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December 16, 2011 Print

When CNN Makes Your Point for You

by Candi Cushman

It’s always a good day when a CNN analyst ends up making your point for you.

That happened on a Headline CNN news panel recently. The topic was “Homosexuality: Classroom Controversy” and  CitizenLink was invited to provide perspective in a discussion featuring two CNN analysts and a lawyer from the Human Rights Campaign. (View it here.)

As the education analyst  for CitizenLink who appeared on the panel, a couple of things quickly became clear to me during the debate: 1) There wasn’t a whole of lot respect going around for moms and dads who want to determine if, how and when their children are taught about controversial sexual topics at school. In fact, most of the analysts seemed to be openly boasting that they were the trusted experts children should turn to because parents pretty much don’t know anything. The word “ignorance” was used.

CNN education analyst Steve Perry also commented that “… so many parents don’t know their children as well as they think they do. They know them as they want to know them, not as they in many cases are. I see your kids. And when they’re here at the school, I see who they like and who they don’t like.”

I pointed out that, at Focus on the Family, we don’t assume that the majority of parents are “ignorant” concerning their children. In fact, we believe that most parents and legal guardians have an intimate knowledge of their children’s greatest needs and sexual development—and therefore, the school should respect that knowledge as much, or more, than outside sexual advocacy groups trying to push their messages into the classroom, many times against the will of parents.

2) There also seemed to be a united effort to make the point that homosexuality/tolerance teaching is all about “embracing diversity” and doesn’t involve more detailed sexuality instruction. But this just isn’t the reality that many of the parents we hear from at Focus have experienced. To make that point, I held up one of the books that GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has promoted as an “anti-bias” tool for educators.  It’s called Queer 13 and features erotic, glamourized descriptions of adult-child sexual interactions.

One of the CNN analysts countered with “No, this is not an issue about diversity. This is an issue about sexuality.”

Well, I couldn’t agree more—when you look at many of the materials homosexual advocacy groups are promoting in the classroom in the name of diversity and “tolerance,” it really is about promoting sexuality, sometimes explicitly.

Focus has a strong commitment to defending human life in all of its stages, particularly kids, who are the most vulnerable and defenseless members of our society.  All you have to do is read the news headlines about kids being treated by adults as sexual objects and see the images of children being sexualized on magazine covers and in books. We can also observe the trends of children mirroring that message by “sexting,” sending sexually graphic images of themselves through cell phones. And then there are the groups that want to promote adult sexual experimentation to children in schools.

That’s why we need to come to an agreement in this culture that children are worth protecting not only physically—but also sexually, spiritually and mentally. Schools should be places that respect and protect the efforts of parents to safeguard their child’s physical well-being and innocence as long as it is possible in this culture.



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