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When Does Opposition to Suicide Prevention Equal Murder?

Jim Burroway

September 1st, 2010

Three teens at a Minnesota school district have committed suicide over the past year after enduring anti-gay bullying. The Anoka-Hennepin School Board claims that they take bullying seriously, but they’ve refused to implement anti-bullying education programs aimed specifically at anti-gay bullying — which is precisely the issue that has led to three deaths this year. A group of anti-gay parents have formed a pressure group to support the board’s anti-gay stance, and they have the full backing of Focus On the Family:

Focus supports bullying prevention,[Focus On the Family education “expert”Candi] Cushman said. “But this issue is being hijacked by activists. They shouldn’t be politicizing or sexualizing the issue of bully prevention.”

Cushman founded, which says it helps Christian parents “confront the gay agenda,” which she said includes homosexual-themed curricula, books with sexually graphic content and anti-religion stereotypes, assemblies and celebrations.

Nobody is “sexualizing” bullying prevention — there won’t be skimpy outfits or go-go dancers or suggestive poses involved with talking about anti-gay violence — and if anyone is politicizing bullying prevention, it’s people who, for some strange reason, don’t appear interested in ending anti-gay bullying which led to these three deaths.

The best way not to solve a problem is not to talk about the problem. And since Focus’ position is that we should not talk about the problem, at some point you have to wonder if, in some unspoken dark corner of their collective souls, they see these suicides as serving their purposes. Focus consistently portrays the “homosexual lifestyle” as synonymous with abject misery — rampant drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide. And, coincidentally or not, they consistently oppose efforts to constructively address drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide among gay youth. After all, if we really were to address drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide among gay youth by actually talking about drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide among gay youth with an eye toward identifying solutions to these problems instead of using those problems as a hammer, then drug abuse, ST’s, depression and suicide among gay youth might actually go down. And the “homosexual lifestyle” won’t seem so full of misery, will it?



September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Deleted: this commenter has been banned.

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Deleted: this commenter has been banned.

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Hi CI:

You write: “This will offend some people, but why should I care if a homosexual commits suicide? The incidence of same sex behavior does go down.”

Firstly, you conflate behaviour with orientation. Just because an individual identifies as gay, does not necessarily mean that they are involved in sexual behaviour.

Secondly, a community which discourages anti-gay bullying (and the suicides that may result from such behaviour) is inherently more tolerant and accepting. This may not be the kind of society that appeals to you, but for those of us who are not anti-social bigots, we think it is a worthy short term social goal.

No doubt this offends you – but I don’t really care.

Cowboy PhD
September 1st, 2010 | LINK

WTF? Who the hell is CI? And how could some sorry excuse for a human being write such crap(“why should I care if a homosexual commits suicide”)?

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Deleted: this commenter has been banned.

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Idiocy, complete and utter idiocy.
I’d have made it a goal in my life to hunt these people down and make them accountable for their substandard ethics, had this happened to me or one of my loved ones.
This just proves that these organizations belong in the “evil” pile along with Hitler, Stalin or any other hateful bigot.

Timothy Kincaid
September 1st, 2010 | LINK

CI/fun is a troll who comes here sometimes under different names. I removed CI’s comments.

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Maybe you should leave a “Post Deleted” note when you do? It can be kind of confusing otherwise.

Timothy Kincaid
September 1st, 2010 | LINK

Good idea, occono

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

I’ve noticed a HUGE uptick in trolling on both gay and liberal websites.

It almost seems like there is a coordinated trolling effort going on.

Is this a last desperate throws of a dying homophobic movement or is it geared toward sowing confusion before the November elections?

Jason D
September 1st, 2010 | LINK

so anyway, on topic.

I have a feeling some of these folks are really, perhaps unconsciously, willing to sacrifice a few gay lambs for Jesus. I mean let’s face it, we already know their solution to “drug abuse, STDs, depression and suicide” among gay people: Stop being gay already!
They don’t want reasonable, truthful solutions, they want converts.

John in the Bay Area
September 1st, 2010 | LINK

I think that Focus on the Family and these anti-gay parents are truely indifferent to the suffering of these kids who are gay or percieved to be gay. We had ths fight a few years ago in our town. As always, homophobes and bigots get awfully touchy about being called homophobes or bigots. If only they were equally sensitive to the plight of these kids.

September 1st, 2010 | LINK

We should send a letter to Tony Perkins and ask him if he’s NOW a PROUD and RIGHTEOUS Christian, now that the blood of these poor children is ultimately on his hands.

September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

This is an suburb of the Minneapolis/St Paul area that falls in Michele Bachmanns district. This area gets quite worked up at their schools. There was an organization that formed to remove/change comprehensive sex education. They worked out a compromise to offer a two tier plan. One with the birth control education and abstinence style sex ed. This area of the state is where a lot of hard core conservatives live. St Cloud which is a wee bit north of there still has some nasty racism that pops up from time to time. There have also been efforts to keep teachers from posting “safe” signs for LGBT students and having staff do nothing about bullying of LGBT students.

September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Deleted. This commenter (who uses various names) has been banned

Nelson Smith
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I try to help suicidal gay youth understand their significance. Most are Christians and as young as 12. They have slit their throat, wrists, hanged themself, going to jump off a cliff…I would share these stories with fundy pastors, church members, and speak to the parents of these gay youth. One father said he could not love his daughter unconditionally, who had tried to burn herself to death, if she remained gay. He said she would go to hell and shoved his Bible towards me and said we believe this. Another pastor of a gay son told me he would call the FBI if I contacted his son. His 13 year old son wrote me and then called me and asked me not to listen to his dad. He said he was considering suicide and needed someone to talk to. So I talked to the pastor’s son [his life was more important than his dad’s threat. His dad did call the FBI. His son went from being a happy kid to one who is now on anti-depressants. But his dad and the church are determined to “save his soul”.
Another dad told me he would rather see his son in hell than be gay. Another parent told me that if it were legal he would stone me and all my gay youth to death. A mother told her 15 year old son, after he came out to her, “I hope you go to prison and get raped” before kicking him out of his home.
A friend of mine college freshman was beaten to death and the two men threw his body in a dumpster. The police caught the men and one question they asked the two men was why they threw him in the dumpster. Their reply, “That’s where trash belongs”.
Not all fundies are like this but far too many are. They have a clear conscience regarding their beliefs and actions as they firmly believe they are doing God’s will.
I am a former Baptist pastor, AG teacher, seminary and college instructor, and was considered a mentor to other pastors-until I announced I was gay [but celibate as I am married] and then I was promptly kicked out my church, but they did say my wife was welcomed to stay.
What is “odd” is that none of these concerned soul savers would never accompany me when I went into the hoods of the Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Latin Kings, Crips, Bloods…Something like the 70’s when they would not let me bring blacks into their church because it would disrupt the fellowship and harm the body of Christ-the church.
I still have some of their bigotry filled sermons which they now try to deny or erase.
Nelson blaine USAF Retired
You Are Significant Because God Doesn’t Make Mistakes or Junk

September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

There has been obvious and increasing Anti-Gay Trolling on a number of Gay sites for a year or more now. This in itself is agression.

Even with the enactment of Federal laws protecting Gays against violence, it appears that getting local, state and Federal athorities to determine actions of violence to actually be “hate crimes” will fail to happen affirmatively as evidenced by several recent cases.

September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Nelson Smith,

I think it would be helpful for Blacks to be reminded of those sermons you referenced. Why not post those in black forums?


Regan DuCasse
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Hi Nelson,
I’ll never understand or accept parents abandoning their flesh and blood for ideology and ignorance about gay people and being gay.
Their child could be a good kid who adores their parent…
but that doesn’t matter and is all blown away by the revelation of a gay child.

This actually tests the courage and smarts and love of the parent, really.
And their failure is on THEM.
But of course, it’s easier to blame their gay child for their lack of spine as a parent.
Bibles can’t smile back, give you a hug or give you physical and material comfort where and when it most matters.

And they don’t think that they are the parent their gay child doesn’t deserve, instead of the other way around.
They should be embarrassed that an intangible belief is more important that flesh and blood.
I have as yet. EVER. To meet an accepting parent that regretted doing so.

September 5th, 2010 | LINK

I think it’s unbearably sad that citizens can work their hardest to protect children from other children in schools, but can do nothing to protect those children from their own parents. Those same parents would visit their child in jail if he/she had committed murder, but will throw that child away because of who their child chooses to love?

There is something very wrong about a religion that fosters that kind of attitude.

September 5th, 2010 | LINK

If anybody is still there –
I read some articles about this issue and am absolutely heartbroken. Justin – the last victim – was a cute kid, and talented musician. And a pawn in a hateful political battle that shouldn’t have involved him, but killed him. Why hasn’t the MSM picked this up? Rachel? Ellen? Oprah? Anderson? hello…hello…?

Reverend Boony
October 4th, 2010 | LINK

I too say that any and all proof of bigoted sermons should be posted, not only on african american geared forums but as many other forums as well since many caucasions, myself included, would find such sermons intresting and enlightning in the sense that we would have a clearer picture of the thoughts and attitudes of many bible thumpers.

As for focus on the family and other whack job organisations…They should be listed as hate groups and shunned by all sensable, intelligent americans.

Robin Mavis
October 4th, 2010 | LINK

Thank you for following and posting about the circumstances in our district. Please keep speaking out.
Robin Mavis
Anoka Hennepin Gay Equity Team

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