Focus On The Family: Anti-Bullying Efforts Are A Gay Front

Focus on the Family has a message for gay rights activists: stay off the playground.

Candi Cushman, an education analyst for the James Dobson-founded group, told The Denver Post this weekend that gay rights advocates have inserted their agenda into anti-bullying efforts, at the expense of Christian values.

“We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled,” Cushman told the Post.

In an email to TPM, Cushman expanded her argument. “Listing certain categories creates a system ripe for reverse discrimination, sending the message that certain characteristics are more worthy of protection than others,” she said.

Cushman’s argument has two levels: first, she says anti-bullying efforts wrongly put the focus on the “characteristics of the victim” instead of the “wrong actions of the bullies.” Second, she thinks that gay rights activists are using the whole issue to sneak their agenda into the nation’s schools. She denounced the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

“In many cases, these politicized bullying policies are being used as tools to undermine parental rights,” she said, “and censor or marginalize students and parents with differing viewpoints.”

Cushman cited a “back to school guide” published by GLSEN and books titled Two Moms, the Zark and Me and The Full Spectrum as examples of GLSEN’s tactics in action.

“I could give you many more examples of how this reverse discrimination is playing out in books, curriculum and schoolwide initiatives, all promoted in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘anti-bullying,'” Cushman said.

According to the Post, about 30 percent of sixth- to 10th-graders in the U.S. report being involved in bullying, either as a victim or bully.

Late Update: Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director, sent the following statement to TPM in response to Cushman’s comments:

Focus on the Family has tried to discredit GLSEN’s efforts to make schools safe for all students since our founding in 1990. These most recent attempts show that, once again, Focus on the Family either doesn’t know what it is talking about or simply don’t care about addressing bullying, or both. The policies we support – which, by the way, include protections for bullying based on religion – have been shown by years of research to make a difference in young people’s lives. That is why nearly 70 national education, youth service and civil and human rights organizations endorse the Safe Schools Improvement Act. In terms of LGBT youth, we certainly hope that Focus on the Family agrees that the current environment in which nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment each year in school is simply unacceptable. But we won’t hold our breath.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Muckraker
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: