A campaign has been launched in Montgomery County, Md., to classify the speech of advocates for people who choose to leave the homosexual lifestyle as “hate speech,” which then could be banned under a new law signed last year by President Obama.
“Hate speech is unwelcome in Montgomery County Public Schools,” said an e-mail to the offices of Regina Griggs, national director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, known as PFOX. “I would like to ask that you immediately cease distribution of your flyers at our public schools.
“We intend to pursue every method possible to protest your actions if you choose to continue,” the message warned.
The conflict was sparked by competing flyers distributed recently to public school students, one from PFOX, which reaches out to all those leaving the homosexual lifestyle regardless of religious affiliation, and the other from the homosexual-rights group PFLAG, or Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
The PFLAG flyer said if “homosexual” students can’t talk to their family members, “there are still people you can talk to.”
The homosexual-rights group told the students, “Some religions still condemn homosexuality, but others are completely affirming. … Metro DC PFLAG can refer you to information specific to your own religion, including local gay-friend congregations.
“People who are gay, lesbian or another minority sexual orientation are part of the normal range of humanity,” the flyer said.
WND has reported on Obama’s “hate crimes” plan, which was adopted by Congress after Democrats piggy-backed it onto a defense appropriations bill.
The law was targeted just days ago by a lawsuit alleging it violates the civil rights of Christians and pastors, who according to the complaint now can become the target of federal investigations, grand juries and even charges for no more than opposing the activism of homosexuals.
Part of the PFLAG flyer offering help for students who want to pursue a homosexual lifestyle
The lawsuit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of Pastors Levon Yuille, Rene Ouellette, James Combs and Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan.
In Montgomery County, the second flyer, from PFOX, explained “former homosexuals do not think something is wrong with them because they decided to fulfill their heterosexual potential by overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions.”
The flyer from PFOX offered resources to help with “tolerance for everyone regardless of sexual orientation” for parents and students such as event speakers, books for libraries and brochures.
It said, “No one should be labeled based on the perception of others. Get smart! Explore the origins of your same-sex attraction. … The decision of a prom date, a car, or whether to super-size those fries can be based on a feeling, but important decisions should not be made on feelings alone.”
One e-mail to PFOX, purportedly from a member of the county school district staff, said, “It is called freedom of speech unless it is hate-based and you people are sadly full of only that, hate.”
“You say we are not being ‘tolerant’ of ex-gays … and PFOX says it is not anti-gay … yet you people seem to HATE anything and everything that has to do with the way God wanted gay people,” the note continued. “Separation of church and state … read the U.S. Constitution.”
The note said, “You people are like the KKK but only in the form of religion … you should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Part of the PFOX flyer offering help for students who want to leave a homosexual lifestyle
PFOX already has raised the issue with the district’s board of directors, noting, “while distributing informative flyers to students and urging tolerance for sexual orientation, PFOX was harassed by several teachers. … ”
Griggs told WND she’s concerned about the attempt to define organization’s speech as “hate speech,” which could prompt the attention of federal prosecutors.
“What we have is people saying, ‘I’m gay and I don’t like what your said,’” she told WND, “‘and I’m going to sue you.’”
At a pro-homosexual website called change.org, signatures are being gathered for a letter to the district opposing the free speech of PFOX officials.
“Handing out these [flyers] to students is damaging. In the first place it tells LGBT students that they should desire to change their sexual orientation. In the second place, it reaffirms for many the stereotypes that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is unnatural, or something that can be easily changed or manipulated,” the letter states.
“There’s no place for these [flyers] in Montgomery County Public Schools, or in any public schools. I would like … a statement that your school district will pledge to institute a process whereby [flyers] that are not based on facts – in this case scientific facts about sexual orientation – won’t be handed out to students,” the letter said.
At the web page’s forum, contributors were nearly unanimous in condemning PFOX’s brochure:
- People die as a result of these (ex-”gay”) programs. They are a threat to public health.
- This is why you cant (sic) give religious people even a nanometer because they take a friggen Astronomical Unit.
- Whenever any young gay/lesbian decides to end their lives via suicide – groups like this need to know that they have blood on their hands!!
- The county has one of the most comprehensive non-discrimination and anti-hate speech policies in the country. You’d think telling gay teenagers they can magically turn straight would fall under that.
- Free speech does not mean that groups such as PFOX should be permitted to distribute incorrect and demeaning information like this to high school students.
- There is no excuse for this. There should be an ethical policy your school can use to stop these flyers. … Telling people they can change something (sic) cannot, that uses guilt, shame, and fear, IS hate speech.
Griggs told WND her organization has watched the attacks increase since Obama took office and implemented an agenda friendly to homosexual causes.
“What it has done … we have become the targets. They feel justified. They feel protected,” she said.
But she noted a Washington judge has ruled homosexuality is not immutable, so the attacks are just “unadulterated hate.”
“I have never seen the likes of this,” she said.
In the change.org commentary, the author wrote, “While the school district was required in 2006 to begin distributing outside organizations’ propaganda on a quarterly basis, that order did not include the propaganda of hate groups. … the MCPS does not wish to confront the obvious truth that PFOX is a hate group.”
Another e-mail warned PFOX that “Hitler was a devout Christian and most Christian and evangelical religious groups are actively taking a page from his writings. … It breaks my heart that so many Christians thoughtlessly want an American version of the Taliban.”
Said yet another, “I feel that telling students not to discriminate against the ex-gay community is hurtful. … The ex-gay community should be the least of anyones (sic) concerns.”
Another who identified himself as a teacher in the district said, “Homophobia is the problem for gay-related issues, not being gay. … Stay out of our schools and leave our children alone!”
Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center, said at the time the lawsuit over the “hate crimes” law was filed, “There is no legitimate law enforcement need for this federal law. Of the 1.38 million violent crimes reported in the U.S. by the FBI in 2008, only 243 were considered as motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. Moreover, [Attorney General] Eric Holder himself testified at a Senate hearing that the states are doing a fine job in this area.”
He called it a “political payoff” to homosexual advocacy groups for support of Obama in the last presidential election.
“The sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin. It elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy,” Thompson said.
The Hate Crimes Act was dubbed by its critics as the “Pedophile Protection Act,” after an amendment to explicitly prohibit pedophiles from being protected by the act was defeated by majority Democrats. In fact, during congressional debate, supporters argued that all “philias,” or alternative sexual lifestyles, should be protected.
The law was promoted by its advocates as a crackdown on “bias” crimes motivated by a person’s “actual or perceived” “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”
Thomas More attorney Robert Muise noted, “This new federal law promotes two Orwellian concepts. It creates a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior. And it creates ‘thought crimes’ by criminalizing certain ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and the involvement of such ideas, beliefs, and opinions in a crime will make it deserving of federal prosecution.”
Obama signed the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” in October 2009 after Democrats strategically attached it to a “must-pass” $680 billion defense-appropriations bill.
The law cracks down on any acts that could be linked to criticism of homosexuality or even the “perception” of homosexuality. As Congress debated it, there were assurances it would not be used to crack down on speech.
Obama boasted of the “hate crimes” bill when he signed it into law.
“After more than a decade, we’ve passed inclusive hate-crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are,” he said.
The bill signed by Obama was opposed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which called it a “menace” to civil liberties. The commission argued the law allows federal authorities to bring charges against individuals even if they’ve already been cleared in a state court.