“Mommy, what does ‘gay’ mean?”: SB48 will change California elementary school curriculum

Posted By Admin September 13th, 2011 in Editors Pick : 36 COMMENTS

Seth Gruber
Staff Writer 

California Govenor Jerry Brown signed into law the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, on July 14th of this summer, which amends California’s Education Code to ensure that schools are educating and instructing children about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. This bill will require public schools in the state of California to add lessons in order to teach about gay history and the contributions of the LGBT. Although passed, the bill will not begin to take effect until January 2012 and California State textbooks will most likely not be updated until 2015.

Author of SB48 and open homosexual, Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco is cited by Fox News to have said that teaching gay history in public schools will teach students to be more accepting of gays and lesbians. The bill says that since children are studying the historical contributions of a whole plethora of ethnic groups, it is only fair that children also learn the historical contributions of the LGBT community in social studies and history classes. California Family Council (CFC) says, “In other words, history in California schools would equate sexual identity with ethnicity.” SB48 puts no age limit on the bill, enabling these lessons to be taught as early as kindergarten and all the way through college.

The bill seeks to be fair, seeing as FAIR is its name, by educating children on a group of people that has been left out of textbooks, but perhaps there are good reasons why. It should first be noted that unlike sex education in a biology class or a similar science class, where parents can opt out of the public school’s teaching, SB48 makes it so that the education of LGBT’s contributions is taught from a historical standpoint (California History, American History) so that parents have no choice in their children’s exposure nor will be notified when the topic is taught. This seems far from “fair.”

Although one of the goals of the Fair Education Act is to teach students to be more accepting of gays and lesbians, the repercussions go beyond merely accepting the LGBT community. As Christians, we certainly accept and love them, but we don’t accept the practice of living out a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle just as we don’t accept our Christian brothers and sisters living out an alcoholic lifestyle or a sexually immoral lifestyle. The biggest repercussion of SB48 is that it will begin to indoctrinate children to a belief that is biblically wrong and is in no way endorsed by scripture. This bill will portray homosexuals’ sexual activity as normal and acceptable, “without the mention of any negative health or moral concerns shared by medical experts, religious leaders, and parents” (CFC). If children are taught this every year in history and social studies classes from as early as kindergarten, they will not only accept the practices of the LGBT community, but have no problem with any possible future homosexual desires that they experience.

Abraham Lincoln is attributed as saying that “the philosophy in the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” This bill represents another worldly step away from God and towards the things of this world (1 John 2:15).

Let us stay in prayer for our nation and nation’s leaders and that many will come to the knowledge of the Holy One (Proverbs 9:10), as well as for all children in public schools and for their hearts as they are exposed to such counter-biblical morals.

 

36 Responses

  1. Don says:

    If Christian parents needed anymore evidence that public schools are not a place for their kids. How bad does it have to get before they decide that this environment does not match with the commandment to “raise up your kids in the nurturing and admonition of the Lord.” You would have to have your head in the sand prior to this law to not see that public schools are anti-Christian and not a place to raise a Christian child. Now you have to not have a head at all to see it. Very good article Seth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice first sentence, Don…
      .
      I don’t remember that in the Ten Commandments…
      .
      I’m a Christian, and was raised in Public School. I obviously was raised and “indoctrinated” to support people, love others, and treat people with respect regardless of their sexuality. Guess that’s pretty anti-Christian, isn’t it?
      .
      Bad Seth, BAD….

  2. Erich Miller says:

    I am surprised and disturbed by the assumption expressed by both the author of the article and the above comment that “Christian” and “self-accepting gay” are mutually exclusive identifications. Do you not know that there are millions of us who identify as both Christian and gay? Are you not aware that there are Christian congregations across the country that recognize that the biblical verses used by some Christians to deny gays equal recognition and acceptance carry as much weight as those once used to deny rights and recognition to women and people of color?

    It is both painful and offensive to hear some Christians use the name of Jesus against other Christians who also happen to be self-accepting gays. Gay youth kill themselves over this issue. I recommend that you read Daniel Helmeniak’s “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality” to glean insight into perspectives that might be new to you.

    Erich Miller
    Class of ’91

    • wes says:

      Erich, it breaks my heart to say it but the term “Christian” has been twisted and perverted in our society. I believe that your definition falls into this category. The true definition of Christian is one who follows Christ and His perfect teaching. Jesus is very clear on the fact that Homosexuality is a SIN. He leaves NO gray area on the issue. And the fact that you believe “Christians” should accept and condone SIN is the real travesty. We are called to rebuke and repent of sin. I encourage you to read the TRUTH about the issue, perhaps you can start with Romans 1:24-32 “knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things (sexual immorality) are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

      As opposed to pointing us in the direction of a man written book, i implore you to turn towards the book written by God. Another sinful man’s perspective will vanish like a vapor, i rather keep my focus on the Creator of the universe! I encourage you to do the same.

      • Anonymous says:

        People like you are terrifying.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where does Jesus say this? There is no verse in the Bible where *Jesus* addresses homosexuality. It is hard to take Christians seriously when they don’t know what their own Bible says.

  3. […] “Mommy, what does ‘gay’ mean?”, by Seth Gruber*, is posted in the editorial and opinion section of Westmont College‘s student newspaper, The Horizon. […]

  4. […] “Mommy, what does ‘gay’ mean?”, by Seth Gruber*, is posted in the editorial and opinion section of Westmont College‘s student newspaper, The Horizon. […]

  5. Seth, there are LGBT Christians all around you and I encourage you to think about the pain your words are causing them. If you really accept and love “homosexuals,” I encourage you to get in touch with some of Westmont’s own LGBT Alumni: http://westmontlgbt.wordpress.com/. If you loved them, wouldn’t you talk *to* them before you started talking about them?

  6. Cora Rose says:

    Seth,

    I read SB48, not as a “worldly step from God” but as a step toward a more full social studies education for California public school students, free from omissions. It instructs that social studies include the role and contributions of “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, and other ethnic and cultural groups, to the development of California and the United States.”

    Instead of lauding the Pacific Islander lifestyle, for example, social studies texts simply can not set forth stereotypes, or omit the contributions of Pacific Islanders altogether.

    “. . . Existing law prohibits the State Board of Education and the governing board of any school district from adopting textbooks or other instructional materials that contain any matter that reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.”

    Paul and Peter struggled at first with how the Greeks could contribute in the life of the community. Having determined that that Greeks, slaves, and females (Galations 3:28) are equal in Christ, it is my hope that Christians can further the discussion of how – all – people, whether Native American, Pacific Islander, or gay, contribute to their communities.

    Best wishes with your studies,

    Cora Rose ’07

  7. Joyelle Ball says:

    Seth,

    There is a major difference between sex education and history. While you compared the curriculum that would be implemented by SB48 to what should be an optional sex education class, historical instruction does not include what I or what any other gay person does in the bedroom. History happened whether or not you agree with it. LGBT people made significant contributions to society whether those achievements are documented in history books or not. Although you can try to hide it, you can’t change the past, and what SB48 is trying to present is a classroom free from generational hate and discrimination, free from any ethical or moral bias.

    Your title “Mommy, what does gay mean?” suggests that this is a question that should never be asked, that children should grow in ignorance, and in the best case scenario, never even know that homosexuality exists. Maybe one day they’ll even end up at Westmont and be shocked to discover that these “homosexuals” are even on campus.

    And please stop comparing my sexuality to the lifestyle of an alcoholic.

    Joyelle

  8. Rev. Darren McDonald says:

    Seth,

    While other biblical Christians (amongst whom I am counted) would disagree with your assumption that scripture shares your beliefs about a term (“homosexual”) that was coined millennia after the writing of the gospel, I am even more troubled by the fear driven implications of your article.

    As a fellow Westmont alum (class of 2002), I understand the temptation Christian parents and children feel in relying on having Christian schools shelter them from what’s going on in the world. One of the things that I most deeply valued about my education at Westmont was the willingness of faculty, staff, and students to resist this temptation, as we sought to understand the best of the world’s scholarship and knowledge (even in areas that might make us uncomfortable or clash with our worldviews), so that we might be able to develop a well informed Christian response to that knowledge. Our school’s motto is Christus primatum tenens. While Christ’s preeminence in all things is not dependent upon our willingness to recognize Christ in those matters, covering our eyes out of fear of a subject seems to treat our fears rather than Christ as lord of that subject.

    The LGBT civil rights movements are an important part of California’s history (not to mention national and international history). Those who fail to learn from history are damned to repeat it. We aren’t far removed from a time when the police even in urban centers like San Francisco felt they could physically attack LGBT people due to their sexuality/gender identity. We are even less removed from the murder of Matthew Shepard (or for a more local, and more recent example, Lawrence King in Oxnard, CA) who was killed because he didn’t conform to their heteronormative and cisgender-normative assumptions about how people should dress and act.

    You claim that Christians such as yourself accept and love us, but you would choose to continue to urge California to ignore those in my community who have been beaten to the point of death by strangers and left to die. Perhaps a better question to ask in your title might be “Mommy, who’s my neighbor?”

    Rev. Darren McDonald
    Class of 2002

    [BTW: To address your concerns about age appropriateness, I hope you realize that there are different ways to talk about LGBT people without having to go into graphic descriptions of sex. There’s a lot more to me than what I might do in bed if I was actually in a relationship.]

  9. Hannah Gustavson says:

    “As Christians, we certainly accept and love them, but we don’t accept the practice of living out a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle…” Have you heard of the Episcopal Church? Or many other CHRISTIAN churches, for that matter? So, then, who exactly is this “we” for whom you assume you are speaking?

    In your paragraph about parents being able to opt-out of sex education/biology/other science classes, you say it’s not fair that parents have no choice in whether or not their kids are taught about LGBT people’s contributions. But, well, I guess my question is why in the world would historical contributions be taught in any class other than history? And you say the bill made it so that these things are taught from a historical standpoint? IT IS HISTORY. There’s no other perspective to take.

    I also want to re-emphasize Jennifer’s comment: “If you loved them, wouldn’t you talk *to* them before you started talking about them?”

  10. mike moore says:

    I’m stunned, but sadly not surprised, at your smug, “christian,” bigotry.

    (Lower-case “c” as you’ve nothing to do with Jesus.)

    I’ve spent an hour writing and erasing this post … but I know nothing I can say will change your narrow mind.

    I want to tell you to visit my hometown church, St Marks in the Valley Episcopal, one hour from Westmont, and talk with it’s wonderful gay Reverend (who can’t marry his long time partner because people like you voted for Prop 8.) But I know that won’t open your mind.

    So to simplify the issue for your Fox-adled brain:

    We do not live in a theocracy. Your interpretation of the bible and your biblical values have no place in a our public schools, if only for the reason that not even Christians can agree on what the bible says. Period.

    It’s public school, not Sunday school, and you should stop confusing the two.

    • Dave says:

      Whoa, Mike. “(Lower-case “c” as you’ve nothing to do with Jesus.)”. Now you know who’s a follower of Christ and who isn’t based on one article?! You are right. The author of the article probably wouldn’t listen to you, after you coming out with personal judgements like that.

      • mike moore says:

        Whoa, Dave …

        so it’s OK to make judgmental and sweeping pronouncements about about LGBT community, to use false Fox facts about “indoctrinating” kindergartners, and to say we’re “loved” and “accepted” and then quickly compare me and my legally wed (thank you, Massachusetts) husband of 25 years to alcoholics?

        Yes, I believe the author’s words indicate quite clearly his bigoted animus toward the LGBT community and, in turn, a very non-Christian attitude and lack of respect to our community, a lack of tolerance of other mainstream Christian denominations and their theology, and to my own ome town Episcopal church.

        • Taylor Hall says:

          Mike.

          You and Mr. Gruber are brothers in Christ! I am your brother too, and I am a jacked up, messed up brother. Christ came for all three of us and our jacked-up-ness. Christ came for us, vastly imperfect humans. Because of his grace, we must come together, “praying for our enemies,” “doing good to those who hate us.” I believe you can stand against what Mr. Gruber believes in, and stand for your beliefs, but do so lovingly.

          All of us need to come to each other with grace. How can you or I or anyone, ever repay Christ for the grace he freely gave us? Our conversations and lives are now forever changed, because we understand we were given something we can never pay for. Together, Christians can move from a place of brokenness, accepting the universality of this brokenness among every single one of us.

          I see it as the most liberal of liberals breaking down into tears and falling down to meet the most conservative of conservatives who has just fallen weeping at his feet. Embracing, they share their brokenness and tears, and the joy they have in not having to “get-it-right,” but that they have endless grace from a perfectly holy God, who loves them.

          • mike moore says:

            Taylor, here’s the problem:

            I have felt pure hate – HATE – from people like Seth Gruber for almost 30 years. And worse, just like Seth, these people wrap their hate inside a biblical bundle and inevitably say, “but I love you.”

            they “love” us while trying to put us in jail because of who we love. (Lawrence v Texas was not so long ago)

            they “love” us while trying to take our children away. (child custody laws)

            they “love” us by denying us the right to adopt, while leaving hundreds of thousands of kids in child services.

            they “love” gay kids by fighting laws that will protect from bullying so severe that 12, 13, and 14 kids kill themselves.

            well, Taylor, I’m ‘effing over it. I’ve had it with guys like Seth who sell hate, but slap a label called “love” on it and them expect me, after he has intentionally harmed me and my big family, to hug it out in brotherly “love.”

  11. Kathleen Patterson says:

    This piece is insulting to me personally, as a Westmont alum who happens to be a member of the group referred to in it as “The LGBT” (a term that is offensive it its totalizing effect and its presumption that all members of this group or “community” are the same). And it ought to be insulting to any critically thinking reader as well, including those who may share Mr. Gruber’s views on homosexuality, Rep. Leno, and SB48. Why does the editorial use indirect citations instead of directly quoting what Rep. Leno said? Why does it fail to cite the language of SB48 itself? Minimum standards of journalistic integrity dictate that an editorialist do his level best to present the strongest case for SB48–the case presented by its supporters in their own words–and then draw on authoritative, unbiased sources to present a compelling counterargument. Mr. Gruber has clearly failed to do this. He presents a “straw man” argument, relies on dubious sources (perhaps just one, since the CFC homepage conveniently links to Fox News reports on issues of grave moral concern to its constituency), and makes a series of claims that at best can be described as unsupported. I hope Horizon readers turn elsewhere to learn the facts about–as well as the arguments for and against–SB48. If they’re interested, the official documents, linked below, are an excellent place to start.
    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_48&sess=CUR&house=B&author=alquist

  12. Jessie Drake says:

    “Mommy, what does gay mean?”

    Harvey Milk, Alexander the Great, Barbara Gittings, Leonardo Da Vinci, Angela Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Foucault, Jane Lynch, Cleve Jones, Mara Keisling, Ian McKellan, Renee Richards, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, Alfred Kinsey, Gertrude Stein, Stephen Sondheim, Sylvia Rivera, Rumi, Frank Kameny, Mara Keisling….

    Activists, artists, athletes, politicians, poets, priests, professors, soldiers, surgeons, songwriters, philosophers, philanthropists, philosophers, pioneers….

    sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, peers, coworkers…

    If someone has to ask you what “gay” means, I hope you can share them the stories of these people and others like them. I hope you know their stories. If you don’t, maybe you should sit in on some public high school classes in the near future.

    LGBT people are a part of history, we participate in it and we shape it. We have been persecuted, denied human rights, exiled from the church, and hated for simply existing as we are. There are lessons to be learned from our blood and our bravery. Learning about gay history is not going to make kids gay any more than learning about Buddhism makes you Buddhist or learning about Africa makes you African. If the teaching is good, it might help ignorant people better understand Buddhists and Africans and LGBT people. We are not to be feared or hated or abused or ignored. We make up a part of the global community, this country, the church, and yes, even Westmont. Stop talking about us like we don’t exist among you.

  13. Hannah Wilder says:

    “I am here to talk to those of you who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender who are feeling like you are in a really dark place right now. I am an out and proud gay man…. I know a lot of you are feeling in that dark place because religion and religious people are telling you that you are an abomination before God. Maybe you… hear from your church that you are intrinsically disordered…or your’re told that somehow your life is not acceptable to God.

    I want to tell you that they are flat out, wrong.

    God loves you beyond anything you can imagine and God loves you the way you are.

    You know you can have the life that you hope for because God hopes for that kind of life for you, a better life. If you want a partner, or when marriage equality comes, and it will come, you can have a husband or wife and live together and make a life together. If you want children, you can have children and you can be a great mom or dad. God loves you the way you are and God doesn’t want you to change.

    God doesn’t want you to be cured or healed because there’s nothing to be healed from. You’re the way God made you, the way God loves you.

    It gets better I promise and it is getting better all the time.

    Things are changing. So if you’re considering hurting yourself, please don’t. Please don’t. God wants you to live in the light of God’s love. That light will take away all of this darkness.

    Hang in there. Be strong and know that despite the messages you get from religious people, God loves you beyond your wildest imagination and only wants the best for you. It gets better, I promise, it gets so much better.

    And remember, God loves you beyond your wildest imaginings.”

    –The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, as spoken in this “It Gets Better” video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPZ5eUrNF24

    I posted this instead of my own thoughts about this inane article by Seth Gruber because Dr. King said only love can defeat hate and I can’t find any loving words for Mr. Gruber. I want gay people to hear Bishop Robinson’s message of unconditional love and true acceptance in proximity to Mr. Gruber’s article.

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment, Westmont.

  14. Dave says:

    Hannah: So do you love Mr. Gruber?

  15. Diana says:

    First to Seth – thank you for an informative article. I’ve just read all the comments and am saddened that there are so few who can say “thank you, and let’s pray.” I’m near tears that those who believe what the Bible says about God’s heart toward sin do not speak up. One of my close friends who has characterized herself as a lesbian for about 30 years accepted Jesus 3 yrs ago and has turned from homosexuality. She has seen the pain it caused her, and she sees the pain it causes so many of her gay friends… and this is not because of any lack of social freedom, but rather, it is a heart issue. She is now, as she would put it: full of peace, joy, and love. However, this was not the point of the article, so sorry for steering my comments off the main point. To Jessie, I just want to say that you supplied a list of people, most of whom I am familiar. So it seems this new law is rather unnecessary. “We the people” obviously do know of the contributions of the LGBT group. Why in the world do we need to know their sexual orientation. I surely don’t expect the world to know if I’m hetero, single, married, divorced, etc. What’s that all about except indoctrination?

    • mike moore says:

      Society needs to know our sexual orientation because you need to know whom you are punishing with your laws and social condemnation.

      You need to know that you are destroying real families and real people – people you’ve never met and who have never done harm to you – when you deny them the right to marry in a civil ceremony.

      You need to know that a real man named Matthew Shephard was beat almost to death, and then was left tied to a fence along a freezing road and died because he was gay.

      You need to know that one of the men you are quick to accuse of sexual sin was Mark Bingham, a hero who helped down Flight 93 on 9/11.

      And you do not seem to understand that every day, in sports, in prayer, at awards shows, and in a thousand other places and ways, we are informed of people’s heterosexuality as they thank, bless, discuss, and joke about spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, exes, etc.

      We want nothing less for ourselves.

    • Jessie Drake says:

      Diana, I’m glad you recognized the few names that I listed, as they should be recognizable. My point is that gay people are a part of history and a part of our communities. Mr. Gruber and the people who are opposed to teaching LGBT history seem to not understand that. It is prejudice and ignorance that would label a diverse group of people “homosexual” and count their suffering and triumph as either irrelevant or dangerous because of their sexual orientation. Also, it is my understanding that SB48 would focus on major people and events in the gay rights movement, like Matthew Shephard whom Mike mentioned, Harvey Milk, the Stonewall Riots, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ect.

      This is a minority group, a group who has been persecuted and denied civil rights because of their sexual orientation and relationships. You don’t expect the world to know that you are hetero because that IS the assumption. You don’t demand the world to know that you are married or single or divorced because marriage and divorce are rights that have already been granted to you by the government and the church. It isn’t indoctrination, it is fact. It is a fact that dominates a lot of controversy in the church and political realm today for conservatives and liberals alike, so shouldn’t the next generation be educated about the history of gay rights so they can be informed voters and respectful human beings?

    • Anonymous says:

      I can say “thank you, and let’s pray”…for people like you, Diana. I’m glad your lesbian friend succumbed to religious peer-pressure. However, saying these things, are very hurtful and confusing to LGBT members of the Westmont community…and everywhere else. Your comments bring me “near tears” as your intolerance and hidden prejudices slowly surface.

      Yeesh.

  16. Joshua Stratton says:

    I don’t understand why this issue is so common for Christians to get hung up on… No one should be overlooked in the study of history. Great individuals are great individuals. Period. It wasn’t that long ago that we were segregating bathrooms based on the color of people’s skin… and, yes, far too many Christians supported the policies, looked the other way, or even used the Bible to support their racism.

    Perhaps sexual identity isn’t as deeply encoded in our DNA as race, but then again, perhaps it is. The truth is no one knows for sure. I am not condoning sex outside of marriage and I certainly understand the fear of enforcing political correctness by fiat, but if we take off our culture war glasses for just a minute, we might see this bill as a way to affirm a LGBT community that is every bit as marginalized and oppressed as the tax collectors and “sinners” of Jesus’ day.

    It seems to me that a true follower of Christ might even go out of their way to support the oppressed and marginalized in this way. And even if you view the LGBT community as your enemy, aren’t we supposed to love them anyway? At least that’s what Jesus thought, or do I overstate?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I was not going to comment on this article, but something inside of me can’t let it go.

    I have a question for you, all of you who are reading this; if your best friend were to tell you that he/she is gay, bi, or transgendered, how would you respond? Would you turn your back on them? Or would you love them and accept them and continue to be there for them?

    I chose to love, accept, and be there for my best friend.

    My best friend had such a hard time coming out to me. Want to know why? It’s because of the Christians who have narrow minded views on homosexuality. My best friend was TERRIFIED to come out to me because she thought I was going to disown her as my friend. What does that say about us as Christians? What does that say about me? Here we’re supposed to loving and accepting and not judge those around us, yet if our best friends are unable to confined in us we obviously are not being good Christians, yet alone good friends. It makes you wonder if you did something wrong that your friends are unable to trust you with such a big secret.

    To be honest it broke my heart more to hear that she was afraid that I wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore than to hear that she liked girls. I was truly hurt that she couldn’t trust me. Later I asked her why she felt like that and she told me it was because I was a solid Christian and she didn’t know how I’d react to her. I told her the only thing I could, “You were my friend before I knew you were gay and I loved you; why should any of that change just because of who you like?”

    So the moral of this story, we really shouldn’t be condescending or hostile when talking about these issues. It is like being blatantly racist in front of someone of that race; you just don’t do it, it’s not appropriate and rude. You never know who hears you and you never know who you’re affecting. Who knows, maybe your best friend is gay and was going to come out to you, but now never will.

    Lord, save us from Your followers.
    (You should really watch that movie.)

  18. Diana says:

    To anonymous: you stated, “I’m glad your lesbian friend succumbed to religious peer-pressure.” It wasn’t like that. She responded to the Holy Spirit. She accepted his salvation and love no differently than anyone else. I never indicated anything about her gay lifestyle. I decided that I would leave that up to the Holy Spirit. It was always, and only, between her and God. I just observed and listened. On this subject I’ve learned from her, not her from me.

  19. mike moore says:

    Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old h.s. freshman from Buffalo, N.Y., committed suicide on Monday.

    After years of being bullied, of being tormented on a daily basis, of being called gay slurs, and of being told that all gays go to Hell and that he should kill himself … he did.

    Seth, I know you don’t see it now, but this is where your road leads …

  20. Jon Bartel, '02 says:

    Well, after reading, with a heavy heart, this article and the subsequent comments, I feel like I need to weigh in. I think it’s appropriate to look at this issue from the standpoint of educational ethics as well as morality/theology. I care very little for theology, church doctrine, dogma, etc, as I see most of it as a circus taken over by drunken clowns. However, I am quite interested in a pedagogy of liberation that I believe should be adopted (and defended) at all costs in our nation’s schools.

    History, as it has commonly been pointed out, is written by the winners. Admittedly pat, this sentiment is, nonetheless, important when it comes to exactly what we teach in our history courses, or, indeed, any courses. To write such an observation off as a knee jerk liberal attempt at slipping “revisionist history” into the classroom is to, I think, miss the point. Multiple narratives are, perhaps, the greatest asset we can provide our (increasingly dull, dispassionate, and robotic) children/students with in the modern classroom. To strain out and discard one narrative from the others based purely on an increasingly fragmented (and, lets face it, pomo) moral system which has no place in the legislative or public educational process to begin with is to make an error with wide repercussions that will rock our national claim to democracy and our commitment (or what little of it remains) to educational excellence. And, perhaps most devastatingly, such an error will send, once and for all, a message to the next generation that we have finally lost faith in their right to possess and ability to exercise reason, judgement, and above all critical thinking (if any one doubts this is the case, please see the sentiments of George F. Will, Norman Podhoretz, and Anne Coulter, among others.)

    This loss of faith in an entire generation’s ability to think for itself (and, thus, an unspoken affirmation of “our” duty as parents, teachers and ‘christians’ to think for it) is a much bigger problem in the long run for the “the philosophy in the school room in one generation” and the “philosophy of government in the next,” than the danger that “[i]f children are taught this every year in history and social studies classes from as early as kindergarten, they will not only accept the practices of the LGBT community, but have no problem with any possible future homosexual desires that they experience.” For while I am willing to concede that a classroom which teaches LGBT history (or at least the version of it which the author of this article has assumed based on, it would seem, little research or direct source material) may indeed serve to, sporadically dis-orient certain heteronormative assumptions concerning their own sexuality that students hold (and let us not forget that this type of ideological shakedown is, in essence, the whole purpose of education in its truest form at any grade level,) this seems to me to be less problematic than an ‘educational system’ that picks and chooses what it considers to be appropriate morally and historically at the expense, ultimately of the humanity of the students themselves, and, in logical order, diminishes the personal agency, intentionality and critical thinking skills that are absolutely necessary in the development of future community leadership, ethics, and vitality.

    Paulo Freire writes that, “[a]ny situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects” (Pedagogy of the Oppressed 85). Now more than ever the importance of teaching our children that their contributions, understandings, explorations and, most importantly, individual experiences are not only valuable but necessary to the educational process cannot be ignored. After all, students are humans, and to deny them knowledge is to deny them choice, to de-humanize them. And for what? So mom and dad can sleep a little easier at night knowing that Adam is still throwing the male gaze at Eve, not Steve? Open your bibles to Genesis, folks- even God knows you have to display all the options if you really care about humanity.

    Jon Bartel, MA
    Lecturer, English Dept.
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

  21. Kris Buckmaster '02 says:

    Wow. I disagree with so much of the rhetoric in this article. The ‘repercussions’ of SB48, as noted by the author, seems like a ridiculous stretch of the imagination. While I would have to logically concede that indoctrination is one possible outcome, it is hardly the most-likely outcome. The reality would probably look more like an enhanced curriculum that INCLUDES the significant accomplishments of prominent ‘LGBT’ people (see Jessie Drake’s list above). I wouldn’t expect the formal curriculum to address their sexual practices any more than I would expect that during a lesson about Abe Lincoln or Socrates.

    Try not to see the agenda behind SB48 as “an opportunity to indoctrinate our/my children with LGBT propaganda” or a power play against Christian morals. Rather, try to appreciate that it is more about preventing the existing social/moral prejudices from intentionally excluding historically-significant contributions from a ‘community’ that has been frequently and severely maligned.

    Sadly, I don’t think SB48 stands a chance of passing. The voting majority will certainly buy into the sensationalized ‘repercussions’ (as Seth apparently has). I’ll be in prayer with you, Seth, but I can assure you that I’ll be asking God for a drastically different outcome…

    • Kris Buckmaster '02 says:

      Doh! I should have paid closer attention to the fact that this has already passed. Maybe ‘surviving’ would have been more-applicable; CFC is part a coalition that is intent on blocking implementation of SB48 through the referendum process. Nonetheless, my expectations for the voting majority remain unchanged.

  22. Jen Brown says:

    Hi Seth,
    This is precisely one of the reasons I left Westmont. I have one question, why is that your brand of Christianity is hung up and takes literally anything regarding homosexuality? There are so many things in the Bible that you probably don’t adhere to simply because it fits into your way of thinking and living.

    You can’t re-write history. You can’t wish away gay people who have made significant contributions to local, state, national and world history. History is not for you to judge. All history is valid whether or not you believe that that what the person does at home is “immoral”. No one is talking about gay sex, it’s history for crying out loud. Having a biased history that doesn’t include a segment of society isn’t truthful and the aim of history studies is to give a broad spectrum, not a microscopic view.

    The most insulting part of you article, “As Christians, we certainly accept and love them, but we don’t accept the practice of living out a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle just as we don’t accept our Christian brothers and sisters living out an alcoholic lifestyle or a sexually immoral lifestyle. ” Explain to me how you can accept and love a group of people who you find vile and dismiss as having any historical importance? Comparing homosexuality to alcoholic lifestyle? Really? You think people suddenly decide to start being gay and then one day just can’t stop cause they’re addicted to it. You’re implying that gays are like people who over indulge in drinking alcohol Why would anyone choose to be gay especially when they know they’ll have to contend with the likes of ignorant people like you and possibly be chastised and thrown out of their families and communities. You think people wake up and say, “This sounds like fun. Sign me up!”

    I hope you’ll get it together, change your myopic view and realize that gay history is not going to be about sex and sodomy and that gay folks have contributed a lot to our history. My bet is that you won’t and you’ll live a life as a bigot. Stop hiding behind the bible and whatever other brainwashing you’ve endured and really consider what it is you’ve written about. People have used the Bible long enough as a reason to oppress people, rape, pillage and plunder them whether physically or mentally.

    FYI, I am not gay. I am just a person who realizes that every person’s life and history has value.

    Saddened,
    Jen

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