacher to address bullying?

    “Have teachers stopped doing that? If so, why? Could the NEA have anything to do with that?”

    Why do you assume teachers HAVE been properly addressing bullying? I would say that if teachers and school administrators had been properly addressing bullying in school we would not be having this discussion or hearing about these suicides. I know as far as GLBT issues are concerned there have been schools with a very poor track record of dealing with bullying, who blamed the victim for “being that way.”

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Sep 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    “Talking about being ex gay in the classroom – should also be presented.

    And there are people like myself, like Debbie. No we are not in anyone’s study – well, at least I am not. ”

    And how about when they talk about the dangers of cigarettes, the tobacco industry should be allowed to have the 80-year-olds who have “smoked all their lives” be allowed to come in and give the kids an alternative view about smoking as well.

    What you are talking about is giving unscientific, anecdotal information that serves little purpose than to hold out false hope. While I will say that change in orientation MAY happen for SOME individuals, such change is very rare (I’d say even rarer than the 80-year-old chronic smoker, but that is just my opinion).

  • Mary

    Ken

    That opinion Ken is because you don’t want to know and what difference does it make on what are the odds. We tell kids everyday that even they can be President and that just isn’t true. Maybe – sure. And someone like Obama can come up through the muck and mire to be the leader of this country. But that too is rare, so is the cure for pancreatic cancer and yet research has improved the odds. We still try – if that’s what we want to do. And that is an option.

    Being gay as it is proposed today to be of natural origin is still unproven. Why does it scare you to think there is another perspective? Besides the usual stories of those who have not changed – what about those who have.

  • ken

    Mary# ~ Sep 24, 2010 at 12:17 am

    “That opinion Ken is because you don’t want to know”

    No, it is based on reading about so-called change for years. I’ve been trying to find out more about change, and the more I’ve read the less I believe it possible.

    “and what difference does it make on what are the odds. ”

    It makes ALL the difference. What are the odds you will survive to be 80 or more if you smoke? The odds (or statistics) is how research is done. The odds are what tell if something is or isn’t a realistic goal.

    “We tell kids everyday that even they can be President and that just isn’t true. ”

    I don’t tell that to anyone. And in my hs my social studies teachers did actually go over the likelihood of who would be president. No unrealistic expectations about it.

    “so is the cure for pancreatic cancer and yet research has improved the odds.”

    And if someone has pancreatic cancer do we tell him, “forget what the dr.s say, my aunt had it and it went away on its own, so you shouldn’t do anything about it”

    “We still try – if that’s what we want to do. And that is an option.”

    for the majority of people change in their orientation isn’t an option.

    “Being gay as it is proposed today to be of natural origin is still unproven.”

    It is natural BY DEFINITION. Natural is that which occurs in nature. And homosexuality DOES occur in nature and not just in humans.

    “Why does it scare you to think there is another perspective? ”

    It doesn’t scare me, it ANGERS me when people keep trying to pass off anecdotal evidence as equivalent to sound scientific research. When people try to claim their ONE example as being equivalent to the THOUSANDS of counter-examples. To me your argument is no better than saying to kids “My uncle smoked a pack a day his whole life and lived to be 85, so go ahead and make your own decisions about whether to light up or not.” It is deceptive and irresponsible.

  • Jayhuck

    Thank you for that last statement Ken – Debbie just keeps sidestepping the issue -

    Eddy,

    I’m not side-stepping any issue, and for you to accuse me of as much so as to somehow group me in with people like Debbie is distracting and beneath you. The topic isn’t primarily about how Christians disagree with each other – but c’mon, if someone doesnt know how they do, they can Google the issue – for me to go into ALL the ways Christians disagree would eat up all of my time and yours and everyone else’s on this thread.

    The only side–stepper is Debbie – but you get points for the Straw Man argument – LOL

  • Jayhuck

    My apologies – straw man would be the wrong term – your suggestion I am somehow side-stepping an issue that isn’t pertinent to this thread to divert attention from Debbie would be more properly termed a Red Herring I believe :)

  • Jayhuck

    Change is possible in decreasing homoerotic attractions, attaining heterosexual attractions.

    For a very small percentage of people who are very religious and I would guess very determined – You can’t talk about change and the J&Y study without mentioning this as well

  • Jayhuck

    Talking about being ex gay in the classroom – should also be presented.

    Nope it shouldn’t Mary – because this is primarily a religious issue – does not belong in the classroom – it belongs in Churches and if appropriate religious schools – not Public. If you want to go down this road than Ex-Ex-Gays would be allowed to speak as well

  • Jayhuck

    Mary,

    That opinion Ken is because you don’t want to know and what difference does it make on what are the odds.

    What difference does it make what the odds are? Because people have a right to know

  • Mary

    Because people have a right to know

    Duh? That’s what I am saying.

  • Eddy

    Debbie said:

    As we move farther away from morality and faith in God, we lose the understanding of who we are (made in His image) and the power (perfected by Him in our weakness) to go the distance to be transformed.

    and you quoted that and critiqued it with this comment:

    What? Of course this is the cry of conservatives, but there are plenty of religious folk out there who disagree with you Debbie? May I remind you that many people in this country do not share your personal faith, nor do they necessarily share your beliefs.

    So, the essence here is that you feel completely comfortable with incessantly challenging the statements of others but feel that your own statements are above being challenged.

    your suggestion I am somehow side-stepping an issue that isn’t pertinent to this thread to divert attention from Debbie would be more properly termed a Red Herring I believe

    1) Debbie isn’t the topic. 2) You challenged her words with the above statement 3) Challenging a challenge is NOT a diversion. (If the challenge had any significance to the conversation then exploring the merits of that challenge is appropriate.)

    Debbie also quote Candi Cushman as saying:

    :“I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay.”

    By way of challenge, you reinterpreted this statement in this way:

    All this suggests is that FOTF is probably ok with a teacher confronting another child who may or may not be gay, and who the teacher may or may not be able to realize is gay.

    And I countered that:

    Let’s see now. Debbie’s quote doesn’t ‘suggest’ it actually ‘SAYS’…not that Candi is “probably ok” but that she SAID “I would be in favor of a teacher directly confronting a child bullying another child that’s identified as gay.” Where did you find evidence or support for ‘probably’ in that statement? And then, I’d love to know the purpose, other than obfuscation, of changing “identified as gay” to ‘who may or may not be gay, and who the teacher may or may not be able to realize is gay’.

    It sure appears to me that you while you pointed the finger at Debbie for side-stepping that you were guilty yourself. But, hey, I’m not the judge and I don’t see any point in discussing further. I did feel that actually seeing the conversation again would help others to make that determination for themselves. Maybe they see what I see…maybe they don’t.

  • Mary

    Ex-Ex-Gays would be allowed to speak as well

    Absolutely!

  • Jayhuck

    Oh I’m all for them seeing the discussion Eddy – Hopefully they will go back and read everything and not just your cut-and-paste version of events with commentary!

  • Jayhuck

    1) Debbie isn’t the topic.

    For the record – I never said she was – but her side-stepping the issue of why FOTF won’t support successful anti-bullying programs that specifically discuss sexual orientation by discussing how Candi says it is ok for teachers to address a particular bullying incident if they see it happening – is!

  • Eddy

    Me too! Laughing about the criticism of ‘cut and paste’ and ‘commentary’.

    Here is the sum total of my commentary:

    So, the essence here is that you feel completely comfortable with incessantly challenging the statements of others but feel that your own statements are above being challenged.

    1) Debbie isn’t the topic. 2) You challenged her words with the above statement 3) Challenging a challenge is NOT a diversion. (If the challenge had any significance to the conversation then exploring the merits of that c

    challenge is appropriate.)

    And re the cut and paste. LOL. If I had dared to rephrase things in my own words, then I’d be open to charges of ‘interpreting’ or ‘spinning’. Kind of a ‘no win’ situation. The only option left would be to not challenge the musings of Jayhuck.

    But, I realize how we both hate diversions. I can accept that I have the best answers you’re willing to give re my challenges. Let’s move on, shall we?

  • Jayhuck

    That is not nearly the sum total of your commentary Eddy – LOL – anyone who goes back and reads this excessively long thread will soon understand that

  • Jayhuck

    Or anyone who just goes and reads your second-to-last-post will realize that is not the sum total of your commentary either – LOL

  • Debbie Thurman

    OK, Jayhuck and Timothy, this is for you. Time to address your side-stepping claim, Jayhuck, and answer your request, Timothy, for some evidence.

    There are two tracks of thought here that both diverge and intersect. One — discussion about the opposition to FOTF’s opposition to the Safe Schools Act and the politicized misinterpretation of their actual, legitimate stance — was initiated by Warren in a separate post. He posted the video of Candi Cushman’s appearance on Anderson Cooper’s show, and several commenters in that thread and in this one went to town beating her up, painting her and FOTF as more concerned about their own conservative Christian agenda than the welfare of students. Patently untrue, of course.

    The other track is a legitimate concern about bullying and what can be done to ensure ALL children are safe and are treated with dignity and worth in our schools. FOTF offers a model for anti-bullying education, developed with the Alliance Defense Fund, at TrueTolerance.org. It covers the bases without entering into the scenario where students who are gay or think they may be are granted special protections over and above other students who are vulnerable to bullying (and FOTF maintains there are more bullying incidents affecting all those other students).

    If you extrapolate this thinking out to other current issues that students will deal with as adults, you can see that hate laws are the grown-up version of anti-bullying laws. FOTF recognizes that gay activists are seeking to use both avenues to change hearts and minds about gays being normal and healthy, but moreover, deserving of special protection over and above other marginalized groups. We have set aside certain motivations for crime as being worse than others, regardless of the outcomes. It appears that GLSEN and other organizations are seeking to have schools do the same with bullying categories.

    Timothy asked me to show how schools are adding gay indoctrination to their curriculum in the guise of anti-bullying programs. But first, I want to respond to this comment of his from last night (7:25 p.m.):

    I appreciate that. But Focus on the Family is opposed to that.

    This goes back to the point that teachers can and should be addressing bullying in no uncertain (but appropriate, apolitical) terms in the classroom. This is a fundamental concern.

    It doesn’t matter what FOTF says or does. They can’t control how a teacher addresses bullying in the classroom. If the teacher says something like, “There are lots of reasons that students get picked on or bullied,” and either names some or lets the students name them off and writes them on the board, no problem. The gay (or perceived gay) reason will come out, one way or the other, along with everything else they can think of.

    If the teacher says something like, “It is hateful and homophobic to believe that being gay is wrong or to believe that a person who thinks they may be gay might be able to change that,” then we’ve got a problem. If the teacher passes out books or gives lectures that support students exploring their sexuality, including being gay or bisexual, problem. If the teacher puts down a student’s faith or refuses to let a student offer a viewpoint that differs from GLSEN’s, he/she is out of line. If the bullying lesson sticks to (as Candi Cushman said) bullying being wrong for any reason, including being or acting gay because everyone has dignity and worth, that is fine. The message has to be along the lines of this is a free country, and we respect everyone, even when we do not agree with them. The Golden Rule can be brought in. Bullying is a moral issue, so teachers ought not be afraid to treat it as one.

    Part 2 follows this.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I am not going to list here every instance that I can find of schools bringing pro-gay curriculum in via their anti-bullying programs, just as they have done previously via sex education. FOTF has done a decent job of that already. You can read TrueTolerance or CitizenLink for yourselves. Problems have cropped up in Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Minnesota, and a few others where parents have objected to books, videos and outside speakers coming in to address special tolerance for GLBTs and to indicate that gay marriage was OK.

    I’ll cite this one example: “Illinois mom Tammy Schulz said she’s concerned the bill could be used to justify the type of homosexuality promotion she is fighting in her school district. ‘They used the language of anti-bullying,’ she said, ‘but the content then was education about homosexuality.’ This was in reference to Illinois’ Safe Schools Alliance, partnered with GLSEN. This comes from a CitizenLink article, of which there are a good number.

    What makes this newer push more disconcerting for parents is that courts are beginning to rule against their wish to opt their children out of such classes because the safety issue goes to different legal precedents. Whereas the camel only had its nose in the tent before, it is working its body in now.

    Bullypolice.org says 44 states already have anti-bullying laws. Apparently, they are not being enforced well. What is interesting to me is that the newer laws (New York’s was the most recent) make it clear that no student is to be discriminated against for his/her religious views, but adding sexual orientation or gender identity into the language of the laws sets up a violation of it for this very reason.

    I found an open letter from Sirdeaner Walker, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover’s mother, to Candi Cushman on Sept. 3: “Carl’s classmates tormented him with anti-gay slurs. As I’ve learned through my work with GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, this is one of the most common forms of bullying, and, as in my son’s case, schools rarely do anything about it.“

    It is debatable as to what the most common form of bullying is. It is not debatable that GLBT kids need to be respected and protected, along with every other student.

    Cushman wrote a piece for the Huffington Post, in response to a hit piece on her:

    “If passed, this bill would affect most K-12 schools nationwide, mandating that they insert special protections for homosexual categories such as sexual orientation and gender identity into their local policies. … During our recent debate on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Eliza Byard of GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), referred to the Safe Schools Improvement Act as “our bill.” That’s very interesting, considering that as part of its safe schools efforts, GLSEN calls for gay, lesbian and transgender themes to be “fully integrated into curricula across a variety of subject areas and grade levels. … It’s unnecessary to politicize the issue in this way—and it goes way beyond bullying prevention into adult identity politics that bring divisiveness into classrooms.”

    She had stated in a CitizenLink article on Aug. 6, 2010:

    “We agree that schools should be encouraged to have strong policies prohibiting bullying, which are applied equally and across the board, against any child for any reason,” Cushman said. “But, we think this can – and should – be done in a fair and objective way, without sexualizing and politicizing the school environment.”

  • Eddy

    Watched the video this morning. A bit chagrined that the link was to another post here on the site. (I knew that somewhere I had seen a link with the three on-camera profiles but it was a conversation I hadn’t participated in and I forgot that I saw it here.)

    Found it somewhat amusing that there were only 10 comments on that thread but that we’ve likely got two to three times that many comments re that video on this thread. LOL. What can I say? It is our way.

    The vid itself was unsatisfying as actual information. (It’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid watching them.) To me, the real issue is whether current anti-bullying programs are being used to promote homosexuality or homosexual political causes. Candi brought this up at least three times as the reason behind their concerns. I realize the charge that Candi dodged the question and see some validity in it. However, when the interviewer began to ask Eliza Byard if those charges had any merit, she began her ‘answer’ before he even finished his question…and never did answer them.

    My sense was that they had both been coached. Candi was likely coached not to concede to ‘addressing gays specifically in anti-bullying programs’ until the other side answered to the reports Candi claims to have heard from parents that some of the programs were politicized. And Eliza was likely coached to ‘avoid that landmine’. This is pure conjecture on my part taken mostly from how Eliza began speaking before the question was fully presented and then never answered it.

    It reminded me of those Sunday morning news programs to which I was once addicted. The commentator would announce today’s burning issue and tell us who would be ‘weighing in’ and then, it seemed that no matter how the commentator phrased their question, the two sides delivered their prepared speeches anyway often dodging the real issue that lay one layer below what they actually ‘discussed’.

    Again, this is just my take on it. To me, it simply lacked real substance and did not represent the full ‘take’ of either side. I believe that both sides were genuinely concerned about bullying and the bullying of gay kids. Candi’s side is concerned that the programs address more than bullying; the other side feels that is not sufficient cause to abandon the programs. But Candi’s side doesn’t want the programs abandoned…just monitored for extra injected viewpoints. I disagree with her repeated statements that appealed to not mentioning any bullying targets. I agree that a bully can pick on anything and that it would be impossible to name them all. (Does anyone remember the ‘yellow shirts on Thursday’ idiocy? Where I grew up that meant you were ‘queer’. And those little loops that used to appear just beneath the collar on the outside were called ‘fairy loops’…if you wore a shirt with one of those, it would be ripped off before long. So, yeah, it’s impossible to name all the things a bully might pick on.) BUT I actually believe there is real educational value in citing those reasons that provide the bully with a sense of moral justification. Principally, I think of weight, race/ethnicity, religion and sexuality. It makes sense to speak to these specifically and to address that bullying is not an acceptable way to respond to those differences.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Part 3

    The True Tolerance website has links to several packets of information for parents and educators. They discuss, among other things, the inaccurate claims of GLSEN via its booklet (sent to as many school superintendents as they can) “Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth.” It was developed in conjunction with the NEA and a number of other (left-leaning) organizations. The booklet claims that there has been an upsurge in conversion therapies and ex-gay ministries and that they are targeting public schools. They are not. But there are concerned citizens and parents who want to see the whole spectrum on gay issues be open for discussion and debate in our schools, including the formerly gay viewpoint. “Just the Facts” warns educators not to listen to any messages about possible change or allow them in the schools. The booklet ends with a warning: “Schools should be careful to avoid discussions of transformational ministry in their curriculum.” This intimidation is a form of bullying in itself, as I have said.

    FOTF refuted another claim from GLSEN — that they invest “significant resources” in the promotion of “conversion therapy.” The response:

    “Focus on the Family is comprised of more than 80 ministries and outreach divisions, of which only one – the Love Won Out ministry – is solely dedicated to addressing the issue of homosexuality. Love Won Out constitute(d) less than one-half of 1 percent of Focus’ entire budget and is essentially a traveling conference geared toward church audiences (not schools). Love Won Out does not practice or endorse any therapy.” (LWO is now under the Exodus umbrella.)

    “Meanwhile, the lead sponsor of “Just the Facts”—GLSEN—boasts of having more than 4,000 pro-gay clubs (GSAs) in public schools nationwide and openly lobbies for more homosexual-friendly curricula (with the help of an estimated $6 million budget and a national staff of 40, offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. and 35 chapters around the nation3). So it is disingenuous for GLSEN to accuse other groups of targeting schools.”

    The booklet also claims that messages about the possibility of change would increase harassment or bullying and harm students. But David cited here yesterday that the Jones and Yarhouse study refutes that.

    The booklet is hostile toward faith-based perspectives when public schools (government institutions) are required under the Constitution’s establishment clause to be neutral.

    You can read FOTF’s positions yourself by going to TrueTolerance.org. Also there is a model for a balanced anti-bullying program offered by the ADF.

    Finally, The National Association of School Psychologists has a good overview of bullying and some great suggestions for schools/communities to combat it and prevent it. This is the kind of resource that could negate the need for GLSEN’s interventions targeting GLBT students.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Part 3 is awaiting moderation.

  • Debbie Thurman

    This is also pertinent:

    One of Cushman’s earlier objections, last year, was to GLSEN’s Ally Week and their harvesting of student e-mail addresses for further communication, without parental knowledge or consent. (CitizenLink article)

    “This is really dangerous for schools to open their doors that will then be emailing students’ information pushing radical homosexual activism,” said Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action, “all without their parents’ knowledge.”

    “GLSEN has suggested student activities to educators for Ally Week. They include a group exercise in which students fill out a survey about their attitudes toward their gay-identified peers. After the surveys are redistributed, students are asked to stand if the survey they have accepts homosexuality as normal and healthy.”

    GLSEN’s Ally Week is closely related to their push for anti-bullying programs and the Safe Schools Act. And it is easy to see how it can pave the way for more pro-gay activism in our schools.

    Kevin Jennings has admitted to co-opting the safety message as a means of pushing a pro-gay agenda. “In Massachusetts the effective reframing of this issue was the key to the success of the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. We immediately seized upon the opponent’s calling card—safety—and explained how homophobia represents a threat to students’ safety by creating a climate where violence, name-calling, health problems, and suicide are common,” Jennings said on March 5, 1995 during a speech called “Winning the Culture War” at the Human Rights Campaign Fund Leadership Conference.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

    “FOTF recognizes that gay activists are seeking to use both avenues to change hearts and minds about gays being normal and healthy,”

    I’ll be going through the rest of your posts later, but I want to focus on this statement 1st. Are YOU, Debbie, claiming that being gay is not normal or healthy?

  • Eddy

    Oh I’m all for them seeing the discussion Eddy – Hopefully they will go back and read everything and not just your cut-and-paste version of events with commentary!

    I was responding to this comment…where ‘go back and read everything’…(all my other commentary)…is clearly separated from ‘AND NOT JUST your cut-and-paste version with commentary’. It seemed to me that you were clearly citing that one post and my response was directed to that. My apologies if you thought I was summing up my entire commentary experience.

    That is not nearly the sum total of your commentary Eddy – LOL – anyone who goes back and reads this excessively long thread will soon understand that

    Of course, I’ve made more comments…offered more commentary. It’s a blogsite complete with a ‘submit comment’ button.

    Did anyone other than Jayhuck think that when I said:

    Here is the sum total of my commentary:

    So, the essence here is that you feel completely comfortable with incessantly challenging the statements of others but feel that your own statements are above being challenged.

    1) Debbie isn’t the topic. 2) You challenged her words with the above statement 3) Challenging a challenge is NOT a diversion. (If the challenge had any significance to the conversation then exploring the merits of that c

    challenge is appropriate.)

    …did anyone else think that I was referring to anything more than the one particular post??? If so, can you suggest another way I may have addressed that to be more clear. I’d really like to stick closer to the topic and don’t want to derail those efforts with clarifying imprecise writing.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Are YOU, Debbie, claiming that being gay is not normal or healthy?

    Ken, I do not perceive homosexuality to be a normal or healthy human variation or way of living. I perceive it to be (and I know this firsthand from my own past) something very intoxicating and necessary feeling — strong and difficult to walk away from. However, I also know firsthand that it is not the panacea others believe it to be for self-fulfillment. I also don’t subscribe to self-fulfillment, for that matter. Humans are self-limiting, so we can fill ourselves (i.e., give life its richest meaning) with anything we invent or anything that does not come from our Creator. I do not believe God makes people gay. I believe He allows it for His own mysterious purposes, one of which may be a unique way of growing closer and more dependent on Him. That is the effect it has had on my life.

  • stephen

    Ken, I do not perceive Islam to be a normal or healthy human variation or way of worship. I perceive it to be (and I know this firsthand from my own past) something very intoxicating and necessary feeling — strong and difficult to walk away from. However, I also know firsthand that it is not the panacea others believe it to be for self-fulfillment. I also don’t subscribe to self-fulfillment, for that matter. Humans are self-limiting, so we can fill ourselves (i.e., give life its richest meaning) with anything we invent or anything that does not come from our Creator. I do not believe God makes people muslim. I believe He allows it for His own mysterious purposes, one of which may be a unique way of growing closer and more dependent on Him. That is the effect it has had on my life.

    Fixed!!!

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Patently untrue, of course.

    If this is untrue, why would they want to oppose anti-bullying programs that are successful?

    The other track is a legitimate concern about bullying and what can be done to ensure ALL children are safe and are treated with dignity and worth in our schools. FOTF offers a model for anti-bullying education, developed with the Alliance Defense Fund, at TrueTolerance.org. It covers the bases without entering into the scenario where students who are gay or think they may be are granted special protections over and above other students who are vulnerable to bullying (and FOTF maintains there are more bullying incidents affecting all those other students).

    FOTF and the ADF – LOL –

    The fact of the matter is that FOTF opposes anti-bullying programs that are successful because it involves talking about respecting gay students – that may be an oversimplification, but it appears to be true nonetheless – so now they are offering their own program, one which I’m assuming is untested, EVEN THOUGH there are already successful programs out there – they just can’t stand them because their agenda doesn’t involve specifically being able to tell students that they should treat gay students with dignity and respect = AND they’ve managed to couch all of this in terms like “true tolerance”. This makes me laugh

    Debbie – answer me this, why would FOTF want to develop their own untested particular program when there are already successful programs out there? Where did FOTF get the idea that programs were going to give “special protections” to gay students?

    I understand FOTF doesn’t have much credibility, but this is just digging the hole they are in a little deeper

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    (and FOTF maintains there are more bullying incidents affecting all those other students).

    Who cares Debbie – why should this matter? Why can’t we enumerate all of the groups who are being bullied in a particular instance?

    This sort of quote is also somewhat misleading because it talks about quantity and not the QUALITY of the bullying. Again, Im not surprised that FOTF does these sorts of things, but its sad

  • Jayhuck

    As for Candi – lets not forget her purposeful dodge of that Oh so important question that Anderson ask – that dodging is very telling.

  • Jayhuck

    From the True Tolerance web site:

    Concerned about homosexual advocacy in your child’s school? You’ve come to the right place. TrueTolerance.org helps you respond in a loving and fact-based way. Click the links below for tips on communicating with your school officials.

    Fact-based? FOTF has a RECORD of distorting facts to suit their agenda – I think I’ve reached my humor quota for the day – LOL

  • Jayhuck

    OMG – I couldn’t finish watching that video on the so-called TrueTolerance.org web site – on its face its dripping with words and phrases like innocence, hope and free exchange of ideas – espousing honesty – When the speaker, Candi, DODGED a question on a CNN interview, a question that was asked several times, and when FOTF has a record of distorting facts to further their agenda.

  • Eddy

    Re the broadcast, I just want to reiterate that BOTH Candi and Eliza hedged and dodged. It tends to be the way with news commentaries.

    It will be natural for those on opposing sides in this discussion to only see the hedging and dodging of ‘the other’. That’s an unfortunate truth.

  • Jayhuck

    This might be a good time to re-post something that Ken said about FOTF and GLSEN in response to Debbie earlier – I hope you don’t mind me re-posting this Ken:

    Yes you did at the start of this discussion. You implied that GLSEN was just as bad as FOTF when it comes to their biases. When I asked you to cite evidence to support this you can’t. You claim “that’s not what I said”, you dredge up stuff about Kevin Jennings (which still doesn’t support your claims even if it were official policy of GLSEN), and now you talking about blogs that have nothing to do with GLSEN. If you think this tactic will cover up the fact that you still have not cited any evidence to support your misleading claims about GLSEN you are mistaken.

    In the TrueTolerance.org section on bullying, the first thing that I read had to do with gay marriage – This is the issue – FOTF is trying to capitalize on Fear – as long as they can make people afraid of the BIG BAD GAY AGENDA that is going to come in and do terrible things like, oh I don’t know, give gay people equal rights….As long as they can make people afraid, then they don’t have to use facts as much – Fear is a powerful tool, but its sometimes the tool of last resort for people and groups who know they are not winning the battle

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I’m curious – did you see a question that Anderson asked both sides in that interview over and over that was not answered? I saw Candi do it to an important question

  • Evan

    OK, this thread seems to have reverted to the same old divisions.

    Warren proposed two minimum conditions to agree on, at least to have some degree of consensus in this debate. I thought anyone could agree with those conditions, so minimal they were. Now it seems I was wrong.

    At some point, I thought we agreed that an important component of anti-bullying programs must be dealing openly with the problem of gender atypical kids, those who are perceived to be gay or who may be gay. Do we still have a consensus on this?

    Furthermore, I proposed that we should ignore both gay and Christian agendas and focus instead on effectively combatting bullying of all types. Because this is the problem, folks, if you continue to consider it as part of a cultural war, this is not going to advance one bit. You’re going to continue to transfer the same old disputes on change, identity and orientation into the public educational environment. That’s not what that environment is for, these are matters for this forum and others of its kind. Education should present a non-partisan, open-ended perspective, based on the current state of knowledge. In my view, anti-bullying programs are not made to lecture people on the possibility of change in sexual orientation, because schools should not get themselves involved in influencing people’s choices on sexuality. It doesn’t matter why someone is or chose to be gay for a school, if they are gay or are perceived as gay, the school as a public service has a duty to protect them, so the anti-bullying program should deal with it as such, not discuss the bases of choice.

    Tha’t s why i proposed to focus first on tackling bullying in general and then discussing how one important cause for bullying should be given the proper treatment.

    At one point, there was an interesting discussion on the different components of bullying. One of them was labelling and how that comes from the language used by adults. Why not discuss how to deal with how adults themselves promote bullying indirectly by using these slurs or by allowing them in the media?

    Then there were other points on dealing with the psychological motives behind bullying, what makes the bullies act on their impulses or have the impulse to bully.

    Another aspect I think is important is making people aware of the effects of bullying. People should be made responsible for engaging in bullying, becase if you devalue other people’s lives you devalue yours too. This is what bullies need to understand. Bullying can have a boomerang effect on them and I think these programs could make them understand that.

  • Eddy

    Candi mentioned at least three times that the reason behind their complaint was that they heard from parents that the anti-bullying programs were being used to advance an agenda. She said this once again at 5:10 in the interview, at 5:26 the interviewer started to speak to Roslyn but redirected to Eliza “Is that true?” and Eliza’s answer did not answer the question. Then at 6:23, he directed the question to Roslyn and she went on about how large and busy schools were.

    You saw Candi do it to an important question. I acknowledged that in my post from 10:16 this morning. I’m simply reiterating that Eliza also dodged and am newly citing that Roslyn also failed to answer the simple and important question “Is that true?”

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Re the broadcast, I just want to reiterate that BOTH Candi and Eliza hedged and dodged. It tends to be the way with news commentaries.

    It will be natural for those on opposing sides in this discussion to only see the hedging and dodging of ‘the other’. That’s an unfortunate truth.

    Sorry – you are wrong – I just watched the video again in its entirety and specifically paid attention to Eliza and Rosalind, the other two commentators on that interview, and they answered all questions appropriately – no dodging or hedging at all

    If someone wants to watch the video and you should, here is the link: CNN Anti-Bullying Video

    I counted – Candi was asked the question about specifically mentioning groups that were bullied, and she dodged the question 6 times, although I think I missed one – none of the other two dodged anything.

    Candi’s arguments go something like this: there might be too many too enumerate so you leave out someone, doesn’t matter why someone was targeted – that’s laughable and almost a direct quote, etc

    Rosalinds arguments went something like: you can’t address bullying without being able to use certain words, like gay – it paralyzes you – it limits how you can address the problem – the word gay is used to torment not just gay kids but straight kids as well

    Eliza’s arguments went something like: the facts show that if you don’t mention specifics, anti-bullying programs don’t work

    Candi wasn’t able to debunk either Rosalind’s or Eliza’s arguments – she didn’t even really try, she dodged MANY times the simple question Anderson put forth to her – she talked briefly about how anti-bullying programs were further the gay agenda (my words, but that was the gist), again using fear and not facts to support her position

    Re-watching the video made me realize just how bad Candi did come off

  • Evan

    To commenters – If you were in an antibullying program, teaching kids how to deal with these issues, would you continue to have this debate the same way as it has been for the past years? I mean like: “sexual orientation it’s a choice”, “no it’s not”, “orientation can change”, “no it can’t”, and so on. They would probably be baffled and amused to see adults fighting over who’s right and who’s not. Which of course is captivating but will it solve anything? Will it make less kids bully others or less kids commit suicide because of that? Please, think about what this attitude to debating can do and how kids would see it. What does this debate solve or has solved until now?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    in the interview, at 5:26 the interviewer started to speak to Roslyn but redirected to Eliza “Is that true?”

    What happened is this:

    Anderson: asked Candi AGAIN if we can talk specifically about race, being overweight, etc

    Candi: We responding to parents who hear their kids are getting homosexuality lessons – (Without discussing what these “homosexuliaty lessons” are, without defining what she means)

    Anderson: Is that true? Are, you guys address? (question is nebulous – addressing what? The nebulous “homosexuality lessons” that Candi mentioned???)

    Eliza: Came back and talked specifically about how Candi and FOTF oppose the Safe Schools Initiative and that evidence supports the fact that talking specifically about the groups being bullied makes for more effective anti-bullying programs

    I think you were looking for dodging where non exists – Candi mentioned some amorphous homosexuality programs, Anderson switched to Rosalind then Eliza, what was Eliza supposed to talk about?

  • Mary

    Evan,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Why do we have to choose sides. Just say not to bullying. Simple. We don’t have to justify being nice to others save it is civil and cooperative. We don’t have to be nice to someone whether or not sexuality is a choice, fixed, mutable, etc… Just say no to bullying those with whom you disagree.

  • Jayhuck

    Evan,

    Warren proposed two minimum conditions to agree on, at least to have some degree of consensus in this debate. I thought anyone could agree with those conditions, so minimal they were. Now it seems I was wrong.

    I brought this up earlier – I think the only person who didnt agree was Debbie – I might be wrong about that. I don’t think you were wrong, I think we just got off track

    At some point, I thought we agreed that an important component of anti-bullying programs must be dealing openly with the problem of gender atypical kids, those who are perceived to be gay or who may be gay. Do we still have a consensus on this?

    I agree with this

  • Evan

    ‘Just say no to bullying those with whom you disagree.’

    Mary, that’s exactly what I wanted to say. We can disagree with those whom we consider should not be bullied. I’d like to see people who support different agendas do the same thing.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck — ‘I think we just got off track’

    Yeah, well, that’s my feeling too :-)

  • Jayhuck

    @ Evan – :)

  • Debbie Thurman

    If this is untrue, why would they want to oppose anti-bullying programs that are successful?

    so now they are offering their own program, one which I’m assuming is untested, EVEN THOUGH there are already successful programs out there

    OK, now it’s your turn to go do some homework, Jayhuck. Bring us back a list of these successful programs and what they consist of.

    Furthermore, I proposed that we should ignore both gay and Christian agendas and focus instead on effectively combatting bullying of all types

    That’s why I gave the link to the NASP site and their anti-bullying information, Evan. Why not let an organization like this carry the ball and get the gay political and conservative Christian sentiment out of it? While school counselors can run the risk of being influenced by the APA, I have to believe some of them also are Christians. I thought what was on their site that I read about bullying was good and workable.

    Why not just acknowledge gay or perceived gay students exist, leave ALL politics/agendas out of it and move on? That means neither GLSEN and its clones nor Exodus and its clones can go into the schools. No more Days of Anything.

    Candi Cushman and FOTF need some better talking points. As it stands now, they have some legitimate concerns because they are reacting to GLSEN’s entrenched presence in the schools. They cannot go around sounding as if they are talking out of both sides of their mouths by refusing to name homosexuality as a reason for bullying, however.

    It is the same old culture war, Evan, that pits the two viewpoints against each other. FOTF could use this focus on bullying to increase their stock in the world if they went about it in the right way. Focus on the kids. Teach them how to respect each other. Give teachers tools to assist them in doing this rather than tools geared only to attack the gay agenda. They are helping families teach the right lessons at home. More is needed because the schools own a good part of their lives.

    If this keeps going, i can foresee a time when we may need a CSEN to come into schools and teach students that Christians exist and they are to be be treated with respect. We can’t teach them about God, the author of all they study, so the next best thing is to teach them tolerance for those who really believe they are created in His image.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Sorry, didn’t mean to blockquote that long section.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I brought this up earlier – I think the only person who didn’t agree was Debbie – I might be wrong about that.

    You are. Check the comments, if you can stomach it.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    They (FOTC) cannot go around sounding as if they are talking out of both sides of their mouths by refusing to name homosexuality as a reason for bullying, however.

    Amen – we finally agree :)

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    NASP supports GLSEN’s anti-bullying program

  • Debbie Thurman

    NASP supports GLSEN’s anti-bullying program

    Can you show us that link?

  • Evan

    OK, then, do we also agree that anti-bullying programs must tackle sexual orientation too? I think they should do.

    In what form?

    I think they could say that some people grow up to be attracted to their own gender. The causes are not fully known, they may be based on biology, some environmental factors specific to each individual may also play a role, but whatever the causes, bullying is not accepted and will be punished. Also, bullying will lead to very serious consequences, the victim’s death or their anger may turn against others including bullies in the future.

    So bullying will lead to negative consequences to everyone involved. Other programs could explore the possiblity to involve kids who bullied with the bullied in common activities.

    Etc.

    If you have any suggestions…

  • Jayhuck

    Here it is:

    NASP and GLSEN

  • Evan

    Uhm..my comment came in a bit later.

  • Jayhuck

    Here’s one that mentions the SSIA specifically

    NASP supports Safe Schools Improvement Act

  • Eddy

    At 5:26, interviewer interrupts Candi after she has restated the issue of programs being used to advance an agenda and says “Let me bring Roslyn in on that one.”

    On what one? On THAT one…on what Candi just said. Then he redirects to Eliza saying “Is that true?” Eliza did not answer whether that was true.

    At 6:23 he asks a question containing an A and a B. And says “A: Do you believe an agenda is being spread?” Roslyn did not address the issue of an agenda in either way.

    I’m saying that all of them were guilty of some avoidance and you feel that it’s Candi only. We’ve got the link and the approximate comment times. People can listen and determine for themselves.

    Again, I disagree with Candi if she really believes that ‘gay’ shouldn’t be mentioned at all in anti-bullying programs BUT I also think it’s worth researching whether the claims that the programs are being used to advance a further agenda are true. The time spent trying to advance an agenda could be better spent focussing on bullying itself. And, as Roslyn said, they normally only get about 45 minutes to present such programs to a very large group.

  • Mary

    I’d like to see people who support different agendas do the same thing

    Yes, keep the politics out of it and allow kids to safely go to school or hang out on the internet in their social forums. Just say no to bullying gay kids. there’s no reason to talk about why gay kids are gay. We don’t need to talk about its origins or moral issues around it. Just stop bullying those with whom you do not see or share a similar view.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Again, I disagree with Candi if she really believes that ‘gay’ shouldn’t be mentioned at all in anti-bullying programs BUT I also think it’s worth researching whether the claims that the programs are being used to advance a further agenda are true. The time spent trying to advance an agenda could be better spent focussing on bullying itself. And, as Roslyn said, they normally only get about 45 minutes to present such programs to a very large group.

    I appreciate that you disagree, but her mentioning some nebulous “homosexuality programs” being presented to kindergartners, which AGAIN she did as a dodge to Anderson’s question, didn’t give any specific information for Eliza to address? She never elaborated on what these so-called programs were, which schools they were in, what the content was – she may have not been given the time, but still – this didn’t give Eliza any information to address so Eliza went back to the topic at hand which was successful anti-bullying program – It wasn’t a dodge as much as not having enough information to really address an issue that is really a Red Herring.

    What FOTF continues to do is use fear to rally the troops – should we research whether a gay agenda is being pursued? That depends on what you mean – what might be a gay agenda to FOTF might be simply seeking equal rights for gay people – FOTF do not want gay people to have equal rights – they have made that clear over and over again in their speech and in their distortion of facts

    Eliza and Rosalind stuck to the facts – Candi dodged questions and used to fear

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    The time spent trying to advance an agenda could be better spent focussing on bullying itself. And, as Roslyn said, they normally only get about 45 minutes to present such programs to a very large group.

    You went from saying we should research whether an agenda was being advanced to suggesting there might be one in this comment above. Roslyn supported Eliza, not Candi! What is one persons agenda, is another person’s successful anti-bullying program – like Tim said many posts ago, I know which side I respect

  • Eddy

    LOL. It more accurately reflects my thinking when quoted this way:

    I also think it’s worth researching whether the claims that the programs are being used to advance a further agenda are true. The time spent trying to advance an agenda could be better spent focussing on bullying itself.

    I apologize that I did not provide the ‘whether the claims are true’ statement again in the very next sentence. This nit-picking is pure foolishness.

  • Jayhuck

    OK – that makes more sense to me as well. I know we often don’t agree but it seemed out of character for you to do what I thought you were doing.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Jayhuck, I presume you are planning to tell us about some of those successful anti-bullying programs from GLSEN, or wherever. I know you wouldn’t side-step it. :)

    No hurry. It’s Friday. A pleasant weekend to all.

  • Evan

    Thanks for the replies everyone. Have a nice weekend.

  • Michael Bussee

    Bullies Break 11-Year-Old Boy’s Arm Because He’s a Cheerleader

    That student? Tyler Wilson. And he tells a local ABC news channel that students would wait for him after school, teasing him and taunting him, and eventually physically harassing him so bad, that Tyler had his arm broken.

    Why would bullies do this?

    Because Tyler is a member of a local cheerleading squad, and other kids in his class wanted to give him hell for it.

    Beating youth up because of their perceived sexual orientation, or beating kids up because they break gender stereotypes? Both types of bullying are closely related, and both deserve to be condemned by school administrators, by teachers, by fellow classmates, and by the community.

    http://gayrights.change.org/blog/view/bullies_break_11-year-old_boys_arm_because_hes_a_cheerleader

    (Be sure to watch the video.)

  • Michael Bussee

    How many more broken spirits, broken limbs and dead kids before we all agree that bullying and frequent targets of this abuse MUST be specifically mentioned by name — by group — or percieved diffference?

    Adults endlessly argue “agendas” while kids are being hurt over actual orientation, percieved orientation, sexual/gender identification or “gender variant” behavior. How long before we say enough?

  • Eddy

    Adults might not have the need to argue about agendas if agendas didn’t exist. I’m all for agenda-free anti-bullying programs that while they deliver the distinct message that even gay kids should not be bullied don’t take the opportunity to further politicize. Still trying to get to the bottom of the allegations and still doing my bit to make the world a less hostile environment for gay people.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    David Blakeslee

    Rereading Jones and Yarhouse:

    Change is possible in decreasing homoerotic attractions, attaining heterosexual attractions.

    you are only half correct. Homoerotic attractions could be slightly decreased. There was no accompanying attainment of heterosexual attractions.

  • ken

    I realize this is a bit off-topic but I do want to respond to Debbie’s comments about GLSEN (and FOTF) from this morning. GLSEN does have an agenda beyond anti-bullying initiatives and it has never hidden this agenda. And what is this nefarious, insidious agenda: “to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” And part of this is to make GLBT youth feel safe and to be proud about who they are. And they do this by promoting GSAs, education efforts about what it does (and does not) mean to be GLBT and to counter anti-gay messages. GLSEN has also worked to try to reduce GLBT suicides and bullying. Now it would be fair to say that GLSEN’s anti-bullying efforts are intertwined with its larger agenda. I, for one, don’t have a problem with that.

    FOTF on the other has had a long history of anti-gay sentiments. So their claims about being concerned about bullying for “all” students rings a bit hollow. Can anyone tell me WHEN FOTF became concerned about bullying? When did they start working to reduce bullying in our schools?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    As to ex-gays in the classroom, you have one significant problem: the position is one of religious conversion.

    In reading the amicus briefs offered to the Ninth Circuit court of appeals on Perry v. Schwarzenegger, several took objection to Judge Walker’s finding that

    Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.

    They presented examples of those who had “walked away from homosexuality.” However, in each example they extolled the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. This, too, lies behind your own personal evidence.

    But whether or not you have been miraculously changed, there is no way that any public school will be willing to champion “the redemptive power of Jesus Christ”, nor should it. By that same token, we would have to allow those who believe in divine healing a place in health class.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie

    ..several commenters in that thread and in this one went to town beating her up, painting her and FOTF as more concerned about their own conservative Christian agenda than the welfare of students. Patently untrue, of course.

    That would be me. And it would be completely true.

    FOTF offers a model for anti-bullying education, developed with the Alliance Defense Fund, at TrueTolerance.org.

    Oddly enough, TrueTolerance.org has almost nothing whatsoever about bullying. It’s entire purpose is stated on the home page:

    Concerned about homosexual advocacy in your child’s school? You’ve come to the right place.

    “TrueTolerance” isn’t anti-bullying, it’s just anti-gay. Like Candi. The entire site is nothing at all but anti-gay activism. That’s it.

    (I very strongly encourage everyone else to check out the site and see for yourself)

    You like to say that they are opposed to bullying. But look at the definition that FOTF use:

    A. “Bullying” means systematic, repeated, or recurrent conduct committed by a

    student or group of students against another student that causes measurable physical harm or emotional distress. Verbal expression, whether oral, written, or electronic, is included within the definition of “bullying” only to the extent that (1) such expression is lewd, indecent, obscene, advocating for illegal conduct, intended to incite an immediate breach of peace, or the severe and pervasive use of threatening words that inflict injury; or (2) District administrators or officials reasonably believe that such expression will cause an actual, material disruption of school work.

    The specifically define bullying such that anti-gay taunts are not included.

    It doesn’t matter what FOTF says or does. They can’t control how a teacher addresses bullying in the classroom.

    I want to touch on this and your “it’s not illegal” comment. In the Anoka-Hennepen school district, teachers are restricted in exactly the ways that FOTF wants:

    The district has a “neutrality policy” on sexual orientation that precludes teachers from talking about homosexuality (though it doesn’t seem to affect discussions of heterosexuality).

    “It’s very difficult. We have a community that has widely varying opinions, and so to respect all families, as the policy says, we ask teachers to remain neutral,” said District Spokeswoman Mary Olson.

    So neutral, in fact, that three kids this year in that district have killed themselves due to anti-gay bullying – ya know, the kind that Focus defines out of the bullying definition.

    I’ll cite this one example: “Illinois mom Tammy Schulz said she’s concerned the bill could be used to justify the type of homosexuality promotion she is fighting in her school district. ‘They used the language of anti-bullying,’ she said, ‘but the content then was education about homosexuality.’

    I was actually asking for real examples. Not Tammy Schulz’ “concerns” as filtered through the Focus on the Family political “news” site. Real examples of where people of faith were denigrated or called bigots.

    Because otherwise you are putting “concerns” about unspecified and unsubstantiated theoretical fears direct your behavior. Which would be fine if we were talking about what to have for dinner. But we’re not.

    What is interesting to me is that the newer laws (New York’s was the most recent) make it clear that no student is to be discriminated against for his/her religious views, but adding sexual orientation or gender identity into the language of the laws sets up a violation of it for this very reason.

    Only if his religious views were that he should bully gay kids. Or, as Laurie Higgins puts it,

    Dr. Throckmorton believes that “Christian students should be leading the way to make schools safe and build bridges to those who often equate ‘Christian’ with condemnation.” In this statement, Dr. Throckmorton glaringly omits the truth that Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct. And to those who view homosexuality as moral, this necessary Christian condemnation of homosexual behavior renders homosexual students unsafe.

    The simple truth, Debbie, the inconvenient fact that you so wish to ignore, is that Candi Cushman, like Laurie Higgins, believes that it is the duty of Christian children to cultivate and foster a culture of disapproval and condemnation towards homosexuality.

    That is their priority.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie

    The booklet claims that there has been an upsurge in conversion therapies and ex-gay ministries and that they are targeting public schools. They are not.

    That’s funny. Because in April of this year NARTH (acting under the auspices of the bogus “American Academy of Pediatrics”) sent out a lie-filled letter to tens of thousands of principles.

    Finally, The National Association of School Psychologists has a good overview of bullying and some great suggestions for schools/communities to combat it and prevent it.

    Indeed

    As the author of that article stated

    Implementing a comprehensive anti-bullying program may seem like one initiative too many, given current budget realities, staff shortages, and strains on existing resources and class time. But ignoring bullying is far more costly than addressing it, in terms of both expended resources and diminished outcomes. Effective prevention efforts mobilize a school’s most vital resource-the students-to be a school’s most powerful force in fostering a caring culture in which all students can grow and learn. It is a wise investment.

    I also found this on their website:

    Similarly, educating students in this regard is critical to improving the experience of LGBT youth at school (NASP, 2004). School psychologists and other school-based mental health professionals can present information about bullying of sexually-diverse students and the damaging effects of peer-harassment upon children’s and adolescents’ present and future functioning. Films such as Let’s Get Real, the Columbine Award winner for Best Short Documentary by the Moondance International Film Festival, can be used to initiate discussions among middle and high school students about the social issues related to bullying and peer-violence. In this film, sixth through ninth grade students talk about bullying from a wide range of perspectives, including those who have been perpetrators, victims, and bystanders (New Day Films, 2006).

    The do take bullying seriously. And they support programs which do as well. The programs opposed by Focus on the Family.

    By the way, I am very glad that you are on the side of doing what works to stop bullying.

    And I do understand your concerns about “the homosexual agenda”. But I simply don’t think that your fears are grounded in actual circumstances.

    If we define “the homosexual agenda” to be telling kids that gay people are ok (just like black people are ok and hindus are ok and atheists are ok and southern baptists are ok) then I’m sorry but we are not going to find common ground. I think schools should tell children that others “are ok”, even idol worshipers and non-believers and, gasp, homosexuals.

    We have to get along. And that means accepting that those with whom you disagree (even if you think that their “lifestyle” is not a normal or healthy human variation or way of living). So we must have a basic respect for each other.

    If you oppose teaching basic respect (as Focus on the family does) then I’ll just have to disagree with you and not take your concerns seriously.

    If, however, you have examples of where religion was disparaged, then I’m on your side in those cases.

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    A pleasant weekend to you as well ;)

  • Jayhuck

    BTW – Thank you Tim :)

  • Jayhuck

    Lets just reiterate things for folks coming in late in the game – FOTF opposes successful anti-bullying programs – the face of FOTF in regards to Bullying, Candi Cushman, spent a great deal of time avoiding important questions on an interview (6 6 times or more, I lost count) with CNN – she tried using fear to rally the troops – and she never, I repeat never was able to refute the claims made by GLSEN and by Roslynd in that CNN interview – And lets not forget that NASP, the organization that Debbie said should be the one to pioneer anti-bullying programs, actually supports the efforts made by GLSEN – I dont think I could add anymore here if I tried ;)

  • Jayhuck

    Tim,

    Please forgive me for re-posting this – but I think it bares the re-posting –

    We have to get along. And that means accepting that those with whom you disagree (even if you think that their “lifestyle” is not a normal or healthy human variation or way of living). So we must have a basic respect for each other.

    If you oppose teaching basic respect (as Focus on the family does) then I’ll just have to disagree with you and not take your concerns seriously.

    If, however, you have examples of where religion was disparaged, then I’m on your side in those cases.

    I agree with you, btw

  • Eddy

    LOL. Oh, Jayhuck, what on earth were you thinking when you thought it was a good idea to reiterate ‘for the benefit of folks coming in late in the game’. It’s kinda poetic how it reads like a sportscaster but there’s one VERY HUGE difference…such summaries aren’t the turf of one of the players but are the domain of the impartial sportscaster. Good reason for that…a player has a strong tendency to see things only from the eyes of his own team.

    The other issue I have with your statement, besides the fact that it attempts to deflect people from actually reading for themselves what’s been said, is that the summary focusses, not on the topic of this post, but only on one of the side-trailing conversations.

    And I hope it wasn’t intentional, but it was odd that you posted it shortly after wishing Debbie a nice weekend. The most recent ‘back and forth’ has involved Debbie…you KNOW that she’s checked out for the weekend…and you take the opportunity to promote your team’s slant ‘for the benefit of the others’. It kinda comes across like trying to steal a base during a ‘time-out’.

  • Debbie Thurman

    GLSEN has also worked to try to reduce GLBT suicides and bullying. Now it would be fair to say that GLSEN’s anti-bullying efforts are intertwined with its larger agenda. I, for one, don’t have a problem with that.

    FOTF on the other has had a long history of anti-gay sentiments.

    Ken, FOTF has a counseling line and a national counseling referral service. They also work with suicide prevention and serious issues, in the trenches every day. Do you think they ask a caller what their sexual orientation is?

    What you call anti-gay sentiments others would call a defense of traditional family and godly values. Does GLSEN not have anti-Christian sentiments? Are you letting them off the hook there? A tad hypocritical, if you are.

  • Debbie Thurman

    severe and pervasive use of threatening words that inflict injury;

    The specifically define bullying such that anti-gay taunts are not included.

    Timothy, if they said “anti-gay” taunts, then they would have to list every other category of taunt. Gay taunting is covered, as is everything else, in the above definition.

    I was actually asking for real examples. …. Real examples of where people of faith were denigrated or called bigots.

    No, that’s not what you asked for. It was this:

    You have not provided examples of anti-bullying programs being “pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention.”

    It would take some real doing to see the actual curriculum. Are you saying the Illinois mom was lying or being manipulated? You’d have to prove that, then. See, no matter what “proof” I provide here, Timothy, you’ll reject it anyway.

    The simple truth, Debbie, the inconvenient fact that you so wish to ignore, is that Candi Cushman, like Laurie Higgins, believes that it is the duty of Christian children to cultivate and foster a culture of disapproval and condemnation towards homosexuality.

    It appears to me they are within their rights to disapprove of anything they believe is harmful to the moral and even physical well being of children. We all have that right. What they don’t do well is express their concerns over bullying in a manner that shows they also care about the well being of gay-identified kids or that they really understand what they are up against. The idea that they would actually encourage kids to condemn one another is an absurd one, given how often Cushman repeats the message that everyone has innate dignity and worth. That idea would be anathema to tenets of FOTF.

  • Debbie Thurman

    If you oppose teaching basic respect (as Focus on the family does) then I’ll just have to disagree with you and not take your concerns seriously.

    Timothy, I still say you are stretching it to make this claim. You just refuse to accept anything they offer if it doesn’t include a specific reference to gay being OK. But they know how slippery that slope is and how desperately gay activists want homosexuality to be accorded perfectly normal status. In their view, and in mine, that would necessitate throwing out the Bible.

  • William

    @Debbie. I’d just like a clarification on one point.

    What is interesting to me is that the newer laws (New York’s was the most recent) make it clear that no student is to be discriminated against for his/her religious views, but adding sexual orientation or gender identity into the language of the laws sets up a violation of it for this very reason.

    O.K., Debbie, so let’s get this straight. To tell students that it’s wrong to bully anyone for any reason, and to make it absolutely clear that this includes bullying anyone for actually or supposedly being gay violates the rule that no student is to be discriminated against for his/her religious views. What particular religious view is affected here? The religious view that it’s all right to bully someone for being gay?

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 8:52 am

    “They (FOTF) also work with suicide prevention and serious issues, in the trenches every day. Do you think they ask a caller what their sexual orientation is?”

    I have no idea, probably not, although, if (when) it does come out that a teen is contemplating suicide because he/she is gay, I’d really like to know what their response is.

    “What you call anti-gay sentiments others would call a defense of traditional family and godly values.”

    Yeah, that’s what Fred Phelps calls his anti-gay sentiments too. Doesn’t change the fact that they are anti-gay. Hiding bigotry behind a bible doesn’t make it any less bigoted. FOTF has a long history of opposing gay rights and distorting, misusing, and misstating (if not out right lying) facts about gays.

    “Does GLSEN not have anti-Christian sentiments? Are you letting them off the hook there? ”

    No, GLSEN doesn’t have anti-Christian sentiments. I suspect many of GLSENs members/supporters ARE christian This is at least the 2nd time you’ve made this insinuation about GLSEN (although before you later claimed you were not talking about GLSEN). Do you have any actual evidence of anti-christian sentiments at GLSEN or are you just slinging mud hoping some will stick?

  • Debbie Thurman

    William, my comment goes to the heart of the assertion that GLSEN and gay activists in general are using bullying laws and programs as a back door to politicizing the classroom with pro-gay propaganda. Creating student allies for their culture war. And if a Christian student or parent objects to this, they are opening themselves for reverse bullying and anti-Christian discrimination. Given the proceeding discussion, I thought that would have been clear.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I have no idea, probably not, although, if (when) it does come out that a teen is contemplating suicide because he/she is gay, I’d really like to know what their response is.

    A fair question. I’d be very surprised if that kid was not referred to Exodus, new owner of Love Won Out. I can’t imagine such a person being treated indignantly or insensitively.

    Hiding bigotry behind a bible doesn’t make it any less bigoted.

    True, if it’s actual bigotry. Of course, the bigotry label extends to those on the other side as well. To call homosexual behavior sin is not bigotry. To treat gays as if they are scum is.

    No, GLSEN doesn’t have anti-Christian sentiments. I suspect many of GLSENs members/supporters ARE christian This is at least the 2nd time you’ve made this insinuation about GLSEN (although before you later claimed you were not talking about GLSEN). Do you have any actual evidence of anti-christian sentiments at GLSEN or are you just slinging mud hoping some will stick?

    Did you not read my earlier comment about Kevin Jennings talking about a line being drawn and ex-gays having no place in the classroom? He has made other strong statements about Christians. He was raised in a fundamentalist kind of home with an abusive pastor-father, whom he pretty much hated. That has colored his views.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 9:10 am

    “Timothy, if they said “anti-gay” taunts, then they would have to list every other category of taunt. Gay taunting is covered, as is everything else, in the above definition.”

    While Timothy’s wording may give the impression it ONLY covers anti-gay taunts (it doesn’t), I suspect it was worded that way with anti-gay taunts in mind. With the given wording, it is ambiguous at best whether “You’re a FAGGOT!” is covered. And I’m pretty sure “You’re an evil abomination before God!” is not covered.

    You have not provided examples of anti-bullying programs being “pro-gay political fluff as curriculum in the guise of bullying prevention.”

    “It would take some real doing to see the actual curriculum.”

    No, it would simply take contacting the school and asking for the curriculum info. And notice FOTF never actually SHOWS the full curriculum packets, just TELLS you about them.

    “Are you saying the Illinois mom was lying or being manipulated?”

    I AM saying that this story IS being manipulated by FOTF and YOU (and many others) are being deceived by it. And here is your proof:

    Here is a link to the story (from FOTF):

    http://www.truetolerance.org/p9_June_Jul_Citizen_10_antibullying.pdf

    Now, on p. 10 (of the article, 2nd page of the PDF) you will see that what they are talking about is TEACHER TRAINING MATERIALS not STUDENT CURRICULUM materials. And again FOTF doesn’t actually provide the full material for review only FOTF’s excerpts and interpretation of that material.

    If you are familiar with FOTF then you should know about the video doc. “That’s a Family.” What is this video about Debbie?

  • Debbie Thurman

    While Timothy’s wording may give the impression it ONLY covers anti-gay taunts (it doesn’t), I suspect it was worded that way with anti-gay taunts in mind. With the given wording, it is ambiguous at best whether “You’re a FAGGOT!” is covered. And I’m pretty sure “You’re an evil abomination before God!” is not covered

    .

    Ken, surely you don’t really believe that.

    “It would take some real doing to see the actual curriculum.”

    No, it would simply take contacting the school and asking for the curriculum info. And notice FOTF never actually SHOWS the full curriculum packets, just TELLS you about them.

    It would take a FOIA request, and that’s not something I am motivated to pursue at this point. Are you?

    There have been many complaints about some of the books on GLSEN’s suggested reading lists that have made their way into school libraries and classrooms. Sexually explicit material that is inappropriate. Training materials for teachers that suggest activities are curriculum-in-the-making.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

    “Did you not read my earlier comment about Kevin Jennings talking about a line being drawn and ex-gays having no place in the classroom?”

    And how is that an anti-christian sentiment? I also believe the claims of the ex-gay movement have no place in the class room. And I’m pretty sure there are a couple of christians who post here (they can speak for themselves) that feel similarly.

    “He has made other strong statements about Christians. He was raised in a fundamentalist kind of home with an abusive pastor-father, whom he pretty much hated. That has colored his views.”

    Christians in general or against fundamentalists like his father? What were these specific statements? And again, Jennings is not GLSEN, his personal views are NOT GLSEN policy. Was he speaking as a GLSEN spokesperson when he made them?

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Yes, I do believe what I said about the FOTF anti-bullying language, that is why I said it.

    “It would take a FOIA request, and that’s not something I am motivated to pursue at this point. Are you?”

    No Debbie it generally doesn’t take an FOIA request to see curriculum materials. That’s just what FOTF would like for you to believe. They want to portray schools as being involved in some big cover-up/conspiracy to hide what they are doing from parents. They aren’t. Have you ever actually TRIED to review STUDENT curriculum materials at the local public schools Debbie?

    I’m actually planning on checking out a couple of these “sexually explicit” books that FOTF is complaining about. Has FOTF ever complained about other such books in schools (ex. “Catcher in the Rye”) or just those on the GLSEN list?

  • Eddy

    ken–

    it was a less than 10 second google search to come up with the answer to your question. (Typed in: Focus on the Family Catcher in the Rye)

    http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2009/09/4274/

    Yes, FOTF does object to a number of ‘classics’.

  • William

    And if a Christian student or parent objects to this, they are opening themselves for reverse bullying and anti-Christian discrimination.

    – Debbie

    I would quote from Homophobic Bullying, a document issued by the UK government Department for Children, Schools and Families in 2007:

    “Regardless of their views on gay people, or sexual orientation, parents and carers have to understand that schools have a responsibility to keep pupils safe. Preventing and responding to homophobic bullying is essential if schools are going to fulfil their responsibilities…Some religions or cultures believe that homosexuality is wrong and lesbian and gay people are not entitled to the same rights as heterosexual people. However, no religion or culture believes that bullying, including homophobic bullying, is ever acceptable. There can therefore be no justification for homophobic bullying. All young people can experience homophobic bullying, regardless of their sexual orientation, religion, or views, and they deserve to be protected. Tolerance and kindness should be integral to any school. A person can hold whatever views they want, but expressing views that denigrate others is unacceptable.”

    That document, of course, has no force in any country other than the UK, but the above provides, I think, an adequate answer to your point. Making these things clear to parents is not “reverse bullying”, nor is it anti-Christian (anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim etc.) discrimination.

  • ken

    No Eddie,

    You search didn’t do that. From the page you linked to:

    “Cushman defends “silenced” parents’ efforts to ban such “liberal” books as:”

    I’m looking for a clear statement from FOTF condeming the book (and other such books) in the same way as they do say: “Queer 13″ or “Full Spectrum” or “Heather has two mommies” and basically saying these books shouldn’t be in schools. The link is talking about Cushman defending parents rights to ban books FROM PUBLIC LIBRARIES (which I still disagree with), but doesn’t say FOTF has specifically said those books on the list should be banned.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Ken, you are painting a double standard. Strong sentiment has been expressed in this discussion that anything ex-gay is also automatically Christian. And Kevin Jennings speaks not only for GLSEN, but now for the DOE, as well. He bears that burden in his public statements.

  • Eddy

    William–

    You conveniently left out the ‘this’ that Debbie was referring to.

    my comment goes to the heart of the assertion that GLSEN and gay activists in general are using bullying laws and programs as a back door to politicizing the classroom with pro-gay propaganda. Creating student allies for their culture war.

    So, yes, if the programs are simply doing what the UK proposal suggests then it would not foster the environment of reverse bullying. HOWEVER, if they are indeed using the anti-bullying laws and programs ‘as a back door to politicizing the classroom’…’creating student allies for their culture war’…THEN it does have the strong potential effect of reverse bullying.

  • Debbie Thurman

    “A person can hold whatever views they want, but expressing views that denigrate others is unacceptable.”

    William, are you saying, by pulling out that quote, that someone who is “ex-gay” stating that change is possible is denigrating gays? How?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Here’s what GayPatriot had to say about GLSEN’s book list. I am providing the least controversial link for my gay friends here

  • Eddy

    ken-

    Your question was:

    Has FOTF ever complained about other such books in schools (ex. “Catcher in the Rye”) or just those on the GLSEN list?

    And the link I provided demonstrates that they did.

    Change up your question, if you like but please don’t suggest that I didn’t answer your original. It’s obfuscation pure and simple.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Since this comment just magically disappeared, I am trying again. Here is what GayPatriot had to say about the GLSEN reading list. I am providing the least controversial link I can think of for my gay friends here.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I’ve tried twice to post a comment with a link and it is disappearing. Warren? Is the link the problem?

  • William

    No, Debbie, I am not saying that someone who is “ex-gay” stating that change is possible is denigrating gays, nor did I imply it. I would say, however, that such a statement, if true at all, is likely to be true of an extremely small number of people and is therefore, if intended as a general statement, misguided and highly misleading.

    I would just like to add that, as far as I am concerned, telling young gay people that their sexuality is somehow bad or wrong and that it needs to be “healed” and that they God forbids them ever to form gay sexual relationships is a form of psychological and spiritual abuse.

    I was never bullied at school for being gay, because no-one else knew at that time, and I never had the misfortune to fall into the clutches of an ex-gay ministry or a reparative therapist. I did, however, experience the kind of religious abuse to which I have referred above. It was inflicted unwittingly by people who did not really understand what they were doing or to whom they were doing it. Being now fully cognizant of the serious emotional damage that it did me, I condemn it unreservedly. Such abuse has no more legitimate place in a school than the sexual abuse of students.

  • ken

    Eddy# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Your question was:

    Has FOTF ever complained about other such books in schools (ex. “Catcher in the Rye”) or just those on the GLSEN list?

    And the link I provided demonstrates that they did.

    1st Eddie, simple little distinction: My question is about books IN (public) SCHOOLS where were the books the “TruthWinsOut” link was referring to?

    2nd. (and more to the point). the link implies FOTF supports banning those books on the list, but doesn’t actually say that does it. Why not? See I’m looking for DIRECT (and that is what I asked for) statements from FOTF that show them complaining about other books (not just the GLSEN list) and perhaps a statement why the book(s) were objectionable.

    what you provided was a link from a site that opposed FOTF that implied (but doesn’t claim) FOTF wants to ban those books.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    “Strong sentiment has been expressed in this discussion that anything ex-gay is also automatically Christian. And Kevin Jennings speaks not only for GLSEN, but now for the DOE, as well. He bears that burden in his public statements.”

    I just want to clarify something. Are YOU, Debbie, claiming that anyone who opposes the ex-gay movement is inherently anti-christian? and is this your justification for the claim that GLSEN is anti-christian?

    Further as I have said many times before Kevin Jennings IS NOT GLSEN. And not everything that comes out of Kevin Jennings’ mouth is an official GLSEN statement. Is everything James Dobson says an official FOTF statement? Is everything Michael Bussee says an official Exodus statement?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    I have an idea. Since there is discussion about what FOTF does or doesn’t promote or agree with, how about everybody frame a question to FOTF and I will ask them on the record?

    Just post your question, limit one per commenter since we could get a bunch.

  • Jayhuck

    Oh Eddy,

    The other issue I have with your statement, besides the fact that it attempts to deflect people from actually reading for themselves what’s been said, is that the summary focusses, not on the topic of this post, but only on one of the side-trailing conversations.

    I am not now nor have I been attempting to deflect people from actually reading this thread for themselves – I encourage it. My nutshelling of some of the conversation should not be taken as a reason to forgo reading the posts on this thread – On the contrary, I highly encourage people to do so.

  • Jayhuck

    Yes, FOTF does object to a number of ‘classics’.

    And why doesn’t that surprise me! :)

  • Jayhuck

    Warren,

    Here is my question which is inspired by Anderson Cooper’s question to Candi:

    Since there is evidence that talking specifically about sexual orientation (or other groups) improves anti-bullying programs, why does FOTF appear to be against such programs?

    If they can answer this without creating a Red Herring such as talking about some nebulous gay agenda or homosexuality lessons in classrooms, etc….. and stuck to the actual topic of bullying, I would be happy. I’m not going to hold my breath though

  • Debbie Thurman

    William, what you saying is all well and good, but I was talking about something entirely different than the tangent you went off on.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Since there is evidence that talking specifically about sexual orientation (or other groups) improves anti-bullying programs, why does FOTF appear to be against such programs?

    Better be prepared to provide that evidence, once again, Jayhuck. I’m not saying it does not exist, but it would be instructive for us all to know some specifics.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Once again, the GayPatriot take on GLSEN’s reading list. I’ll try posting the entire link here rather than linking to the word.

    http://www.gaypatriot.net/2009/12/05/thoughts-on-kevin-jennings-the-glsen-reading-list

  • Debbie Thurman

    I have an idea. Since there is discussion about what FOTF does or doesn’t promote or agree with, how about everybody frame a question to FOTF and I will ask them on the record?

    Who are you asking. Gary Schneeberger (media guy), Jim Daly (president) or the gender issues analyst?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    I’ve read the GayPatriot web site often – he is very conservative and anti-Obama to the point of annoying. I’ve never agreed with him about anything he’s written – he tends to, like most political pundits do, twist the truth a little to make his side look better – that’s all

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Sorry – Here is a link to one document that talks about some of the research showing a need to enumerate groups:

    Document Link

    I know there is more out there, this book I just happened to know about – I’ll post more later when I have time to research it better

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck:

    Lets just reiterate things for folks coming in late in the game – FOTF opposes successful anti-bullying programs – the face of FOTF in regards to Bullying, Candi Cushman, spent a great deal of time avoiding important questions on an interview (6 6 times or more, I lost count) with CNN – she tried using fear to rally the troops – and she never, I repeat never was able to refute the claims made by GLSEN and by Roslynd in that CNN interview – And lets not forget that NASP, the organization that Debbie said should be the one to pioneer anti-bullying programs, actually supports the efforts made by GLSEN – I dont think I could add anymore here if I tried

    Okay…so they’re coming late to the game and you want to reiterate for their benefit BUT you still want them to read it for themselves. Ahhh…so before they read you want them to have the official Jayhuck slant. That’s much better. And, BTW, closing your statement with “I don’t think I could add anymore here if I tried” suggests that yours is a complete and unbiased summation.

    ken–

    I do hear how you’ve rephrased and modified your original question. I had the time and interest to address the simple original one but don’t have the time, interest, or patience to attempt to answer the new one to your satisfaction. Somehow you see that desiring a book to be banned is not the same thing as a complaint. I’d need to know a lot more about the unique nuances in your vocabulary to actually engage in conversation with you further.

    You claim:

    See I’m looking for DIRECT (and that is what I asked for) statements from FOTF that show them complaining about other books (not just the GLSEN list) and perhaps a statement why the book(s) were objectionable.

    but the question I answered was:

    I’m actually planning on checking out a couple of these “sexually explicit” books that FOTF is complaining about. Has FOTF ever complained about other such books in schools (ex. “Catcher in the Rye”) or just those on the GLSEN list?

    No hint of wanting a direct statement from FOTF or of an elaboration of why they wanted them banned simply ‘Has FOTF ever complained about other such books in schools…’

    Warren– My question for FOTF: Would you oppose addressing the bullying of gays in anti-bullying programs IF the comments stayed on target with anti-bullying and did not stray into areas of politicization?

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Okay…so they’re coming late to the game and you want to reiterate for their benefit BUT you still want them to read it for themselves. Ahhh…so before they read you want them to have the official Jayhuck slant. That’s much better. And, BTW, closing your statement with “I don’t think I could add anymore here if I tried” suggests that yours is a complete and unbiased summation.

    Saying *I* don’t think I could add anymore here if I tried suggests that? Really? Wow – hopefully other readers won’t make the same assumption you have.

    Yes Eddy – I highly HIGHLY encourage everyone to read the entire thread – and to view that video of Candi on CNN!

  • Eddy

    Me too!

  • Debbie Thurman

    Sorry – Here is a link to one document that talks about some of the research showing a need to enumerate groups:

    Ah, the good old ADL. There’s a group with no axes to grind. That aside, nothing in the contents or the one section that looked most promising that I saw addresses any specific programs implemented and their results. Just models. You (Jayhuck) have extolled the virtues and effectiveness of anti-bullying programs that mention gay kids as a target multiple times in this thread. I think we’d all like to know of some and their statistics.

    As to the GLSEN-endorsed books, if you guys really want to, we can post some excerpts here. If they make it through Warren’s smut filter. Yes, GayPatriot is a conservative blog, but gay nonetheless.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    “Strong sentiment has been expressed in this discussion that anything ex-gay is also automatically Christian. And Kevin Jennings speaks not only for GLSEN, but now for the DOE, as well. He bears that burden in his public statements.”

    I just want to clarify something. Are YOU, Debbie, claiming that anyone who opposes the ex-gay movement is inherently anti-christian? and is this your justification for the claim that GLSEN is anti-christian?

    Further as I have said many times before Kevin Jennings IS NOT GLSEN. And not everything that comes out of Kevin Jennings’ mouth is an official GLSEN statement. Is everything James Dobson says an official FOTF statement? Is everything Michael Bussee says an official Exodus statement?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    Why not just go to the source – instead of reading things others wrote about GLSEN

    As to the GLSEN-endorsed books, if you guys really want to, we can post some excerpts here. If they make it through Warren’s smut filter. Yes, GayPatriot is a conservative blog, but gay nonetheless.

    First of all – here is a comment on the front page of the GLSEN book list –

    All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content. However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at Amazon.com often provide information on mature content.

    Here is the list

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    That document I linked too gave several reasons to speak specifically about the groups being bullied – with a quote or two from non-gay sources. Did you read the statistics cited? Why is it that every mainstream group seems to support GLSEN’s initiatives except ultra conservative religious groups? The same groups that purport to want truth, but distort facts to suit their needs?

    Like I said – I’ll come back and do more when I can, but I’m having some friends over tonight and I dont have alot of time to be online today

  • Jayhuck

    Just a side note, but doesn’t FOTF support the teaching of Creationism in schools as well? I use this as another example of them pushing a religious agenda in schools, one that runs counter the majority of the scientific community and, well, facts in general. Creationism isn’t science.

  • ken

    Warren excellent idea about asking questions of FOTF. However, in fairness, would you also be willing to do the same for GLSEN?

    My question to FOTF:

    When did Focus on the Family become actively involved in preventing bullying and can it provided any documentation (press releases, open letters, web page announcements etc) describing the nature of that involvement?

  • Eddy

    At first I took Jayhuck’s question as a potentially serious detour until I noted it’s similarities to our current discussion. I imagine that FOTF does want Creationism taught in schools but am not sure of their actual stance. Many religious folks, however, don’t want ‘Creationism taught’…just mentioned as another theory for how the Universe began. And the objections are loud and firm…”they want to use ‘Creationism’ to sneak their religious ideas and values into the classroom.

    Sounds quite similar to Candi’s stance re mentioning gays only now it’s the ‘other side’ who refuses to budge.

    Just curious, Jayhuck, do you believe that God created ‘the heavens and the earth’ and that He created you? (I realize conversation can move on from there but first I’d like a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer if you would. Please don’t pull a Candi on me. :-) It’s a simple question.)

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Just curious, Jayhuck, do you believe that God created ‘the heavens and the earth’ and that He created you? (I realize conversation can move on from there but first I’d like a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer if you would. Please don’t pull a Candi on me. :-) It’s a simple question.)

    Absolutely Eddy I do – Yes! It should be noted that one of the loudest and most effective critics of Creationism came from a Christian who defended Evolution as science in a trial that determined Creationism was not science and should not be taught in a science classroom – it may have a place in philosophy or theology I suppose, but its not science

    You’re right though – we are perilously close to going off on another tangent – and I would be guilty of causing it this time

  • Debbie Thurman

    Why not just go to the source – instead of reading things others wrote about GLSEN

    Glad to, but you won’t like it.

  • ken

    Jayhuck,

    nice catch on the GLSEN book list. funny how FOTF (nor any of the others who complain about the books) mention that part.

    btw, Warren, what is the criteria that triggers automatic moderation? (i.e. N posts in X hours, totals characters posted in a given time frame etc)?

  • Debbie Thurman

    I went back and looked at section 4 of your ADL report, Jayhuck. I found this:

    Naming the categories (particularly sexual orientation) will remove all doubt

    that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth are included in the

    protections from bullying. A recent national survey of a representative group of

    students ages 13 to 18 found that students in schools with bullying or

    harassment policies inclusive of sexual orientation or gender identity are less

    likely to report a serious harassment problem at their schools.

    • The U.S. Supreme Court has found that “enumerating” personal characteristics

    is the “essential device used to make the duty not to discriminate concrete and

    to provide guidance for those who must comply.”

    • According to a GLSEN report, Students who attend schools with policies that

    enumerate categories report less bullying and harassment than students who do

    not.

    • Students from schools with inclusive policies reported that other students are

    harassed less because of their physical appearance (36% v. 52%), their sexual

    orientation (32% v. 43%) or their gender identity (26% v. 37%). 4

    Interesting. We have one Harris poll of kids, an “according to GLSEN,” a SCOTUS statement without a case cited, and a group of statistics that actually supports FOTF’s claim that harassment of gay students is not the number one bullying item. Of course it’s hard to say how much overlap there is between sexual orientation and gender identity. How exactly do we distinguish between the two? And how on earth can you have clear statistics when you have two separate categories that most people take to mean essentially the same thing?

  • Jayhuck

    Debbie,

    FOTF’s claim that harassment of gay students is not the number one bullying item.

    Red Herring – shouldnt matter – so gay students are being harassed, but maybe not as much as some other groups – so what? We shouldn’t deal with that bullying in the most effective way? I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here.

    Besides – As Roslynd pointed out in the CNN interview, and as several of us have said many times on this site – kids are using homophobic bullying terms to bully non-gay kids as well

  • Jayhuck

    GayPatriot is a gay blog, but its written by someone who seems to oppose Obama on every front – Kevin Jennings was appointed by Obama – not surprised he doesnt like him. Besides its a biased political site

  • Eddy

    Maybe a science class ought to step up and admit that there are things that can’t be assessed, tested, measured or proven by science and then use the concepts of God…creation…the spirit that the vast majority seem to believe in (well…let’s leave creation out of ‘vast majority’) but that are simply outside the realm of scientific analysis.

    Or a philosophy class: “If I can’t prove something exists does that mean that it does not exist?”

  • Jayhuck

    Maybe a science class ought to step up and admit that there are things that can’t be assessed, tested, measured or proven by science and then use the concepts of God…creation…the spirit that the vast majority seem to believe in (well…let’s leave creation out of ‘vast majority’) but that are simply outside the realm of scientific analysis.

    Its not really the business of science to deal with things metaphysical – that’s why we have disciplines like philosophy and theology, both of which are valid and more appropriate disciplines to deal with those types of things

  • Eddy

    Precisely my point…all I want school science to do is to clarify that science, despite its marvels, does not have the answer to everything and then to cite the other possible areas of study (including theology or religion) that attempt to answer these questions.

  • Jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I think that’s very fair – especially since I’m a big fan of those disciplines, despite all my science-touting rhetoric

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    @Warren – one question (of many) I’d like a straight answer from from FOTF:

    Should Intersexed people – those with physical anatomy neither wholly male nor wholly female – be allowed to marry, and/or be parents – either through technical help such as IVF, or adoption?

    This is in the context of marriage being between one man and one woman, or if one is a true traditionalist, harking back to Biblical times, one man and at least one woman, possibly more (unless one is a Bishop).

  • Evan

    Eddy wrote:

    all I want school science to do is to clarify that science, despite its marvels, does not have the answer to everything and then to cite the other possible areas of study (including theology or religion) that attempt to answer these questions

    Yes, except that science, compared to other areas of study., does not have a vested interest in the outcome. Its method is neutral to any outcome it may get, so no one is projecting any unconscious hopes to find something to assuage some inner needs. Sometimes, scientists find the opposite of what they expected and no one gets upset, because it’s more important to be well grounded in reality than distort the facts for one’s own purposes.

    On the other hand, many people are optimistic despite everything reality shows them. :-)

  • Evan

    Eddy:

    “If I can’t prove something exists does that mean that it does not exist?”

    It depends on how you discovered that something, whether it’s by your own experience or by learning about it from culture.

    FOr instance, right now there is a crisis in the world and that makes some folks talk about as diverse subjects as Mayan calendars predicting the end of the world and aliens preparing humanity for some kind of global awakening… If someone asks them ‘can you prove anything that you say?’, they respond something like ‘yeah, there have been people seeing this directly but the government is keeping the whole thing hidden from us’. :|

    I’m sure ‘aliens must exist’, but if we can’t experience anything about their existence, then why build anything around this belief? It’s just an example. The important criterion is, I think, that it’s one thing to assume that something we cannot prove may exist and quite another to build a life around it.

  • Evan

    Jayhuck wrote

    kids are using homophobic bullying terms to bully non-gay kids as well

    Yeah, I’m not in school anymore so don’t know how the atmosphere is there right now, but I’ve seen a few times kids using anti-gay slurs against each other as a sort of social game. It seems it’s different from what was 10, 20 or maybe more years ago. It seems more pervasive and less serious, in a way. It’s a like a game of mutual prodding. Of course, some may use it with the intention to hurt another kids, others may use it with a milder intent, to break someone else’s confidence, and still other may use it as a joke. I think it’s the kids who are more vulnerable that get most affected by this type of verbal aggression. Others may simply ignore it or fight back.

  • Eddy

    Evan–

    I hear where you’re going but I don’t even want it go that far. I simply want science in the schoools, as a part of their course, to clarify that they can’t measure and assess everything…sometimes because they don’t yet have the mechanisms to do it and others because they simply can’t be measured or assessed scientifically.

    And re the philosophy question…actually just going for the ultimate yes or no answer with hopefully some lively discussion along the way. Of course, if things fall outside the range of provable, there are the risks you suggest but does it change the bottom line answer? “If I can’t prove something exists does that mean it doesn’t exist?”

  • Evan

    Lots of typos there… W/e

  • Evan

    …I meant, in my comment.

  • Evan

    Well, Eddy, right now I think even the education system will go through a crisis. The education system started as something for the few, for the upper classes, it was more cultural and focused on preparing particular individuals for their future role in society (leadership, advisorship). Now, in the modern era education became more democratic and focused on building competence for a future job and role within the community. As a result, the educational system has lost some of its cultural purpose, because many stakeholders have become concerned with the fact that professors may be wasting time teaching kids things of no practical value. So, the cultural focus has been reduced a lot compared to the era when pupils had to learn Latin. I think today education is still being used to instill values, but it seems to me that this happens for practical purposes, because adults want to shape and maintain a certain status quo. So science and other disciplines are used for these purposes, to shape the kids adults want. Similarly, I think adults are fighting over the possibility to keep particular beliefs in their kids curricula because they consider they know better what their kids’ life should be.

    What happens when adults themselves are confused over the direction of society? Crisis.

  • Evan

    if things fall outside the range of provable, there are the risks you suggest but does it change the bottom line answer? “If I can’t prove something exists does that mean it doesn’t exist?”

    It doesn’t, you’re right, the question can still be asked. But I think it does make a difference if people build a life around it.

  • Evan

    This topic deals with antibulyying as if children bully because they are defective (sadistic, coming from a broken home, vulnerable projecting self-hate on the vulnerable, etc). The cure is supposed to be education.

    When I was a kid and we were chasing girls, obviously we were all sadistic, vulnerable projecting our fear of our own inner vulnerability, coming from broken homes, anyway, we were anything other than normal kids. :)

    Not really. We had no idea why we were doing it and I think others who bullied had no idea either why they were doing it. So maybe, it woulnd’t be amiss to think that some biological basis might exist for the impulse to attack the smaller or the vulnerable. Chasing a female obviously is not a sign of sadism, it’s a natural outcome of the bigger guy chasing the smaller interesting creature.

    imagine what happens when it’s about the bigger guys proving their dominance over the smaller kid who came onto their radar. For them, it’s funtime. For the grown-up who was a vulnerable kid, lol, they are pathological sadists, blablabla.

  • Lynn David

    This story can be found at either KGET-TV or LGBTQNation.

    A California boy remains in critical condition and on life support after he attempted to hang himself last week in what friends and neighbors describe as another case of anti-gay bullying.

    Police and school officials are investigating the attempted suicide of 13-year-old Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, a town 40 miles east of Bakersfield.

    Walsh was found Sunday, September 19, unconscious and not breathing, and it appeared he had tried to hang himself from a tree branch, according to police reports. He was rushed by helicopter to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.

    According to reports, Walsh is openly gay and was taunted by bullies for years, at school and at a local park.

    More at the links.

  • Michael Bussee

    Another life at risk, while adults argue about whether or not it’s OK to mention sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation as a frequent target of abuse:

    California boy on life support after suicide attempt — another case of anti-gay bullying

    California boy remains in critical condition and on life support after he attempted to hang himself last week in what friends and neighbors describe as another case of anti-gay bullying.

    Police and school officials are investigating the attempted suicide of 13-year-old Seth Walsh of Tehachapi, a town 40 miles east of Bakersfield.

    Walsh was found Sunday, September 19, unconscious and not breathing, and it appeared he had tried to hang himself from a tree branch, according to police reports. He was rushed by helicopter to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield.

    According to reports, Walsh is openly gay and was taunted by bullies for years, at school and at a local park. [KGET-TV]

    http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2010/09/california-boy-on-life-support-after-suicide-attempt-another-case-of-anti-gay-bullying/

  • Eddy

    And the other side, if trying to play the guilt card, could say:

    Another life at risk, while gay advocates continue to use anti-bullying programs to their own ends by advancing other gay-related causes and issues.

  • Lynn David

    That would be & is rather cold, Eddy.

  • Eddy

    Good eye, Lynn David, because it was meant to be.

    As for me, I’m not at all fond of the guilt strategy.

  • Michael Bussee

    And the other side, if trying to play the guilt card, could say: Another life at risk, while gay advocates continue to use anti-bullying programs to their own ends by advancing other gay-related causes and issues.

    Yes. that is right, I suppose. “One trying to play the guilt card” could say that, but why would “one” be playing mind games when lives real are at stake?

    And shouldn’t you have qualified that with “some” gay advocates “continue to use anti-bullying programs” instead of lumping all us together? It really seems annoy you when someone uses “Christian” or “conservative” without that qualifier.

    I consider myself a “gay advocate” but think bullying programs ought to be about stopping bullying and reducing teen suicide prompted by bullying. NO other “agenda”.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    You have given no indication that you conduct anti-bullying programs or that you are a key player in their planning…so to attempt to stretch my statement to include you or other gay advocates who are not involved in bullying programs is reading more into my statement than is there.

    Point of clarification then: Who are these ‘adults who argue’? Was it just FOTF or were you referring to those involved in the touchy discussion here? I might as well live up to your characterization that I go after those qualifiers.

  • ken

    Debbie,

    Do you plan to respond to my request (tSep 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm) hat you clarify your statements about GLSEN’s anti-christian sentiments?

  • Debbie Thurman

    While we await Jayhuck’s list of schools that have effective anti-bullying programs, I will say that I spent a bit of time looking into some of the GLSEN Reading List books. He did suggest we go to the source to justify claims of an intrusion into the classroom of curriculum or materials that smack of gay propaganda, in the guise of anti-bullying. Since GLSEN is, by its own definition, all about school safety and anti-bullying, everything it pushes in schools is connected.

    At Amazon, one can search inside only a small handful of the books in question. It’s not hard, then, to find references to sexual encounters between young teens in those books, or thinly disguised pro-gay propaganda in others. Some even cover Christian themes. Gee, I thought that wasn’t allowed. Probably the most well-known of that genre is The God Box. The search inside function on that one seems to be inadequate to locate some of the themes or scenes reviewers describe. A Christian teen boy meets an intriguing gay boy who causes him to discover his latent sexual confusion and to question his faith. The author supposedly even discusses biblical passages, giving them the usual gay spin.

    Would a book that covers an ex-gay theme, or one that would have the teen boy rejecting homosexuality in deference to his faith pass muster? I seriously doubt it. If you know of any, I’d like to hear about them.

    One book you will not find on the GLSEN list is Mysterious Skin, a book that explicitly discusses the emotional turmoil of a teen boy who seeks to learn why five hours of his life at the age of eight are missing from his memory. He learns though a friend that the two of them were molested by their Little League coach during that time. The other boy has turned to gay sex to address his pain while the protagonist has never known the source of his anguish.

    In the books on the GLSEN list, sexual encounters between adolescents and adults are depicted in quite another way, more as rites of passage.

    While some of the books I’m sure are helpful in addressing bullying themes, many do not attempt to conceal the underlying agenda — that gay is good (not just a passage from confusing adolescence to heterosexuality for some kids), that religious objections to it are unfounded, that sexual exploration is not harmful and that coming out is a good and healthy thing, despite the baggage that comes with it.

    Excerpts from some of the books most objected to are readily found online.

    Isn’t GLSEN seeking to incorporate pro-gay materials across the curriculum spectrum, not just in sex education or anti-bullying lessons? By the way, does anybody happen to remember that Kevin Jennings appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” back in 2004 to push GLSEN’s marriage curriculum (“At Issue: Marriage”)? O’Reilly asked him if it was balanced, and he said “Absolutely.” The curriculum included links to gay advocacy websites with none to organizations that would counterbalance them. One suggested exercise asked students “to evaluate the actions of the Vermont legislature (in making gay civil unions legal) in light of (the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights) in an attempt to bring the U.S. to ‘justice’ by international standards outside our country.” Great civics lesson. Linda Harvey of Mission America found 10 significant objections to the curriculum. Disclaimer: I don’t agree with all her rhetoric, but she has a valid place in the discourse.

    Some school districts have added GLBT History Month curriculum. O’Reilly had a guest on one night (I saw this program live on Oct. 17, 2006) who was pushing a website called glbthistory.com. He claimed it was educational and contained references to gay people who had made important contributions to history, such as Alan Turing, who broke the German Enigma Code. I went immediately to the site and checked it out. Nothing prominent on Turing or other positive gay icons of note was featured. I did a search and found a small mention of him. I found a number of stories claiming the Apostle Paul and a host of other historical figures were gay, along with profiles of drag queens, gay pedophiles and a parade of social miscreants, one of whom was NAMBLA supporter, the late Harry Hay. Later on, the site morphed into a total gay porn site. Small wonder since even in its original form, it contained numerous links to gay porn sites, sex toy shops and gay classified ads.

    Can GLSEN or other gay advocacy organizations that work with schools sanitize this kind of image? I am wondering how.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Do you plan to respond to my request (tSep 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm) hat you clarify your statements about GLSEN’s anti-christian sentiments

    I just provided some, Ken, in the discussion about GLSEN’s book list. I also quoted a statement from Jennings earlier about a line being drawn and anything related to the ex-gay side not being allowed in schools. Then, there’s the whole GLSEN-sponsored “Fistgate” affair in Massachusetts that has been discussed in other threads here. One of the sessions in that “educational” series was called “The Religions Wrong.” Adolescent students were subjected to highly inappropriate, even pornographic material that was clearly antithetical to traditional values.

  • Eddy

    And here are a few of the excerpts that Debbie alluded to. They were provided by MissionAmerica and claim to be direct quotes from books that are part of GLSEN recommended resources. (If anyone knows these to be misquotes, please indicate what you know. It would be very easy simply to bash MissionAmerica however, in this instance, I stuck with their direct quotes and left out their commentary.) The commentary following each quote is my own.

    In fact, the Bible says very little about homosexuality. Amidst the hundreds of thousands of other teachings, responsibilities, laws and prohibitions, there are only a handful of statements that might possibly apply to sex between men-and none that address lesbian sexuality.” (Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth-and Their Allies [cited above], p. 279.)

    Besides glossing over the actual Bible verses that speak to homosexuality, I’m intrigued that they claim that the Bible has ‘hundreds of thousands’ (at the least, this suggests 200,000 ‘teachings, responsibilities, laws and prohibitions’).

    “‘God will punish you!’ was my mother’s favorite saying to me…. I remember going to Sunday school at a very early age-it was a must. Sunday school can be heavy for a child….If you do anything that isn’t right, you are terrified you’ll be struck by lightning or go to hell….” ( From the recollections of a girl named ‘Whitey,’ who in the 1950′s ran away from home at age thirteen to Greenwich Village, in Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian [cited above], pp.44-45)

    This one conveys the caricature that ‘if you do anything that isn’t right’ you earn physical judgement (the lightning possibility) or eternal judgement and not a hint of the balance that occurs in a usual Sunday School. (In truth, I’ve been exposed to a number of Sunday School programs and ‘hellfire and brimstone’ was never the prevailing theme.)

    “Later that week, Kyle arrived home from school to find his mom standing in the center of his bedroom…She barraged him with questions like, Should she have done something different bringing him up? or, What about the ex-gay groups that claimed homosexuals could change? ‘Mom,’ he said, frustrated. ‘You didn’t do anything wrong and I can’t change. Those groups are full of fakes…’” ( From novel, Rainbow Boys, [cited above] p.103.)

    This one’s from a novel, so it isn’t a statement of fact. Like all groups, ex-gay groups can have their share of fakes. However, this statement pronounces judgement on all the ex-gay groups and the majority of their participants. “Those groups are full of fakes.”

    “I grew up in a house where my mom said it was okay to touch yourself in private, and to hell with those self-righteous idiots who talked about going to hell but did the same thing when they could…..My grandparents are serious Christians who think that if it feels too good, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. And that includes food and movies. My mom raised me opposite.” ( From Love & Sex: ten stories of truth [cited above], p. 185 and 189)

    This one suggests that those who talk about going to hell are ‘self-righteous idiots’. It also pronounces them to be hyprocrites…”did the same thing when they could”. Grandparents views are reduced to “if it feels too good, you probably shouldn’t be doing it”. Hmmmm. They must have done sex, though, it’s the normal path to grand-parenting.

    It should be noted though, that although GLSEN may recommend these resources, that does not necessarily mean that GLSEN endorses every word contained therein. It is within the realm of possibility that GLSEN’s reason for endorsement had nothing to do with the anti-Christian sentiments.

  • Frank

    Debbie, when it comes to sanitizing images, I have to wonder if Southern Baptists can sanitize theirs. After all, their church was founded to support the rights of slave owners and their most august learning institutions (Liberty University where you send your own children) was founded by a pro-segregation activist.

    As for your own gay counseling efforts, how do you rehabilitate your own image. Aren’t you a Southern Baptist and didn’t the leader of the Southern Baptist convention endorse eugenics as a means of annihilating gays? Don’t you consider the Levitican incitement to ritual murder inspired by God?

    Do you rely on your own image as part of your “practice” of counseling? How about your complete lack of a decent technical education in the subject of mental health care? How can you keep clients capable of making rational decisions abou their mental health care? Or do you prey on vulnerable people who have been harmed by their religious indoctrination to pay your bills?

  • Eddy

    Frank–

    Can you connect your questions in any way to the topic?

  • Michael Bussee

    Point of clarification then: Who are these ‘adults who argue’? Was it just FOTF or were you referring to those involved in the touchy discussion here?

    Just uttering the words “gay” or “orientation” in anti-bullying programs seems to trouble some people on this blog and elsewhere. Some seem to see even the mentioning of these words as promoting some sort of pro-gay/anti-Christian agenda. For example, Exodus seems to think so — and Alan posted that that “anti-bullying programs are really just tools to crush Christian evangelism.” Is Exodus’ concern for saving gay souls more important than saving gay lives here and now?

    BTW — though not directly involved in anti-bullying programs in the school or their design in any official capacity as decision-maker, I do support programs in schools that oppose bullying. And as all evidence to date demonstrates that programs which identify common targets are effective, I support such efforts including those that specifically oppose bullying based on sexual orientation.We can do that without pushing any other “agenda” without being “Pro or Anti-Christian” or “Pro or Anti-gay”.

  • Michael Bussee

    BTW — my post was not intended to make you feel guilty, Eddy. It wasn’t about you! It was meant to point out that the problem is deadly real — lest we accidentally lose sight of the real life/death aspects of this problem in our lengthy discussion of what form and message anti-bullying pograms ought to take.

  • Debbie Thurman

    How can you keep clients capable of making rational decisions about their mental health care?

    I don’t have clients, nor do I work in mental health. I have worked in recovery ministry. I no longer do. And, as Eddy suggested, your comments are an inexplicable tangent.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 11:14 am

    “While some of the books I’m sure are helpful in addressing bullying themes, many do not attempt to conceal the underlying agenda — that gay is good (not just a passage from confusing adolescence to heterosexuality for some kids), that religious objections to it are unfounded, that sexual exploration is not harmful and that coming out is a good and healthy thing, despite the baggage that comes with it.”

    GLSEN’s goal has NEVER been solely to prevent bullying. And to try to characterize GLSEN’s goal that way is a straw man argument. Now, preventing GLBT teen suicide (which incorporates the anti-bullying initiative) is a BIG part of GLSEN’s focus, but it has never been their sole focus. And I would suggest Debbie that you spend a little more time actually investigating what GLSEN is about rather than just injecting your own personal prejudices into what you say about them. For years (over a decade) GLSEN has fought to support GLBT youth and to counter the negative and misleading images (put out by organizations like FOTF) that cause GLBT youth to feel ashamed of who they are (and does contribute to their suicide rates).

    “Isn’t GLSEN seeking to incorporate pro-gay materials across the curriculum spectrum, not just in sex education or anti-bullying lessons?”

    Yes, they do, and they have been doing that for a while. It is part of GLSEN’s mission to educate people (straight and gay) that gay isn’t just about sex.

    “Can GLSEN or other gay advocacy organizations that work with schools sanitize this kind of image? I am wondering how.”

    I went to the GLBTHistory web site you mentioned. Didn’t see any of the porn links you claimed where there, so if they were there before, looks like whomever is in charge of that site (and it isn’t GLSEN) has cleaned it up.

  • Debbie Thurman

    This link provides some of the sexually explicit excerpts from several of GLSEN’s recommended books. It is to a blog at the First Things site. The poster reviewed these particular books firsthand. First Things, incidentally, is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, which calls itself, “an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.”

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 11:26 am

    “I also quoted a statement from Jennings earlier about a line being drawn and anything related to the ex-gay side not being allowed in schools.”

    Let me re-state my question: Are YOU claiming that anyone who opposes the ex-gay movement is inherently anti-christian?

    “One of the sessions in that “educational” series was called “The Religions Wrong.” ”

    Haven’t seen anything about this particular session. However, based on the title Debbie, do YOU think this session was targetting ALL christians? Or a SPECIFIC group of christians (hint, the specific group I’m referring too have a name very similar to that of the session title)? And again, do you believe people who opposed this SPECIFIC group are inherently anti-christian?

    “Adolescent students were subjected to highly inappropriate, even pornographic material ”

    Exposing children under the age of 18 to pornographic material is a crime Debbie. Where any of the people you accuse of doing this charged with any crime? Or is it perhaps that your claims of pornography are more hyperbole on your part?

  • Debbie Thurman

    GLSEN’s goal has NEVER been solely to prevent bullying.

    Sorry. Didn’t meant to suggest that was their sole mission. I ought to have been clearer. It is a large part of it.

    I also did not bother to say that the glbthistory site morphed again into something else after its gay porn iteration. And I have no idea if GLSEN had anything at all to do with that site at any time.

    And I would suggest Debbie that you spend a little more time actually investigating what GLSEN is about rather than just injecting your own personal prejudices into what you say about them.

    Oh, I have spent more than enough time investigating them. I am entitled to form an opinion about what I find.

  • Frank

    Eddie,

    How’s this: Most Christian sects counsel life long celibacy for gays. The celibate state is associated with a higher rate of suicide among gays rather than a lower rate. Given that Christian religion has a much greater influence on gay students and their parents than GLSEN, shouldn’t we be evaluating the role of Christian religious indoctrination in suborning teenage LGBT suicide?

  • Eddy

    Frank-

    Nah, that’s not going to work.

    Most Christian sects counsel life long celibacy for gays.

    You’ll need to provide a link that backs up this allegation.

    The celibate state is associated with a higher rate of suicide among gays rather than a lower rate.

    Again, a link will be needed.

    Given that Christian religion has a much greater influence on gay students and their parents than GLSEN, shouldn’t we be evaluating the role of Christian religious indoctrination in suborning teenage LGBT suicide?

    How does the Christian religion have a much greater influence on gay students than their parents or GLSEN? And no,while you are free to evaluate the role of ‘Christian religious indoctrination in suborning teenage LGBT suicide’…it isn’t the topic. School bullying is the topic. If you can demonstrate that Christians are the major instigators of bullying, then perhaps you have a credible connection to the topic.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Are YOU claiming that anyone who opposes the ex-gay movement is inherently anti-christian?

    Not sure what is meant by the ex-gay movement, but those who believe that meaningful change is possible, and can even testify to that in their own lives, adn their message are strongly opposed by GLSEN and nearly all gay activists. The discussion here has brought out a strong opinion that all things ex-gay are automatically Christian or religious in nature. Take that for what it’s worth. Or leave it, if you wish.

    Exposing children under the age of 18 to pornographic material is a crime Debbie. Where any of the people you accuse of doing this charged with any crime? Or is it perhaps that your claims of pornography are more hyperbole on your part?

    Google “GLSEN Little Black Book” for some background. GLSEN claimed distributing this booklet to students during the aforementioned seminar was a mistake (you can say that again). Several educators were fired. At least one was reinstated, though several sued to be. Don’t know of any criminal charges that were brought.

    If you want to discuss possible criminal behavior, you’d have to consider Kevin Jennings’ role — if you can even pin it down — in advising a student under 18, who supposedly confided he’d had a possible sexual encounter with an adult male, to “wear a condom.” By law, Jennings, as a teacher, ought to have reported any suspected sexual abuse of a minor under 18 in Massachusetts to the authorities. This has all been discussed on this blog ad nauseum, too.

    This discussion is about bullying, its role in student suicide and how best to prevent or address it. Both FOTF and GLSEN have been cast as major players on the stage. So both organizations are open for examination. Neither should have anything to hide.

  • Michael Bussee

    Game On: Male Cheerleader Refuses to Quit Despite Attack?”

    Eleven-year-old Tyler Wilson refuses to give up his role as a football cheerleader, even after two boys beat him up and broke his arm.

    The Ohio sixth grader recently joined the cheerleading squad for the Findlay Steelers, part of a city yo…uth football program. Kids at school teased him mercilessly, and then in late August he was called homophobic names, hit, and shoved to the ground by two classmates at school. His arm was broken, but he initially lied to his mother about the cause of the injury.

    Wilson’s mother remains supportive of her son’s choice to be a cheerleader and refuses to pull him off the squad.

    “No, I’m not gonna tell him not to do it if it’s something that he’s interested in. I want him to enjoy whatever he can enjoy in life,” Kristy Wilson said.” — Advocate,.com

    Watch video about it here

    :http://www.fox8.com/news/wjw-male-cheerleader-beat-up-txt,0,3171274.story

  • Michael Bussee

    Bullied student takes his life

    That’s the title of this thread and we should keep it foremost in our minds when we post. How to we stop this? How do we reach out to kids who may be considering it? No agenda is more important than that — no-gay or anti-religious program — no refusal or fear to mention these common targets!

    We can’t afford it. Limbs and lives are at stake here. Better to do something — and have to improve it along the way — than to stand on the sidelines and argue about how to intervene. Which is precisely what a lot of this sounds like. Haggling instead of firm action.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Better to do something — and have to improve it along the way — than to stand on the sidelines and argue about how to intervene. Which is precisely what a lot of this sounds like. Haggling instead of firm action.

    I have been contemplating some firm action, Michael. Any suggestions?

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    ” Oh, I have spent more than enough time investigating them. ”

    and did your investigations consist of anything other than reading what anti-gay conservative christian organizations had to say about them?

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    “Google “GLSEN Little Black Book” for some background. GLSEN claimed distributing this booklet to students during the aforementioned seminar was a mistake (you can say that again).”

    You also left out the part that it wasn’t actually GLSEN that distributed the pamphlet. It was an employee from “Fenway Community Health’s Peer Listening Line.” who was manning a table at the conference. The booklet was not developed nor endorsed by GLSEN and while it was explicit (and intended for adults), it was not pornographic. However, GLSEN did step up and admit it was a mistake for them not to have been more careful about what was being distributed at their conference.

    You claim to have “investigated” GLSEN Debbie, but all you seem to do is regurgitate a bunch of propaganda from fundamentalist smear campaigns against GLSEN.

  • Michael Bussee

    I have been contemplating some firm action, Michael. Any suggestions?

    Yes.

    For one, drop the crap about “pro-gay” or “pro-Christian” and agree to leave that OUT of this. Only ONE “agenda” allowed — stop bullying, help kids, save lives.

    Think globally. Act locally. Get personally involved and committed to stopping bullying at the schools near you — and beyond.

    Here’s what I am doing. Focus on what programs work. Get involved on a local level. Support anti-bullying legislation.

    Hold bullies and the adults that allow the abuse legally accountable. Name frequent targets specifically with a strong mesage that it is not OK to bully for ANY reason — inlcluding all of the most common targets — race, orientation, religion, etc.

    Donate to organizations that are already doing anti-bullying/teen crisis work, as I have done. Study, work, pray, find out what is already being done and offer your help or talents if you have the time and resources.

    Mentor a kid. Consider going into teaching as a career. Volunteer at a hotline or youth organization. Support park and recreation programs. Support the arts and athletics. Educate and motivate others.

    Same way you deal with any social/spiritual ill. You stop talking and DO something. Otherwise, it’s like watching the man by the side of the road bleed to death while the religious leaders either walk by or squabble about whether (or how) to help.

    Be a Samaritan. Don’t worry that you might be seen as “promoting and agenda”. Screw appearances. Get dirty. Bind up some wounds and stand up for the oppressed. All this wrangling about GLESN and aniti-gay agendas is working my last nerve. We are talking about real children.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Timothy, if they said “anti-gay” taunts, then they would have to list every other category of taunt. Gay taunting is covered, as is everything else, in the above definition

    .

    No, Debbie, anti-gay taunts are specifically excluded from Focus’ definition of bullying. And considering that the entire focus of the entire website is dedicated to their fears about homosexuality, it seems unlikely that Focus did not craft their definition with anti-gay taunts in mind.

    Timothy, I still say you are stretching it to make this claim. You just refuse to accept anything they offer if it doesn’t include a specific reference to gay being OK. But they know how slippery that slope is and how desperately gay activists want homosexuality to be accorded perfectly normal status. In their view, and in mine, that would necessitate throwing out the Bible.

    For those who scoffed my earlier comments about a “culture of disapproval”, this is what I meant.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    …and a group of statistics that actually supports FOTF’s claim that harassment of gay students is not the number one bullying item.

    And yet it seems that most of the suicides are gay children that are literally tormented to death.

    And the other side, if trying to play the guilt card, could say:

    Another life at risk, while gay advocates continue to use anti-bullying programs to their own ends by advancing other gay-related causes and issues.

    It’s strange to me that there is an “other side” on the issue of dead children.

    And Eddy (and Debbie) until such time as you provide some evidence of this “advancing other gay-related causes”, I’m going to consider these repeated claims to be prejudiced slurs – things claimed without backup just because you dislike those you are talking about.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    While some of the books I’m sure are helpful in addressing bullying themes, many do not attempt to conceal the underlying agenda — that gay is good (not just a passage from confusing adolescence to heterosexuality for some kids), that religious objections to it are unfounded, that sexual exploration is not harmful and that coming out is a good and healthy thing, despite the baggage that comes with it.

    Yes, just in exactly the same way that a group which supported Hispanic immigrants might offer books that say that Latino is good, that objections to Latinos are unfounded, that exploring one’s heritage is not harmful and that self-identifying with one’s ethnicity is a good and healthy thing.

    Naturally, those who believe that Latinos are inferior are going to object to such literary depictions.

    I am thankful that there are groups who will support Hispanic children and will tell them that the voices of condemnation are wrong. I am thankful that there are groups who will support gay children and tell them that the voices of condemnation are wrong. Even if it really pisses off the voices of condemnation.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Warren, my question for Focus on the Family would be:

    If it could be demonstrated that anti-bullying programs which target specific groups such as race and religion – and which also list sexual orientation – are effective at reducing both the level of bullying and the frequency of suicide among youth, would you support such programs? If not, what higher priority would out-weigh the reduction in bullying and suicide?

  • Eddy

    And considering that the entire focus of the entire website is dedicated to their fears about homosexuality, it seems unlikely that Focus did not craft their definition with anti-gay taunts in mind.

    I just now went to their website and there’s not a single mention of homosexuality on page one. TK, have you just redefined ‘entire’?

    It’s strange to me that there is an “other side” on the issue of dead children.

    I agree! Why has there been such an effort to spin Candi and FOTF as anti-gay when she said that gay kids ought also to be protected? Oh, that’s right, she has a difference of opinion on how it ought to be handled. And who was it, in this conversation, who kept trying to reduce the conversation to ‘yes’ or ‘no’? And, as the conversation progressed, who was it that was keeping a tally of who was on which side? And as others tried to discuss issues that didn’t go to a simple picking of sides (the yes or no), who was it that stepped in and pronounced those comments worthless? Sorry, sir, but you’re not a fit at all for that high horse you just rode in on.

    And Eddy (and Debbie) until such time as you provide some evidence of this “advancing other gay-related causes”, I’m going to consider these repeated claims to be prejudiced slurs – things claimed without backup just because you dislike those you are talking about.

    Actually, I’m not making claims. I keep repeating that this is what they claim to be the reason behind their objection and that 1) it merits researching and 2) IF it’s true, I believe it needs to be addressed.

    And I’m not in the habit of disliking people I’ve never met or engaged in conversation with.

  • Maazi NCO

    543 Comments

    543 comments and counting and none of the sides in this microcosm forum of the much larger US cultural civil war is willing cede ground to the other. I am grateful that in Uganda we do not need to deal with this kind of nonsense stuff. The local agent provocateurs–the puppet commentators— who are megaphones for foreign cultural values will soon be tackled via legislative action.

    Don’t get me wrong, children must be protected from bullying, but in the United States context, it is yet another opportunity for the euro-american gay lobby to push their agenda to a society which has already made excessive compromises to these lobbyists. The lesson for us Africans is simple—-making compromises to sex deviants inevitably leads to more unreasonable demands for more compromises to be made. I am so glad that the internet-driven 24/7 news from any part of the world ushered in by globalization has enabled our horrified African eyes to observe westerners fighting over crazy ideas like same-sex marriage and gay adoption. As a person who once lived in USA, I know fully well that what the gay lobbyists actually want is freedom to impose queer studies on school children on the pretext of teaching tolerance to quell bulling on the basis of a misnomer called “sexual orientation”. Knowing USA very well, it is inevitable that the euro-american gay juggernaut will eventually have its way, even if majority of the citizenry oppose. But in Africa, we have shown that euro-american gay lobby is no juggernaut. We as a people have united and collectively collectively slammed the brakes on this sinister cross-border lobbyists.

  • stephen

    Well, Maazi takes some risks here. Tough to bring the hilarity to matters of life and death. But once again he proves himself to be a past-master at lampooning extreme points of view, of taking the ridiculous to the point where it is revealed for what it is. As a writer myself whose work has an international reputation I can only applaud his daring. Way to go, Maazi. You bring the crazy like no one else.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy

    I just now went to their website and there’s not a single mention of homosexuality on page one. TK, have you just redefined ‘entire’?

    Really, Eddy? Because this is the content of page one:

    Concerned about homosexual advocacy in your child’s school? You’ve come to the right place. TrueTolerance.org helps you respond in a loving and fact-based way. Click the links below for tips on communicating with your school officials.

  • Maazi NCO

    Well, Maazi takes some risks here. Tough to bring the hilarity to matters of life and death. But once again he proves himself to be a past-master at lampooning extreme points of view, of taking the ridiculous to the point where it is revealed for what it is. As a writer myself whose work has an international reputation I can only applaud his daring. Way to go, Maazi. You bring the crazy like no one else.

    Stephen,

    I am Ugandan. I do not need to be politically correct as most people are in the United States and most of the West. My views are not extreme at all. It is common sense. Marriage is for a man and a woman. What is extreme in this? Even article 16 of UN Declaration on Human Rights of 1948 made this explicitly clear when it stipulated that a man and woman can marry and found a family without limitations on the basis of nationality, religion or race.

    If everyone engaged in this crazy thing called “same-sex marriage”, the world as we know it will cease to exist because people of the same sex can never procreate to keep societies and nations moving. This is common sense—what is extreme in this logic? Is the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extreme for banning sex deviants from blood donation on the basis of their high vulnerability to AIDS? Is Britain’s NHS extreme for following the same standards as FDA in banning sex deviants from blood donation. Are all other Western health authorities that do the same also extreme? Are international health agencies extreme for pointing out that at a time when HIV infections are going down in Africa, sodomites are pushing the infection rates up in the gay-friendly West?

    In Africa, we have drawn a line in the sand and you chaps will never be allowed to breach it—Okay?

  • Michael Bussee

    Actually, I’m not making claims. I keep repeating that this is what they claim to be the reason behind their objection and that 1) it merits researching and 2) IF it’s true, I believe it needs to be addressed.

    I don’t know if it “merits researching” but I am not against looking at any real evidence they may have of some anti-Christian/progay content or intent. Yes, If it’s true, it should be addressed. But I don’t think we should wait until we have investigated all their calims and concerns before taking action and mentioning frequent targets of such abuse.

    Heck, folks like FOTF could raise “objections” ’til the cows come home about a possible “slippery slope” towards the “gay agenda” while people of good will stand by doing next to nothing until the “investigation” is over. Meanshile, kids are hurt. Kids die. As for including the word “orientation” — the concept is already enshrined in the laws of this country — whether you think it ought to be or not. And real or preceived sexual orientation is a frequent target as these sad stories show.

  • Debbie Thurman

    And Eddy (and Debbie) until such time as you provide some evidence of this “advancing other gay-related causes”, I’m going to consider these repeated claims to be prejudiced slurs – things claimed without backup just because you dislike those you are talking about.

    I guess I’ve been posting in an echo chamber here. My homework has been turned in. I am still waiting for the evidence about the schools with the effective anti-bullying programs.

    Ken, the “Little Black Book” was written for adolescents — “queer boys,” to be precise. It’s a sex manual, complete with a list of friendly bars where pick-ups are aplenty. GLSEN needs to be more aware of who is doing and saying what at its sponsored events.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Timothy, when you meet an ex-Hispanic, would you let me know?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Michael actually had something constructive to say. Thank you, Michael, for the challenge.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Ken, the “Little Black Book” was written for adolescents — “queer boys,” to be precise.

    That is a flat out lie.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    My homework has been turned in.

    Yep. It was reviewed for merit and accuracy and you got an F

  • Debbie Thurman

    That is a flat out lie.

    Are we talking about the same book?

    Yep. It was reviewed for merit and accuracy and you got an F

    You only give Fs. But there are other evaluaters here.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    “Ken, the “Little Black Book” was written for adolescents — “queer boys,” to be precise. It’s a sex manual, complete with a list of friendly bars where pick-ups are aplenty.”

    and what is your source that it was “written for adolescents”? I hope you aren’t basing that on the words “queer boys?”

    You are so desperate to smear GLSEN, that you’ve even contradicted YOURSELF in this statement. You claim the pamphlet was “written for adolescents” yet cite how it lists gay friendly BARS. Publications that list bars (where you legally need to be 21 or over to get in) aren’t targeting people under 18. And yes, I know that not all bars strictly enforce the 21 age limit, but they certainly aren’t going to be targeting adolescents.

  • Eddy

    Wow, Timothy, that was slick! See, you started here:

    No, Debbie, anti-gay taunts are specifically excluded from Focus’ definition of bullying. And considering that the entire focus of the entire website is dedicated to their fears about homosexuality, it seems unlikely that Focus did not craft their definition with anti-gay taunts in mind.

    So, a normal and even educated reader would assume that the website you speak of is the Focus on the Family website and that the claim you were making is that the entire focus of the entire FOTF website is dedicated to their fears about homosexuality.

    Ah, but then you answer me with:

    Really, Eddy? Because this is the content of page one:

    Concerned about homosexual advocacy in your child’s school? You’ve come to the right place. TrueTolerance.org helps you respond in a loving and fact-based way. Click the links below for tips on communicating with your school officials.

    And that happens to be the link NOT to the FOTF website but to TrueTolerance.org. Yes, TrueTolerance is a ‘project’ of Focus on the Family. And it happens to be a project devoted totally to the homosexual issue. You once had a reputation for careful and precise speech, is there a logical explanation for why you said ‘Focus’ twice in the paragraph where you blasted ‘the website’, used the word ‘entire’ twice, yet failed to mention that you were referring instead to the website of just one of their projects?

  • Michael Bussee

    Timothy, when you meet an ex-Hispanic, would you let me know?

    Debbie, when you meet an “ex-gay” would you let me know — especially a male of the variety?

    Michael “actually” had something constructive to say. Thank you, Michael, for the challenge.

    Actually? Gosh. You make it sound like a miracle or something. I believe I often have constructive things to say — I least I think my comments often have merit, even if others here may not. :)

    BTW — I think we need to be careful not to assume that all LGBT people (or even the majority of people who oppose bullying and who favor mentioning sexual orientation among the most common targets) are huge fans of GLSEN just as not all Conservative Christians are members of the FOTF fan club.

  • Michael Bussee

    If we are worried about “a slippery slope towards legitimization” of a partcular lifestyle, behavior or identity, I suppose we should not mention religious or cultural differences either. No mention of any specific groups of people or personal differences by name.

    We would not want to “legitimize” something that someone else might find morally offensive, right? Keep it all very vague — just say “We oppose bullying” — not mentioning the most common targets. That way no one will feel that their agenda is being promoted or demoted.

    Of course, it would get tricky if kids asked: “What about gays, or Asians, or Baptists, or Filipino speaking or Muslims? Is it OK to bully them?” “I’m sorry Johnny, I can’t get specific about the most commonly targeted groups because some adults get upset if I do. They don’t want the other side to feel legitimized.” You understand, right?”

  • Eddy

    ken–

    You are so desperate to smear GLSEN, that you’ve even contradicted YOURSELF in this statement. You claim the pamphlet was “written for adolescents” yet cite how it lists gay friendly BARS. Publications that list bars (where you legally need to be 21 or over to get in) aren’t targeting people under 18. And yes, I know that not all bars strictly enforce the 21 age limit, but they certainly aren’t going to be targeting adolescents.

    Your logic here has some gaps. Maybe it’s not the same in all cities but it is a misstatement to say ‘where you legally need to be 21 or over to get in’ and to infer that the only exceptions are those that don’t ‘strictly enforce’ the 21 age limit. At least one of the Minneapolis gay bars has regular youth nights. They are required to wear wrist bands and can’t be served alcohol but they certainly DO have access to the bar. Another gay bar is both a bar and a restaurant, they can be in the restaurant but aren’t supposed to step through the door into the bar only area.

    Michael–

    You said:

    I don’t know if it “merits researching” but I am not against looking at any real evidence they may have of some anti-Christian/progay content or intent. Yes, If it’s true, it should be addressed. But I don’t think we should wait until we have investigated all their calims and concerns before taking action and mentioning frequent targets of such abuse.

    It would seem that we are, in essence in agreement. I feel it merits reseaching and you aren’t against looking at real evidence…that’s close enough. I think what bothers me is the repeated statements similar to ‘but I don’t think we should wait…before taking action…’ We’re a blog-site not a task force. The primary purpose here is discussion not action. Several of our discussions have led to action–some as a group, some individual but PRIMARILY I had always viewed this as a ‘think tank’. And, our discussion of an issue, even if takes weeks really doesn’t impact actions or programs that are either pending or are already in place. And if we want to lament this blogs inability to become a source of impact, the issue isn’t so much the questions we raise and how long it takes to resolve them, but the hostile manner by which we respond to them. The hostility guarantees that we will most likely never, as a group, unite to impact any issue out in the physical world.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    So, a normal and even educated reader would assume that the website you speak of is the Focus on the Family website

    No. Anyone who was following the conversation would know that it was the website that Debbie told us (repeatedly) provided Focus’ “anti-bullying” program.

    You once had a reputation for careful and precise speech, is there a logical explanation for why you said ‘Focus’ twice in the paragraph where you blasted ‘the website’, used the word ‘entire’ twice, yet failed to mention that you were referring instead to the website of just one of their projects?

    Let’s look at the full comment:

    No, Debbie, anti-gay taunts are specifically excluded from Focus’ definition of bullying. And considering that the entire focus of the entire website is dedicated to their fears about homosexuality, it seems unlikely that Focus did not craft their definition with anti-gay taunts in mind.

    When I discussed “the entire website” in conext of “Focus’ definition of bullying”, Debbie (to whom I addressed the comment) was aware that I meant the website on which one would find “Focus’ definition of bullying” and where one could see how they “craft[ed] their definition” rather than some other website.

    I’m sorry if you were confused.

  • Timothy Kincaid
    That is a flat out lie.

    Are we talking about the same book?

    Yes we are. You made a serious accusation that is not founded in fact.

    It crossed the line from opinion to bigotry. I don’t use that word often, but it applies in this instance. Making a horrific accusation just out of animus (which is why you made it, Debbie) is vile, truly vile, and I’m not going to let you baselessly slur my community.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Massachusetts drinking age in 2005 was 21. It is reasonable to assume that any booklet in which the bars were listed was intended for queerboys over the age of 21.

  • ken

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    “Timothy, when you meet an ex-Hispanic, would you let me know?”

    I’m curious Debbie, what would your reaction be to an organization devoted to helping Hispanics become “ex-Hispanic”? Now, I know your 1st question is “what does it mean to be “ex-hispanic”" . It can mean whatever you want it to mean. I just want your opinion about the notion of an organization that wants to help hispanics (but only those who really want to) become ex-hispanic.

  • Eddy

    And real or preceived sexual orientation is a frequent target as these sad stories show.

    Actually this is only partially true. Real or perceived difference is a frequent target as these sad stories show. I submit that even an obviously heterosexual boy who aspired to being a cheerleader would be bullied. The boy who is so wrapped up in books and learning that he hasn’t even given sex more than a passing thought…he gets bullied. While I agree that perceived orientation actually ought to be mentioned in anti-bullying programs, I do not approve of elevating it above the one outstanding motive for bullying–’you’re different’. Tolerance for difference ought to be THE central theme of all anti-bullying programs. Under that difference, differences in sexuality ought to be addressed specifically but carefully. Without due care, the kid who is just different will wind up in the bullying category of ‘perceived to be gay’ and we really ought to take care not to lay extra baggage on a youth or adolescent.

    I was called ‘gay’ and ‘queer’ before I ever knew what the words meant. One side would say that they simply saw it before I did. (I laugh at that notion primarily because bullies aren’t noted for their psychological insights.) Others would suggest that the labels became self-fulfilling. From a victim mentality: They are the strong; they are the norm. I am different from them. I must be other. And if the bullies happen to be the in crowd…if they seem popular to the girls: If that’s what it means to be straight, I want no part of it. If that’s what women want from a man, then they don’t want me and I don’t want them.

    Another connected issue is that the same person might be bullied for different reasons. I KNOW that I have been bullied for being gay. I was also bullied for being perceived gay. But I also KNOW that I was bullied because I was small; I was bullied because I was bookish; I was bullied because I was ‘a goody-goody’; I was bullied for being ‘a hippie’; I was bullied for being a ‘peace freak’. When I first ‘came out’, without realizing it, I recategorized all the bullying I had ever experienced as ‘gay related’. It took years for me to stop and look back more objectively and realize that, for much of it, gay had nothing to do with it.

  • ken

    Timothy Kincaid# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    “That is a flat out lie.”

    I don’t necessarily agree with you that Debbie is lying Timothy. What she said about the pamphlet. isn’t true. However, I don’t think this is a case of her lying about it, more she is seeing what she wants to see.

  • Eddy

    I went and dug up an online copy of the ‘little black book’ myself. Lots of references to ‘queer boys’ but yes, I do understand that it could mean ‘boys’ in their 20′s.

    However, early in the booklet it advertises “Bagley holds meetings where youth, 22 and under, can meet.” If what ken and Timothy maintain is correct, why didn’t they just say ’21 and 22′? (But, ah, you say…that’s just an advertisement and it really doesn’t say that the booklet is directed to youth.)

    The book is full of references to youth…but as before, it could be argued that they meant ‘youth over 21′.

    But then, within the next two pages, ‘if the bar isn’t your thing or if you aren’t old enough’ and then a reference to ‘if you are old enough’.

    Conclusion: The book clearly was intended for ‘queer boys’ both over and under the age of 21.

    The booklets own language of “if you aren’t old enough” and “if you are old enough” makes these words of Timothy’s bogus:

    Massachusetts drinking age in 2005 was 21. It is reasonable to assume that any booklet in which the bars were listed was intended for queerboys over the age of 21

    .

    And these, well, they’re just Timothy:

    It crossed the line from opinion to bigotry. I don’t use that word often, but it applies in this instance. Making a horrific accusation just out of animus (which is why you made it, Debbie) is vile, truly vile, and I’m not going to let you baselessly slur my community.

    Given the references I cited from the book, I have a different conclusion as to who has crossed the line from opinion to bigotry…who has made a horrific accusation just out of animus. (probably the most vile, truly vile thing you could call a person on this website is ‘bigot’) and who is guilty of a baseless slur?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I don’t necessarily agree with you that Debbie is lying Timothy. What she said about the pamphlet. isn’t true. However, I don’t think this is a case of her lying about it, more she is seeing what she wants to see.

    Perhaps so, ken, but the statement is a lie whether she came up with it or is just repeating it. And it is so outrageous that any person would hesitate to repeat such a thing unless they were either incredibly gullible or inclined to believe the very worst about gay people.

    Vicious animus is not just the motivation behind creating heinous lies, it is also the motivation behind believing such lies.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    Clearly you have either a desire to believe the lie that Debbie was propagating or else you are just being argumentative as usual.

    If you have no evidence that this booklet “was written for adolescents” then present it. Otherwise you are participating in an evil slur.

    I as so very sick of those who think it is just “an opinion” to viciously slur my community or who think they are just “raising points” or participating in conversation. It’s disgusting.

    Proof? None. Evidence? none.

    But just like the ulterior motives of anti-bullying programs, there’s no need for a smidgen of evidence when it comes to the gay community. They can just throw out accusations and because it’s the evil gays then they are justified in their mind of the most base animus and vileness.

    Eddy, you would NEVER repeat accusations towards any other community of secret hidden agenda to anti-bullying or EVER consider defending a slur like this one against any other community.

    You wouldn’t. In fact, you would find anyone who did so to be unChristian and of despicable character. And you’d be right.

    Do you really think it is okay here? Just because it’s gay people being accused that make it okay and defendable?

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Asher Brown’s worn-out tennis shoes still sit in the living room of his Cypress-area home while his student progress report — filled with straight A’s — rests on the coffee table.

    The eighth-grader killed himself last week. He shot himself in the head after enduring what his mother and stepfather say was constant harassment from four other students at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.

    Brown, his family said, was “bullied to death” — picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes. Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.

    The 13-year-old’s parents said they had complained about the bullying to Hamilton Middle School officials during the past 18 months, but claimed their concerns fell on deaf ears.

    David and Amy Truong said they made several visits to the school to complain about the harassment, and Amy Truong said she made numerous phone calls to the school that were never returned.

    On the morning of his death, the teen told his stepfather he was gay, but Truong said he was fine with the disclosure. “We didn’t condemn,” he said.

    Yeah, I know. Just another dead gay kid. Big deal.

  • ken

    Timothy Kincaid# ~ Sep 27, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    “Massachusetts drinking age in 2005 was 21. It is reasonable to assume that any booklet in which the bars were listed was intended for queerboys over the age of 21.”

    Actually, it was generally intended for college age men. Not necessarily over 21, but certainly not aimed at adolescents. Anyone who reads it, who isn’t looking for anti-gay dirt, should see that.

  • Debbie Thurman

    OK, so the book was intended for young “men,” who may be over or under the age of 21. The use of “queer boys” makes it look mighty suspicious. It was given to adolescents during a GLSEN-sponsored event in Mass.

    Timothy, you are free to make charges against any group that I belong to, if they are deserved. I will not shrivel up and die if you do. I know that there are some folks who call themselves Christians who are hypocrites of the first order. You know there are some sleazy, bar-hopping, sex-pushing gay and straight folks (though I know of no instance where a straight sex guide was given to school-aged kids at any kind of official function, accident or no). And we all know there are vulnerable, confused young people who can be harmed by well-meaning, but nonetheless wrong-headed zealots on either side.

    I have no “animus” toward you or your people. I do have problems with hypocrites, regardless of ideology. By the way, did you know that in Jungian psychology, animus supposedly is the masculine aspects of a woman’s personality? You may or may not have used the word for that reason. No matter.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Actually? Gosh. You make it sound like a miracle or something. I believe I often have constructive things to say — I least I think my comments often have merit, even if others here may not. :

    Michael, I only meant that your comment stood out from the rest, not that you miraculously said something worthy. :)

    BTW — I think we need to be careful not to assume that all LGBT people (or even the majority of people who oppose bullying and who favor mentioning sexual orientation among the most common targets) are huge fans of GLSEN just as not all Conservative Christians are members of the FOTF fan club.

    Good point.

    As regards the whole “ex-” controversy, a person cannot put on or take off ethnicity. But there is observable fluidity in sexual preferences or identification. And we still have to find a way to understand the male-female differences. Most of the time, the term gay and the statistics discussed refer to men only. I am of the belief that God can transform anyone from anything. But my personal experience is limited to that of a woman. I cannot believe God treats the sexes differently in that regard.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Timothy and Eddy, I could see where the website being referred to might seem confusing in the exchange. FOTF has several sites. Folks confuse FOTF Action with the ministry side all the time. Let’s allow for genuine misunderstanding here and not go off accusing everybody of animus and vile bigotry, shall we?

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    On the Little Black Book – As ken said, I think it is quite likely that college aged under 21 year old adults have been given the book by BAGLY or at their college health center, etc. It was given by mistake to younger kids at a Fenway Health Fair several years ago. The booth organizers apologized for that and took a strong stance against the book being available to minors.

    My view is that it is cartoonish, takes too light a tone and goes too far to be non-offensive, especially on the drug abuse portion. I do not believe it is a good approach to public health issues. I would not like straight young adults to get a comparable product aimed at them. In public health there are debates about tone and approach and this book is at one end of a spectrum of views about how to influence behavior.

    All that being said, this thread is not about the LBB. Rather than debate the merits or demerits of the LBB, let’s get to the heart of it. Evangelicals are afraid that talking about the existence of gays or sexual orientation might lead to LBBs being distributed. Can we all agree that nothing like that is required by a discussion of the reality of anti-gay bullying in school?

    Every person here g or s or in between would oppose something like that as a means of dealing with bullying, right?

  • Evan

    Debbie says:

    ….we still have to find a way to understand the male-female differences

    Does this mean differences in experiencing fluidity in sexual orientation or sex differences in general? You’ve mentioned before the animus reference…

  • Debbie Thurman

    ‘….we still have to find a way to understand the male-female differences‘

    Does this mean differences in experiencing fluidity in sexual orientation or sex differences in general? You’ve mentioned before the animus reference…

    The former. Not sure what you mean by your last statement.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Evangelicals are afraid that talking about the existence of gays or sexual orientation might lead to LBBs being distributed. Can we all agree that nothing like that is required by a discussion of the reality of anti-gay bullying in school?

    I’m not sure people who are squeamish about what may pass for curriculum really think it would go so far as something like the LBB, Warren. They are more concerned about the books already in their kids’ school libraries and classrooms.

    I am all for a balanced approach to bullying prevention. We can’t pretend gay-identifying kids don’t exist, and neither can we pretend it’s necessary for students to check their faith and morality at the schoolhouse door. Parents, educators and the students themselves are the players in this drama. Outside advocacy organizations should not hijack any discussions or programs. It is just plain common sense and decency (and Christian ethics) to teach basic respect for all people, regardless of our differences. There are no bogeymen in that.

  • Evan

    The former.

    That’s what I thought. I think we have a very simple understanding of sex, both in science and in popular culture. And that has a lot to do with sexual orientation and how people understand what is appropriate for their gender and what is not. Which gets us back to the subject of bullying. There are researchers who think in many cases bullying is the result of how boys understand masculine roles.

  • Evan

    @Debbie

    You said the former, so you were talking about fluidity. My mistake.

    I still sand by what I said on sex, though.

  • ken

    Warren# ~ Sep 28, 2010 at 8:17 am

    “Every person here g or s or in between would oppose something like that as a means of dealing with bullying, right?”

    Certainly I agree that the LBB isn’t an anti-bullying tool. Nor do I think it is appropriate for HS kids.

    However, I think the discussion about GLSEN and LBB is illustrative of the religous rights’ attitudes towards gays, and how it contributes (indirectly) to bullying. Think about how long it generally takes someone from groups like FOTF, AFA, etc., when talking about homosexuality to mention pedophilia, beastiality, pornography, or drug abuse. Sending subliminal (or even overt) messages that gays are bad people. And kids pick up on these messages, and think, “it’s okay to pick on bad people, cause their bad. And since gays are bad people, its okay to pick on them.”

    It isn’t just kids that need lessons about bullying, but the adults as well.

  • David Blakeslee

    I have been absent a few days…

    Regarding the LBB (and the GLSEN reading list) I think there is reason for concern.

    If Hay is an Icon of the GLBT community, and there is literature that is promoted that seems to advocate for some of his more controversial views being placed in some educational settings…

    It is understandable that parents would worry about exploitation of their adolescent children by some to recommend such literature.

    Intergenerational sex poses all sorts of risks for the younger participant and confronting those who encourage it seems like a very important (smaller topic) in the school bullying debate…

    As curriculum for such anti-bullying needs to protect vulnerable children in every way, from malicious peers (the larger risk) and from exploitative adults (smaller risk).

    I see the words “evil” “bigoted” “lie” being bandied about…hope we are really getting somewhere here.

  • Debbie Thurman

    It isn’t just kids that need lessons about bullying, but the adults as well.

    I’ll certainly agree with that! Yes, there are subliminal and even more obvious messages transmitted through those associations you mention, Ken.

    There are researchers who think in many cases bullying is the result of how boys understand masculine roles.

    Evan, I submit some of the nastiest bullying is done by girls to girls. Hell hath no fury like a female cat fat. It may not be as physically violent as what boys do to each other, but it can be vicious.

  • Eddy

    Think about how long it generally takes someone from groups like FOTF, AFA, etc., when talking about homosexuality to mention pedophilia, beastiality, pornography, or drug abuse.

    I’m trying to do this and I can’t come up with the answer. Can you provide it? Can you back that up with links or personal experience of FOTF or AFA programs? Remember that this is ‘when talking about homosexuality’ according to your sentence. (I’m quite sure that they do speak to pedophilia, porn and drug abuse regularly but they seem to regard them as critical problems for straights too…not so sure about beastiality…whether they address it much or if there’s any concern whether it’s gay or straight.)

    Warren:

    Evangelicals are afraid that talking about the existence of gays or sexual orientation might lead to LBBs being distributed. Can we all agree that nothing like that is required by a discussion of the reality of anti-gay bullying in school?

    Where is the support for that being the concern of the Evangelicals? The LBB would be a worst case scenario. FOTF’s response came after hearing reports from parents that disturbed them. I’m quite sure that none of those reports involved anything that came close to the LBB. (If they had, Candi would have been ‘all over it’ in her interview.)

    Where the LBB and fistgate tie in is that evidently there are those who are involved in efforts to ‘save our youth from peril’ who are deficient in common sense and boundaries and no one is setting boundaries for them…until after the fact. If the LBB and fistgate demonstrate that they have no boundaries re ‘too much information’, why would we presume that they have a sense of the other boundaries…injecting values akin to those in the LBB (if it feels good, do it; just be careful) and expressing an actual disdain that sometimes rises to the level of mockery for other value systems.

  • ken

    As Debbie pointed out Evan, don’t assume girls are significant in bullying. Aside from the things she mentioned, there is also the effect of girls egging on their boyfriends to bullying others (in essence getting them to prove their alpha male status by beating up weaker kids).

    Here is a story about another type of bullying (based on food allergies), not sure how much of this is malicious vs. kids being stupid, but potentially quite dangerous.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/28/food.allergy.bullying/index.html

  • ken

    that should have read “don’t assume girls are INsignificant”

  • Debbie Thurman

    Intergenerational sex poses all sorts of risks for the younger participant and confronting those who encourage it seems like a very important (smaller topic) in the school bullying debate…

    You would think such discussions would never be necessary in the first place. Small wonder many parents are concerned about what organizations and “studies” are influencing public education. Remember the 1999 controversy over the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin article, which suggested that pedophilia is not as harmful as once believed? It was “A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples,” Psychological Bulletin, 1998, Vol. 124, No. 1, 22-53.

    “From a psychological perspective, sex between adult and child is always abusive and exploitative because the adult always holds the power in the relationship,” wrote the head of the other APA, in response to the predictable uprising. “Academic hair-splitting over whether the act should be considered adult-child sex or child sexual abuse … is not in the public interest and obfuscates the moral issues involved,” he added.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Topic of thread: gay kids bullied to death.

    Latest example: posted last night – dead 13 year old boy.

    But for some reason it’s far more important to talk about the Little Black Book (that was five years ago, folks). And Harry Hay. And intergenerational sex. And “fistgate”. Let’s talk about how evil the gays are. Let’s protect kids from the gays who want to prey on them. Surely we can dredge up something else from the hackneyed list of all the evil things ever done by a gay person ever.

    I’m disappointed. I mean you forgot to talk about Folsom Street Fair. Or what about Jeffrey Dahmer, can’t you work him into the conversation? Perhaps we can throw in AIDS statistics and really start feeling justified in our startling lack of humanity.

    So talk about anything but Asher Brown, the kid who died last week. Anything at all to diminish what lead to his death. And let’s net even acknowledge his death – so we don’t have to care about it. Just another dead gay kid (they’re awfully expendable, ya know)

    Or perhaps we can turn this and accuse me of “manipulation” – that’s always fun. Or pick out some word to dispute. Or, better yet, take up the mantle of martyr and get huffy that I dare challenge your motives. (How dare you suggest I’m a bigot, why that’s the worst thing you could say. Now let’s talk about gay predators.)

    Go ahead. Enjoy.

    But do not ever tell me again that you “love” gay people. Because, frankly, I no longer believe you.

  • Debbie Thurman

    So talk about anything but Asher Brown, the kid who died last week. Anything at all to diminish what lead to his death. And let’s net even acknowledge his death – so we don’t have to care about it. Just another dead gay kid (they’re awfully expendable, ya know)

    Timothy, do you actually think people here want to diminish any tragic and unnecessary death? That any of us could ever believe a gay kid or any kid is expendable? I grieve the loss of all kids like Asher Brown. Such self-pitying antics are not going to draw us closer to any kind of constructive solution to this problem.

    But do not ever tell me again that you “love” gay people. Because, frankly, I no longer believe you.

    Is this directed at me? Someone else? Why would I or any follower of Christ ever want to love someone incompletely, without letting that person know what/who lies behind all the hope in the world? You can “love” a person right into hell, you know.

  • Mary

    Here’s an article on bullying that made the news. It’s not just gay kids and this represents a higher number of children.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/09/28/food.allergy.bullying/index.html?hpt=T2

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    Think of it this way – those with different convictions are doing their best to teach you so that you don’t fall into a path of hell yourself. Really, everyone has an opinion. And gays have been told the scripture. They, like you, have interpreted the scripture.

    Personally, I’m not always sure what love your neighbor means when it is always causing conflict. I’m really not sure. I do know that constant imposition accomplishes little or nothing. Just as God gives you and I a choice – do you think he also gives that to others – and maybe we should extend that choice?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Personally, I’m not always sure what love your neighbor means when it is always causing conflict.

    That’s not the cause of the conflict. The Golden Rule is a model for loving others. But the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself was never meant to be decoupled from the first commandment, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Doing the first will lead to the second, without confusion.

    Yes, everyone gets to choose. But in our choices we are not permitted to harm another.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Mary,

    When the disciples asked Jesus about that, he gave an answer that was about as far from Debbie’s as it is possible to get.

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

    In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

    “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

    The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

  • Debbie Thurman

    When the disciples asked Jesus about that, he gave an answer that was about as far from Debbie’s as it is possible to get.

    How so, Timothy? Jesus affirmed the very same commandments I did.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie: “You can “love” a person right into hell, you know.”

    Jesus: “Go and do likewise.”

  • Debbie Thurman

    The definition of love in the context I used it in (i put it in quotes for a reason) would be to affirm a person’s sinful beliefs or behaviors so as not to offend the person. I said nothing that would negate ministering to such a person or “binding his wounds.”

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Actually, it’s more than that.

    Debbie argues that if you love God first (and by that she means put obedience to the Law first) then that will drive how you love others.

    Jesus, on the other hand, suggested that loving others – even the social outcast, heretical sinners like the Samaritans – would be how you love God. This was a constant theme with Christ. In Matthew he makes it perfectly clear that when you treat others with love, then you are loving God.

    There is no risk of loving others to Hell. That is, as the scripture says, “But he wanted to justify himself…”

  • Eddy

    Topic of thread: gay kids bullied to death.

    Latest example: posted last night – dead 13 year old boy.

    But for some reason it’s far more important to talk about the Little Black Book (that was five years ago, folks). And Harry Hay. And intergenerational sex. And “fistgate”. Let’s talk about how evil the gays are. Let’s protect kids from the gays who want to prey on them. Surely we can dredge up something else from the hackneyed list of all the evil things ever done by a gay person ever.

    No, it’s far more important to talk about Debbie’s religious beliefs or Focus on the Family (TK introduced them into the conversation). If there’s any bashing do be done on this site, let’s be clear, only conservative religious people are fair bashing targets.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    You stopped the quote too soon. You should have included

    Or perhaps we can turn this and accuse me of “manipulation” – that’s always fun. Or pick out some word to dispute. Or, better yet, take up the mantle of martyr and get huffy that I dare challenge your motives. (How dare you suggest I’m a bigot, why that’s the worst thing you could say. Now let’s talk about gay predators.)

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    Do you have any thoughts about Asher Brown?

    Or Billy Lucas?

    Or the 13 year old in Tehachapi?

    Or the cheerleading boy with the broken arm?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Jesus, on the other hand, suggested that loving others – even the social outcast, heretical sinners like the Samaritans – would be how you love God. This was a constant theme with Christ. In Matthew he makes it perfectly clear that when you treat others with love, then you are loving God.

    This sounds reminiscent of Al Gore’s reversal of Scripture when he said, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.”

    No, Timothy. If you honor the first commandment and love God, then you will know how to love people. It doesn’t work the other way around. It’s top down. Yes, Jesus did say that what you do to the least of these my brothers, you also do to me. But he was not conveying quite the same thought there as he was when he cited the two most important commandments.

    I don’t feel you walking around in my head, so how to you claim to know the intentions behind my statements that you so poorly read?

  • Debbie Thurman

    If there’s any bashing do be done on this site, let’s be clear, only conservative religious people are fair bashing targets.

    Timothy just wants to make sure we all know what bullying looks like, I guess.

    I forgive him.

  • Eddy

    Thanks for correcting me, Timothy, no one approaches your level.

    Do you have any thoughts about Asher Brown?

    Or Billy Lucas?

    Or the 13 year old in Tehachapi?

    Or the cheerleading boy with the broken arm?

    Yes, I do. On top of the tragedies of injury and death, I find it lamentable that whenever they have been mentioned here, it’s been as an argumentative tool.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    No, Timothy. If you honor the first commandment and love God, then you will know how to love people. It doesn’t work the other way around. It’s top down. Yes, Jesus did say that what you do to the least of these my brothers, you also do to me. But he was not conveying quite the same thought there as he was when he cited the two most important commandments.

    I’ll let Christ speak for himself.

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    Perhaps He had it “backwards” as well. Perhaps Jesus didn’t understand that “it’s top down”.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I think I’ve said all I can here. It takes truly hardened hearts not to feel even the slightest sense of sadness over the death of children and to see any call for compassion as an “argumentative tool.”

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I forgive him.

    I guess that make you like Jesus. Or like Jesus if he was supporting the oppressor and demeaning the victim and calling any criticism of his self-righteousness “bashing.”

  • Mary

    Debbie and Timothy -

    Suppose the “wounded man” said to the Samartan – “I do not need your help. Go away.”

    You are both assuming that the other needs your help. And niether one of you sees that need for help[.

  • Debbie Thurman

    I’ll let Christ speak for himself.

    Did I not just explain that? Echo chamber again.

    I think I’ve said all I can here. It takes truly hardened hearts not to feel even the slightest sense of sadness over the death of children and to see any call for compassion as an “argumentative tool.”

    Yes, it does, Timothy. Try as I may, I don’t find anyone here doing that. You are certain you know what others think and feel here. I think you need to go sort out your own feelings.

  • Debbie Thurman

    Suppose the “wounded man” said to the Samartan – “I do not need your help. Go away.”

    You are both assuming that the other needs your help. And niether one of you sees that need for help[.

    Mary, huh? I don’t get what you are saying here. You did, at least get right that the Samaritan was the one giving the aid and not the wounded man. I let that allusion slide earlier.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    You don’t get it? How do you and Timothy know the difference between who is wounded and who is providing aid?

  • Debbie Thurman

    You are both assuming that the other needs your help. And niether one of you sees that need for help.

    Mary, you need to be clearer. Is “the other” referring to Timothy and me? Are you saying he thinks I needs his help and vice versa? Or are you speaking of bullied kids and the help we may or may not be able to give them? I’m sorry, but this is just fuzzy. Especially in light of your preceding comment about the wounded person possibly not wanting help. I presumed that to be a bullied person (?). Not even sure of that.

    “Who is wounded and who is providing aid?” Again, not clear what kind of metaphor you are setting up here.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    I’m saying you both see the other as the person who is in need of help. And you both are claiming that you don’t need any help.

    How do you know what is the more accurate picture?

  • Debbie Thurman

    I’m saying you both see the other as the person who is in need of help. And you both are claiming that you don’t need any help.

    How do you know what is the more accurate picture?

    OK. I think you mean we both want to correct each other and yet both feel we need no correction. We are at a stalemate, so it is pointless for Timothy and me to continue. Nothing meaningful can come of it at this point.

    Timothy, I call for a truce. I think you and I both know there is a difference between discussing abstract ideas about bullying and addressing the bullying itself, or certainly any real victims. There is only one appropriate response to such tragedies. We feel the same about that.

  • ken

    Mary mentioned cyber-bullying before. Here is an example of it. What makes it worse is that it isn’t perpetrated by some teenager, but an adult, attorney.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/09/28/michigan.justice.blog/index.html?hpt=C1

    Does anyone know of programs (aimed at children) for countering this sort of bullying?

  • Debbie Thurman

    Cyber bullying. Yes, a growing problem. Happens with kids texting each other, too.

    Though we may not think of it often or at all, I was reminded this morning in doing some reading on the subject that even teachers can be bullies. I had one of those in first/second grade, believe it or not. Most people think I am just making it up or I had flights of childhood fancy when I relate some of the things she did to us little kids in the classroom. And I was specifically harmed by her during two separate incidents I will never forget. She would have been fired in today’s climate. Maybe even prosecuted. I kid you not. The woman had serious problems. It took me a lifetime to forgive her.