Tony Perkins / February 7, 2018

Intolerance in Full Swing at School Dance

Kids see plenty of offensive things at school — but when did fathers become one of them? Ask New York’s Department of Education.

Kids see plenty of offensive things at school — but when did fathers become one of them? Ask New York’s Department of Education. As far as its officials are concerned, nothing can damage a child more than hosting a special event for dads. And now, with the state’s “gender nonconforming” guidelines on the books, they can put plenty of traditions on the chopping block — including one Staten Island school’s father-daughter dance.

Principal Sophie Scamardella informed parents that the event had been called off, because — after all — they “have a ‘gender neutral’ policy [to adhere] to…” Families across the area are irate. The event was already the picture of inclusivity, now that moms or other mentors could join. That didn’t matter to Scamardella. In her mind (and the mind of most liberals), the worst thing schools can do is let kids in on the secret that some students have men for fathers — a shocking concept, I’m sure, to the modern human race. As an educator, surely Scamardella is aware that not a single person on planet Earth has ever existed without a mother and father — no matter what they call themselves now. But this is public education, unfortunately, where “feelings” are the new science.

In heated back-and-forths, parents flooded the school office with complaints. “I hate it,” said Matthew West, father of two young girls. Because of political correctness, he fumed, “people are just becoming too scared to talk.” He’s right. Too many Americans are afraid to call this movement what it is: absurd. Jose Garcia, who’s gone to the other two dances with his nine-year-old, was stunned. “It’s not fair at all. I have nothing against [anyone], but I don’t think it should affect the school — or the kids for that matter.” Akaia Cameron was blunter. “All this gender crap needs to just stop,” she said, explaining that the highlight of her daughter’s year in 2016 was going with her dad.

PTA President Toni Bennett is trying to tamp down the protest, telling parents that they would reconsider the “Father/Best Guy & Daughter Dance” next year with a less specific theme. Like what — Person 1 and Child 1? How far will they go to deny reality? What’s next — outlawing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? We’re letting a small segment of society — .6 percent! — dictate the terms of our conversation and, more alarming, how we raise our kids. Now, instead of pushing back on this agenda, people live in fear of using the wrong pronoun. And in the middle of it all are schools like PS 65, which is encouraging extremism and “protecting” kids from normalcy.

Fortunately, not everyone in the boroughs is going along with this lunacy. At PS 30 and 83, a dance “to celebrate your little girl and the father figure in her life” will go on. And at PS 232 in Queens, the Daddy-Daughter Dance already happened. The Bronx is even going so far as to plan and “Mother/Daughter Spa Night” in April. Alert the PC police!

The problem with this entire ideology (which, incidentally, the American College of Pediatricians calls “child abuse”) is that it perpetuates the Left’s phony right “not to be offended.” One person’s insult is another person’s sincerely held belief. That’s the way free speech works. To suggest that we can shield kids from every possible offense or hurt feeling isn’t just unrealistic, it’s wrong. It stifles their expression and gives them the license to do the same.

The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro tackles this problem in a column for NRO, using a recent interview between a reporter and child psychologist as an example of how twisted this politically correct thinking can be. “Why should your right to freedom of speech trump a trans person’s right not to be offended?” the journalist tried to pin down Dr. Jordan Peterson. Without missing a beat, he replied, “Because in order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable… You’re doing what you should do… But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine. More power to you, as far as I’m concerned.”

As Ben points out, liberals get away with the double standard because:

Many on the Right tend to value manners; good religious men and women studiously avoid causing offense if they have the capacity to do so. It’s worked, too. The Left has wielded the Right’s preference for manners as a club against the Right, claiming offense in order to cow them into silence… No longer do they ask whether objectively offensive statements ought to be made; they now take each statement and ask whether it is subjectively offensive to anyone. First person to claim offense wins.

According to the Left, facts don’t matter. Science doesn’t matter. “Any and all truth must take a back seat to ‘your truth,’ so long as you claim minority status in any way,” Ben goes on. “This is the ground on which conservatives should fight, of course: acknowledgement that while manners matter, truth matters more.” And based on the war taking place for America’s children, the sooner conservatives fight, the better.

Originally published here.

Gov. Deal to Faith Groups: Adapt to Adopt

Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) never met a religious freedom bill he liked — and the state’s newest adoption proposal isn’t likely to change that. The Georgia Republican, who valiantly displayed all the traits of a coward on the issue a year and a half ago, is back at it, threatening the state’s conscience protections for faith-based groups.

After demanding a “clean” adoption bill from lawmakers, the state’s conservatives obliged — but only until they could introduce a standalone proposal that would give adoption agencies the freedom to turn down prospective parents based on their lifestyle. “Some will believe in same-sex marriage, others don’t, whether it’s by faith or other reasons,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican State Senator William Ligon, said. “As a pluralistic society, we need to figure out ways to accommodate that and not pressure one group to accept another group’s version of marriage.”

Even before the Obergefell ruling, adoption was an explosive issue in places like Chicago, Washington, DC, and Massachusetts, which cut off government grants for organizations like Catholic Charities because it sought what the social science research made abundantly clear were the safest and most nurturing environment for kids. If Deal gets his way, it would be open season on groups that take the well-being of children into account in adoption placement.

This is how backwards we’ve become as a society. America’s focus is no longer the well-being of children but on the “well-being” of a small but well organized political minority that uses Saul Alinsky tactics to force politicians into doing their illogical bidding. There’s an abundance of social science data supporting the common sense belief that children do best when raised by a married mother and father. In the largest peer-review study ever done on same-sex parenting, Dr. Mark Regnerus found that the emotional, financial, academic, and physical outcomes of kids raised in same-sex homes rated “suboptimal” or “negative” in almost every category. Because of that, there’s every rational basis for agencies to prefer natural families over same-sex couples in adoption.

Why would anyone — including Deal — put the agencies that care about the social science out of business? Faith-based adoption agencies should never have to choose between their beliefs and helping people. That would be devastating — and not just for Georgia. Believe it or not, one of the biggest engines for adoption in America are private, social service agencies like Catholic Charities, which would sooner close its doors than compromise its biblical beliefs.

If Georgia accepts Deal’s terms, faith-based groups would be driven out of the adoption business, leaving children and prospective parents with even fewer options for building families. Adoption is not — and should never be — about adults. This is about giving children the best chance to succeed in life. It’s a shame Nathan Deal refuses to.

Originally published here.

The Social Engineering Agenda of “Social Emotional Learning”

Have you ever heard of “Social emotional learning” (SEL)? It’s the new fad in public schools that has permeated education policy. Proponents of SEL claim that injecting the SEL agenda into all Pre-K and K-12 curricula will cultivate in children the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors necessary for academic achievement, such as empathy and regulation of emotions.

In an FRC Speaker Series event, Senior Contributor to The Federalist Stella Morabito revealed how SEL is presented with a veneer of building kids’ self-confidence, but in reality is a form of groupthink through the regulation of personal interactions and relationships. The SEL model is taught in a way that requires total compliance with its methods, including the monitoring and tracking of students’ emotions. As Morabito pointed out, those pushing the SEL agenda have fallen into the trap of a collectivist utopianism that believes that if only the government were able to teach everyone the “right way” of thinking, everyone will be equally happy.

In reality, the SEL agenda enforces conformity, it invades privacy, and it undermines the influence of family and faith in a child’s life. Instead of promoting strong relationships, as SEL proponents claim, the SEL agenda serves more to isolate children through a program of peer-modeled behavior modification that manipulates the human fear of being socially rejected. The SEL model makes almost no mention of the primary mediating institutions that form us as human beings: family, church, and civic institutions. Instead, it pushes conditioned emotional reflexes over open and honest discussion. The result of this misguided philosophy is readily apparent in how many in our society now behave — in a mush of emotional sensitivities that are easily “triggered” whenever a contrary opinion is encountered.

How can we respond and fight against this “social emotional learning” movement? Morabito suggests that freethinkers should strengthen their support networks and spread awareness through outreach to those who are not informed on the dangers of SEL. As French philosopher and sociologist Jacques Ellul said, “Propaganda ends where simple dialogue begins.”

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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