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Focus on the Family discusses bullying with Anderson Cooper

Timothy Kincaid

September 2nd, 2010

Focus on the Family’s Candi Cushman thinks that Safe Schools is about homosexuality lessons in kindergarten. Yes, she truly does look like an idiot.

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Russ
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

oh Anderson…don’t you know the more air time these nutjobs get, the more validity they receive? ‘If they’re in TV, they must have something important to say’ is the “red-state” mentality. Find a way to have the topic covered without giving FOF, et al airtime.

John in the Bay Area
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I thought Anderson went after her pretty hard. FOTF just wants to paralyze teachers from intervening to protect students. If mentioning gay people is banned, the message to teachers is that the district and the administration will not support them when they step in to protect a kid who is being bullying for appearing gay.

They know what they are doing, and they just don’t care. It says a great deal about them.

Lindoro Almaviva
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I 100% agree with Russ. The only reason they continue to spew this nonsense is because someone gives them a microphone.

Remember Alan Chambers? he was called to a microphone how many times to say something about his unintentional involvement in Uganda and only crickets could be heard. Then HE decided it was time to talk and no one would pass the microphone; and he deserved it.

The media, to a certain degree, is partly responsible for these idiots thinking they are important. I wish someone in the media would just do what that reporter did when he was handed yet another Britney Spears news article: Shred it and ask point blank “how and why is this news?”

Pomo
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, why did you need to throw in the last line? Let your readers decide. And if she is as big an idiot as you say, then it should be obvious to those who watch it. Calling her names only hurts your credibility.

homer
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Actually Pomo, she is an IDIOT. And dangerous. People could be killed if she has her way.

Regan DuCasse
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

Pomo, you’re nitpicking as if Timothy or others who are familiar with this thread, aren’t also VERY familiar with Candi Cushman and her usual commentary.

She’s not making any sense. SHE kept talking about kids with glasses or who are overweight as being the target of bullies too.
However, she’s treating the issue of anti gay motivated bullying as something of less importance, while at the same time knowing it’s the impetus that’s the most crucial and serious and urgent.

The reason why is, the bullying of a kid who is gay isn’t always done just by their peers. It could be a matter of abuse at home and ALSO from a teacher.
Leaving that child with NO options or support or help. And least the kid with glasses isn’t at risk of being abandoned to the streets by his own parents, or having his church community point fingers at him as if he’s a demon.

No the gay issue puts kids most at risk, and I think CC knows it.
We also know that FOTF would PREFER that those gay kids get treated like this to turn them from their destructive decision to be gay.
She’s not saying it directly here, but she HAS said it in other forums.

I had an argument on air on a radio program with a minister myself. It was during a point of a senate bill being introduced for safe schools as well.
The sponsor was Mark Leno.
The minister was certain the issue was about teaching homosexuality in school.
But I pointed out that it HAD to be talked about and that kids needed to understand that gay people cannot and should not be the object of so much contempt that children are so at risk.

But people like the minister and Cushman WANT that contempt to remain because that’s how THEY feel about gay people.
The don’t really care about a gay kid being tormented this way. They think it’s a healthy thing so that they won’t grow up to be gay.
Whether they grow up at all is obviously not the concern.

She’s a phony and she didn’t mean a word she said about no gay kid being treated that way.

Mores the point, she’s said many times that gay people are sneaking around and are suspect regarding children and schools.
This was Anderson’s show, but when it’s Cushman’s she says something completely different.
The thing is, bigots ARE after a fashion, incapable of being smart or defending their position intelligently because it requires being irrational i the first place.

Lynn David
September 2nd, 2010 | LINK

She can look like an idiot to us and not give a damn, because it is to the great unwashed homophobes that she is speaking. They’ll accept what she says on face value, no matter what.

Willie Hewes
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

So, we have one anti-bullying programme that actually works, that helps kids NOT kill themselves and each other, that experts who actually work in schools say is badly needed, and another programme that is toothless and doesn’t work, but at least parents won’t freak out about their kids getting “homosexuality lessons”.

Which should we choose?

Candi Cushman, may your God forgive you; I don’t think anyone else will.

Nathaniel
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Enlightening Candi, enlightening…

She had absolutely nothing of value to say, except: All kids should be protected.
Her focus was squarely on the issue of homosexuality and it being taught in kindergarden. I think any sexual education in kindergarden would be absurd, regardless of which orientation it is.
Kids should learn tolerance from an early age indiscriminately. Focus on the Family is just seeing red because homosexuality is being talked about. If a child asks a question regarding something “strange”, are teachers (if the kid is at school) supposed not to explain to the child what is going on (without going to graphic)?
I find it amusing that Candi Cushman, when asked if she accepted race and religion as definitions in the law, couldn’t find any other answer than rehashing what she had already said, comments that two experts, including one I would classify as non-partial, say does not function as intended.
Only the truly ignorant or brainwashed will listen to Candi Cushman and her ilk at this point.

Score for you Focus on the Family, but your goal is on the other side…

Greg
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Nathaniel, FotF and the other rightwing “Christian” organizations have been consistent in saying that teaching that gay people exist is the same as talking about the physics of gay (male) sex. It’s possible to say in a kindergarten that sometimes two women fall in love or two men fall in love. They don’t accept the premise that emotion plays any part in same-sex relationships: it’s all about the activities. That’s where they’re failing.

Priya Lynn
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Clearly Candi doesn’t want schools to say that its wrong to bully someone for being gay because that implies being gay is okay and that’s the last thing her and her ilk want schools to be saying. All the rhetoric about preventing all bullying is disingenous, her real goal is to prevent schools from saying its wrong to bully someone for being gay.

Jess
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

To be frank, that’s all I expected out of Ms. Candi. FotF has no intrest whatsoever in the wellbeing of gay students unless it’s to convert them from their “wicked ways”, so telling bullies to lay off gay kids would be against their interests. They harped on “homosexuality being taught to kindergartners” but I’ll bet nothing of the kind happened, just teachers saying “yeah, sometimes two dudes can love each other”. Granted, unless a child has gay parents I hardly see when homosexuality becomes relevant to a bunch of five and six year olds because kids that age just aren’t thinking of things like sexual orientation just then.

What really annoys me about Candi is that she was using the kindergarten issue to justify opposing the bill when it would actually be the most in effect to middle and high schools, where the real bullying takes place and as children hit puberty homosexuality and homophobia become VERY relevant. I remember middle and high school; people called each other f*g and other gay slurs all the time whether the person was gay or not. Hell, I got called a lesbian and a dike simply because I dressed like a tomboy and didn’t date, and yeah, it was so bad that I skipped school a few times because if I didn’t I would have put someone’s head through a locker. But you know something? The bullying didn’t stop until my highschool started the Gay Straight Alliance and we started addressing the “gay issue” and believe it or not, people ACTUALLY were more sensitive to the gay students. We never said you HAD like gay people or anything like that, just give them the same respect you want for yourself, and it WORKED.

Candi doesn’t want to see things like that, she and the rest of FotF would rather think homosexuality is something sinister and evil, she doesn’t want to see gay people, or gay children for that matter, normal humans beings like her.

darkmoonman
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Of course Ms. Cushman & FOTF hear from parents who fear a “gay agenda”. FOTF exists to supports homophobes and homophobia.

And yes, her fellow nutters will think it great that Ms. Cushman spouted their agenda on TV, but it also shows everyone who’s not a homophobe that FOTF is promoted and supported by nutters.

justsearching
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

From FOTF’s Anti-Bullying page:

“Why not emphasize instead the things we have in common as Americans? For example, we can unite around
the teachings of our Founding Fathers—in particular, the principle that all men are created equal and that they
are endowed with unalienable rights.”

Great idea Focus on the Family. Tell those bullies on the playground that they’re violating the unalienable rights of their fellow classmates.

Here’s another great idea: “The emphasis should be on the wrong actions of the bully—not on the bully’s perceived thoughts or
motivations.”

In other words, let’s worry just about the actions of bullies, and not concern ourselves with the possible sources of those actions. Brilliant!

Mykelb
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Cushman’s education and experience is in media, not education, not psychology, not even sociology. She has ZERO CREDIBILITY AND ZERO CREDENTIALS IN THIS AREA. Why anyone gives her airtime is unfounded in reality.

John
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Bullying of anybody for any reason is simply unacceptable. A child who is a bully will grow into an adult who is a bully, for whom violence is an acceptable option.

Maurice Lacunza
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Candi is a front for the voice of James Dobson, who is the biggest homophobe since Falwell. Since the 70’s, Dobson has been obsessed with homosexuals. I swear that he must be closeted. There is no rational explanation for such animosity towards gays.

If he were a real Christian, why would he divert money from needy social programs for the purpose of fighting a subset of God’s children? It doesn’t add up. There are bones in James Dobsons’ closet.

Tone
September 3rd, 2010 | LINK

I don’t think idiot goes nearly far enough in describing this foul, hate-filled demagogue.

Laurie Henthorne
September 4th, 2010 | LINK

I wonder how Ms Cushman would feel about Christians being bullied for their beliefs, if the teachers in the room couldn’t use the language of religion. Bullying happens because the bystanders let it happen. Bystanders need to understand tolerance, and they need to understand it’s NOT ok to target people for any of the reasons mentioned in civil rights law. Kids will get this, even in kindergarten. They will understand that it isn’t nice to pick on the white kid or the brown kid, the curly haired kid, the boy who dresses very well, the girl who likes sports, the kid who uses a wheelchair, the Sikh or the Christian. Period. We’re all people who deserve respect.
Too bad more people can’t go back to kindergarten and learn this lesson

Laurie Henthorne
September 4th, 2010 | LINK

I also noted how careful Ms Cushman was to never say she “opposes” anything. She dodged AC every time, saying, “What we’re in favor of is …”
Be careful, folks. She isn’t stupid. She’s just homophobic.

moi
September 4th, 2010 | LINK

I’m not entirely convinced that Focus on the Family is particularly concerned about *anyone* being bullied. As a kid growing up listening to Adventures in Odyssey episodes, the only lessons I got about bullying were that if you’re a nerd who’s being bullied it’s probably because the bullies feel bad about not being as smart as you so you should tone down your nerdiness so the bullies feel better and then you won’t get bullied, and that fighting back when you’re being violently bullied is bad because defending yourself and winning the fight with the bully who is attacking you will invariably turn you into the new school bully.

Granted, that is the impression those episodes left on my elementary school self. They might have been attempting to send other messages, but based on the victim-blaming message I internalized from their episodes that dealt with nerdy kids being bullied, I suspect that their true feelings on the subject of bullying is that only immutable physical characteristics like weight, near sightedness or skin color should really be protected and that all other kids should just do their best to blend in.

Kate
September 5th, 2010 | LINK

I agree that the intensity and impact of bullying gets worse in middle and high school – the bullies have become more sophisticated in their tactics, and the issues of adolescence make the emotional damage dangerous enough to be lethal.

But the kindergarten issue IS critical; kids start using “fag” and “gay” as epithets before they even know what they mean – because they hear them from older kids, and those words don’t get the reaction from teachers that swear words and racial words do. So the kids keep using them – until they become “protected” slurs because nobody will address WHY they are wrong.

The school counselor said that especially for boys, merely protesting other kids’ bullying can get you called “gay” – that tells me this has gone beyond protecting “all kids from bullying”, and has more to do with the homophobes’ desire to keep anti-gay slurs from being banned.

Taking away the option of using fag, dyke and gay as “bad words” is a start…if “gay” as an epithet was not tolerated in schools, would “that’s so gay” as a criticism have become so pervasive? You don’t have to explain the details of pedophilia to teach “Stranger Danger” to little kids; you don’t have to discuss the details of same sex relationships to teach the consequences of intolerance.

And let’s face it, we are not going to erase the desire of kids to group together and reinforce their group identity by picking on other kids. That’s never going to stop; it’s human nature. What we CAN do is give teachers and schools the tools to identify and punish behavior that has the greatest potential for harm.

Steve
September 5th, 2010 | LINK

No matter how you slice it, the end message of FOTF for gay children and teens is that they are degenerates and lower life forms. FOTF sugar coats things by saying that they are against bullying. On the other hand not one of these holier than thou spokespeople will clearly admit that there is such a thing as a gay child or teenager. Furthermore, they will not own up to the fact that numerous studies have revealed that gay children are at much higher risk for abuse by their peers. I had thought that maybe FOTF might tone down its rhetoric now that old man bastard Dobson has left. Such is not the case.

steven
September 7th, 2010 | LINK

I finally figured out why right-wing Christians do not want ‘Evolution’ taught in schools. Students would have to learn bad words like HOMO SAPIENS, HOMO HABILIS and God forbid HOMO ERECTUS. As we all know, even thinking about those words will turn you into one.

Christine
September 8th, 2010 | LINK

Cushman has been a speaker for the Love Won Out/Exodus International tour in 4 places in 2009 (including after FOTF announced it would hand over LWO to Exodus in 2009, and LONG AFTER Exodus announced it was not longer involved in anti-gay public policy advocacy).

I thought lying was in the Ten Commandments (unlike homosexuality).

Angela
October 3rd, 2010 | LINK

Homosexuality shouldn’t even be a political issue anymore than abortion or sexual promiscuity should. Conservatives always tell me they want less government intervention in their lives but yet they consistently vote in politicians who want to interfere in the most private aspects of people’s lives. I think what parents are failing to do is to teach their kids respect. They’re also failing to teach their kids that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. Intolerance of other people is taught in the home. And I seriously doubt that anyone is teaching sex in kindergarten. These Focus On The Family people are creating hysteria over something that is non existent.

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