Suppressing Christian Speech at School The Anti HarassmentSubterfuge

As we've seen, the gay and lesbian lobby has been quite successful in securing tolerance for itself and intolerance against Christians, particularly in public schools. The lobby pushes "anti-harassment" policies, which are deceptively titled because they do more to chill politically incorrect speech disapproving of homosexual behavior than to prevent harassment. Under these policies, students who express their opposition to homosexual behavior are subject to punishment.

Pennsylvania State University professor David Warren Saxe decided to challenge such an "anti-harassment" policy at a Pennsylvania high school on behalf of two Christian students over whom he had legal guardianship. In striking down the school's policy, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there is no "harassment exception" to the First Amendment free speech clause. The Constitution, the court ruled, does not protect people from being offended by others and their opinions. The court stated, "No court or legislature has ever suggested that unwelcome speech directed at another's values may be prohibited under the rubric of anti-discrimination

By prohibiting disparaging speech directed at a person's values, the policy strikes at the heart of moral and political discourse-the lifeblood of constitutional self-government (and democratic education) and the core concern of the First Amendment. That speech about 'values' may offend is not cause for its prohibition " But not all courts are in harmony on this issue.

On January 16, 2001, a sophomore at Woodbury High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, tested his school's commitment to tolerance by wearing a sweatshirt with a "Straight Pride" logo. The student, sixteen-year-old Elliot Corbett, a devout Christian, insisted the shirt was not intended to disparage other lifestyles, but to make a positive statement about heterosexuality, since the school caters to homosexual students in various ways, such as creating gay "safe zones" on campus. The school principal told Elliot to take off the shirt because it violated the provisions of the school's dress code that prohibit written or graphic depictions that offend others. The principal said that his logo was both offensive and a safety risk. The Corbetts sued in federal court and obtained an order requiring the school to allow Elliot to wear the shirt.

In another case briefly alluded to above, the Gay-Straight Alliance club at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, demanded the school board take action against the Pioneers for Christ club for refusing to adopt the school's "non-discrimination" policy in its mission statement. The Thomas More Law Center defended the Christian club, saying the policy would have prevented members from expressing their views against homosexuality. In the face of this challenge, the school board wisely decided to amend its policy.

But a few isolated victories for religious expression haven't eradicated the nationwide pattern of intimidation being employed by the homosexual lobby. In California, the ACLU and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network pressured the Visalia Unified School District to adopt a prohomosexual policy that calls for punishment of any student or teacher who speaks out against homosexuality. The district has gone so far as to assign its teachers special training to accept homosexuality, such training to be administered by the Intergroup Clearinghouse, an outfit that professes to teach "tolerance." The Gay-Straight Alliance, on the other hand, will teach the students. This all arose when student George Loomis alleged he had been abused and harassed by a Spanish teacher, who, Loomis alleged, made an issue of him wearing an earring in class and made disparaging remarks about his sexual preference. This, said Loomis, led to other students calling him names and demeaning him. The school disciplined the teacher, but that apparently wasn't enough to satisfy Loomis, who filed a lawsuit. As a result of the settlement the school district agreed to pay him $130,000 and adopt "professional development training."

Conservatives are concerned that this gay sensitivity training will consist of more than lectures about tolerance and treating people civilly. They fear it will venture into the area of indoctrination, crossing the line from tolerance to forced acceptance of the morality of homosexuality, which means dictating the personal beliefs of students. The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) has pledged to represent all parents that choose not to subject their children to the mandatory "pro-gay" training. It has also agreed to represent administrators and teachers who disapprove of the training on the basis of their religious beliefs. "It is especially important," said PJI's Brad Dacus, "that the district accommodate and respect the objections of employees of religious faith, as well as those parents who wish to opt their children out of a course of instruction that is inconsistent with the children's moral or religious upbringing."

A visit to the Gay-Straight Alliance Network's website shows why parents worry about the group indoctrinating students. The site has a section entitled "Creating Peer Education Workshops." In it, as well as in numerous others on the site, the acronym LGBTQ appears, as in "One of the most unique aspects of the Gay-Straight Alliance model is that it brings together LGBTQ individuals and straight allies to combat homophobia." The acronym stands for "Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer."

In many cases, the terminology on these web pages is hardly neutral. The term "anti-homophobia" is used liberally. One link is titled, "What Every Super-Rad Straight Ally Should Know." It takes you to a list of "Ten Ways Homophobia Affects Straight People."

Number One, for example, reads: "Homophobia forces us to act 'macho' if we are a man or

'feminine' if we are a woman. This limits our individuality and self-expression." Number Five states: "Homophobia causes youth to become sexually active before they are ready in order to prove they are 'normal: This can lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)." Suffice it to say that many public schools today are more likely to teach that "homophobia" leads to STDs than that abiding by JudeoChristian morality helps prevent STDs-illustrating how our schools are shifting from education to propaganda.

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