Eight religious-right organizations — three of them, identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center — are escalating a war of words against antibullying programs in U.S. schools.
Exodus International, Focus on the Family, Americans for Truth, Liberty Counsel, Mission: America, MassResistance, Illinois Family Institute, and Abiding Truth Ministries are leading three campaigns to smear the Day of Silence, which is an April 17 event planned at 8,000 U.S. schools to “just say no” to verbal, sexual, and physical assault.
All eight organizations oppose antibullying programs unless they exclude gay youths. Instead, these organizations want same-sex-attracted youths to be compelled by abusive peers and school faculty to be admitted — or worse, involuntarily detained — in amateur-operated and unsuccessful ex-gay boot camps.
Because of these organizations’ callous indifference to violence, youths are dying and parents are suing school districts for negligence, reckless endangerment, and complicity in violence committed by the children of antigay parents.
Exodus this year has assumed responsibility for a Day of (Un)Truth which encourages antigay students to ignorantly and mistakenly assert that anyone can change their sexual orientation and therefore — Exodus reasons — no antiviolence programs are necessary in schools. Exodus defines organized opposition to antigay violence as a sinister promotion of the “homosexual agenda.” Exodus claims that its event, scheduled for April 20, aims to promote conversation in schools. But in fact Exodus refuses to engage in discussion of antigay violence either in North America or in Uganda, where Exodus continues to be complicit in a campaign to promote vigilantism, involuntary ex-gay detention, and imprisonment against gay Ugandans.
Focus on the Family, meanwhile, is collaborating with Exodus to espouse one-way tolerance of antigay students in a “True Tolerance” campaign which redefines tolerance to permit 1) privileges for antigay evangelical bullies to relentlessly insult and threaten classmates during school hours on school property, combined with 2) character assassination and official efforts to silence those who oppose antigay violence and who, therefore, are accused of promoting a supposed “homosexual agenda.”
Six other far-right organizations are, if nothing else, honest about opposing conversation in schools: They support a “walkout” — a pseudo-Christian excuse for antigay students and misinformed or negligent parents to play hooky on the day when their peers are taking positive steps to stop on-campus violence. Scott Lively’s “Abiding Truth Ministries” headlines the recent Uganda ex-gay conference which launched a campaign of antigay vigilantism in that nation. Americans for Truth is a nameplate for antigay activist Peter LaBarbera, whose sexually graphic website produces offensive homoerotic pornography for consumption by antigay donors and antigay private-school assemblies.
Box Turtle Bulletin offers a detailed analysis of each campaign by self-styled Christians to defend antigay violence and oppose positive steps to restore safe learning in schools.