Take for example the recent case involving the Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota. FRC does not like the recent lawsuit settlement the school district agreed to and gives a very inaccurate rendition what led up to it:
If anyone deserves to be on the national “hate group” list, it’s the organization that claims to be in charge of it! Anyone who had doubts about Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) credibility has been proven right after the group named a local parents group to its ridiculous catalog of “haters.” According to SPLC, the Anoka-Hennepin Parents Action Team belongs in the same league as white supremacists because they asked a Minnesota school district to keep a policy of neutrality on homosexuality! During a long debate over Anoka-Hennepin’s bullying policy, six students sued the district with SPLC’s help, demanding that schools void the rule on homosexuality and move from impartiality to full acceptance. When the community opposed the decision, SPLC involved the U.S. Justice Department (which apparently has nothing better to do than team up with SPLC to harass a local school board).
Ultimately, the district capitulated and agreed to a five-year anti-bullying partnership with DOJ. Now, to punish parents–whose only request is that schools don’t undermine the values they teach at home–SPLC is attempting to silence the group. Clearly, SPLC is not the independent arbiter that liberals make it out to be. On one hand, they advocate for homosexuality, and on the other, they try to stigmatize and marginalize the opposition. It’s like giving SPLC the chance to referee and play in the same game!
What’s even more disturbing is the DOJ’s role in all of this. What authority does it have to barge in and exert pressure on a school district when there is no federal discrimination statute for sexual orientation?
That’s the Family Research Council’s spin of the lawsuit settlement and it’s a spin which ignores several facts.
From The Slate:
In the last few years, LGBT and gender-bending students in the Anoka-Hennepin district have reported being mocked, urinated on, and physically harmed by their classmates, and nine students, four of whom identified as gay, took their own lives. In 2011, six students represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights sued the school district, which serves 39,000 students and is represented in Congress by Michele Bachmann. The students’ lawsuit described an “epidemic of anti-gay and gender-based harassment within District schools” that was “rooted in and encouraged by official District-wide policies singling out and denigrating LGBT people.” The Obama Justice Department investigated and found that sex-based harassment was creating a “hostile environment,” because the physical and verbal bullying was severe and pervasive. At first, the school board stood by a curriculum policy passed in 2009, which on paper instructed teachers to “remain neutral” about sexual orientation and in practice operated as a gag order. Teachers were required to refrain from saying that being gay is not a choice, even if they were quoting the position of the American Psychological Association. When history teachers included gay rights in a unit about how the strategies of the black civil rights groups influenced subsequent movements, the district deleted the reference. For a staff diversity training session, the district rejected a book called How Homophobia Hurts Children because it did not “include an opposing viewpoint.” The schools also scrubbed LBGT support services, like a gay and lesbian helpline, from the list of health resources given to students. And a conservative Christian parents’ group called the Parents Action League pushed for teaching gay students about “reparative therapy”—how to root out their homosexuality—by promoting groups that treat it as a sin against the will of God. In 2010 the head of the group told the Minnesota Independent that LGBT students had killed themselves not because of bullying, but because of “homosexual indoctrination” and their own “unhealthy lifestyle.”
That’s the true story of the lawsuit settlement, the one FRC chose to distort. Furthermore FRC omits the real reason why the Anoka-Hennepin Parents Action League (FRC even got the name of the group wrong) was named to be a hate group by SPLC:
The group was listed for the way it defames and demonizes gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, said Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s quarterly Intelligence Project.
Specifically, Beirich said the group advocates resources and ideas that claim “homosexuals are promiscuous, dysfunctional, unhealthy and harmful to public health.
“In other words, this group is putting out ugly propaganda about this population,” she said.
She said the center spent months
So basically, in its attack of the Anoka-Hennepin lawsuit settlement, FRC omitted the following facts:
1. The district had a serious problem in regards to the bullying of gay students
2. Nine students – four who identified as gay – had committed suicide because of bullying
3. The policy FRC lauded, the neutrality policy, was causing more harm to the plight of gay students
4. The organization which FRC lauded, the Anoka-Hennepin Parents Action League, was causing chaos and doing things which exacerbated the situation, including demanding that schools teach students “ex-gay” therapy, which by the way is not advocated by no major medical organization or association.
How much does anyone want to bet that Tony Perkins and FRC are well aware of these facts but chose to omit them?
What would Jesus do, indeed?