A Christian Parent in Support of the CA FAIR Education Act

A Christian Parent in Support of the CA FAIR Education Act September 14, 2011

For those of you familiar with the California’s FAIR Education Act (SB48), it is the latest target for many Christian groups who believe that homosexuality is a sin. Motivations are far more complex than that but for me to try and capture what my brothers and sisters in Christ on that side of the aisle believe would be unfair. Suffice it to say, they are none too happy about this recently signed into law legislation and there is a well organized effort underway to place a referendum on the ballot that would repeal the law.

In a nutshell . . .

The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act would amend the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This bill would also prohibit discriminatory instruction and discriminatory materials from being adopted by the State Board of Education. [PDF Fact Sheet]

Obviously there are going to be many interpretations of this new law and the usual suspects – yours truly included – will line up on along our normal lines and ramp up our PR machines going. Consider this post as my stepping up to the line in defense and gratitude for the FAIR Education Act on behalf of my children and other people of faith who feel as I do about homosexuality.

I think it’s GREAT that my children will be offered a broader glimpse into the history of the world around them and that the pioneers and prophets who happened to be LGBT will be part of the richer story of the world that is told. So much is already missing from our teaching of history that any attempt to provide a wider exposure to and understanding of events is welcomed by this parent. I also want to again affirm that, as a Christian, I simply reject the idea that homosexuality is a sin. We are not going to be able to solve the struggle some folks have with understanding the context and interpretation of scripture both verse by verse and in its entirety, but I want to be sure that the voice of faith in this ongoing struggle is not surrendered to those who would condemn my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Part of my calling in life and ministry is as a board member for California Faith for Equality, an organization that works with communities of faith who support and affirm the LGBT community. By engaging in training, advocacy and organizing around issues of marriage, bullying, education, etc. we boldly claim that faith traditions who would work against LGBT rights do not speak for all people of faith. It has been a privilege to serve as part of this group.

In response to recent efforts to repeal the FAIR Education Act, we have put together a quick video for people to watch and share. There is going be anti-FAIR messaging that exploits people’s fear about sexual indoctrination, fiscal contraints and parental rights, so please share this alternative voice with those who might have heard about the repeal movement and need more info.

Please share this as you feel called!

HUGE THANKS . . . to Rev. Monte McLain, Presbyterian Church (USA) pastor, for speaking some powerful words; Photon Creative for providing production equipment; Adler & Co Gallery for opening up their space for filming and finally, the production crew: Husband and wife team, Dessiree and Brandon McFarland, Tyler Davis and Dakota Wilder. You all rock.

You can also stay connect with CA Faith for Equality on Twitter and on Facebook.

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42 responses to “A Christian Parent in Support of the CA FAIR Education Act”

  1. Kithy, 2 wrongs don’t make a right. You can’t justify homosexuality as sin because people commit other sins. You can’t say that the existence of other sins justifies homosexuality and that Christians should be no longer considered a sin. Killing still occurs, yet killers don’t justify killing as no longer a sin.  The bottom line is that homosexuals are the only “alleged” Christians who try to justify and defend their sin as normal and morally correct. What’s even worse, homosexuals try to change Christianity, law, schools, and history to accept LGBT as normal.  Killers, child molesters, and rapists don’t try to convince Christianity that killing is normal. That’s why there is more resistence to LGBT than any other sin!

  2. As a Christian, I could easily drop a bunch of bible verses to prove that homosexuality is a sin. But instead, I would rather use a non-Christian expert to prove that homosexuality is not as natural as being left-handed. Dr. Drew Pinsky is a non-religious Jewish American who has hosted the radio show “Love Lines” for almost 30 years. If you ever listen to his show, you will hear people ask Pinksy about their gay tendencies and feelings. His first question is always “Were you molested as a child?” And without fail, more than 95% of these people say “yes”!  Then, he typically explains how homosexuality is often the result of childhood trauma. Children who are molested, raped, or physically/psychologically traumatized often turn to homosexuality because they cannot escape their childhood memories. Dr. Drew is currently one of the most respected and reliable leaders in the field of studying disorders resulting from childhood trauma. He has no underlying campaign or religious beliefs. For the past 3 decades, he definitely has proven that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Homosexuality is not a natural or normal tendency. It is not a third gender that can reproduce naturally. I hope this is convincing since you don’t acknowledge what the bible says about homosexuality.

  3. Eric I may take your comments more seriously once you answer these questions:

    What is your definition of God?
    What is your definition of sin?

    Let’s see how credible your opinions are.

  4. You ascribe considerable power to sin.  Hard to believe the will of an omnipotent God can be thwarted so easily.  You have an interesting belief structure; have you named it?

  5. As an adult I agree that stuff may or may not be interesting or color our perceptions. The key word is “adult”. 

    If you support this bill do you also support telling the whole truth?

    Will you also support the facts about disease, mental health and homosexuality? Or that studies show that its in the best interest of the children to have a mother and father in a lifelong committed relationship?  That there is no credible evidence to suggest why someone is gay or whether or not it is a choice? That there are people who thought they were gay but discovered that actually they are not and are happier because of it?

    The next text book revision is not scheduled for a couple years. I think 2014. I say that the bill will never see the light of day is because it will be repealed before then.

  6. Oh, sorry, I had one more thing to say–this law will be enforced on a local level, meaning local school boards will decide how it’s done (so no one has to worry about the standards of another community being forced down their throats), and in an age-appropriate manner. I suspect that that will mean not at all at the elementary school level, lightly in middle school, and possibly with more discussion in high school. And, in some cases, only after it’s been raised by a student. We all know that the kids know that “the gays” exist, and that they have gay classmates, so the subject won’t be news. And what’s wrong with a discussion of how this book or that painting or that political career may have been influenced by that? I just don’t get it. If we raise our kids with the values we have, they’ll be able to learn about other attitudes and cultures and make their own, informed, decisions. Isn’t that what education is about?

  7. I think that, unfortunately, in this and other discussions on this page, we’ve gotten far, far away from the original topic, and people are talking AT one another rather than TO one another. To get back to the FAIR Act, I think it’s important to know the sexual orientation of people for at least two reasons. One, because it informs my understanding of that person and what he or she has done (let’s say, for example, as an author). I can  enjoy or learn from a work done by an author without knowing his or her sexual orientation, but knowing it helps me to go more deeply into the themes of that work; knowing that an author has either been, or would have been, persecuted had others known his “secret” may make a work more meaningful or poignant or relevant. Two, the knowledge that a well-though of person was gay may help a teenager get through the tough years when he or she is struggling with issues of sexuality. To know that he or she is not alone, and may be able to achieve great things, is powerful and could be life saving. 

    And, Frank, I actually do not understand this comment: “Thankfully this very flawed bill will never come to fruition!” It’s been signed into law, so what do you mean here?

  8. I agree love is paramount. The question is the definition of love. 

    It’s not love to justify sin.
    It’s not love to accept who we are instead who we could be in Christ.
    It’s not love if there is no redemption or restoration.
    It’s not love to deceive someone.

    Love is paramount but it’s not about a feeling, or about what we label as fairness.

    Love is about telling the WHOLE truth! Only then will it be able to set you free!

  9. I guess I assumed that any Christian who actually studied the bible would understand first of all the different types of laws in the OT. Second of all that Jesus allowed for divorce and thirdly the definition of hypocrisy and fourth… the wisdom to know exactly what the differences are in each of those examples.  My bad assumption.

    The failure here is telling alright! 

  10. It’s odd that you would attempt to refute the words of Jesus with those of Paul.  Perhaps you meant to name yourself Paulocentric?  Incidentally, the scripture you quote does not mention homosexuality.  I imagine you’ll claim that’s covered by “sexually immoral”, but you have yet to prove that homosexuality is immoral in the Christian belief system.  With each post you seem more and more the person described in Matthew 7:22.  Cast out any demons lately?

  11. It always amazes me when people use scripture to “scold” Christians but don’t really KNOW scripture.  Eric, you may not be aware of the scriptures that command Christians to judge one another (at the end of this comment). And also, just because God made us doesn’t mean we are born godly. Haven’t you read King David’s scriptures of us being born in iniquity? (Psalms 51:5) Why do you think Jesus told us we must be born again? (John 3:3) Because of our sin state God will not accept us without major spiritual changes within!  So no, it is not alright to say “this is the way God made me.” God expects us to change and Christians aren’t to judge non-Christians because our message to them is to become born again! But to the Christian we are okay to judge: Please read this scripture that I am sure you aren’t aware of in 1 Corinthians 5: “9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean
    with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous,
    or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of
    the world. 11 But now I
    have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who
    is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a
    drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
    12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

  12. Christians – the bottom line is that we will be known for our love, not our perfect doctrine, not our proper discernment of what is and isn’t sin, not how well we turn a phrase or smack down fellow believers with our impressive rendering and interpretation of Scripture. But BY OUR LOVE…If all of us spent our lives mastering that we wouldn’t have time to spend on mud-slinging debates such as this has turned into.

    Peace and love to all of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

  13. You are attempting to judge whether or not it is ok to be gay.  Surely you’ve heard “judge not, lest you be judged” (you can read it at Matthew 7:1 in your Bible, if you have one).

    No Christian would believe that it is “not ok” for someone to be as God made them.  Perhaps you believe that God makes mistakes?  Believe what you will but do not make the mistake of thinking your belief is a Christian one. 

  14. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.  Why is it always those who claim to speak in his name that are the least Christ-like?

  15. That’s a great scripture! Those “who practice lawlessness” Christ will one day say “I never knew you.”  So those who practice homosexuality while trying to call themselves Christian Christ will also say, “I never knew you.” Thanks for sharing!

  16. You do not resemble Christ in any way.  Not sure why you call yourself Christian.  Matthew 7:21-23 comes to mind.

  17. Yes they do hear the word gay but they don’t understand what it means.

    It is tragic when anyone is bullied because of a perception that they don’t fit in. Let schools deal with the bullying issue and leave the sex-ed to the parents.

  18. Frank, I don’t know anything about you or your family, but I can tell you, kids in elementary school, as young as second grade, have all heard the term “gay” and often use it as a pejorative. So it’s not as if the teachers will be the first to mention it. And, as someone who’s witnessed the bullying of a child in FIRST GRADE, because older kids thought he was gay, I think this bill is way overdue. The teachers will not be “indoctrinating” the kids, they’ll simply be saying “this (insert name of historically significant) person was gay.” How is that indoctrinating? Is stating the facts indoctrination? And if that one piece of information helps a youngster who is questioning his or her sexuality (and some do begin even in elementary school), especially if it helps prevent a suicide, how is that wrong? Or are you thinking they’re better off dead?

  19. I agree we should tell children the relevant facts when its appropriate as determined by the parents. 

    If you mention someone is gay in school you have no choice to start explaining it. Will the teachers also be required to share the health statistics among the homosexual population? Or the fact that a child needs both a mother and a father? Or that there is still is no conclusion on whether homosexuality is caused by a genetic mutation, environmental factors, early family life behavior or choice?This bill will never see the light of day because as worded all it would take is an activist educator to start the indoctrination.

  20. Frank, this bill will not teach sexuality in the schools. It will simply, and in an age-appropriate manner–meaning that, for example, kindergarteners, first graders, second graders, etc., will not even have the sexual orientation of the person being discussed mentioned–inform the students that this person, who made this contribution to society, happened to be gay or lesbian or disabled (because it’s not all about being gay, you know). And, for the older (i.e., high school age) kids, there may be discussion of the Stonewall Riots, gay rights, etc. But only as approved on a local level. How can it be wrong to tell our children the facts?

  21. Divorce and remarriage is a sin too…. and carries the same penalty in the Old Test as Homosexuality does.  I don’t see Christians screaming for the end of divorce or telling others they are going to hell because they remarried.  The whole Homosexual thing, on the part of Christianity, is nothing but hypocrisy of the highest form.  And it’s just a shame that so many Christians have on blinders concerning their gods laws.  They cherrypick those laws and scream about those things THEY don’t like, but completely ignore the other stuff that tells them what they should be doing or not doing.  Instead they say “well Jesus died so I don’t have to pay attention to those laws”  I really wish you people would make up your mind which way you’re going.

  22. I am a fellow Christ-Following supporter of the LGBT community. But unless I am just not clear on how the FAIR ACT will be unpacked, I wonder why it is important to dwell on what sexual orientation any contributors to the world are? I think it is wrong to exclude a person’s contributions to the world because they are homosexual. At the same time I don’t know why it would need to be made a focal point. I see no problem with including that fact along with other biographical information about a person. But do we need to have a separate mandate of curriculum to address that facet of one’s life? I don’t remember focusing on the love lives of the great people we studied in school. And really I didn’t much care who they loved or slept with. If a college student would like to learn about sexual sociology in their later studies, by all means they should be free to elect such a study. For pre-college learning I wonder if we can get on with reading, writing, science and math since these skills are evermore lacking in our country. 

  23. Well, that’s obviously where we disagree, because I can’t for the life of me figure out why homosexuality would be considered a sin in the first place.  So you can speak truth in love about how you think I’m sinning, but I think otherwise.  Your beliefs on what is or is not sin are your own, and I appreciate the opportunity to make my own conclusions and behave accordingly.

    I’m glad you get comfort from telling people their benign, harmless actions are sinful.

  24. Michael I suggest that you study a little bit more about what the bible says and means when it talks about justice and judgement.

    Speaking the truth in love is not condemnation, its salvation. Anyone who even suggests to someone that’s its ok to sin is only showing hatred or indifference.

  25. It’s just as amazing how easily the faithful will judge and condemn people they don’t know.

    But I suppose the upside is we have a world chock full of people fit to cast the first stone.

  26. If you believe it is not okay to be gay, then it’s your responsibility as a Christian parent to communicate that to your child in the home, and it’s your task to teach your Christian child how to get along in a world where there are gay people and they will have to interact with them in a civilized society where people disagree on that.  I’m not sure how you do that, but there you go.

  27. Bruce, the key point in your entire article is that you don’t even believe homosexuality is a sin.  If you don’t believe something is wrong then of course you will support it. Christians such as myself and other commenters to this post believe without a doubt that homosexuality is clearly a sin and therefore any type of “sensitivity training” that teaches one to accept this sin is going to cause problems.  I mention sensitivity training because the Los Angeles Unified school district is the first to implement the SB 48 law, and it includes the following: “LGBT sensitivity in outreach, education, and training for students, parents, and staff.” (See pg 10 of 13 pdf school board doc: http://laschoolboard.org/files/09-13-1OOBpost.pdf).

    We parents know good and well that this “sensitivity training” is nothing more than the indoctrination of the belief that it is ‘ok to be gay,’ which to the Christian parent who believes otherwise, it’s not. This teaching is the sole problem with us as we don’t want our children confused on who may be right or who may be wrong.  Children are impressionable and because they spend more time in school than with their parents, the school’s influence may win out.

    We’re all against bullying the LGBT child, but just because you are saying it’s wrong doesn’t mean you don’t care! History is not needed to alleviate bullying, just plain common sense home teaching against treating another person badly.

  28. anyone who says “homosexuality is a sin” needs to ask themselves if they would respect the opinion of someone who says “left-handedness is a sin.”  It’s, like, the same thing.  Left-handed people are abnormal, but in many cases they can pass among the majority without being noticed.  They have no control over which hand is their dominant, just as gay people have no control over which gender attracts them.  Which hand someone uses affects someone else not at all, the same way who someone loves affects no one else.  IT’S THE SAME!  So why does saying homosexuality is a sin not get people laughed out of the room?  I mean, people did used to say left-handed people were evil, hence the word “sinister.”  

    You can tell someone not to sin, but you can’t tell someone not to be gay.  Homosexuality is not a ‘behavior’ it is an intrinsic characteristic.  And unlike real sins (murder, assault, theft, adultery, etc.), there are no victims of homosexuality.

  29. Homosexuality is a sin. As a Christian, you can’t weed out what is a sin and what isn’t. The fact of the matter is we are all sinners, homosexuality, straight, whatever. And how we deal with our own sin is between ourselves and the Holy Spirit. How we choose to deal or not deal with our own sin is the sanctification process.

  30. I think it’s clear that your young children will not be confronted with the sexual orientation of famous people.  Note the emphasis on age appropriate.  I was in college in the 1960s, and even then I don’t recall mention of Walt Whitman, for example, being a homosexual.  Since then I have come to see that many of our great artists in all fields did have that orientation.  Just knowing that fact helps to break down the totally negative stereotyping of homosexuals that so many people of my generation have. 

  31. I just don’t understand why my young children need to know the sexual orientation of historical figures, famous people, etc??? I don’t think the point is who they have sex with, or what religion they are or anything like that- the point is how did they contribute to the world, what good did they do or what can we learn from them?
     I’m a minority in a religious sense, but I don’t expect to get special treatment and have public schools teach about how my religion’s leaders contributed to history.  There’s so much important history to be crammed in as it is!!! Don’t make schools teach about someone just because of their sexual orientation.  I don’t want religion or sexual orientation pushed on my kids- I’ll take care of that at home.  Or do I completely misunderstand this whole FAIR education act???  I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I just don’t see the importance of my child coming home saying, “I learned about so and so today at school and he was bisexual.”  Let’s just find a way to teach them to accept people for their good contributions to society and then that will be what stands out in our children’s minds, not what their sexual orientation is.

    Again, I don’t want to sound rude or disrespectful because all that you are trying to accomplish with this law are things that I will teach my children at home, by example.  So it’s not that I disagree with the basis of it, I just disagree with having it taught at schools with an emphasis on sexual orientation.