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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY - THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO BE
On Diversified Parenting, Children's Books, Moronic Idiots, and The Wonder That Is Roseanne 
29th-Apr-2006 11:31 am
Lawsuit challenges use of gay-themed storybook

Two couples who say a suburban school district undermined their parental rights by giving out and reading storybooks with gay themes without telling them first have filed a federal lawsuit against school officials.

The couples claim the officials broke state law, violated their civil rights, and were trying to teach their children about a lifestyle they consider immoral.

Lexington school superintendent Paul Ash said the schools have no agenda and have done nothing illegal.

Last month, Joseph and Robin Wirthlin objected when a teacher read a storybook about two princes who fall in love to their son's second grade class without notifying them.







[DIY News post format]
Okay, where do I even begin. This one's pretty clear cut for me, so the first thing I did before writing this up was to investigate. We're talking about white, upper-middle class looking Christian (can there really be any question as to their political affiliation?) people here, in Lexington, Massachusetts. Marinate on that for a minute before jumping to the obvious.

I was first interested in the questionable book itself. The name given to said atrocious scourge of literary filth is Who's In A Family? by Robert Skutch. You can see a hi-res cover shot of the book as well as read an excerpt on its Amazon.com listing. Fairly innocuous so far. Surely there had to be more going on than what appears here in a book that explains how some children are raised in single parent homes, some by grandparents, some by traditional opposite sex parents, some by multiracial parents, some by Kate & Allie/My Two Dads/Full House/Different Strokes same-sex parents, you get the idea. There's even a lesson plan offered by Scholastic, in case there were questions about how to present this book.

What? Nothing sexually charged or remotely explicit? Are you fucking kidding me with this? You mean there's no hidden issue of Honcho in there? No copy of The Homosexual Bible (Queen James & New Testament versions) cleverly wrapped in that watercolor & chalk cover? No Damron in case little Heather wants to book an Olivia Cruise for Mommy & "Mommy's friend"? None of that? Then WHAT.THE.FUCK???

My guess is that rather than take an opportunity to have someone else open a door for you as a parent, these ballbreaking bastards want to stifle any possible conversation feasible that might serve to illuminate. Here we have a golden shower opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and have an open, honest discussion about their own values and morals in relation to subjects like these that like it or not DO EXIST in the world. I suppose it would be one thing if a children's book was read in a public school that was oriented around families and more specifically around parents, even say exclusively heterosexual parents, and gave descriptions of sexual contact between the heterosexual consenting adult parents. Clearly, that is inappropriate. I personally wouldn't want my own children subject to such things, so we agree on that much of it. The reality herein is that in no way does this book address any kind of sexual issue OR politic, so I'm flummoxed as to how one takes issue with it. Is it really such a big deal to educate children on the different ways that families are made? Is there some kind of assimilation going on that is trying to legitimize behavior that some may find inappopriate? For that, you have to go to her royal uptightness, Michelle Malkin, and see just how we should feel collective shame for the treatment of this one particularly honorable, responsible parent. Responsible in this case being an unwillingness to simply keep his child home rather than subject them to questionable education practices and use that time to have the kind of conversation I alluded to earlier. Oh no - responsible, involved parenting according to Malkin is creating a scene at the school rather than opting for the obvious choice of keeping the child home on a day when subject matter didn't met their moral and ethical standards for propriety. Bear in mind, there is a lengthy email exchange between this parent and the school (see here) that leaves little in the way of doubt as to the school's position from a legal standpoint, yet it came to the moron getting arrested via his own stupidity. Plenty of Christian schools, and if you're that serious about it then there's always homeschooling, fucknut.

So we have to remove the issue of sex, which I agree would be inappropriate in an elementary school setting, even if it were about something as controversial as what heterosexuals might do with Mr. & Ms. Privacy. The larger issue for me is this constant push to sanitize everything possible into this neat, populistic, homogeneous bubble. Because THAT is the real world we ALL live in, no? Ignore it and it doesn't really exist? That's a fine way for parents to ensure that once their children get exposed to inevitable instances where they're forced to think for themselves, they'll come to realize just how completely full of shit Mom & Dad were. Many of those values will take a leap out of the first window, and they'll be lucky if resentment for the years of stifling doesn't come in to replace the chasm that will be left. Don't act like you you don't know what I'm talking about, this is all of us!

These "responsible parents" are the ones churning out children that play violent video games and have no respect for themselves, but hey - at least they've been told that two loving, responsible parents that don't happen to look a thing like Ozzie & Harriet are not a 'real' family. I call bullshit on that, if for no other reason than Ozzie & Harriet are completely mythological, always have been, and always will be. At no time in history was a family such as that one really normal or even common, for that matter. Many of you reading this don't even know who the fuck they were historically, and that's for good reason - because they never really existed even metaphorically for fuck's sake. My guess is that the average American family looks a lot more like Roseanne, historically. And you know what? That's fine with me. That I could deal with, I'd have done a Menendez brothers on the Nelsons had I been David or Ricky, if for no other reason than the fact that all that toile upholstery would be enough to get me acquitted on an insanity plea. Let's face it, you were a lot more protected under the afghan that graced the back of Dan & Roseanne Conner's sofa than you ever would have been under Harriet Nelson's apron.
Comments 
29th-Apr-2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
I love parents who object to teaching their kids about diversity and tolerance. But then I feel comfort in the fact that their kids will grow up to be f**ked-up teens.

Who knows, with karma and odds, they may be grandparents of kids or grand kids with an "alternate lifestyle."

As far as the typical American family, ironically I believe that title belongs to FOX Television... The Simpsons or Bundys (Married With Children) seem to be the true norm.
29th-Apr-2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
All in all, I hope the kids grow up better than generations before them. And as to the idea that Fox sets the standard for typical American families, SHAME ON YOU!!
2nd-May-2006 08:27 am (UTC)
But FUX also has American Dad, King of the Hill and Family Guy... how much more can a dysfunctional family get.
29th-Apr-2006 04:07 pm (UTC)
Not all Christians are hate mongers... just as not all Muslims are terrorists.
29th-Apr-2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
Absolutely - except the ones that are.
29th-Apr-2006 05:19 pm (UTC) - Give me liberty or give me death!
How very ironic that this lawsuit is going on in Lexington, MA, which calls itself "the birthplace of American Liberty" ...


29th-Apr-2006 08:33 pm (UTC) - Re: Give me liberty or give me death!
...for W.A.S.P.s
29th-Apr-2006 09:02 pm (UTC) - Still true today
I came across this quote from Sojourner Truth today from 1867 ...

American Democracy has interpreted the Declaration of Independence in the interest of slavery, restricting suffrage and citizenship to a white male minority.


source:

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/collections/naw/history.html
29th-Apr-2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
While not being gay myself I suppose I don't have the passion you do about these issues. I'm sorry but, the parents have a point. It should be their choice on when and if a "opportunity for parents to sit down with their children and have an open, honest discussion about their own values and morals in relation to subjects like these" should take place. Just as who is to tell the gay parents it is wrong to teach their children that Jesus doesn't exist, for example. "Freedom of speech" isn't just a way to engender enlightening discussion, unfortunately it is also a way to protect ignorance. The school district was right in it's wanting to expand young minds. As times have it though, the acceptance through omission is as good as it's going to get in grade school.
29th-Apr-2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
But then you have to consider the case where this book (or one like it) is read to the kids. If there was no mention whatsoever about same-sex parents in a book about the different types of families, what will the kid(s) who do have same-sex parents think? That'd be pretty awkward for them, I'd imagine.

One solution would be to stop talking about anything controversial in schools--and that'd be a pretty poor solution, in my opinion (especially since everyone is offended by something different). I think a better solution is if the parents don't trust the school to teach things correctly, pull them out of the school and put them in a school they do trust (or just teach them at home).
29th-Apr-2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
I love you, Janine!
29th-Apr-2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
Very true. Though hard to say, that is going to be the same position in that child's life through out their life. Also that goes back to my statement of the parent's stepping in and explaining things to their children. It does not stop at the cookie cutter heterosexual parents. I don't believe that the level of education we are talking about needs this kind of controversy do you? Here's a snip of the story:

"David Parker was jailed last year after he refused to leave a school when officials declined to exclude his 6-year-old son from discussions of gay parents."

His 6-year-old son. His 6-year-old son. His 6-year-old son.
29th-Apr-2006 08:50 pm (UTC)
Fair enough, but aside from the area of religion belonging in the church and not the classroom, nothing short of homeschooling is going to meet certain standards for acceptable curriculum across the board. You've hit the nail on the head about this sort of thing protecting ignorance, it's the same argument I've had countless times about offensive language and/or profanity - who does it really, seriously wound in the long run? It's such a ridiculous, antiquated notion that things like this are going to cause any real damage, whether literally or metaphorically.
29th-Apr-2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
I don't think that people are really afraid of "damage". I think that they are afraid that their children are going to recieve less than standard upbringing. It is my belief that people wish to have their children experience life in certain ways that fit into the "Nuclear Family"'s version of child rearing. That is being said for the more normal people. I for one do not wish for my 8 year old to have to wonder about the public or political slant on their sexuality. Gay or straight I believe children should let themselves discover who they are for themselves. As of right now the United States of America is not ready for Big Gay Al in the classroom.
30th-Apr-2006 07:18 am (UTC)
While 6 years olds don't need to be educated about sex (a subject that they probably have no conception of anyway), the concepts of parents and family are very real to them. They may very well have friends who have two dads or mommies (or only one, for that matter), and need to understand that "that's OK", regardless of their own parents' belief of the suitability of the subject. It doesn't matter whether you're a Christian fundamentalist and believe that all gay people are going to hell - the reality is that there ARE gay families and their children go to the same schools, so wishing it doesn't exist doesn't make it go away.

I also find such protestations to be excessively histrionic. The Bible is constantly railing against idolatry and false religion, but has very relatively little to say about homosexuality. Yet you don't see Christian parents screaming about the inclusion of Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Atheist families in such books.
30th-Apr-2006 02:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, the concept of family is not foreign to them. I don't think you understand how much you just contradicted yourself. It does matter if you're a Christian fundamentalist and believe that gays are going to Hell. That's your choice. It's also you're choice to teach your children "that's not OK". As i said before: "'Freedom of speech' isn't just a way to engender enlightening discussion, unfortunately it is also a way to protect ignorance." I believe that morals should be taught at home as much as possible. They are not ignoring the matter. They are saying the matter is wrong. That's the beauty and at the same time the ugly of the American system.
30th-Apr-2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
What I was saying is that those Christian Fundamentalists "who do protest too much" over this issue are being inconsistent (and I have some personal knowledge of this, since I had considered myself a Christian fundamentalist for almost a quarter century) - they believe gays are going to hell; they also believe that divorcees are going to hell, and non-Christians are going to hell. But you don't see them screaming about books that talk about divorced parents, or non-Christian parents - only gay parents. Why should they want to protect their children against this one specific kind of damnable sin while letting the others slide? If they pick and choose at the smorgasbord of beliefs, they are not really fundamentalist at all.

If they railed against all three, I might disagree with the appropriateness of it, but I could not deny the consistency of it. As it is, I see their unequal choice as being logically inconsistent.

As an American (well, a Canadian living in America anyway), I cannot complain about their right to their own beliefs. However, as a fellow Christian, I can complain about the inconsistency of their beliefs (if you wear the label, you are subject to being judged according to the meaning of the label, especially by your peers).
30th-Apr-2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
It's also you're choice to teach your children "that's not OK".
No, it's really fucking not, because their rights supersede your rights as regards their education. Moreover, even if you believe that it's your right to teach your children that homosexuality is immoral, that still doesn't mean that it's your right to prevent anyone else from teaching them otherwise.
1st-May-2006 03:27 am (UTC)
Who decides what morals are taught to who's chilren? The parents that's who. You can't tell me that you'd approve of some one else teaching your child something that you are against. Much like some one teaching your child that blacks are an inferior race. Of course that is

because their rights supersede your rights as regards their education.

Actually, as a matter of fact, they don't. Ask a lawyer to research child rights. The only way that you can prevent a parent's is if it can be shown that the child is being abused mentally. How wonderful it would be if we could protect all of our children from ignorance and prejudice. The reality of the situation is that we can't. Parent's as of now are responsible for moral upbringing of their children. I believe that this is rightly so. Don't you?

As to your remark that it's not my right to prevent some one else from teaching my child something that I believe is morally reprehensible. Who's is it?
1st-May-2006 04:28 am (UTC)
You can't tell me that you'd approve of some one else teaching your child something that you are against.
Of course not. On the other hand, I'd disapprove equally of someone teaching someone else's child the same thing.

Much like some one teaching your child that blacks are an inferior race.
Ah, but that view is wrong.

Actually, as a matter of fact, they don't. Ask a lawyer to research child rights.
So we're talking about law now? Funny, I thought we were talking about rights.

The only way that you can prevent a parent's is if it can be shown that the child is being abused mentally.
And you don't consider it mental abuse to indoctrinate a child with reprehensible doctrines? How odd.

How wonderful it would be if we could protect all of our children from ignorance and prejudice. The reality of the situation is that we can't.
Really? Seems to me, we haven't properly tried.

Parent's as of now are responsible for moral upbringing of their children. I believe that this is rightly so. Don't you?
Not at all.

As to your remark that it's not my right to prevent some one else from teaching my child something that I believe is morally reprehensible. Who's is it?
It's the child's right not to be taught anything reprehensible, whether by you or by anyone else.
1st-May-2006 03:39 pm (UTC)
I think you are missing the point. This entire problem is perception not was is actually right or wrong.

Of course not. On the other hand, I'd disapprove equally of someone teaching someone else's child the same thing.
So, why are you for this? Even though you don't view this as wrong other people do. Their opinions matter just as much as yours do they not? Do you not find hypocritical that you do not hold yourself to the same standards in other's beliefs that you hold yourself?

So we're talking about law now? Funny, I thought we were talking about rights
They are one and the same. Laws are created to protect basic and supplementary rights. In order to attack the rights of others or to change them you must go through rights.

Really? Seems to me, we haven't properly tried.
That doesn't change how things are now does it? As long as there have been children and parents there has been things parents didn't want their children knowing or discovering. Ignorance, hate, and intolerance is out there aplenty. We as a society can't cover it all up without imposing ourselves on others. If we were to do that then we'd just be as bad as they are. I for one do not wish to become the monster that I loathe.

Not at all.
Please, please, please tell me you are just being silly and arguementative now. That you couldn't possibly be serious when you took the time to type this response. Who, in all of God's green earth should be responsible for their child's morals? This is a scarey world you are envisioning.

It's the child's right not to be taught anything reprehensible, whether by you or by anyone else.
You didn't answer my question so again I'll pose it to you. "As to your remark that it's not my right to prevent some one else from teaching my child something that I believe is morally reprehensible. Who's is it?" Let's say it's something like, "Gays are going to Hell". Now, as a parent to your child. It is not your right/responsibility to jump down that person's throat?




29th-Apr-2006 06:39 pm (UTC)
homogeneous bubble

Mmmm ... wouldn't that be a "HETEROgenous bubble?"

(Sorry, mate. Couldn't resist.)
29th-Apr-2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
ACK!
29th-Apr-2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
29th-Apr-2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Right you are, corrected. It would have been even more typical had it been KY, though.
29th-Apr-2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
The whole fifties wholesome Ozzie & Harriet way of life that seems to be the way some of the fundie types want the US to be right now is the very thing that gave birth to the various rebellious movements in the sixties. You can't expect to be so narrow minded and repressive without consequences. Karma is a bitch.
29th-Apr-2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
I concur!
29th-Apr-2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
I'd really love to see these asshats succeed in their lawsuit - because of the wonderful precedent it would set. Then every non-traditional couple would be able to sue and force the removal of every other work of fiction from K-12. Romeo & Juliet? Sorry, promotes the heterosexual agenda, and I don't want my kids to be subjected to that. Pride & Prejudice? Nope, gotta go. Dick & Jane? Outta here. All this so-called literature is really just a way of brainwashing my kids straight, and I need 50 million dollars to offset this pain & suffering.

But then, I hated English classes. Almost as much as these parents seem to hate their kids. Who in the hell would want to deprive their kids of knowledge of basic reality? Do they think this will make them better-adjusted when they grow up? Is it a good idea to discuss your ideas of morality with them when they're young & impressionable, or just to hope that your ineffective blinders will somehow still work when they move out on their own and are feeling rebellious? Or, and the world is sure to end with this one, if your child actually IS gay/les/bi/trans, what happens then? Years of psychological damage and shame, wondering why they don't fit in with the tiny piece of the world their parents have allowed them to know about, before they end up listening to the hormones inside them anyway.
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