Anoka-Hennepin featured in Rolling Stone expose on anti-gay bullying

I wrote about this district last year.

Rolling Stone has a powerful article in their February 16, 2012 issue that is online here. Go read it. Now.

The Parent’s Action League (PAL) continues to be at the center of the problem, vilifying gays while they want the school to be silent on the subject. On their website, they write:

Bullying of any kind, for any reason, towards any child must NOT be tolerated.”

Note: Respectfully disagreeing with a point of view or behavior is not bullying per the First Amendment.

How do you respectfully say gays are caused by child molestation and that they are not normal? These are just two “loving truths” that the PAL people want the freedom to force on students in the Anoka-Hennipin School District. I doubt the PAL people would believe such sharing with their children would demonstrate respect if the message was aimed toward evangelicals.

 

 

  • Lynn David

    When have teenage or younger boys ever been respectful about someone they consider ‘less than a man.’

  • Michael Bussee

    Very powerful article, indeed.

    “Which brings us to Anoka Middle School for the Arts’ first Gay Straight Alliance meeting of the school year, where 19 kids seated on the linoleum floor try to explain to me what the GSA has meant to them. “It’s a place of freedom, where I can just be myself,” a preppy boy in basketball shorts says…

    A slight boy with an asymmetrical haircut speaks in a soft voice. “What this GSA means to me, is: In sixth grade my, my only friend here, committed suicide.” The room goes still. He’s talking about Samantha. The boy starts to cry.

    “She was the one who reached out to me.” He doubles over in tears, and everyone collapses on top of him in a group hug. From somewhere in the pile, he continues to speak in a trembling voice: “I joined the GSA ’cause I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be nice and – loved.” ~ Sabrina Rubin Erdely

  • GayGrandfather

    Exodus is **directly** associated with the suicide of one of the boys because of Minnesota Family Council’s promotion of their “Day of Truth” event. And it crystal clear that MFC’s ongoing anti-gay activities are **directly** associated with the deaths of other as well as the EPIDEMIC of 700 kids seeking mental health counseling.

    Shame! Shame! Shame!

    This is the most shattering news!

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

      GGF – While I agree that the Day of Truth is a bad idea and I have spoken out against it, it should be noted that Exodus ditched the event after one year.

  • Patrocles

    PAL:”Note: Respectfully disagreeing with a point of view or behavior is not bullying per the First Amendment.”

    Dr. Throckmorton: “How do you respectfully say gays are caused by child molestation and that they are not normal?”

    So what now? First amendment be damned?

    What about Jesus telling people that they were sinners? Was that respectful in a Throckmortonish sense of the word? (I’m convinced people felt disrespected.) So, Christianity be damned?

    I’d say, “respect” be damned. If you want to become a Christian you have at first to abolish that stupid idea that you “need respect”.

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

      Patrocles – My issue was more with the ridiculous use of the word “respectfully” and less with their first amendment right to vilify.

      Christians have rights that they should not use. The Apostle Paul said all things are lawful but not all things are expedient. Vilifying people you say you love is not expedient.

      Jesus told the religious leaders more about their sin than he did those who were the oppressed and marginalized.

      Actually, I would say it a bit differently – If you want to live as a Christian, stop worrying about your rights.

  • StraightGrandmother

    GayGrandfather, I remember the Day of Truth. The churches gave their member children note printed notecards on what to say. Here I copied this from a Topic Warren wrote about it

    On the Day of Truth, middle and high school students are encouraged to wear Day of Truth T-shirts and to distribute cards that say “It’s time for an honest conversation about the biblical truth for sexuality,” according to Exodus’ manual for this year’s event.

    Exodus has dropped it now with Alan Chambers saying

    “I don’t think it’s necessary anymore,” Chambers said of the event on Wednesday. “We want to help the church to be respectful of all its neighbors, to help those who want help and to be compassionate toward people who may hold a different worldview from us.”

    The Parent’s Action League (PAL) in Minnesota apparently didn’t get the memo.

  • StraightGrandmother

    A deviation from the topic but so “out there” I feel the need to share.

    Remember Bishop Eddies Long, that Pastor from that Mega Church in Atlanta? He got busted by some young men and accused of sexually abusing them (case settled out of court). Look at the latest on Bishop Long

    You gotta watch the video in it’s entirety

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/02/03/41641#comment-116674

    I’ll do my best to stay on topic going forward but I know Warren and others keep their ear to the ground when it comes to these Mega Church Pastors.

  • Richard Willmer

    Warren said:-

    “Jesus told the religious leaders more about their sin than he did those who were the oppressed and marginalized.

    “Actually, I would say it a bit differently – If you want to live as a Christian, stop worrying about your rights.”

    Now we’re ‘at the bone’. The church I attend has a very interesting history, part of which comprises the persecution by both church and state of the priests who served there faithfully in the mid- and late-nineteenth century. These men of God accepted that persecution as ‘part of the package’. (An interesting aside: one of them, a certain Father Arthur Stanton, was unequivocally in favour of the separation of Church and State, rejecting as a matter of principle the use of state power to defend the ‘rights’ and privileges of Christians.)

    While we are often not at all good at doing it, those of us who dare to call ourselves Christians should always seek to defend, in whatever small or great ways that we can, human dignity – first and foremost the human dignity of OTHERS.

  • Patrocles

    Richard Willmers,

    “These men of God accepted that persecution as ‘part of the package’. (An interesting aside: one of them, a certain Father Arthur Stanton, was unequivocally in favour of the separation of Church and State, rejecting as a matter of principle the use of state power to defend the ‘rights’ and privileges of Christians.)”

    I’m quite a bit allergic against that way of reasoning, because I’ve so often heard it in a different context. It was routinely used by leftist protestants in order to disassociate themselves from the persecuted orthodox or baptist Christians in the Soviet Union. Never, never ask for “freedom of religion” – insisting on one’s right would mean that you aren’t sincerely prepared to bear the judgment of God on his unfaithful believers.

    What I’ve learned by that: There’s no problem in making a difference between “I” and “you” in singular (“I abstain from some good things, like rights or respect, but I grant them to you”). But there’s a lot of problems with making a difference between “we” and “you” in plural, because who’s “we” and who’s “you”. When those leftist protestants spoke about the orthodox Russians they overtly spoke about “we Christians”. But when you read them you see that they felt much more connected with the Soviet Union than with he orthodox church, so they should have spoken about them, and treated them as “the other”.

    And that’s the slippery slope with homosexuals and evangelicals. Are we to treat evangelicals as “we” and homosexuals as “the other”. Or are we to treat homosexuals as “we” and evangelicals as “the other” (which would be my spontaneous reaction)? Both ways can be misused.

  • Frank

    Warrren,

    As my father used to say “Cheer up, son. Things are never so bad but what [sic] they can’t get worse.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bOR77tWVxKc

    Patrocles, the treatment of Evangelicals as “others” is in no way comparable to the persecution of gays by anti-gay Evangelicals.

  • Nick

    Patrocles notes:

    “What about Jesus telling people that they were sinners? Was that respectful in a Throckmortonish sense of the word? (I’m convinced people felt disrespected.) So, Christianity be damned?

    I’d say, “respect” be damned. If you want to become a Christian you have at first to abolish that stupid idea that you “need respect”.”

    Okay, well, there are a number of inherent problems with this stance, or these viewpoints. Let’s take the most obvious ones first.

    1. While the First Amendment is certainly a great thing, this county DOES NOT define First Amendment rights as a carte blanche invitation/ability/right to say whatever one feels like, at whatever time one feels like it. We actually have laws against this very notion. For instance, were I to say, “I’m going to punch you in the face” – regardless of whether I do so – I’d be exercising my right to free speech…while at the very same time being dangerously close to crossing over into the legally-defined realm of assault (hence why “assault” and “battery” are two related, yet very different, things).

    2. We do not live in a Christian nation. Regardless of our heritage (certainly Judeo-Christian), we explicitly a non-religious country. To phrase this another way: we are an areligious country founded on religious principles. And this is not to in any way diminish Christianity, Christian values, Christian influence, etc.: it’s simply to note a basic, elemental fact. As such, in no way can one make the logical argument that simply because Christianity allows certain practices (a highly contentious, let alone doubtful assumption) that America allows or should allow such actions. Thus, two results: either one acts in a Christian and Un-American way, one is acts as an Un-American Christian. This mutual exclusivity is, of course, deeply flawed, leading to a third result: that one is either Christian or American, but not both. Then again, we can be “in the world and not of the world,” correct?

    3. Which leads to the third point…if Patrocles is indeed correct that Christianity and respect cannot go hand-in-hand, at least where pointing out “sin” is concerned, than why be diplomatic at all when it comes to expressing your 1st Amendment rights? There’s thus no “right time” or “right” place; if respect has no place in denoting sin, then don’t hide your light under a bushel. Sing out when sin is evident. Don’t be afraid of telling those nasty/dirty/despicable gays that they’re going to hell. Don’t hesitate to let them know they’ll burn for their proclivities. Don’t hesitate to not just say it verbally: why not send emails or letters to all those that you suspect of homosexual tendencies?

    Most importantly, make sure you inculcate this actionable belief in your children. let them know that if they want to be a good Christian, they need to “abolish the stupid idea that you ‘need respect’”. Two predictions: 1. This will go over marvelously with your friends/neighbors/acquaintances that may not share your religious proclivities…probably so well, in fact, that your Super Bowl invitations will pour in by the truck-load. 2. Why stop with homosexuals? In fact, this logic dictates that you should never miss an opportunity to point out the speck in your brother’s eye. Propriety has no place here, obviously, and a sin is a sin is a sin…right? Even when committed by a fellow believer?

    “Respect be damned.” Good call, sir…and good luck with all that.

  • Patrocles

    I suppose that we can make a difference between the factual content of a sentence and its “coloring”. And I’m not against prohibitions about the “coloring”, if and only if factual content is not damaged.

    But Dr. Throckmorton’s argument was that if you want to be respectful, you can’t at all express certain contents. That’s the point where I become adamant.

    Nick’s reflections remind to me the lifestyle of early quakers which were rather outspoken about their neighbours sins. Mostly they tried to be seen as polite, but not always and not at the cost of what they saw as truth. They weren’t always loved, but mostly respected (because of personal values, not because people thought that everyone has to be respected). Those were the days when a man was more respected when he openly disagreed than when he told you what you wanted to hear.

  • Patrocles

    Frank,

    you perhaps misunderstood what I meant. The problem is using the phrase “we (Christians) mustn’t claim rights vis-a-vis others” in a way that doesn’t mean “I mustn’t …” but in a way that in fact means “you (Christians) mustn’t claim rights vis-a-vis people I feel much more connected to than to you”.

    That’s what I call the dishonest use of “we”.

  • Richard Willmer

    Patrocles

    ‘Accepting persecution as part of the deal’ is not the same thing as saying ‘persecution is fine’. Of course we should oppose the persecution of Christians where it occurs (and it does it many places – though I’m not sure that either the USA or the UK can really be regarded as two of those places!), just as we should oppose the persecution of gay people.

    There is only one of me, by the way! One’s quite enough!!! :-)

  • StraightGrandmother

    More student bullies in Missouri and now they are asking for reinforcements!

    The Westboro Baptist Church is planning a protest at a St. Louis-area high school today after a student there pleaded for the church to come:

    Margie_phelpsOn Westboro Baptist Church’s website, an announcement indicates the visit comes at the request of a Fort Zumwalt East student.

    “His email was to the effect of ‘We’ve got proud homosexuals strutting up and down the halls of this school. You’ve got to come,’” said Margie Phelps, an attorney for Westboro Baptist Church, and daughter to the pastor.

    Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/02/zumwalt.html#ixzz1liIK18Z2

    This article has a video with it.

  • sam

    Something from this article that is very important:

    “We are not a homophobic district, and to be vilified for this is very frustrating,” says superintendent Dennis Carlson, who blames right-wingers and gay activists for choosing the area as a battleground, describing the district as the victim in this fracas. “People are using kids as pawns in this political debate,” he says. “I find that abhorrent.”

    Personally, if I want to be respectful, I would never mention child molestation, but I would say something like this: “Sweetie, you have a right and freedom to pursue homosexual relationships, nobody is trying to stop you from doing it, but I believe this is not what God wants you to do in terms of how you live your life.”

  • Richard Willmer

    Isn’t it just absolutely sickening how – so often – aggressors like to pose as ‘victims’? Every time these so-called ‘christians’ bleat about their ‘rights’ just moments before hurling deceitful verbal abuse at gays or whomever, I scream inwardly. (On this occasion, I’ve decided to scream outwardly as well.)

    Having bleated and hurled (often from something looking suspiciously like a pulpit), many of them jump into their gas-guzzling SUVs and help s*d up the environment.

    Meanwhile in Uganda, more alleged ‘christians’ promote genocide.

    Grrrrrrrrrrr!

    But the ‘sweetie’ bit cheered me up! Thanks, sam!

  • Throbert McGee

    “Sweetie, you have a right and freedom to pursue homosexual relationships, nobody is trying to stop you from doing it

    Yes, because liberal judicial activists stopped state governments from trying to stop people from pursuing homosexual relationships. It has not yet been a full decade in the U.S. since the government was finally stopped from trying stop homosexuality; and quite a lot of conservatives — secular and religious, but mainly religious conservatives — kicked and screamed for years in defense of trying to stop homosexuality with the force of legal coercion. And some religious conservatives continue to sulk to this very day because they were stopped from trying to stop homosexuals…

    sweetie.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    “Sweetie, you have a right and freedom to pursue homosexual relationships, nobody is trying to stop you from doing it, but I believe this is not what God wants you to do in terms of how you live your life.”

    right, except that being gay is not the same thing as having a hobby some people might be a little embarrassed about (like collecting thimbles or doing rollerdisco). Being attracted to the same sex romantically and sexually is a part of one’s human essence, like being attracted to the OPPOSITE sex romantically and sexually is a part of one’s human essence.

    And be prepared to have their first response be “I don’t believe in God, so your reasoning doesn’t apply to me.”

  • sam

    If you read the Bible, you will see that Jesus and the apostles were not so much concerned about changing earthly laws as they were about changing people’s hearts. This is what we need to do as Christians, and we’ve been failing this task miserably.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Just FYI .. here is a different school district that had PFOX flyers sent home with the student report cards recently … http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=7037

    Per the article .. apparently the school must allow any true nonprofit (501c3) the ability to send flyers to the students. This requirement stems from a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling that Montgomery County’s refusal to allow an evangelical Christian organization to send home fliers constituted viewpoint discrimination.

    To bring this on topic .. this is another case where Christians pushing their rights will likely backfire on them. I have to wonder whether non-Christian 501c3 groups such as Muslims, Buddhists, and so forth may also jump on this program.

    Dave

  • StraightGrandmother

    Dave or how about the Athiests organization?

  • Richard Willmer

    Next it’ll be leaflets saying “Think exactly the way we do, or you’ll be damned!”

    (As a teacher myself, I must the say that I am absolutely appalled by the presence of what is essentially propaganda and/or advertisements in the same package as a schoolchild’s report.)

  • sam

    PFOX has the same rights as PFLAG and it’s their word against another about what is being a propaganda.

    Different people have different feelings, it’s a normal part of human nature. However, the issue at state what different people do about their feelings.

    People who don’t believe in God have a right and choice to do so. Still, God loves and he will eventually find other ways to reach them.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Sam I think Wayne Beeson at Truth Wins Out makes a good case for why PFOX should be denied leafletting opportunities in our schools.

    The flier in question is highly deceptive because it falsely states that PFOX “promotes diversity” and “supports tolerance.” Indeed, PFOX board member and spokesperson, Peter Sprigg, played an instrumental role in the Southern Poverty Law Center declaring the Family Research Council, where he works, a certified hate group in 2011. Sprigg has called homosexuality “unnatural and unhealthy,” and an attack on the “natural family.”

    In March 2008, Sprigg responded to a question on Hardball with Chris Matthews about uniting gay partners during the immigration process by saying: “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.” He later apologized, but then went on to tell MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.” “So we should outlaw gay behavior?” Matthews asked. “Yes,” Sprigg replied.

    This is just a little bit from the letter, read the full letter at the link below

    http://www.truthwinsout.org/opinion/2012/02/21984/


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