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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March 19, 2011

Islamists Wage “Soft Jihad” to Give Students Sanitized View of Islam

By Dr. Karen Gushta

There was plenty of drama at the Homeland Security Committee hearing earlier this month with Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minn.) tearful testimony leading media coverage. Ellison, the first Muslim-American to be elected to Congress, was among those Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) invited to testify at the March 10 hearing to investigate possible terrorist recruitment within the American Muslim community. According to The Huffington Post, Rep. Ellison told the committee, “…the inquiry was ‘the very heart of scapegoating.’”

 

Nevertheless, committee chair King has declared that the hearings will continue. The committee will investigate radicalization of Muslim Americans in U.S. prisons, strategies of Al Qaeda and other organizations to recruit Americans, and how the Department of Homeland Security plans to address the “increasing radicalization of individuals within the United States,” reported Yahoo News.

 

King’s committee should also investigate the Islamist indoctrination taking place in America’s schools.

 

The fact is, government schools have been using textbooks that glorify Islam and denigrate Christianity for some time. Such materials give children a favorable view of Islam and a negative view of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian heritage.

 

In June 2008, after two years of painstaking study, the American Textbook Council (founded in 1989 as an independent national research organization) released a 48-page report entitled Islam in the Classroom: What the Textbooks Tell Us. The report summarized the Council’s detailed evaluation of the major history and social science texts in use in government schools in 2006.

 

Of particular significance is the portion of the Council’s report regarding seventh grade world history textbooks, since many seventh grade curricula, following the lead of California schools, now require students to receive instruction and engage in activities to learn about Islamic history, culture, the Qur‘an, and the religious practices of Muslims.

 

The report notes that “textbooks reviewed avoid all conflict and bloodshed in describing Islam’s push out of Arabia and rapid conquest of most of the Mediterranean world. They fail to explain how Islam spread in the seventh and eighth centuries. Islam appears out of nowhere, spreads smoothly and by implication without conflict. Once it was common to say that Islam was spread by the sword. Now, textbooks implied, it moved peacefully, with traders. Islam is brought to apparently willing populations.”

 

It was the Clinton administration that opened the door to teaching about the history and religious practices of Muslims. In 1995, President Bill Clinton directed his Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley, to prepare guidelines for religious expression and activities in America’s schools. The guidelines, set forth in Religious Expression in Public Schools, declared that government schools may not provide religious instruction as such, but they may “teach about religion.” The kicker, however, as ACT! for America has reported, was the additional statement that “…students generally do not have a Federal right to be excused from lessons that may be inconsistent with their religious beliefs or practices” [emphasis added].

 

Thus, parents who may object to their children being compelled to assume a Muslim name and recite prayers to Allah as part of their “learning activities” have no recourse and may not withdraw their children from these activities.


One highly
publicized case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006, but the Court rejected the appeal “without comment” and let stand the ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in favor of the school district.

The suit brought by Christian students and their parents challenged the content of a seventh-grade history course at Excelsior Middle School in Byron, California in the fall of 2001. The teacher was supposedly following an instructional guide when she told students they would pretend to be Muslims for three weeks in order to learn what Muslims believe. According to WorldNetDaily, during this time they were required to wear Muslim dress, memorize verses from the Qur’an, pray to Allah, simulate Ramadan by fasting, use the phrase “Allah Akbar” (Allah is great), and play “jihad games.”

The Federal Judge in the Ninth Circuit ruled that such activities constitute teaching “about religion” and declared the program devoid of “any devotional or religious intent,” and therefore educational, not religious in nature.

Stories of similar cases rarely get reported. But one writer, Cinnamon Stillwell, shared a number of examples of Islamist influence in schools in a 2008 opinion article in The San Francisco Chronicle. In “Islam in America’s Public Schools: Education or Indoctrination?” Stillwell writes, “Islamists have taken what’s come to be known as the ‘soft jihad’ into America’s classrooms, and children in K-12 are the first casualties. Whether it is textbooks, curriculum, classroom exercises, film screenings, speakers, or teacher training, public education in America is under assault.”

What can parents do? The first step is to find out what’s happening in your child’s school. Take a look at the textbooks for history, geography, and/or social studies. Gateways to Better Education has an excellent article, How to Evaluate Your Child’s Textbooks, that will help you identify the assumptions, biases, and opinions disguised as facts that result in unbalanced and slanted textbooks. Find out if your child’s textbooks are presenting a “politically correct” view of Islam while denigrating Christianity and the Judeo-Christian heritage.


Equip yourself with the facts of what’s happening in your children’s school and classrooms and then speak to the appropriate teacher and the school principal. You’ll find additional pointers on how to do so at the
Gateways to Better Education website.

 

As parents and concerned citizens, we cannot sit idly by. As Stillwell writes: “Probably the single greatest weapon in the arsenal of those trying to fight the misuse of America’s public schools is community involvement.” Over 80 percent of Christian parents send their children to government controlled schools. If even 20 percent of these parents took an active role in the fight against indoctrination in the public schools, substantial improvements would be made.

 

Are you willing to be a part of that 20 percent?


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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.

February 21, 2011

The End Goal of Obama’s “Race to Educate Our Kids”

By Dr. Karen Gushta
President Obama devoted a thousand words to education in his State of the Union Speech on January 25. “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success,” he claimed. “But,” he added, “if we want to win the future—if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas—then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”
Winning the education race, according to President Obama, also means that by 2020 America should “once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” He challenged Americans “as citizens, and as parents,” to ask ourselves whether we “are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.”
“That responsibility,” the President said, “begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.  We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.”
There are few who would dispute the President on these points. Many of us might even have applauded him. All of the above statements are truisms—like stating that we should have clean water and the airlines should run on time.
What’s the problem, then, with the President’s remarks on education?
In my view, it was the context. In connecting America’s economic success to “giving every child a chance to succeed,” President Obama is following in the steps of the past three presidents, each of whom tried to shape America’s education system to further their economic goals for America. The President’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, explains the connection this way: “We have to educate our way to a better economy.”
George Leef, Director of Research at the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, disagrees. “Just like the notion that federal deficit spending will revive the economy, the idea that getting more young Americans through college will make the country more competitive and prosperous is utterly mistaken.” Leef points out that since 1971, we have been “graduating many young people from college who learn little and will wind up in jobs that most high school kids could do.”
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is
hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.”
As I note in my book, The War on Children, the idea of educating for virtue, which entails learning “what is worth having,” has been replaced by the view that schools should be producing “workers for the world.”
Interestingly, both those who believe in American exceptionalism and those who don’t tend to support this view. “Exceptionalists” want education to maintain America’s current status as the number one economy in the world by providing highly trained workers. “Transnationalists” want to transform America’s role among the nations by training our children to think globally and work for world peace and social justice.
What’s missing, however, in both these views is the idea, as expressed by President Reagan, that education should introduce youth to “what is worth having”—that is, the highest ideals of civilization. Such was the goal of traditional “liberal education,” which taught the classics: English literature, the humanities, and moral virtues. Liberal education, (drawing from the Latin root liber—meaning “free, independent, unrestrained”) was intended to free students from the shackles of ignorance and provincialism by introducing them to the great minds, great ideas, and the great books of civilization—primarily Western Civilization rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview and ethic. 

In the mid-twentieth century, this view of education went into a free fall decline in colleges and universities across America. The emphasis shifted to professional education, and radical professors inserted courses rooted in the ideology of race, class, and gender.  General education requirements, which provided students with a broad perspective on the academic disciplines, were dropped. As Judge Robert Bork wrote, students learned “information about narrow corners of subjects, but no conception of the larger context that alone can give the niches meaning.” Rather than being “freed from provincialism,” students are now being indoctrinated into political correctness.
Most secular colleges and universities have abandoned the idea that there is a central body of knowledge that all educated persons should have, which is the central premise of the liberal education curriculum. According to one source, as of 2009, only four percent of students in the United States attend the eight percent of colleges that still provide a liberal education.
What with the high cost of college, the real possibility of being underemployed upon graduation, and the likelihood that all they’ll gain is knowledge of “narrow corners of subjects,” high school students should not assume that college is the best route to finding God’s vocational calling on their lives.
As Dr. Del Tackett, educator and host of Coral Ridge Ministries’ Cross Examine television program, has suggested, young people should ask themselves, “Do I want to write my own story, or would I rather be part of the story of an all-wise and loving God?”
Then, whether it’s a liberal education, a professional one, or an alternative route to Christian service  or vocation, they can be sure of God’s direction—and, “Where His finger points, His hand will make a way.”

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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