Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Suicides Of Ascher, Seth and Billy: Who's To Blame - The Bullies In the Schools Or The Bullies In The Pulpits?

My thanks to Wayne Besen for pointing out these tragedies
NEW YORK – Truth Wins Out expressed a sense of deep sorrow and loss as news of three gay teen suicides in September rocked the LGBT movement. In each case, the victim was a target of relentless harassment and bullying by school peers. Truth Wins Out blames the anti-gay industry and negligent school officials for creating a hostile climate that places lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students at risk for psychological abuse, violence and suicide.
Besen coined a phrase that stuck with me: "anti-gay industry." I never thought of homophobia as an industry. To me, it's been more of a movement to eradicate homosexuality and gays with what Rick Warren has retained as his motto:

"Whatever it takes."

Industry. Who profits? Well, take a look at thei industry's CEOs: Tony Perkins, Lou Engle, Scott Lively, Bryan Fischer, Franklin Graham, Harry Jackson, Pat Robertson, Rod Parsley, Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, Matt Staver, Lou Sheldon... to name a few. Each of them has a stake in the industry. If the entire nation turned around and accepted gays with open arms and equal rights would they still have jobs?

Wayne Besen is right in targeting schools in allowing bullies to flourish. Yet I think that other people have made the problem systemic: the anti-gay industry as defined by their leaders. If anyone is to be prosecuted, it's the CEOs like Engle, Perkins and Robertson. They not only abetted bullies throughout the country with their rhetoric, they 've refused to do anything about bullying, passing it off as just "kids will be kids" (kind of like Ann Coulter, when she termed waterboarding "no more than childhood hazing.").

Now, with the true scenarios being fleshed out, the fact that bullying kills is not debatable. However, Focus on the Family, differs in that IT DOES NOT CARE if gay kids commit suicide as long as other children are not affected.

Candi Cushman
... we’ve carefully documented how similar laws at the state level have already been used to undermine parental rights and marginalize individuals whose viewpoints are perceived as incorrect by homosexual advocacy groups

parents discovered that a “safe schools” training done at their elementary school went so far as to list “family values” and “faith systems” as “perceived obstacles.”
Here is a link to an Anderson Cooper 360 debate about the subject featuring Cushman (it's about 10 minutes long, but really worth it). Eliza Byard of GLSEN and author Rosalind Wiseman shine bright in their professional assertions concerning bullying kids who are perceived as gay, while Cushman waxes disingenuously about FOF wanting to protect "all" children, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation.  And if you watch the video below, you'll see the same fawning concern spew out "who cares if your fag kids commit suicide, just keep your fag hands off our kids."  

OK, not quite in those terms, but you get the picture.

Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council are now spearheading a campaign to stop passage of the bill Safe School Improvement Act which would aim to prevent bullying by providing sensitivity traning. They see it as a way for homosexuality to be considered a lergitimate lifestyle and a way for homosexuals to "recruit" kids. They also fear that anti-Christian sentiments will be imbued. 

They certainly don't have in mind kids like Seth, Billy and Ascher. Their deaths were mere hindrances to stopping the bill. Remember how much they campaigned against the Matthew Shepard Act. Homophobe Virginia Foxx looked the fool as she insulted Matt' s mother on the floor of the House. 

"Whatever it takes"

They will not be swayed by the accounts of bullying, either:
The bullying of [Ascher] Brown allegedly went on for over two years, and escalated the day before his suicide when he was pushed down a flight of stairs and had his book bag kicked open.
"Whatever it takes"

The two videos below will show you the results of bullying and Focus on The Family's take on the proposed bill. Let me know what you think. Candi lives up to her name - sugar-coating FOF's homophobia and glossing over the bullying that leads to teen suicides. 

I realize that it may be extreme to say that campaigning against the SAFE SCHOOLS IMPROVEMENT ACT is another form of "Kill A Queer For Christ," but the fact remains that these people care nothing about the teen suicides that have occurred.
Focus on the Family has tried to discredit GLSEN's efforts to make schools safe for all students since our founding in 1990. These most recent attempts show that, once again, Focus on the Family either doesn't know what it is talking about or simply don't care about addressing bullying, or both.
...In terms of LGBT youth, we certainly hope that Focus on the Family agrees that the current environment in which nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment each year in school is simply unacceptable. But we won't hold our breath.
In the interest of protecting gay teens and any teens who are ostracized by kids in school who see them as "different" and therefore worthy of contempt and physical harm, I am now urging everyone to support passage of The Safe School Improvement Act. Show your support by blogging, writing, networking, calling everyone about the bill. U.S. Senator Bob Casey responsible for it. Contact him with your support. Remember:

Whatever it takes

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