Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Only months after a new state law effectively banned “mom” and “dad” from California schools, 600,000 students soon could be following them out the door because of what has been described as the “repudiation” of 2,000 years of Christian morality, according to leaders of a new campaign assembling education alternatives.
The campaign is called California Exodus and is being headed by Ron Gleason, pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Yorba Linda, who said while the country excels in social, economic, scientific and political accomplishments, it “gets low grades on the education of its children.”
The issue is the state legislature’s adoption of Senate Bill 777, which requires only positive portrayals of homosexual, bisexual, transgender and other alternative lifestyle choices.
“First, the law allowed public schools to voluntarily promote homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality. Then, the law required public schools to accept homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual teachers as role models for impressionable children. Now, the law has been changed to effectively require the positive portrayal of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality to six million children in California government-controlled schools,” said Randy Thomasson, chief of the Campaign for Children and Families and one of those who originally called for an abandonment of public schools.
“To rescue their children, loving parents need to find an alternative to government schools, and every church needs to make it a priority to help parents be in charge of their children’s education again,” he said.
He has condemned public school districts as “no longer a safe emotional environment for children” under the new law, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, that will introduce children as young as kindergarten to the homosexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices.
The law itself technically bans in any school texts, events, class or activities any discriminatory bias against those who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles, Meredith Turney, legislative liaison for Capitol Resource Institute, said.
There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits.
“SB 777 will result in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values. These students have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s unbelievable decision. The terms ‘mom and dad’ or ‘husband and wife’ could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured,” she said.
Karen England, chief of CRI, told WND that the law is not a list of banned words, including “mom” and “dad.” But she said the requirement is that the law bans discriminatory bias and the effect will be to ban such terminology.
“Having ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ or include everything when talking about [parental issues],” she said. “They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory.”
Thomasson told WND private schools and homeschools will be the only sanctuaries left for California parents who love their children and want to protect their sexual innocence.”
Members of the coalition include the Exodus Mandate, which advocates Christian education for children, as well as Eagle Forum, whose president, Phyllis Schlafly, said there has been a great campaign to reform public schools, but it’s been unsuccessful.
“SB777 and the related legislation represent a repudiation of 2,000 years of Christian moral teaching on human sexuality, marriage, and the family. The result is that California’s schools are now promoting behaviors and lifestyles that are physically and spiritually dangerous for children,” she said.
Bruce Shortt, the author of “The Harsh Truth About Public Schools” and a board member for Exodus Mandate, said Christians already are “numb” to the moral relativism in public schools.
“Now children will be told that their sexual orientation and gender are relative, too. No longer will children raised in these schools understand that God made us male and female with different, but complementary roles. Instead, children will be taught that sexual orientation and gender are merely a matter of personal choice,” he said.
“Thus, children will be told that because there are many sexual orientations and gender identities, they simply have to reach their own conclusions about which sexual orientation and gender ‘possibilities’ are ‘right for them.’ Along with this will come the message that you really can’t tell whether you like something unless you have tried it. The likely consequences of this for children, the institution of the family, our churches, and our culture are horrendous,” he said.
Chaplain E. Ray Moore Jr., chief of the Exodus Mandate, said the program’s goal is the put into place programs and resources that will “successfully extract 600,000 students from public schools this year.”
He said that’s about 10 percent of the California public school student population, and that would align with the percentage of the population that claims an affiliation with evangelical Christianity.
“Obviously we would hope all the children would go,” he said.
“This is such an egregious offense against a Holy God, if the believers will stand up and act boldly, perhaps in God’s mercy, we’re seeking and asking for a Jericho type
moment, that there will be some sudden shifting away from reforming public schools toward a Christian education,” he said.
Shortt said the campaign plans to enlist help from pastors and churches as well as parents, with explanations that there are a multitude of options that are not expensive. Those include homeschooling coops, Internet-based curriculums that offer churches turn-key academic programs and others. DVD-based programs also are available, as well as satellite programs.
In many such scenarios, he said, “churches need only provide a place, someone to be there and make sure the children are safe and on task.”
Prices would range from $600 to $1,800 per student per year, depending on the options, he said, significantly less than the thousands that tuition to a private Christian school could cost.
Shortt, along with several others, have submitted resolutions to the Southern Baptist Convention several times recommending home- and church-based school options.
Said Pastor Wiley Drake, at the time second vice president of the SBC’s executive Committee, “Christians generally need to plan a Christian educational future for our children. … Anyone who thinks that a few hours of youth group and church will have more influence on a child’s faith and worldview than 40 to50 hours a week of public school classes, activities and homework is simply not being honest with himself.
“Second, the open collaboration between homosexual activists and many school districts, together with the overall level of crime and violence in the public schools, makes the public schools an unsafe place for our children,” he said.
Moore told WND that advisers have warned him of the high danger from California’s plan.
“They will take and expose little children down in first, second grade, down in kindergarten, images of homosexual behavior and this kind of conduct,” the adviser warned. “This has the potential to thoroughly corrupt several million children in California schools.”
Officials with the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the Transgender Law Center already have outlined what they believe to be nondiscriminatory treatment in the school system.
“If you want to use a restroom that matches your gender identity … you should be allowed to do so,” the groups advise. “Whenever students are divided up into boys and girls, you should be allowed to join the group or participate in the program that matches your gender identity as much as possible.”
Further, the groups advise, “If you change your name to one that better matches your gender identity, a school needs to use that name to refer to you.” The advocacy group also warns schools against bringing parents into any such discussion with students.
The California plan still is facing a court challenge on its constitutionality and a possible vote of the people of California if an initiative effort succeeds.