Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All Are Precious In His Sight

The title of this post comes from a children's song:

"Jesus loves the little children,
All the little children of the world.
Black or yellow, red or white,
All are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world."

Unfortunately, there are those who don't love all the children of the world, who allow unspeakable things to happen to them if they are too different. Those who are gay or look like they are gay are prime targets for such people.

I was stunned by this article in Mother Jones about the epidemic of suicides among young people in Minnesota, stunned. And not in a good way.

So stunned that I was tempted to reproduce the entire article because once you start reading it you can't stop. I urge you to click on the link and read it. Here's a taste to get you started.

The first was TJ. Then came Samantha, Aaron, Nick, and Kevin. Over the past two years, a total of nine teenagers have committed suicide in a Minnesota school district represented by Rep. Michele Bachmann—the latest in May—and many more students have attempted to take their lives. State public health officials have labeled the area a "suicide contagion area" because of the unusually high death rate.

Some of the victims were gay, or perceived to be by their classmates, and many were reportedly bullied. And the anti-gay activists who are some of the congresswoman's closest allies stand accused of blocking an effective response to the crisis and fostering a climate of intolerance that allowed bullying to flourish. Bachmann, meanwhile, has been uncharacteristically silent on the tragic deaths that have roiled her district—including the high school that she attended. ...

There's no sure way of knowing why any of the kids took their own lives, but gay rights activists quickly honed in on one factor they saw as contributing to an unhealthy climate for at-risk kids. Anoka-Hennepin has a policy on the books known colloquially as "no homo promo," which dates in back to the mid-1990s. Back then, after several emotional school board meetings, the district essentially wiped gay people out of the school health curriculum. There could be no discussion of homosexuality, even with regard to HIV and AIDS, and the school board adopted a formal policy that stated school employees could not teach that homosexuality was a "normal, valid lifestyle."

Later the policy was changed to require school staff to remain neutral on issues of homosexuality if they should come up in class, a change that critics said fostered confusion among teachers and contributed to their inability to address bullying and harassment, or to even ask reasonable questions about some of the issues the kids were struggling with, like sexual orientation. Both policies were put into place at the behest of conservative religious activists who have been among Bachmann's biggest supporters in the district. They include the Minnesota Family Council (MFC), and its local affiliate, the Parents Action League, which has lobbied to put discredited "reparative therapy" materials in schools.

That's the sort of counseling reportedly practiced by Bachmann & Associates, the mental health clinics run by Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus. The clinics reportedly counsel people on how to "pray away the gay" to become straight. Before entering politics, Bachmann served as the education advisor to the MFC-affiliated Minnesota Family Institute, a relationship she has continued. This spring, she headlined a fundraising dinner for MFC, along with Newt Gingrich.

Bullying the gay away if praying it away doesn't work: hey, these kids are gay (or might be), what's the problem?

The problem is that they are our children and if they are struggling in any fashion with their sexual identity or any other adolescent issue, the peer bullying can be, and clearly is in many cases, devastating, so devastating that suicide is the only option these tormented kids can see. And the school district is doing nothing, NOTHING, to stop it. Neither is Michele Bachman.

May God forgive those committing this evil. Right now, I find that I cannot.

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Anonymous paula b said...

omigod, i'll put a link to this on my blog. thanx

12:32 PM  

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