STOP the War on Children

June 12, 2011

June, No Longer the Month of Brides?

Dr. Karen Gushta

The month of June used to be associated with brides and weddings. Now President Obama has proclaimed it “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.”

 

Obama is not the first president to make such a proclamation. In 1999 and 2000, President Clinton marked June as “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.” Ten years later, more categories of “proud” gender types have been added.   

President George W. Bush declined to bow to pressure from homosexual activists to make similar declarations. His Justice Department also barred a group of federal employees from celebrating the month with this appellation.

Why designate June as “LGBT Pride Month?” As The Daily Caller points out, “June was chosen in honor of the 1969 Greenwich Village riots at the Stonewall Inn where gay rights advocates clashed with New York City police over alleged discrimination.”

It was more than a “clash.” At one point police barricaded themselves inside the bar while the angry mob outside tried to set the bar on fire and used a parking meter as a battering ram in an effort to break down the door to get at the policemen inside.

 

The event, which took place in the early hours of June 28, 1969, is marked as the beginning of the “gay rights” movement. Soon after, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed. The GLF was short-lived, but it introduced the term “gay” to Americans, most of whom would not imagine calling the homosexual lifestyle “gay.”

For 20 years, homosexual activists made modest impact on American culture at large. Then, in 1989, two Harvard homosexual intellectuals, Hunter Madsen and Marshall Kirk, teamed up to write After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s.   

 

Jonathan Kirsch wrote at the time in The Los Angeles Times that “the essential message of the book is an urgent demand for a fundamental change in the very nature of gay activism. The gay community, Kirk and Madsen argue, has resorted to the wrong arguments, the wrong symbols, and the wrong acts of protest. And the authors of ‘After the Ball’ think that they have a better idea.”

Their “better idea” was to exchange the tools of violent protests and barricades exemplified by the Stonewall Riots for “the story boards and 30-second spots of Madison Avenue, a kind of sanitized upscale media radicalism that finds mass demonstrations to be ‘ghastly freak shows’ and prefers highway billboards that ‘earnestly propound appealing truisms, the safer and more platitudinous, the better.’”

Kirk and Madsen said it themselves, “We’re talking about propaganda.”

Rather than protesting with “all the screamers, stompers, gender-benders, sadomasochists, and pederasts, and confirm America’s worst fears and hates” Kirk and Madsen advocated a “continuous flood of gay-related advertising.” Such advertising would depict gays “in the least offensive fashion possible.” And, more significantly, it would make “homo-hating beliefs and actions look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from them.”

As Kirsch observes, “This is pure propaganda, of course, but it is propaganda on the highest levels of insight and calculation.”

It is also propaganda that in a large part succeeded during the 1990s in changing the thinking of many Americans. In his June 1999 proclamation, President Clinton claimed that “gay and lesbian Americans” were serving “openly and proudly” in the federal government. In his 2000 proclamation, he bragged that “more openly gay and lesbian individuals serve in senior posts throughout the Federal Government than during any other Administration.”

President Obama’s proclamation tried to best Clinton’s record by listing all of his administration’s activities, such as the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the appointment of openly homosexual individuals to executive branch and judicial positions.  

 

According to one commentator, efforts like these could qualify President Obama to be called “the first gay president.” Writing in TheVoiceMagazine.com, Brian Burke observed that in this administration we’re seeing more being done “to promote the gay agenda than in any other American presidency in the history of the United States of America.”  

 

Burke concludes, “Christians should never forget that homosexuality is sinful behavior …. it doesn’t matter what law is passed or what proclamation is made, sin can’t be legalized either, no matter how many people agree. Throughout the Bible Scripture is clear that homosexuality will always be a sin. The President … is wrong to celebrate the lifestyle as if that’s OK.”

 

Nevertheless, celebration of the homosexual lifestyle was part of the U.S. Department of Education’s first LGBT Youth Summit held in Washington D.C. on June 6 and 7.  Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addressed the group, telling them that they have a “strong voice” and the Obama administration is hearing it. “I want to tell you, you have a friend in this administration who will stand beside you each and every step along the way,” Sebelius said.

 

The administration’s friendship was affirmed by a reporter for the homosexual activist Human Rights Campaign who wrote that “In addition to Assistant Deputy Secretary Kevin Jennings and many of his DOE staff members, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies were well represented.  Many of the federal agency representatives ‘came out’ as LGBT while speaking at the two-day meeting.”

 

But how is the example of government employees “coming out” going to help homosexual youth who, according to conference presenters, “are more prone to exhibit high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual risk-taking, and running away from home?”

 

Conferences sponsored by the Education Department and proclamations that encourage “pride” in their homosexual lifestyles will not help these youth. Christians must “graciously yet urgently speak the truth in love to young people who are hurting themselves with the ‘LGBT’ lifestyle,” as a recent Family Research Council prayer letter urged.

 

Those who believe in the power of Jesus Christ to forgive, heal, and restore must determine to stand together in opposition to our government’s efforts to promote harmful and sinful sexual practices among our youth. Let our proclamation be of Jesus Christ and His willingness to receive all who would come to Him.

 

And then, maybe we can get back to June as the month of brides.

 

~~

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

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April 8, 2011

“Why Do We Let Them Dress Like That?”

By Dr. Karen Gushta

How do 12–13 year-old girls dress for a party? In “mini-dresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade,” says Mrs. Jennifer Moses in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “They look like a flock of tropical birds.” Then she asked the question many are asking, “Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?”

 

Mrs. Moses provided little analysis of this phenomenon in answering her own question before giving her own opinion. Her theory—“It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, ‘If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?’”

 

Moses continues, “We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control…. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations, but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that’s certainly the norm among my peers.”

 

But following that “norm” did not produce happiness. Speaking of her own friends, Moses says, “I don’t know one of them who doesn’t have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I’ve ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she’d ‘experimented’ more.”

Mrs. Moses’ article opened up a forum in the WSJ for over 600 comments in response. Some of them addressed the moral values implicit in her question. One person wrote, “Why do we let them dress like that? We don’t. It’s important to emphasize the differences between beauty and attractiveness at a young age. Being more involved in our children’s lives will strengthen various values, it will also (hopefully) put us in the position to be the role models we need to be and provide us with a better chance to block negative influences.”

Another wrote, “It is sad to see girls give away something so precious. Our daughters need our loving guidance toward living well-adjusted lives away from the call for promiscuity from all over. They need to enjoy being young women of character. It is hard for a teenager to look to her future life, but parents must guide them to protect that future by how they present themselves now. If we require modesty in the workplace, why can’t we require modesty in our most precious young daughters?”

A homeschooling parent wrote: “The socialization offered by the public and by public school is exactly what we are trying to avoid….  The [popularized] view of the opposite sex as sex objects is the central social message of public school children, the main-stream-media, movies, and most TV. It may be the single most destructive thing many Christian homeschoolers are trying to avoid, and rightly so. … maybe you can’t control who your children become, but while they live in your home you can do your best to protect them from this destructive message and group-think.”

This is exactly the message that I’ve been sharing at recent homeschool conventions—homeschooling provides the best cultural medium for parents to protect their children from the toxic effects of a media and entertainment culture that produces hyper-sexualized and often obscene materials.

The most recent example of this hyper-sexualization showed up in the marketing of Abercrombie Kids, a division of Abercrombie and Fitch that markets specifically to 8-14 year olds. Their latest swimwear includes the “Ashley Push-Up Triangle,” a triangular-shaped bikini top that comes with thick padding. Human behavior expert Dr. Patrick Wanis called this “disturbing and dangerous” on Fox News. “Are we sexualizing young girls to get the attention of men or to encourage women to use their daughters to compensate for their own lack of sexual appeal by living vicariously through their daughter?”

The latter question is one that Jennifer Moses pondered as well. “What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?” she wrote. “And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.”

Mrs. Moses wrote from her personal experiences and that of her friends. She could have found dozens of books to support her view that something happened in her generation (and mine) that caused the moral compass of our nation to shift from “true north.” Diana West has written compellingly in The Death of the Grown-Up of how as a culture we’ve been taught to “let it all hang out.”  In Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Judge Robert Bork described the changes in ideology in the 60s that led to celebrating personal freedom and moral anarchy.

This flag of “personal freedom” was the banner both young and old marched under as they threw off “all thought of God’s constraint,” wrote Dr. D. James Kennedy in How to Have a Joyful Home. They “completely rebelled against their Creator and Lawgiver,” he observed.

In rebelling against our Creator and Lawgiver as a society, we’ve also lost the recognition that “Our loving heavenly Father knows the best way for us to live,” wrote Dr. Kennedy.  “By following God’s laws and living as a disciple of Jesus Christ, our lives will be as blessed as they can be in this sin-cursed world. God is on our side, and He wants what is best for us.”

Sadly, many Christians, have a mistaken idea of what “God’s best” is. Too often we think that happiness should be our goal. But, as Dr. Kennedy wrote, “God’s best for us is holiness.

Many people equate “holiness” with legalistic restrictions that for all practical purposes seem impossible to keep. The “holy life” is possible, however, wrote Dr. Kennedy, “with the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.”

Holiness and purity go hand in hand. When Christians seek holiness, we will not let our daughters dress like prostitutes, and we will be diligent in teaching them about purity. For what truly makes a young women attractive is, as the Apostle Peter described in his first letter, “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Coral Ridge Ministries and author of The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk. Dr. Gushta is a career educator who has taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate level teacher education, in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. Dr. Gushta served as the first international director of Kid’s Evangelism Explosion. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education from Indiana University and Masters degrees in Elementary Education from the University of New Mexico and in Christianity and Culture from Knox Theological Seminary.

Request The War on Children: How Pop Culture and Public Schools Put Our Kids at Risk, by Dr. Karen Gushta.

March 29, 2010

Gang Violence in the Capitol

Gang Violence in the Capitol

by Dr. Karen L Gushta
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When the vote on health care finally came, I was struck by the image that was played across the networks of an exultant Nancy Pelosi, walking up the steps of the capitol. With an over-sized gavel in hand, she was flanked on either side by her comrades in arms, ready to proclaim victory over health care.

My husband noted the resemblance to The Gangs of New York. “We’re in control now!” was the message. “We own this block!”

But, there was a more sinister resemblance as well. The New York gang wars depicted in the Leonard DiCaprio movie were bloody and violent. In this case, the bloody violence will not be carried out against opposing members of Congress. Rather, the victims of Pelosi’s gang violence will be the babies who will now be aborted at tax payers’ expense.

(And here I’d like to add a personal note to Mr. Stupak: we all knew the moment your support for the bill was announced, that you had sold your soul and trusted the untrustworthy. “Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips,” Proverbs 25:19.)

Despite all the altruistic rhetoric, this bill was enacted against the wishes of the people it claimed to serve. Of course, the president would not acknowledge this in his remarks on signing the bill. He clothed his speech with the high sounding phrases we’re now accustomed to hearing—phrases that appealed to the “morality” of this legislation. Legislation that will break the sixth commandment by financing murder of babies and the eighth commandment by authorizing more “legal plunder” of America’s citizens; i.e., stealing from some in order to give to others. Let’s also not forget the many half-truths and lies that were used to try convince us that this legislation is going to be good for us!

Don’t be confused. When President Obama spoke to religious leaders on a conference call sponsored by Faithful America[i] in August 2009, and asked them to support his health care makeover because expanded health care coverage was “a core ethical and moral obligation,”[ii] he omitted any mention of the moral obligation we have to protect the lives of the innocent—the unborn babies who will never breathe the breath of life, much less have the opportunity to exercise their liberties or pursue their own happiness.

At this same meeting the president appealed to Americans to support his plan for government takeover of our health care system, by stating that we need to “look out for one another.”  “I am my brother’s keeper and my sister’s keeper,” he said, and as “the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.”[iii]

Nevertheless, President Obama has never expressed concerns about being the “keeper” of the thousands of babies that are being aborted every day in our nation. Instead, as a state senator he voted against the legal protection that would ensure their right to live should one of them manage to survive a botched abortion.

President Obama’s conference call to religious leaders was opened by Sojourners’ Jim Wallis with a “moment of silence.” He then remarked that “we are in danger of losing the moral core of the discussion.” It should be self-evident to every Christian who treasures life as a gift from God, and who recognizes that we are all made in God’s image from the moment of conception, that in the midst of the health care debate the “moral core of the discussion” was lost indeed.

Let’s not lose sight of the moral imperative to protect life, which is a gift from God; let’s not sacrifice it for health care, which is a privilege.

Finally, there something each of us can do to protect life—support the effort to get states to protect life by passing state constitutional amendments that define human beings as “persons” “from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.”  Colorado already has such an amendment on the 2010 ballot. Other states where signatures for ballot initiatives are being gathered include California, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana. To find out more, go to www.personhoodUSA.com; in Florida go to www.personhoodFL.com.


[i] Faithful America is “a coalition of liberal religious groups that was launched in 2004 to collect contributions to run ads on Arabic-language satellite television “expressing regret to Muslims for abuses committed by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison.” Penney Starr, “Obama Calls Health Care a ‘Moral Obligation,’ But Pro-lifers Say Tax Money for Abortions Is ‘Moral’ Issue” CNSNews.com, August 21, 2009, http://www.cnsnews.com/news/print/52844.

[ii] “Obama to religious groups: health care is ‘a core ethical and moral obligation’” Beliefnet.com, August 20, 2009 http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2009/08/Obama-to-religious-groups-health-care-is-a-core-ethical-and-moral-obligation.html.

[iii] Penny Starr, CNSNews.com.

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