crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
The religious right continues their attack on Kevin Jennings, President Obama's director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
After everything else they have thrown at him, the new thing is silly. From the Washington Post's religion blog:
Christian conservatives are up in arms over the appointment of Kevin Jennings as “safe schools czar.” Or, more technically, director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.
Why the fuss? Well, it seems that Jennings wrote a remarkably frank book in 2007, “Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son: A Memoir,” where he said some rather explicit things about homosexuality and some nasty things about God:
What had He done for me other than make me feel shame and guilt? Squat. Screw you buddy–I don't need you around anymore, I decided.” For years, he says in his book, he “reacted violently to anyone who professed any kind of religion.”
Cue the controversy.
Americans for Truth About Homosexuality calls him a “vicious, anti-religious bigot.” Catholic League President Bill Donohue calls Jennings' remarks about homosexuality and God “perverse.” The Family Research Council has launched a “Stop Kevin Jennings” campaign, saying he is a “radical homosexual activist.”
So Jennings has ugly words for God while having to deal with his sexual orientation . . . just like a lot of lgbts.
I guess if doubting God is reason to dismiss Jennings, then a lot of folks, along with lgbts, should be fired from their jobs.
The attacks on Jennings's reputation have ranked from the sublime (he said mean things about the religious right, he uses profanity) to downright ugly (he believes that children should be taught about gay sexual intercourse, he didn't tell the authorities about an alleged relationship between a supposedly underaged young man and an adult).
But this has to be the dumbest.
I hear there are now videos of him squeezing the Charmin and pulling tags off of mattresses. And if that doesn't cause a reaction, the religious right have witnesses who can place him at the grassy knoll on that fateful day in November of 1963.
Give me a break, people.
The most ironic thing is that these folks are implying that Jennings has indoctrinated children, i.e. turning them from God.
But if children and adults for that matter are being turned away from God because of this situation with Jennings, then maybe it's because they are bothered by the behavior of those claiming to be acting in God's service.
Since when is self-righteous and hypocritical character assasinations tenents of God's work? I never heard Jesus talking about tripping up your fellow man with lies and innuendo.
It's a lesson so bizarre that it sounds like an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents – the surprise ending being that the devils are the ones pretending to have the halos and wings.
The bottom line – Kevin Jennings is a good man whose struggle with his sexual orientation led him to found an organization that helped a great number of lgbt children with their struggles.
In any normal society, he would be hailed as hero.
I've written a lot about Jennings and the personal attacks against him; so much so that no doubt some folks may start asking questions about why I am so personally bothered by this story.
Well let me put it succinctly – it is very important to me that lgbt children be physically and psychologically protected so that they can grow into responsible adults.
If GLSEN had been around when I was in school, then maybe a person whom I loved dearly would be alive right now.