Monday, October 21, 2019

Hate group explains everything that is wrong with SPLC's "Teaching Tolerance"

“If Family Research Council does not want to be treated as a hate group then they should stop behaving like a hate group.”
image via Teaching Tolerance
Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, has published The SPLC's Teaching Tolerance: What Parents, Teachers, and Administrators Need to Know. It is a 43 page tirade aimed at discrediting the Southern Poverty Law Center while marginalizing LGBTQ people. This is a lengthy jeremiad. I will deal with only a few paragraphs.
Family Research Council has produced this resource for parents to help identify and monitor a particular threat to our values and religious freedom: divisive identity politics in the form of radical “social justice education.” The most flagrant purveyor of partisan ideas aimed at our nation’s school children is the highly partisan and left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Whoever wrote this (possibly a collaboration of Peter Sprigg and others) is attacking the arguer rather than an argument. There is nothing radical about social justice.

Teaching Tolerance is largely about teaching kids to be kind to others.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center:
Our program emphasizes social justice and anti-bias. The anti-bias approach encourages children and young people to challenge prejudice and learn how to be agents of change in their own lives. Our Social Justice Standards show how anti-bias education works through the four domains of identity, diversity, justice and action.
The SPLC defines social justice as the byproduct of anti-bias. Why would anyone object to that? The answer to that lies with the culture of Family Research Council. Because the organization is designated as a hate group, Family Research Council has indulged in a lengthy ad hominem attack in an attempt to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I have been at this for years and I have never seen anyone from FRC make specific statements like: This is what the SPLC says of us … This is why that is incorrect. No one at FRC can do that because of FRC's vitriolic promotion of bias against LGBTQ people and Muslims. There is a surplus of evidence.
“Teaching Tolerance” is a special project run by the SPLC and is designed to infiltrate schools through radically progressive education resources. It’s no surprise that Christian values about marriage and family are in the crosshairs of Teaching Tolerance materials and resources. This brochure outlines the content within the Teaching Tolerance project and empowers parents to protect their children against indoctrination if these “resources” are discovered in your local school.
FRC not only disagrees with the SPLC but they find it necessary to assign nefarious motives to the SPLC's project. There is nothing radical about identifying and rejecting bias. Stating otherwise is a form of projection because Family Research Council is a radical hate group cloaked in conservative Christianity. The overwhelming majority of Christians disagree with Family Research Council.

FRC frames bias as religious freedom in order to license discrimination. They do this while thumping a Bible and waving the American Flag. Discrimination is not an American value.

Their reference to “marriage and family” is a reference to their LGBTQ disapproval. FRC seeks to marginalize an entire group of people with a shared immutable characteristic. The simple fact is that tolerance is perfectly compatible with conservative religious values. It starts by treating people as unique individuals.

If one disapproves of gay sex that is not just cause to be intolerant of gay people. Because this is an educational project it's not just gay people but gay children. Similarly some conservative Christians believe that the existence of transgender people creates a conflict with Genesis 1:27.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
A person can believe that and, at the same time, treat a gender diverse child with respect and dignity. Intolerance is depicted by an expression of disapproval which is entirely unnecessary for conformity with faith. Fundamentalist Christianity requires someone to refrain from same-sex sex and to not treat gender dysphoria with gender affirmation. However, Christianity seems to require treating people with decency regardless of disapproval of their conduct. There should be no conflict.

I am going to jump ahead to the anti-LGBTQ bigotry which is expressed as the SPLC and LGBTQ people posing a danger to children:
Teaching Tolerance has many classroom resources on sexuality and gender. Sexual advocacy is a high priority for TT—most often without parental notification. Time and again in the TT materials, teachers and administrators are reminded NOT to share information with parents that would “out” a student’s sexuality or gender to their parents. SPLC executives have advised the use of Welcoming Schools, a project of the Human Rights Campaign. This LGBTQ program specializes on focusing on the very young student, grades K-6. If your local library or school library has an LGBTQ display of books for children, chances are a list from the Welcoming Schools website or the American Library Association was used as a guide.
FRC's authors cannot write a paragraph without dishonesty. Anti-bias advocacy is not “[s]exual advocacy.” FRC is suggesting that the SPLC is advocating for children to become gay or gender diverse. “Be afraid. Be very afraid!” The science is quite clear. Neither sexual orientation nor gender identity are subject to the influence of others.

Furthermore, according to the ACLU, school personnel do not have the right to “out” LGBTQ students to their parents. Legalities aside, schools have an ethical obligation to respect the privacy of students. If, for example, a gay kid's parents do not know that their child is gay, that is usually based on the child's fear. They know their parents better than the school does.

Furthermore, FRC is incorrectly conflating materials from other organizations they disapprove of with the Teaching Tolerance program.
Behold the bullshit
Teaching Tolerance’s Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students is a school climate guide that has been mailed to approximately 14,000 school districts in the country. The TT LGBTQ best practice guide includes information on how to have a “gender inclusive” school dress code. According to Teaching Tolerance “experts,” words like “respectable,” “revealing,” “provocative,” and “distracting” target identities instead of clothing; therefore, it is not a best practice. The advice provided by TT includes comprehensive and inclusive sexuality education listing National Sexuality Education Standards (another very official sounding but anti-family set of opinions about what children should know about sexual activity) as a resource; explains how teachers and administrators can be allies of youth who identify as LGTBQ; suggests integrating “Queer Voices” into the curriculum; provides DO’s and DON’T’s for managing a student who “comes out” to a teacher at school; and offers advice for managing objections from family members or anti-LGBTQ legal organizations. Teaching Tolerance’s hostility toward religion and faith is exposed in its frequent reminders that a person’s religion is not an excuse to bully people who identify as LGBTQ—thereby casting Christians as de facto bullies.
For the record, National Sexuality Education Standards is a project of HealthSmart which is part of etr. The K-5th Grade guide breaks it all down. Honestly, it does not encourage kindergarteners to have anal sex. There is nothing “anti-family” about any of the standards.

The fact that faith is not an excuse for bullying and intolerance — and it is not — is not an expression of “hostility towards religion and faith.” Furthermore this does not cast “Christians as de facto bullies.” That is just self-victimization in an effort to discredit the Southern Poverty Law Center. What they are essentially claiming is that they are the enemy of the SPLC which is why the SPLC is the enemy of Christians.

Family Research Council raises less money because it is designated as a hate group. That is why they want to discredit the SPLC. However, the SPLC operates like a credit bureau. They score organizations based on their conduct which is evidenced by the statements they make. If FRC does not want to be treated as a hate group then they should stop behaving like a hate group.

The folks at Family Research Council are incapable of introspection. This document, designed to discredit their designation as a hate group, provides ample evidence to support that designation.

The bottom line to all of this is that neither LGBTQ people nor the Southern Poverty Law Center pose a danger to either students or their parents. Teaching people to be kind to people who are different should be embraced by religious organizations.

Family Research Council promotes the idea that teaching kids to be kind causes them to become gay or transgender. Whether or not Tony Perkins, the hate group's leader, appreciates the absurdity of that meme is less relevant than whether or not they can convince parents of the existence of that imagined threat.

Teaching Tolerance would cease to exist if parents engaged in more critical thinking. I have found that kids are inherently kind to others. Being unkind is something that they have to be taught. They, in turn, may teach bigotry to other students.

This intolerance exists in parents who believe that sexuality is a choice. They may also believe that they are being victimized due to their faith. The sense of victimization and the false belief that kids choose to be gay or gender diverse is due, at least in part, to the promotion of these ideas by groups like Family Research Council.

For the year ended June 30, 2017 Tony Perkins was paid just over $250,000. Bigotry pays. Handsomely.

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