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The Real Reason they don’t like Kevin Jennings

Timothy Kincaid

October 16th, 2009

A group of 53 Republican congressmen sent a letter to President Obama asking him to fire Kevin Jennings from his job running the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools. No, there are no surprises on the list.

The congressmen lay out four reasons why they oppose Jennings, with the first one serving as their primary objection. And the real reason why they don’t like Kevin Jennings is… wait for it… because HE’S GAY!!!

Well, actually, it’s because he’s a homosexual activist. But, then again, so is every single gay person who isn’t masquerading as a doormat.

As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools—an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children. As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students. The totality of Mr. Jennings’ career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.

Translation: “He’s gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay!”

They also object to:

Two: The now debunked Brewster misinterpretation:

Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man… Mr. Jennings’ only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom.

Those of us who bother to care about honesty will note that even if one were to pretend that the story was supposed to be strictly factual rather than allegorical in nature, Jennings never said the man was “much older” or “And that’s all I ever told him.” And I’m sure they forgot to note that Brewster himself told us that he wasn’t having sex.

Ah but honest concern is seldom a real component of anti-gay outrage.

Three: a failure to oppose drugs

In his memoir, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, Mr. Jennings describes his use of illegal drugs, without expressing regret or acknowledging the devastating effects illegal drug use can have on a person’s life.

I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume none of them actually read the book. Otherwise they’d know that the “illegal drugs” they reference was a single sentence about smoking pot once with a boy who was a bad influence during a period when Jennings was desperately trying to fit in.

But that doesn’t fit their agenda quite so well

And lest you think that either of these two additional “concerns” are central to their objection, they close with the following:

You should replace him with someone who has a record of educating children in a safe and moral environment. [emphasis added]

In other words, someone who isn’t gay.

Comments

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David Blakeslee
October 16th, 2009 | LINK

“There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”

After Bush’s failures in appointing limited or poorly qualified folks; this seems like a legitimate concern.

Having a broadly experienced person in Jennings’ post seems like a much better idea, he could consult with Jennings’ about GLBT issues, even send him out to speak nationally with endorsement.

But the broader experience argument is valid…and easily appeased without marginalizing Jennings at all.

GreenEyedLilo
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.

Yes, like a steady diet of prayer and propaganda, all from a conservative Evangelical Christian standpoint, that’ll stigmatize non-Christian students and faculty as well as LGBT ones.

Does anyone else notice that these organizations never seem to have any ideas of their own for making schools safe aside from prayer and hammering down the nails that stick up?

David Wood
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

What is Mr. Blakeslee’s interest in all things Gay?

Aren’t there so many more pressing things a real Christian could be doing rather than trying to impose his religious beliefs on everyone.

Emily K
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

You’d have to ask him, David. But to answer your question, apparently no. Their Bible calls them to impose their religious beliefs “to the nations.”

Penguinsaur
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

Surely David has an alternative choice that would be actually fit for the position? surely he’s not just instantly assuming the gay man is unqualified *I’ve yet to see any proof of that* without having any ‘qualified’ person in mind?

Mark F.
October 17th, 2009 | LINK

Please send me a copy of the “homosexual agenda.” I must have missed it when it was being passed out.

Christopher Waldrop
October 18th, 2009 | LINK

I’d like to see a copy of the “homosexual agenda” myself. It’s interesting that Republican congressmen say that the agenda Mr. Jennings has supposedly been pushing “runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children.”

Emphasis mine, since I want to highlight this claim about “many parents”. They’re careful enough not to say it’s a majority of parents. Even if it is a majority, though, the “agenda”, as I understand it, is all about promoting tolerance and understanding. If a majority of parents oppose tolerance and understanding–particularly in a school environment–then the majority’s views should be examined, rather than accepted without question.

William
October 18th, 2009 | LINK

With regard to what “many parents” want, I think that the following excerpt from “Homophobic Bullying. Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools”, issued by the UK Department for Children, Schools and Families, is surely pertinent also in the USA:

“Q. Some parents/carers do not want us to respond to homophobic bullying. What do we do?

“A. No parent/carer wants their child to be bullied. Nor do they want to hear that their child is a bully.

“Regardless of their views on gay people, or sexual orientation, parents and carers have to understand that schools have a responsibility to keep pupils safe.

“Preventing and responding to homophobic bullying is essential if schools are going to fulfil their responsibilities.”

I think that the following pronouncement from the UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers is also equally relevant:

“Teachers should not be asked to help children and young people appreciate views that are hateful or prejudiced.”

Burr
October 18th, 2009 | LINK

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to realize that homophobic bullying is a threat to ALL children. I’ve seen so many straight peers of mine accused and harassed because others thought they were gay and no evidence of the contrary would convince others.

It affects everyone, period.

libhomo
October 18th, 2009 | LINK

The attacks on Jennings show what happens when religion becomes entwined with politics. Once peoples’ political positions are entrenched in religious faith, they feel justified in using the most heinous tactics to advance those positions.

Mattaz
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Would the author please update this with a list of those members of congress? Thanks.

werdna
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@Mattaz-Follow the link in the first sentence of the post, the names are listed in the Washington Examiner article it point to.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Trouble separating the reasonable criticisms of my post from the template, “standard form” comments that are injected into posts here, regardless of the facts on the ground.

“Anti-bullying” has long been a value in the Christian community…long before Stonewall. Visit Warren’s site, clearly anti-bullying over the long haul.

It dates back to a bunch of scriptures written early in the first millenium.

“You know, love your neighbor as yourself.”

Proverbs is a good book, talking about how the strong are willing to oppress the weak, and how angry God is about it…this in the first millenium before Christ.

There are several bright people at this post, who are well aware of the many times Christians put their necks on the line over the last 2000 years…and were killed for it.

Jennings is one trick pony, who sees his enemy as conservative religion, rather than narcissism and anti-social behavior (these characteristics are common in all bullying acts, whereas, religion is not).

Someone who better understands the nature of human character is better suited for this position, rather than someone who falsely conflates bigotry with religion.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@ Timothy,

“Those of us who bother to care about honesty will note that even if one were to pretend that the story was supposed to be strictly factual rather than allegorical in nature, Jennings never said the man was “much older” or “And that’s all I ever told him.” And I’m sure they forgot to note that Brewster himself told us that he wasn’t having sex.”

Repeatedly telling fragments of this story, while excluding others discredits your assertion that you are interested the truth.

Brewster and Jennings have never referred to this event as an allegory. The story itself is about a man at a bus station and an adolescent. Jennings only advice to the consensual adolescent is to use a condom.

These are facts you know.

You distort your enemy by withholding facts. It is easier to hate that way.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

David said “Someone who better understands the nature of human character is better suited for this position, rather than someone who falsely conflates bigotry with religion…You distort your enemy by withholding facts. It is easier to hate that way.”

You’ve presented no evidence that Jennings doesn’t understand human character well. While some religion isn’t bigotted, much of it is and Jennings rightfully recognizes this. The fact is that christians like you oppose equality for those who harm no one and I jusfifiably despise you for that.

Christopher Waldrop
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

David, you claim that Jennings “falsely conflates bigotry with religion.” I haven’t seen any statement from Jennings that does this. However, you may have a point. Jennings may be a target of bigotry that is not based in religion, although I find it hard to understand what other basis there could be for the anti-gay bigotry being expressed by critics of Jennings.

By the way, when you claim that “‘Anti-bullying’ has long been a value in the Christian community” you make it sound as though Christians never bully anyone. I doubt this is your intention, although if that is your claim then you’re the one withholding facts.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@ Pryra Lynn,

There are narcissistic and anti-social Christians who bully. There are narcissistic and anti-social gays who bully.

Sexual orientation or religious affiliation is not the factor in bullying, it is narcissism and anti-social beliefs and character structure.

Jennings did not make this obvious assessment in his Montgomery County curriculum recommendations.

You also conflate a quote of mine that distorts, a bit, the person and topic I am addressing. I suggest your reread the quote.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@ Mr Waldrop,

Criticism of Mr. Jennings cannot be simplified to “anti-gay” bigotry…even if Timothy uses the phrase over and over to cover his lack of rigor on this topic. That is what name-calling seeks to do.

Mr. Jennings is being opposed by some due to his very narrow, but excellent resume and some events (Fistgate) and the repetitive narrative about Brewster that, for twenty years has shown little or no concern for the negative effects of intergenerational sex.

Furthermore, thanks to Timothy’s reminder, we can see how he would effect public policy by examining how GLSEN sought to inject advocacy (in the name of tolerance and science) into the Montgomery County school curriculum.

Regarding being anti-religious, it is no accident that the curriculum in question was thrown out for its comments on religion.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@ Mr. Waldrop,

“…you make it sound as though Christians never bully anyone. I doubt this is your intention, although if that is your claim then you’re the one withholding facts.”

I try not to speak in terms of never, always, every or none. I have no facts to offer for your misunderstanding that I said Christians never bully anyone.

It is a given of narcissism and anti-social behavior that they often engage in a variety of forms of bullying.

GreenEyedLilo
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

“Anti-bullying” has long been a value in the Christian community

Wonderful, Mr. Blakeslee! Then you should have absolutely no trouble at *all* pointing to initiatives by Christian groups that are meant to discourage bullying! The kind that don’t bully religious minority children, either!

By the way, what *do* you mean by “Christian community”? Does this include a liberal Anglican church or the Metropolitan Community Church? Or do you mean conservative Evangelical only?

Christopher Waldrop
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Blakeslee, please go back and read your previous statement in which you say, “‘Anti-bullying’ has long been a value in the Christian community.” This was the remark I was pointing to. You were saying, I realize, that in principle Christians are opposed to bullying. It’s only after I made my comment that you admitted that some Christians have not always lived up to their principles. Nor do I think all Christians could be said to be opposed to bullying. They may call it by a different name, but some Christians see no problem with being bullies. The Reverend Fred Phelps comes to mind.

Or do you not consider him to be part of the Christian community?

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

David said “Sexual orientation or religious affiliation is not the factor in bullying, it is narcissism and anti-social beliefs and character structure.”.

Sexual orientation isn’t a factor, but in some cases religion most certainly is. Many christians try to deprive gays of the right to marry or wish to fire them or evict them because of who they are. They do this on the basis of their religious affiliation in some cases – religion is directly responsible for bullying.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

David said “You also conflate a quote of mine that distorts, a bit, the person and topic I am addressing. I suggest your reread the quote.”.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never quoted you.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Ooops, yes I see I did quote David, I still have no idea what he’s talking about, however.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@ Mr. Waldrop,

Fred Phelps is a narcissist, who wraps himself in religion…I don’t think he is associated with any recognized religious denomination.

“WBC is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles, though mainstream Primitive Baptists reject Westboro Baptist Church and Phelps, regarding them as unaffiliated to the Primitive Baptists.”

From Wikipedia…you can see that he hates just about everybody!

Please do not use him as representative of Evangelical or even mainline Baptist church members. It slanders such members.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

This might be unknown to the visitors to BTB

About Fred Phelps “Gay rights activists, as well as Christians of virtually every denomination, have denounced him as a producer of anti-gay propaganda and violence-inspiring hate speech.[16]”

We agree on a lot of stuff.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Give it up David, you’re never going to ingratiate yourself into the gay community as long as you oppose equal marriage, gay specific anti-bullying programs, and gay people’s right to not be fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes merely for being gay.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Ingratiate?

Not my goal, identifying distortions and areas of common ground is my goal.

David Blakeslee
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

@ GreenEyedLilo,

“Wonderful, Mr. Blakeslee! Then you should have absolutely no trouble at *all* pointing to initiatives by Christian groups that are meant to discourage bullying! The kind that don’t bully religious minority children, either!”

I am aware of the stern warning by Christ about harming little ones:

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” KJV Matthew 18:6

Catholics, early on (2nd Century) fought Roman values that female babies had a lesser value. They acted on it by raising rejected babies…

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, sure it is David, tell us another one. When the only “common” ground you’ve got is that you’re not Fred Phelps you haven’t got much going for you. You’re not identifying distortions, you’re spreading them. You falsely claim not to be anti-gay, yet oppose equality for those who harm no one. You defend conservative religion which is the reason people like you bully gays by trying to deny them equal rights.

Priya Lynn
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

David said “Catholics, early on (2nd Century) fought Roman values that female babies had a lesser value. They acted on it by raising rejected babies”

There you go distorting the truth again David. The bible expressly says women are inferior to men:

“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

And the bible makes clear that females are literally worth less than males:

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons [shall be] for the Lord by thy estimation. And thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old, even thy estimation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary. And if it [be] a female, then thy estimation shall be thirty shekels. And if [it be] from five years old even unto twenty years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male twenty shekels, and for the female ten shekels. And if [it be] from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation [shall be] three shekels of silver. And if [it be] from sixty years old and above; if [it be] a male, then thy estimation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.”

Spare us your talk of common ground when you come here and lie repeatedly.

GreenEyedLilo
October 19th, 2009 | LINK

Mr. Blakeslee, you misinterpreted my request. I asked for a specific program, plan, or policy–I guess I should have been more specific myself and asked about one suitable for use in a public school with a religiously diverse student body and taxpayer base. I did not ask for a Bible verse. I have three Bibles at home, and while I am Pagan now, I excelled at sword-sharpening drills when I was a little girl. I can find a verse without your help.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ GreenEyedLilo,

My reference to a scripture or two was not intended to sharpen swords or to imply your Biblical incompetence.

It was intended to answer your question.

Regarding public policy…a good start might by THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

Which has been taught in public and private schools for over 2 centuries.

On a related issue, Christians have generally been squeemish about teaching sex education apart from religious values. It is possible, that the neutral education of sex (apart from values) coupled with a media the sexualizes far too many things supports such squeemishness.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

The Bill of Rights, I think, was a document co-created by fundamentalist Christians, deists and others.

The declaration of independence, another public policy statement, had the similar amalgam of participants.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

More currently, Warren Throckmorton has instituted anti-bullying programs applying the Greatest Commandment (love your neighbor).

GreenEyedLilo
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you for providing a reference to a resource, Mr. Blakeslee. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

I think Throckmorton is definitely trying to do something good, and I wish his example would be picked up and followed. I don’t think people have to agree on the rightness or wrongness of same-sex love in this society, but we can certainly agree that kids shouldn’t be harassed. Where we’ll disagree is that I think Kevin Jennings has done some good work and did a great thing in at least drawing attention to the problem.

Richard W. Fitch
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

“The Bill of Rights, I think, was a document co-created by fundamentalist Christians, deists and others.”
Blakeslee, get your act together and your history straight – there were no “fundamentalist Christians” when our country was founded. This movement was a product of the late 19th and early 20th century to counter the claims of Darwin and the emerging work of Biblical higher criticism. As to the issue of bullying, most conservative ‘christians’ justify their lack of concern for protecting young LGBT students based on the notion that being gay is immoral and to stand up against bullying somehow endorses behavior which is contrary to their religious belief system.

Cole
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

Heterosexuals ALWAYS fallback on sex when trying to undermine gay people. Sex plus gay people equals a lot of bad things to the haterosexual. So even if it has nothing to do with sex the haterosexual will trot out sex and try to connect it to gay people because it will automatically sway other haterosexuals into believing them.

These attacks against Kevin Jennings are bigoted and anti-gay.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ GreenEyedLilo,

“I don’t think people have to agree on the rightness or wrongness of same-sex love in this society, but we can certainly agree that kids shouldn’t be harassed.”

Strongly agree.

“Where we’ll disagree is that I think Kevin Jennings has done some good work and did a great thing in at least drawing attention to the problem.”

You are wrong about me here, I think Jennings has done exactly what you say and should be commended and honored.

If he can strongly demonstrate a more nuanced and realistic view of the religiously devout, he is worthy of a public policy position…I think he has been weak in this area.

To protect GBLT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ Cole,

“haterosexual…haterosexuals”?

I think such a word or words may violate the mission of this blog.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ Richard W. Fitch,

“Blakeslee, get your act together and your history straight – there were no “fundamentalist Christians” when our country was founded. This movement was a product of the late 19th and early 20th century to counter the claims of Darwin and the emerging work of Biblical higher criticism.”

You and I may be thinking of different things when it comes to fundamentalists. I believe Fundamentalist Muslims existed prior to the 19th century…as did Orthodox Jews.

Perhaps there is a better term for religiously devout, 17th century Christians who believed the Bible was the inspired Word of God, that Jesus was born of a virgin and was resurrected literally on the third day.

I am open to your better descriptions.

Nevada Blue
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ D Blakeslee

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” KJV Matthew 18:6″

That is not an anti-bullying initiative as requested by GreenEyedLilo to back up your statement that Christians have long supported anti bullying efforts.

First, it includes the words, “ which believe in me,” that make it completely Christian centric.

Second, you omitted the context and thus meaning of the scripture. Jesus was speaking of converted adults and threatening anyone that bullied those adults for being Christians:

(Jesus) said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. KJV Matthew 18.3.

There is no unbigoted argument against gay equality. And that is why I have never (ever) seen any anti-equality argument that didn’t include at least a little subterfuge. But once you use subterfuge, you have spotlighted yourself as morally…challenged.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ Nevada Blue…

Thanks, your point is well taken. I have reviewed the above scripture and I think your interpretation is more “literally” correct.

I have often used the above quote, perhaps wrongly, with clients who have been physically, emotionally, spiritually or sexually abused. I’ll have to rethink that now.

Contextually, Christ repeatedly criticized those who took advantage of their power to control the weak and vulnerable.

In Christ’s world, that would be religious leaders who oppressed their followers with overwhelming demands for holiness; who created a caste system that denegrated sinners.

Jesus called them “whitewashed tombs.”

Perhaps this is the better example…and may be more gratifying for those who likewise challenge my moral worthiness.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ Nevada Blue…

It is my experience that the verse in Matthew is often applied to parenting by those in the evangelical community…that is, to be careful how we treat our children…poor treatment will lead to judgement.

Maybe we’re off the hook, given your literal interpretation.

Burr
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

Enough of the “Christian nation” foolishness.

“As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion…” – Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

This was ratified by the same people behind the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Treaties are law under the Constitution. So there you have it.

Burr
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

The Bill of Rights also doesn’t have much to do with anti-bullying policies in schools.

Please a REAL, recent policy proposal by Christians that addresses bullying of all kinds.

Cole
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

Religion is made up. Who gives a sh#t about protecting religious lies. Belief systems do NOT supersede gay people’s humanity. Anyone who says otherwise is a bigot. Take your hoakus poakus elsewhere David, you are a fool and a bigot.

Priya Lynn
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

David said “To protect GBLT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.”.

People who say gays deserve eternal torture for being in a loving same sex relationship should be demonized. No one is being demonized for being religiously devoute, if they are demonized its because they are attacking those who harm no one. Those people deserve what they get.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ Burr,

here is the complete quote:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

The context here seems wish to de-emphasize previous hostlilities between Muslims and Christians…

Adams turned out to be wrong, I believe, in his estimation of how the Barbary pirates should be handled…Jefferson got it right.

Emily K
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

To protect GBLT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.

If Christians students kept telling Jewish students they were going to hell, you can bet anti-bullying measures would be taken.

So in essence, the same anti-bullying policies that protect Jews from being turned into pariahs by “devout Bible-believing Christians” are meant to also protect kids who are sexual minorities.

Priya Lynn
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

So, tell us David, which takes precedence, religiously devout students’ desire to tell gays they are going to hell or gay students’ desire to be free from torment? Tell us who suffers more from not having their desires fulfilled.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

More on Treaty of Tripoli,

“The translation of the Treaty of Tripoli by Barlow has been found faulty, and there is doubt whether Article 11 in the version of the treaty ratified by Congress corresponds to anything of the same purport in the Arabic version.[18]

In 1931 Hunter Miller completed a commission by the United States government to analyze United States’s treaties and to explain how they function and what they mean to the United States’s legal position in relationship with the rest of the world.[19] According to Hunter Miller’s notes, “the Barlow translation is at best a poor attempt at a paraphrase or summary of the sense of the Arabic” and “Article 11… does not exist at all.”[15]”

From Wiki.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

@ Emily K and Prya Lynn,

I think your concerns are similar…and reasonably voiced.

As a vocal Christian adolescent in a public high school in the 70’s I don’t recall sharing my faith by talking about fellow students sins…I don’t recall any of my friends doing so either.

I recall being sought out by other students who were suffering for a variety of reasons, tough families, adolescent drama, confusion about life. I encouraged them to come to church and read the Bible.

Some did.

I didn’t call girls or boys who were sexually active fornicators.

So, I don’t recognize the Christians you have seen and experienced. When I have run into them, at the periphery of my fellowship, I am eager to confront them.

My prayer is that this ethic will be encouraged in Christian adolescents who see gay and lesbian adolescents ridiculed and bullied.

David Blakeslee
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

I think Christians have the greater responsibility to bear the brunt of any injustice, in service of protecting the weak the and vulnerable…

Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend.

Priya Lynn
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

David, you didn’t answer my question, not that I’m surprised. What you believe can be gleaned from your previous comment:

“To protect GBLT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.”

You think religious students should be free to speak against gay relationships, that it’d be a tragedy to criticize or discourage them from doing so. You think gay students’ need to be free from torment is subordinate to religious student’s desire to torment them. If that wasn’t the case you wouldn’t think there was any risk of the protection of LGBT students resulting in the demonization of religious students. You know no one’s going to criticize religous students for being religious they’re only going to criticize them for expressing negative ideas about gays.

Priya Lynn
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

And David, I don’t appreciate your disingenous claims about protecting the weak. When it comes right down to it you’re against protecting gay students from torment by religous students who are “merely sharing the bible”.

Cole
October 20th, 2009 | LINK

Right on Emily K and Priya Lynn.

werdna
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@Blakeslee-
You might want to read all the way to the end of the Wikipedia article on the Treaty of Tripoli where you’ll find this:

It is important to note, though, that as Miller said:

“It is to be remembered that the Barlow translation is that which was submitted to the Senate (American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II, 18-19) and which is printed in the Statutes at Large and in treaty collections generally; it is that English text which in the United States has always been deemed the text of the treaty.”

However the Arabic and English texts differ, the Barlow translation (Article 11 included) was the text presented to, read aloud in, and ratified unanimously by the U.S. Senate.

Thus, despite your attempts to obfuscate, Burr’s point still stands: whatever the religious beliefs of the founders, the US is not and has never been a Christian nation. If you’re going to credit every positive act of a Christian throughout history as an example of “value[s] in the Christian community” then you’ll also have to accept responsibility for every negative act as well…

As for the rest of your concern troll routine: *yawn*.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Pryla Lynn,

“You know no one’s going to criticize religous students for being religious they’re only going to criticize them for expressing negative ideas about gays.”

Actually, it is quite common, I certainly experienced it a number of times during my adolescent years.

A civil society encourages sharing different view points…even when it creates tension, uncertainty, confusion and anxiety about our personal identity and strongly held beliefs.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Pryla Lynn,

“When it comes right down to it you’re against protecting gay students from torment by religous students who are “merely sharing the bible”.”

That doesn’t sound like me or my rhetoric…I think you have me confused with someone else.

Using the Bible in a manipulative, degrading manner…well, in my tradition, that is something that the devil does. Encouraging Christians to use it to TORMENT gays and lesbians, in my opinion, would be the devil’s work.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ wereda,

Yes, the whole Wiki article is important. I wanted to draw attention to the emphasis in Article 11 that the treaty sought to create a solid secular identity about the US to allay fears in Muslim countries that we were driven by a religious system to overthrow or oppose them…we were not and are not.

I don’t think “obfuscate” is a fair description, as I included broader selections and a place for readers to do further research.

The word “obfuscate” is probably better applied to Burr, who provided a tiny quote and no reference.

Duncan
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

In all this discussion, one thing has not come up: What Jennings actually thinks of religiously devout students.
Blakeslee, the onus is on you to show that he does indeed have a view that is not nuanced and realistic. Please give some references, something that he authored and still stands by.
On another note: atheists should remember that every ethical system is “made up” by humans. Humanism is religious faith without the fancy trappings.
I do myself believe that that makes all the difference, but it’s something to keep in mind.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

Duncan,

This is a very fair challenge.

Jennings original contribution to the Montgomery county sex education curriculum (through GLSEN) made numerous references to religion.

I believe all the references to religion were of the demonizing type (against inter-racial marriage; in support of slavery).

The judge through out the curriculum as advocating for a particular view of religion (I believe).

Jennings’ view of religion in this curriculum simplified it to the point of a characature (sp)…

Something that has often been done to GLBT folks, wrongly.

Regarding myths, religion and atheism. Your assessment is deeply appreciated.

I was surprised to learn that early humanism was not Secular, but deeply rooted in religious practice and thought. I’ll see if I can find the reference to support this assertion (early 14th century Italy, I think).

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

the judge “threw”

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David said “That doesn’t sound like me or my rhetoric…I think you have me confused with someone else.”.

Right, you don’t tell gays they’re going to hell and deserve eternal torture, you encourage them to read the bible which says they are worthy of death, must be killed and eternally tortured. You’re a real sweet guy all right.

David said “Using the Bible in a manipulative, degrading manner…well, in my tradition, that is something that the devil does. Encouraging Christians to use it to TORMENT gays and lesbians, in my opinion, would be the devil’s work.”.

B.S. You encourage people to read the bible and accept it as it is. It makes it clear people will be eternally tortured for the mere thought crime of not believing properly, for breaking confusing and contradictory rules. By your own logic, encouraging people to read the bible as you’ve admitted you do is the devil’s work. You can’t encourage people to read the bible and also claim you aren’t tormenting gays and those who believe differently.

I said “You know no one’s going to criticize religous students for being religious they’re only going to criticize them for expressing negative ideas about gays.”

David replied “Actually, it is quite common, I certainly experienced it a number of times during my adolescent years.”

Your original point was that in protecting LGBTs Jennings runs the risk of demonizing religious students. The protection of LGBTs in no way requires criticizing religious students unless those students are tormenting gay students with their dogma saying that its wrong to be gay and gays are going to hell. So unless you’re defending such actions by religious students its quite simply a lie to say protecting LGBTs runs the risk of demonizing religious students.

Christopher Waldrop
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

The protection of LGBTs in no way requires criticizing religious students unless those students are tormenting gay students with their dogma saying that its wrong to be gay and gays are going to hell.

Therein lies the problem. While it’s not true of all religious students, or all religious people for that matter, but I’ve known several who reserve the right to demonize others. When asked not to demonize others, when asked to be respectful and tolerant of those who don’t share their beliefs, they claim they are victims.

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

Right Christopher. That’s exactly what’s at the heart of David’s statement that in protecting LGBTs Jennings runs the risk of demonizing religious students.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Priya Lynn,

I don’t think you know me…your judgments may fit precisely a real group of Christians you wish to identify but your clouding our conversation by making many assumptions about me.

My original point was the way Jennings wants to protect LGBT adolescents:

“You are wrong about me here, I think Jennings has done exactly what you say and should be commended and honored.

If he can strongly demonstrate a more nuanced and realistic view of the religiously devout, he is worthy of a public policy position…I think he has been weak in this area.

To protect GLBT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.”

The assessment is address to Jennings, in reaction to his judicially recommended curriculum (based upon his injection of a perception of religion in that curriculum).

The criticism is “the way Jennings seeks to protect GBLT students runs the risk….”

It is hard to communicate when people don’t read your actual words or context.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

excuse me “judicially rejected curriculum”

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Prayla,

So called practicing Christians have much more to fear from God’s judgment than any ‘sinner…’

Matthew 13:24…

The beam and the speck also comes to mind.

There are many ways to confront Christians in the public arena about their unChristian behavior without derogating their faith.

Using religion to devalue others and elevate yourself is a core, repetitive criticism that Christ makes of the religiously devout.

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David said “The criticism is “the way Jennings seeks to protect GBLT students runs the risk….” It is hard to communicate when people don’t read your actual words or context.”

That’s not what you said, go back and read your original comment – you can’t weasle your way out of it now. You said “To protect GBLT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.”.

Its hard to communicate when people lie about their actual words or context. You stated that the protection of LGBT students was in direct conflict with the acceptance of religious students. That’s not the case unless you support religious students telling gay students its wrong to be gay and gays are going to hell. You’ve attempted to shy away from admitting that but you acknowledge you advise gays students to read the bible which itself says this.

I say you’re attempting to hide your true motives and that will be proven if you decline to answer these questions in a straightforward manner:

Do you support anti-bullying programs that specifically say its wrong to bully people for being gay – yes or no?

If a gay child asks you what happens after they die if they were married to a same sex partner, what do you tell them?

Which takes precedence, religiously devout students’ right to tell gays what the bible says about them or gay students’ right to be free from such condemnation? Who suffers more from not having their desires fulfilled?

William
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David Blakeslee,

I think that it would be helpful for the purposes of this discussion if you could give some examples of ways in which religiously devout adolescents might share their faith with GLBT students which you would NOT regard as harassment, and some examples of ways of sharing their faith which you WOULD regard as harassment.

I should also like to know this: do you think that it’s permissible for religiously devout adolescents to concern themselves with the sexuality of their GLBT peers when their concern hasn’t been requested and clearly isn’t wanted?

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David, its Priya, not Pryra, not Prayla, PRIYA.

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David said “There are many ways to confront Christians in the public arena about their unChristian behavior without derogating their faith.”.

But sharing the bible is Christian behavior, and the bible does say gays deserve death, must be put to death, and will be eternally tortured. If you don’t believe this, why do you tell people to read the bible with no cautions saying “this part of it is wrong”?

Chris McCoy
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David Blakeslee said:

I don’t think you know me…your judgments may fit precisely a real group of Christians you wish to identify but your clouding our conversation by making many assumptions about me.

You are making a Fallacy of Composition by insinuating that because a) you profess to be Christian, and b) you hold a particular belief, that c) all Christians hold the same belief; while at the same time, accusing Priya Lynn of committing the opposite, a Fallacy of Division, namely that you are not the same as all other Christians.

David Blakeslee said:

If he can strongly demonstrate a more nuanced and realistic view of the religiously devout, he is worthy of a public policy position…I think he has been weak in this area.

I think the Freedom of Religion clause of the 1st Amendment suggests that Jennings does not need to make any statements to cajole any specific Religious group about how a Government Body should kowtow to their special interests.

I support an Educational system that is blind to any and all religious demands. If parents want their religion to be taught to their children, they should take their children out of public school and place them any of the thousands of privately funded schools that were established for that reason.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Priya Lynn,

I did not state this:

“You stated that the protection of LGBT students was in direct conflict with the acceptance of religious students.”

You have repeatedly misrepresented me…you are battling other enemies here.

I cannot engage in a conversation when you can’t read what I actually wrote…or if you only attend to a quote without it’s context…I don’t think we can move on if you are not able to do this.

To address your questions:

Do you support anti-bullying programs that specifically say its wrong to bully people for being gay – yes or no?

Yes.

If a gay child asks you what happens after they die if they were married to a same sex partner, what do you tell them?

I would tell them that there are many viewpoints on this matter. If they were asking me what I believe…that is a different matter. I would make certain that they understood it was my belief; and one they may or may not share and that there were other views and some Christians who disagree with my view.

Which takes precedence, religiously devout students’ right to tell gays what the bible says about them or gay students’ right to be free from such condemnation?

What takes precedence is to love you neighbor as yourself, behaviorally. After that, as a Christian, you are called to put the rights of others ahead of your own. After that…

Who suffers more from not having their desires fulfilled?

All humans suffer, it is the nature of things.

Prya…I think you have Christians confused with Fred Phelps.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

I did it again! Very sorry Priya

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ William

“do you think that it’s permissible for religiously devout adolescents to concern themselves with the sexuality of their GLBT peers when their concern hasn’t been requested and clearly isn’t wanted?”

No…

As part of course curriculum (if it is a topic in a class, for example) then I don’t think we can control speech on this topic and still have liberal education. The Christian must listen respectfully to those who disagree with him, even though he may disagree…and visa versa.

“I think that it would be helpful for the purposes of this discussion if you could give some examples of ways in which religiously devout adolescents might share their faith with GLBT students which you would NOT regard as harassment, and some examples of ways of sharing their faith which you WOULD regard as harassment.”

Not Harrassment: God Loves You. He calls us to Love Him and Love eachother. These are the highest commandments. Christ Showed us what love looks like.

Harrassment: You (unlike me, implied) are going to hell because you love your same sex. I have a right to publicly judge you because I can visibly identify what I believe your sins are (mine are not as easily visible). This is hateful. Unwanted…unasked for…unnecessary. Unchristian.

It might be protected free speech…and if that is what the Courts ultimately decide, I will work with the GLBT community to help turn such spiritual attacks against their attacker.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

I really believe that what you see as a religious attack is a narcissistic attack.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Emily K,

“If Christians students kept telling Jewish students they were going to hell, you can bet anti-bullying measures would be taken.

So in essence, the same anti-bullying policies that protect Jews from being turned into pariahs by “devout Bible-believing Christians” are meant to also protect kids who are sexual minorities.”

I think this is a good idea…a very useful framework.

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David said “I did not state this:

“You stated that the protection of LGBT students was in direct conflict with the acceptance of religious students.””

That was a paraphrase. What you said was “To protect GBLT adolescents he runs the risk of demonizing religiously devout adolescents.”.
The former was a fair characterization of your latter comment. You tried to weasle out of the implications of what you said by falsely claiming you had said “the way jennings seeksto protect LGBT…”. There’s a world of difference between those two statmenets, the first says there is a conflict between protecting LGBT students and acceptance of religious students, the second claims the problem is not protecting LGBT students per se, but the way it might be done. You said the first and not the second and I have little doubt that it betrays your true beliefs on this matter – you don’t want LGBT students protected from religious students “just sharing the bible”.

Now to my questions. You answered the first in a straightforward manner. You support anti-bullying programs that specifically say its wrong to be gay -good.

The next question was:
“If a gay child asks you what happens after they die if they were married to a same sex partner, what do you tell them?”

You said “I would tell them that there are many viewpoints on this matter. If they were asking me what I believe…that is a different matter. I would make certain that they understood it was my belief; and one they may or may not share and that there were other views and some Christians who disagree with my view.”.

Just like I suspected, you dodged the question and didn’t answer at all. Obviously the child would be asking you what you believe, not asking for the tripe you typed out. We both know why you don’t want to answer this, because if you were honest you’d admit you’d have told that child its a sin to be gay and they would be eternally tortured after death. Oh, you’d have dressed it up in euphemisms like “seperation from god” and the like but in the end you’d be tormenting that gay child just like you claimed you would not do, just like you claimed good Christians shouldn’t.

Next question:
“Which takes precedence, religiously devout students’ right to tell gays what the bible says about them or gay students’ right to be free from such condemnation?”

You answered “What takes precedence is to love you neighbor as yourself, behaviorally. After that, as a Christian, you are called to put the rights of others ahead of your own. After that…”.

Once again, you dodged the question and failed to answer and its pretty clear why. If you thought gay students should be free from such condemnation you would have said so instead of changing the subject. You don’t want to admit the truth – when a decision has to be made you’d support the religious student’s right to “share what the bible says” over the gay student’s right to be free from such condemnation.

Next question “Who suffers more from not having their desires fulfilled?”

You answered. “All humans suffer, it is the nature of things.”.

I never asked you that, I asked you who, in this specific situation suffers more from not having their desires met, the relgious student “sharing the bible”, or the gay student who wants to live without condemnation? Once again, your attempt to change the subject instead of providing a straightforward answer is a kind of answer in itself. Its pretty clear that its going to hurt a gay kid more to be condemned by someone “sharing the bible” than the religious kid would be hurt by keeping his beliefs to himself. You don’t want to be honest and forthcoming about this because to admit the truth would suggest that a gay students right to be free from condemnation should come before a religious student’s right to “share the bible” – you would be against that but are too dishonest to say so directly.

You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing David. You put forth all this talk about love and protecting the weak, but that’s not who you really are. You’d talk a good show to a gay child, you’d ingratiate your self to them, talk about love and friendship, and then after they think you are their friend you’d ease them into a euphemistic talk about how its wrong to be gay and they are going to hell if they enter a loving same sex relationship. You won’t admit it, but your dancing around the questions I asked demonstrates the truth of the matter.

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

Let’s try it again David. A gay child asks you what YOU believe happens after they die if they were married to a same sex partner, what do you tell them? This isn’t a “different matter” now, give a straightforward and honest answer this time.

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Priya,

All value systems make demands on us. Religion is no different. It is impossible to enter any value system and know all the costs at the outset.

Eventually, some value systems cost too much and we have to abandon them to preserve our own health and well-being.

I have loved people through this process as they have been hurt by what they discovered the Church required…I have supported their decision to seek an identity and support system elsewhere. I wish them well, and trust that God continues to work in their lives.

I have loved people through a process where they have discovered that their gay or lesbian identity did not fit who they were and supported their decision to live in a new faith they had chosen that excluded them being able to have same sex relationships.

The highest commandment is to love the person first.

You do not know who I am.

Priya Lynn
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David, I know you’re afraid to give a straightforward honest answer to simple questions. The only logical reason for that is that you know the answers would paint you in a negative light. Its clear you aren’t to be trusted and your talk of love and protecting the weak and so forth are merely camoflage for your true beliefs and desires.

Oh, I know who you are alright, I’ve met your kind many, many times.

Ken in Riverside
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

David Blakeslee: Do you suppose that gay people aren’t created gay by God?

David Blakeslee
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

@ Ken,

Same sex attractions appear intrinsic, they may be part of God’s original design for a portion of humanity.

I don’t know precisely what God intended in all his acts of creation and which manifestations in creation are different from His original intent. Many Christians presume to know such things.

Ken in Riverside
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

In your opinion, is normalization of homosexuality incompatible with Christianity?

Ken in Riverside
October 21st, 2009 | LINK

I don’t mean a process of normalization, i mean the state. Sorry for any ambiguity and thanks for answering.

Chris McCoy
October 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Please stop feeding the Troll.

David Blakeslee
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

More Kevin Jennings,

http://www.breitbart.tv/fistgate-massachusetts-teacher-speaks-out-about-infamous-glsen-conference/

Apparently a teacher who attended is asserting that Jennings knew the content of the presentations and publications at the workshop.

Timothy Kincaid
December 14th, 2009 | LINK

David Blakeslee,

You lose credibility when you link to “anonymous” vague claims that on the face of them appear to be false.

See the rebuttal here

At some point it ceases to appear that you have any credible concern and begins to appear that you are so motivated by your negative emotional position on the appointment of Kevin Jennings that you will believe and repeat anything negative said about him.

For the sake of your own reputation, you may wish to cease linking your name to nutjob attacks on Jennings.

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