Candi Cushman

PFAW Report: The Anti-Gay Lobby’s Pro-Bullying Agenda

As students around the country participated Friday’s “Day of Silence” to show solidarity with bullied LGBT children and teens, anti-gay activists continued to step up their efforts to prevent schools from protecting bullied students.

A new report from People For the American Way details the efforts of right-wing activists and organizations to prevent school districts from implementing strong anti-bullying policies that protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived students.

The full report can be found online at: http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/updated-big-bullies-right-wings-anti-anti-bullying-strategies

“It’s no secret that anti-gay bullying is a growing problem in our schools,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Yet anti-gay activists are determined to keep parents, teachers and administrators from confronting the problem.

“It's almost unbelievable that there are organizations dedicated to opposing anti-bullying programs, but they're out there and stronger than ever. These groups are so determined to fight every step of progress for LGBT rights that they’re willing to hurt children and teens in the process. That’s just shameful.”

The new report supplements a PFAW investigation released last year, updating it with the latest activities of the anti-anti-bullying movement, including:

  • The Tennessee legislature moved forward on a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would prohibit teachers from discussing homosexuality.
  • Anti-gay groups fought anti-bullying measures in states across the country, including Arizona, Minnesota and West Virginia.
  • Prominent Religious Right groups rallied against the Day of Silence: the Family Research Council called it “a cover for the promotion of homosexuality,” the American Family Association accused it of “hijacking of the classroom for political purposes,” and Focus on the Family said it was all about “indoctrination.”
  • Several anti-gay activists blamed the gay rights movement for the suicides of LGBT teens.
  • Anti-gay groups attacked positive portrayals of LGBT teens in the show “Glee,” accusing the show of “radical homosexual promotion,” “deviant sexuality” and “demonic manipulation.”

Click here to read the full report.

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Focus on the Family Warns of Day of Silence 'Indoctrination,' 'Promoting Homosexuality and Transgenderism'

Religious Right activists are reviving their anti-anti-bullying campaign by attacking April 20th’s Day of Silence, an annual event when students protest bullying and anti-LGBT bias. Religious Right groups are once again promoting Focus on the Family’s Day of Dialogue, a counter event scheduled for the previous day. Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family on Friday joined Janet Mefferd to warn about how the Day of Silence “crosses the line in a lot of ways beyond bullying into indoctrination, just promoting homosexuality and transgenderism.” Mefferd, delighted that the Day of Dialogue would stand opposed to the “deluge” of “gay propaganda,” was especially startled by the idea that gay rights advocates wanted same-sex couples to be allowed to participate in proms.

Mefferd: I just love the idea of the Day of Dialogue because we do see so many Christian kids hearing gay propaganda and being deluged with this stuff. Let’s go back to the Day of Silence, now how long has this been around and how has this played itself out in the schools?

Cushman: It’s been around for a longtime, nearly a decade now. It started just as a group of college students, actually this was first intended for older students but now GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has done a good job of infiltrating this event all the way down to middle schools, sometimes even elementary I believe, and the event is now in I would say nearly 8,000 middle schools and high schools and some colleges today.

Mefferd: Wow. What goes on during the Day of Silence? Obviously they are silent and it’s all about bringing attention to the LGBT issues but how does it play itself out?

Cushman: Well they say it’s all about promoting safe schools and anti-bullying but if you look at what they actually encourage students and teachers to do it crosses the line in a lot of ways beyond bullying into indoctrination, just promoting homosexuality and transgenderism. For example they encourage teachers on this day to discuss LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender themes in the classroom, to have materials on homosexuality and transgenderism displayed, books about it in the classroom, they have encouraged students to lobby for things like a ‘queer friendly prom.’ So it really gets into transforming students into being actions for adult gay and lesbian causes.

Mefferd: Wait, queer friendly prom? Is that what I think it is?

Cushman: That’s their word. That any combination of genders can go to prom together. it’s a problem when you have these things endorsed by the school.

Focus's Cushman Slams Sex-Ed Standards for Promoting Respect for Gay Families, Dubs Bullying Prevention 'Homosexual Promotion'

Earlier this month, a coalition of health and education groups released new recommended guidelines for sex education in schools, which address topics including sexual orientation, birth control and bullying. The non-binding recommendations have not, unsurprisingly, been popular among the talking heads of the Religious Right.

On Wednesday, Candi Cushman of CitizenLink, Focus on the Familiy's political arm, joined Janet Mefferd to discuss the new guidelines and her displeasure that, among other things, they recommend teaching young children to “demonstrate respect for these different types of families,” a notion that Cushman insists is “undemocratic.”

Cushman: The important things for parents to understand is that these standards are supposed to start in kindergarten so at the elementary level students are going to start to be taught to ‘identify different types of family structures.’

Mefferd: Ugh.

Cushman: And then demonstrate respect for these different types of families. That’s basically codes for, ‘We’re going to teach your kids about same-sex marriage and homosexual relationships and this is an option worthy of being embraced just like heterosexual marriages and relationships.’ Not only are they going to be willing to embrace it but they’re going to respect it and they’re going to get that down by the second grade. So they will need to start that probably around kindergarten so they’ll have it down in their heads by second grade. That’s just one example of them dealing with the homosexuality topic.

Mefferd: Well and in most states we don’t have same-sex marriage, so why the need for that?

Cushman: Right, it’s totally undemocratic.

Mefferd and Cushman went on to discuss the recommendations for older students, including discussions of the proper use of contraception, which Cushman claims were designed by “left-wing, casual-sex activist groups,” and are not intended to promote public health.

As for the inclusion of discussions about bullying, Cushman insists bullying prevention is a Trojan Horse for gay rights groups: “They do have this agenda of inserting homosexuality promotion under the category of bullying and this is one way they go about that with these sexuality standards.”

Cushman has been the voice of CitizenLink's opposition to anti-bullying programs, which we wrote about in detail in a report last year.

Mefferd: I thought the whole purpose of sex-ed originally was to tell kids the birds and the bees, but now it’s flat-out indoctrination.

Cushman: Right, if you look at the material that the groups who did these standards put out it’s all about students’ sexual rights, their rights. The emphasis is not on prevention, avoiding disease and harm, it’s about ‘Oh let’s just reduce the risk, what are their rights?’ Its activism, it’s not about health. That’s why we shouldn’t just surrender our schools to left-wing, casual-sex activist groups.

Mefferd: I agree. I’m sure from what I read there’s this aspect of bullying. They love throwing that around, ‘We need to deal with the bullying issue and the gay bullying issue,’ even though bullying has been around since time immemorial for kids, from kids, for all sorts of reasons, not just the homosexual issue. But do they talk much about that? Are they framing it in terms of, ‘We got to talk about this stuff to stop the gay bullying’?

Cushman: Yes they do. In fact, I found that very interesting that they were titled sexually standards but they address bullying. I thought, now we’re just saying that bullying is sexualized now.

Mefferd: Wow.

Cushman: I really think that bullying should be its own category, not in sex-education. Bullying should be addressed as prevention, protecting all students no matter how they identify because they’re human beings, as I’ve explained many times before. So yeah, I found that an interesting part that they’re trying to mix those two, sex-education and bullying. But I think the reason they are mixing them is because they do have this agenda of inserting homosexuality promotion under the category of bullying and this is one way they go about that with these sexuality standards.
 

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