You can quote statistics all day about the divorce rate, child abuse, the drug epidemic, the rising tide of violence in our society. But sometimes you can get a better glimpse of the ethical depths to which our nation has plummeted by examining some individual stories.
Yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle carried two such reports that, each in their own way, are illustrative of America’s advanced stage of moral decay.
On May 1, 11-year-old Heather Trelow sat in her Amelia Earhart Elementary School classroom in Alameda, Calif., and listened to her teacher, Victoria Forrester, lead a discussion about the virtues of the previous night’s “coming out” episode of the ABC TV show “Ellen.”
After praising the program and the lead character as “proud and brave,” the teacher asked the children if they agreed with her. Heather was one of only three kids who did not raise their hands. You can imagine how uncomfortable the youngster was when interrogated in class about why she disagreed.
Is this education, or is it indoctrination? Heather’s parents believe it was the latter. They pulled her out of the school and are asking the state to revoke the license of the fifth-grade teacher.
“The teacher told my daughter later, ‘I know how your parents are raising you, but you need to be open to other points of view,’” said Mike Trelow, Heather’s father, an avowed Christian who believes homosexual activity is immoral.
Excuse me, Ms. Forrester, but if anyone needs to open herself up to other points of view, it’s you! How dare someone charged by the state with the responsibility of educating impressionable 11-year-old minds resort to such brainwashing?
And I say this with the full knowledge that this case is not unusual. In fact, my own children have had similar experiences in government schools. Ms. Forrester is hardly unique, though, she certainly ought to be stripped of her teaching credentials. The administrators who have apologized for her behavior ought to be next. And the recall process should be warmed up for those Board of Education members who have publicly determined that this case actually represents an invasion of their turf by right-wing Christian zealots.
“My sense is that this is larger than Alameda,” said board member Christine Allen. “Alameda is the type of community right-wing and religious-right groups go after.”
Somebody get a net and drop it over that woman’s head. Here is a story of a concerned parent simply watching out for his daughter’s best interests and trying to shape her moral character without interference from the government morality police — people like Ms. Allen and Ms. Forrester.
Think about it. That’s what they are. They think they’re open-minded, but yet they are totally intolerant of other people’s viewpoints.
It’s the Ms. Allens and Ms. Forresters of the world that have left our society in a moral shambles. And that’s where our second story of the day comes in. Because when the state goes to war with parents like the Trelows, it encourages parents like those in the following “future shock” story.
In nearby Redwood City, we have a 13-year-old boy who has been permitted to be “sexually active” since he was 11. He’s been victimizing little girls his own age for more than two years.
His mother, claiming she was concerned about her boy’s intimacy with “girls off the street,” decided to set him up with her 38-year-old girlfriend, Deborah Fowler. The boy told police he agreed to have sex with Fowler at least once a week and sometimes three or four times a week. In December, police said the mother joined the two in bed.
The mother and Fowler eventually became estranged because the boy and the 38-year-old would not end their relationship. The boy told police he loved Fowler. Both Fowler and the mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of her son, were charged with child molestation. Fowler was also charged with oral copulation with a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child.
These two stories really present us with a choice. Which way do you want to go, America? Back toward the solid ground of Judeo-Christian traditions or down the slippery slope of licentiousness and moral relativism?