Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The legend of the Mad Dad of Massachusetts or how to distort a situation religious-right style

I've written about the David Parker controversy a few times so allow me to regurgitate my breakdown of the situation yet again. This time, however, I want to put it in another context.

David Parker cares so deeply that he is willing to go to jail and endure a lengthy court process for the right to be a parent. In a world where a myriad of social problems can be traced back to parental abuse or indifference, it is incredible that Parker is being treated as a criminal and not as the hero he is. - Wendy McElroy, Parental Rights vs. Public Schools


Well, homosexual relationships are, by their nature, sexual. The, you know, the movement is trying to say no, it's not. But you know, there's a big elephant in the middle of the room here, and we're not recognizing it. - Brian Camenker, head of Mass Resistance

I don't want the school to determine the timing and manner when this stuff is brought up. I want him to play on the swing set and make mud pies. I don't want him thinking about same-sex unions in kindergarten. - Massachusetts parent David Parker

Both comments taken from
interview with Bill O'Reilly


Does an elementary school have the right to indoctrinate children in their view of controversial moral issues without the knowledge or consent of parents?

That is the issue that the U.S. Supreme Court may decide. Matt Barber, CWA's Policy Director for Cultural Issues, speaks with David Parker, a Lexington, Massachusetts parent, who is petitioning the high court, hoping it will accept his appeal of a First Circuit Court decision on his case.

In 2005, Parker was arrested at his son's school following a classroom lesson on same-sex marriage using the book King & King. The principal at Esterbrook Elementary School in Lexington defended the King & King lesson and denied parents the right to be informed about it and to opt their kids out. - Concerned Women for America

When a controversy happens regarding gay rights, religious right organizations are quick to jump into the situation and exploit it for their own purposes regardless of what the truth may be.
A perfect example would be the case involving Massachusetts parent David Parker.

In April 2005, Parker was arrested for trespassing when he refused to leave his son’s school, Eastabrook Elementary, in Lexington, MA. He was angry that his son, who was at the time in kindergarten, was sent home with a “diversity book bag.” He objected to a book in the package because it showed a child in a same-sex household.

Parker contended that the school was encroaching on his right as a parent to talk to his son about issues of sexuality. He met with school officials and was arrested when he refused to leave after the meeting. He claimed that any mention of same-sex parents constituted a talk of human sexuality and that Massachusetts law guaranteed that he could opt his child out of the discussion. Parker also claimed that school officials were not giving him assurances that this would happen.

At first glance, it seems that the case of David Parker was one of a concerned father attempting to be able to raise his child in the way he sees fit. As you can see, religious right groups certainly claimed that was the case. And unfortunately they were aided by folks like Wendy McElroy and Bill O'Reilly who apparently never realized journalism involves more than just writing and interviewing folks. A little investigation never hurts matters.

Which is what I did. And what I found was a case a bit more complex.

Distortion—David Parker objected to his child being exposed to homosexuality because it was an issue of sexuality and Joseph Estabrook Elementary refused to accommodate him

Truth—In a January 17, 2005 email to the school, Parker said: “There is a book included entitled, Who’s in a Family (with pictures) that include lesbian and homosexual couples with children—implicitly equating this family structure as a morally equal alternative to other family constructs. We stand firmly against this book or any other subject matter pertaining to homosexuality ever being indoctrinated to our child, discussed in school, or sent home. We don’t believe gay parents constitute a spiritually healthy family and should not be celebrated.”

Joseph Estabrook Elementary principal, Joni Jay, wrote Parker an email clearly saying homosexuality is not a part of the kindergarten curriculum. She also said she cannot control what students say to one another and that many children attending Joseph Estabrook Elementary live in same-sex households.

Point of fact: The entire controversy began because Parker’s son brought home a “diversity bookbag” with several items in it. Among them was a book showing certain types of families, including same-sex families. It was the only book in the packet that talked about anything of a homosexual nature.

Distortion—Parker was well within his rights because Massachusetts laws says parents must give permission to have their children discuss any issue involving human sexuality.

Truth—Parker was not well within his right because discussions of differing families, including gay-led households are not included in the parental notification policy. This is because it is not an issue about human sexuality. Principal Jay informed Parker of this on March 4, 2005. Jay said she confirmed this with the district assistant superintendent and the director of Health Education. She was answering an email in which Parker said that neither he nor his wife authorize any teacher or adult to “expose” his sons (Parker has two sons) to “any sexual orientation/homosexual material/same sex unions between parents.”

Point of fact: The night before Parker’s arrest, he addressed the Lexington School Committee during their public meeting. In his speech, he attempted to link gay-led households to sexual behavior:

“Children who are successfully indoctrinated that same-sex marriage is normal and correct will eventually understand that sexual intimacy is a part of this union. Let’s not be naive about the implied human sexuality aspect of same-sex unions. Let’s be honest with ourselves. When we accept same-sex unions, we accept its implied . . . sexual intimacy. These concepts are indeed inextricably linked.”

Distortion—David Parker was arrested because Joseph Estabrook Elementary did not respect his rights as a parent.

Truth—David Parker was arrested for trespassing. Even though his initial questions were answered, Parker persisted and finally received another meeting with school officials. According to a press release issued by William J. Hurley, Interim Superintendent of Schools and Christopher Casey, Chief of Police in Lexington, Parker and his wife requested that the school, in the future, ensure that teachers automatically remove their children from discussions of same-sex households, even if the issue rises spontaneously. It was explained to Parker and his wife that the policy allowing students to opt out of discussions of human sexuality was not relevant here and the Parkers’ request was “not practical” because children could discuss “such matters among themselves at school.”

When Parker and his wife were told that they could appeal the response to the Commissioner of Education, Parker did not want to. It was then that the two decided not to leave the school. The Lexington Police were called. Parker’s wife went to the couple’s car but he stayed. Two plain-clothed detectives came at 5:20 p.m. and a police lieutenant came at 6 p.m. All asked Parker to leave but he refused.

Distortion—David Parker did not intentionally get arrested. According to his lawyer, Jeffrey Denner:

“He (Parker) was invited to come in, he came in, there was a dialogue going back and forth, there were faxes sent back and forth to the school committee. His intent was not to get arrested. His intent was to establish a dialogue to protect his own children and other children as well.”—Father faces trial over school’s ‘pro-gay’ book, WorldNetDaily, August 4, 2005

Truth—According to the press release submitted by Hurley and Casey, Parker said “If I’m not under arrest, then I’m not leaving.” The press release also said Parker began calling people on his cell phone and a small group of people began arriving with cameras. Parker was finally arrested at 6:24 p.m. The group with the camera was waiting behind the police station and photographed his arrival.

Mass Resistance (Massachusetts conservative group) claimed that Parker was using his cell phone in order to keep his wife up to date with the meeting while she sat in the couple’s car.
Point of fact: There are pictures of Parker being arrested and led away by police on the Mass Resistance web page. Now how could any of this have happened by chance? For that matter, there are pictures of Parker addressing the Lexington School Committee the night before his arrest. The fact that these pictures are on the web page do give an impression of premeditation by Parker and Mass Resistance.

Distortion—David Parker got into this fight solely because of his concern for his children and what they are being exposed to in school.

Truth—Since his arrest, Parker has been speaking against gay rights in other states. On June 13 and 14 of that same year, he was the speaker in a six-town “Wake UP Maine” tour with Brian Camenker, the head of Mass Resistance. The purpose was to aid a Maine referendum against the recently passed bill outlawing discrimination against the gay community. A flyer was distributed showing Parker in handcuffs. The flyer also claimed that Parker “questioned the homosexual rights movement.”

The image of Parker in handcuffs had made its way around several web pages like some sort of bastardized picture of Che Guevera. He also appeared in a commercial in another effort to overturn the Maine anti-discrimination bill. In addition, the Family Research Council filmed an interview with Parker as a part of a successful effort to pass Proposition 8 in California. The organization referenced the Parker controversy in writings about gay marriage in California.

And then don’t forget this interesting addendum:

In May 2006, Parker’s son was involved in a fight at school with a friend over seating in the school cafeteria. His son and the other student made peace with each other and continued to be friends. They even had a play date later that week. In addition, Parker was informed as to what happened.

However, less than a month later, the Mass Resistance sent out a press release claiming that Parker’s son was set upon by eight to 10 students who did not appreciate his fight against Joseph Estabrook Elementary. The press release generated considerable buzz with the anti-gay industry, as it was either run or referenced by many so-called “pro-family” web pages, including the Traditional Values Coalition and Concerned Women for America.

Joseph Estabrook Elementary School explained the true story in a press release. However, none of the so-called “pro-family” groups, including Mass Resistance and the Traditional Values Coalition, apologized for any of their claims about a conspiracy to hurt Parker’s son nor did they correct the error.

By the way, in 2007, a federal judge dismissed Parker's case against the school and in 2008, the Supreme Court also denied his case.

However, it is clear that when controversy involving us take place, the lgbt community must be highly vigilant in getting the truth out as soon as possible.

Otherwise the situation becomes another file in the religious right cabinet of lies.

Other articles and web pages used for this post:

Arrested father had point to make, The Boston Globe, April 29, 2005

Wake UP Maine Tour announced,, June 10, 2005

Massachusetts Men Speak Against Homosexual Rights,,
June 14, 2004

Coalition for Marriage to host David Parker at Littlefi eld Baptist Church, www., November 3, 2005

Father faces trial over school’s ‘pro-gay’ book, WorldNetDaily, August 4, 2005

Report: Christian Parent Arrested After Being Denied Say-Son in Son’s Education,
Agape Press, April 28, 2005

Dad Becomes Icon in Battle over Homosexual Agenda in Schools, Agape Press,
May 18, 2005

School dispute persists after plea deal is struck, The Boston Globe, October 27, 2005

Press release, Lexington Public Schools, May 2, 2005

David Parker’s Son Beaten Up on the Playground, Traditional Values Coalition,
June 15, 2006

New liberal strategy: Assault 7-year-olds, Kevin McCullough, June 16, 2006

Press release, Lexington Public Schools, June 16, 2006

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Matt Barber doesn't want Home Depot to support lgbt families and other Wednesday midday news briefs

WNBA's Mystics say no to 'kiss cam' because it might capture two women kissing - Give me a break, WNBA!

Governor "Terminator" Kills AIDS Program - This ain't good at all.

Top-Down “National March for Equality” Won’t Wash - Enough marches! How about enclaves where we exchange information and resources.

Tenn. State Senator (a typical anti-gay Republican) quit over affair with intern - Me with my hands on my hips and persed lips going "Um hmmm" Finger snaps coming.

Home Depot building a 'le-gay-cy' for children - Oh look. One News Now has taken time from its busy schedule of Obama bashing to print more sleazy lies about the lgbt community courtesy of Matt Barber. How dare Home Depot support lgbt families!

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'Christian leader' Micheal Brown answers my blog, plays the evasion game

Michael Brown, director of director of Coalition of Conscience and leader of the protest against Charlotte Pride last weekend, doesn't appreciate what I wrote about him in a yesterday's blog post.

You will remember that I called Mr. Brown to the carpet for talking about how he loved the lgbt community while at the same time repeating some of the ugliest religious right pieces of propaganda.

Most specifically, I pointed out how he claimed that there was a plot by the media to obscure the homosexuality of Frank Lombard, the Duke University official who was recently arrested for molesting his five-year-old black son.

Brown and I had an exchange. And as you can see, his answers leave a lot to be desired:

Michael Brown :


A quick note from Dr. Brown here. First, just a reminder that I'd love to take you for lunch the next time you're in Charlotte. The invitation stands.

Second, I'm quite baffled by your charge of hypocrisy. I've been forthright and consistent in the five years I've been addressing these issues in Charlotte. . .

I have consistently said that the church has often been insensitive to the struggles faced by LGBT individuals, and that we have sinned against you by making homosexuality out to the worst of sins, and I apologized for that (publicly, in 2006, 2008, and 2009).

I have consistently proclaimed God's transforming love to the LGBT community in settings too numerous to mention (most recently at Pride Charlotte).

And I have consistently stood firmly against many of the goals of gay activism.

What has now been revealed that wasn't known before? Where is the hypocrisy? I'm genuinely baffled by the charge.

You can question my love, doubt my sincerity, call me an enemy of your rights, judge me however you choose -- but to charge me with my hypocrisy? Really, Alvin!


Your statements speak for themselves. And by statements, I mean your original words to the media, especially concerning the Frank Lombard situation.

I wanted to clarify that because I noticed in your long comment to me just now, you did not address what you said regarding the alleged conspiracy by the media to not call out Lombard's sexual orientation.

How convenient of you.

Michael Brown:

Alvin, I do not have the time to interact with your entire post, so I focused on your headline, exposing its falsehood. So, please drop the "how convenient" stuff, OK?

As for my statements, yes, they speak for themselves, loudly and clearly, and so there is no hypocrisy or duplicity, only forthright speech.

As for the Frank Lombard situation, I agree with what Dr. Mike Adams and others have pointed out in their writings on the subject.

Just for the record, a friend asked me to take a minute to respond to your article here after he spotted it, and I was happy to do so, but I don't have time for extended dialog in this setting, especially when your whole premise of "hypocrisy" is false. Talk about headless monsters! How about meaningless headlines?


Mr. Brown,

You haven't exposed anything but your duplicitous nature. My headline speaks for itself but your evasiveness gives it creedence.

Don't blame Mike Adams or anyone else for what you said regarding the Frank Lombard situation. Again, I notice how you are not willing to talk about the lie you repeated about a media plot.

Your comments were false, totally un-Christian, and by their very nature insults the same sex parents who go far and beyond the call of duty to provide for their children. Furthermore, your continued sad attempts to sidestep your comments reveal not only to me but to everyone else who reads this blog as to how utterly false your declarations of love for the lgbt community are.

Again, how very convenient.

So there you are, dear readers - the words of a man who will not only lie on the lgbt community, a man who will talk about how he loves us while implying about plots to cover up the molesting of children.

And when he is exposed, he doesn't do the Christian thing and apologize. No, he continues to dig that hole deeper.

Michael Brown is not only duplicitious. I now consider him pitiful.

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