Sunday, July 01, 2018

Familiar Names

When we see law suits over our rights there is a good chance that the legal firm handling the case is one of a couple firms that specializes in claiming that people of “faith” can bully others.
Student LGBTQ YouTube Project Angers Litigious Religious Group
By Fruzsina Eordogh
June 30, 2018

An April 27th morning announcement at Emmaus High School in Pennsylvania may go down as the most controversial high school morning announcement in history… because of the YouTube videos students incorporated.

Every year, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) raises awareness of the bullying LGBTQ students still face with The Day of Silence, an annual tradition that encourages just that, a vow of silence among students. This year, it fell on April 27th, where students at Emmaus thought it would be a good idea to play some anti-bullying YouTube videos to the school as well. 

Conservative parents are outraged, claiming their parental rights have been violated and that their children were subjected to homosexual “propaganda.” One parent alleged his son felt “bullied” because he was heterosexual. A school board meeting last Monday was packed and heated, with one student telling local paper The Morning Call he was called a homophobic slur for helping curate said YouTube videos at a prior school board meeting.
And who butts into the fray?
Then this week, the Liberty Counsel, a non-profit group that offers legal aid and assists in lawsuits related to Evangelical values, stepped into the fray with a bizarre letter to the school demanding all public records related to the morning announcement and the links to the videos used in the student project. One of the videos is a CBS report. Another is the Buzzfeed video “9 Questions Gay People Have About Straight People.” Yet another is a YouTube Spotlight video that has been viewed more than 3 million times. There is nothing stopping conservative parents from watching these videos with their children at home, so the letter comes off as disingenuous, at best. “Parents have the right to know the exact nature of the special-interest propaganda their children have been subjected to when at school,” wrote Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, in the letter.
But the school stands fast and refused to give over the students’ classwork, claiming to do so would violate federal law.
The school refused to comply on the grounds that "a parent or member of the public has no right to view or access a student's term paper, speech, or multimedia project just because he or she objects to the topic.”
In an interview on WFMZ-TV 69
"Would the school allow the opposite view to be presented to the students?" asked Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania.

Emmaus High School student Aidan Levinson says the idea that the videos forced the gay lifestyle onto heterosexual students couldn't be further from the truth.
“It is against our religion not to be able to discriminate!” if you stop and think that it what they are arguing is  that they should be able to hide behind religion to bully and harass others who don’t believe in what they believe. But what about those religions that believe it is wrong to discriminate, are not their religious beliefs being violated by the religious zealots?

I remember one LGBT conference where they had workshops about affirming churches and a “family” association complained to the state because the conference received state funding. The conference organizers offered to have workshops about non-affirming churches but the “family” association didn’t like that idea.

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