Monday, March 09, 2009

Whatever happened to the Day of Truth?

Apparently some members of the religious right are abandoning "Truth."

Of course according to some of us, they have abandoned the notion of truth a long time ago, but this "Truth" is the Day of Truth they created to combat the Day of Silence.

The Day of Silence is an annual student-led event created to bring attention the plight of lgbt youth in America's schools.

Participating students across the nation from middle school through college remain quiet to bring attention to harassment and violence directed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth.

Religious right organizations don't exactly like this (do they like anything that we do) so they created an event called the "Day of Truth," in which students are "encouraged" to speak the so-called truth about homosexuality. By this, I mean that students are encouraged not only to call homosexuality a sin but to repeat all of those discredited and misrepresented studies that have made our lives a living hell.

Like many spin-offs, the Day of Truth hasn't been that successful. And that is why several religious right groups are actually encouraging a "student walkout" in protest to Day of Silence:

AFTAH Joins April 17 Walkout of Pro-Homosexuality Student Day of Silence

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) is part of a national coalition of pro-family organizations urging parents to call their children out of school on April 17. This is the day designated for this year’s Day of Silence when students and/or teachers will purposely remain silent during instructional time to protest so-called discrimination and gain sympathy for students who identify as homosexual or transgender.

The Day of Silence is a yearly event sponsored by the partisan political action group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The implicit purpose is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral. It is the belief of the sponsors of the Walkout that parents should no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence.

The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.

There are so many things wrong that what these groups are trying to do.

The purpose of Day of Silence is to bring attention to the fact that many lgbt youth cannot function in an educational environment because they get picked on due to their orientation. It is not design to criticize personal religious beliefs but negative actions that may stem from those beliefs.

That comment about parents being forced to "accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded schools through student silence" is bad logic turned inside out. What those this mean? Let's force these students to talk because them being silent is a waste of tax dollars?

And the notion that the Day of Silence causes disruptions is a lie. Generally when students are left alone to participate, the event is a success.

If anyone causes disruptions, it is those who oppose the event, like the Rev. Ken Hutcheron tried unsuccessfully to do last year in Seattle.

This new tactic is just another attempt to disrupt the Day of Silence. And it doesn't make sense. You protest against the alleged politicizing of schools by encouraging more politicizing?

And this explanation by the so-called Illinois Family Institute is a hoot:

Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. Please join the national effort to restore to public education a proper understanding of the role of government-subsidized schools. Please help de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child's school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence.

That's right! Demand that students talk during class! It's not only educational, but now it's Christian.

Seems to me that the goal of these groups is to undermine the Day of Silence to the point that schools would be encouraged not to hold it.

When and if that happens, these same groups will claim that schools outright refused to hold the Day of Silence because of their Christian values rather than the fact that they were hassled to the point of exhaustion by a bunch of brats masquerading as "pro-family" groups.

And that strikes me as very untruthful.
Here we go again - School tries to challenge gay/straight alliance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An attorney for two gay students at a north Florida high school told a federal judge Thursday they should be allowed to form a campus club promoting tolerance toward gays, despite a school prohibition.

But a lawyer for the Nassau County School Board said the group's name, Gay-Straight Alliance, is against school policy.

Yulee High School students Hannah Page and Jacob Brock, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, are suing the school board to overturn its decision banning them from forming the club at school. Yulee is about 25 miles north of Jacksonville, near the Georgia state line.

U.S. District Judge Henry Adams Jr. said he would issue a ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction "as soon as I can," but gave Nassau County three days to submit additional written arguments. The students want an injunction to allow them to meet until the case goes to trial.

ACLU Attorney Robert F. Rosenwald Jr. argued that Page and Brock had been the target of anti-gay epithets and threats of violence at school and wanted to start the Gay-Straight Alliance to open a discourse among students.

Attorney Frank Sheppard, who represents the school board, said the district's main complaint is the name of the group, saying it does not approve of groups dealing with sexual orientation and noted the school has an abstinence-based sex education curriculum.

"If they change the name and comply with Nassau County School Board policies they can meet," he said.

The judge questioned Sheppard over the school's objection to the name.

"A Gay-Straight Alliance, that covers everybody doesn't it?" Adams asked.

More here . . .

The school district is wrong and will most likely lose, thanks to the Equal Access Act:

. . . (It) provides that if a school permits students to organize clubs, then school officials cannot prevent a club from organizing based upon the subject matter addressed by the club. Although the Equal Access Act does not specifically address gay clubs, the law applies to students who want to form a Gay-Straight Alliance or other gay-rights club. Students must, of course, comply with their school's rules relating to forming clubs, such as application requirements and procurement of faculty sponsors. In other words, students who want to form a gay-rights club must follow the same rules as students who form a chess club.

The irony is that the Equal Access Act was created on behalf of some students who weren't able to form a Bible Club in schools.

The irony gets better. According to Box Turtle Bulletin:

Schools with anti-gay authorities aren’t too pleased about this. And they have frequently tried to bar gay and gay-friendly students from meeting, going to court and indignantly defending their position.

They generally argue that gay clubs are sexual hook-up clubs whose purpose is to advocate for immoral sexual behaviors -and provide sex partners - and that because they are an “abstinence only” school then they have a right to deny this “sex club”. Or they may argue that there is already a generic anti-bigotry club (usually in actuality a black or Hispanic student club) so there’s no need for a club to support gay students. Some - with a perfectly straight face - will argue that if gay students identify as such they will be picked on so the school needs to protect gay students by not allowing them to meet.

These arguments tend to be recognized as the defense of homophobia that they are and judges don’t often find them very persuasive. In fact, I can’t think of a single instance in which the courts found that schools, principals, or school boards could deny equal access to gay students.

And of course, the Florida Baptist Witness gives its point of view on the case. As bizarre as it sounds, the article is somewhat (I said somewhat) fair and gives a lot of good detail.

The people at One News Now should take notes.
Uganda hates gays while Peter tells us what exactly is a 'power bottom'

Scary stuff coming out of Uganda courtesy of Box Turtle Bulletin -

Anti-Gay Conference Kicks Off In Kampala

Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Two - The Uganda anti-gay conference continues for a second day, with no further explanation on conference leaders’ endorsement of a parliamentarian proposal to upgrade Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law to include forced “therapy” on those who are convicted. Ugandan law already provides for a life sentence on conviction . . .

Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Three -- Gays Blamed For Rwandan Genocide; More Exodus Ties To Holocaust Revisionism

Meanwhile . . .

One of our favorite anti-gay spokesman is devoting serious time to identifying the definition of a "true power bottom."

I wonder which story will One News Now cover.