Pro-gay anti-bullying programs often attack Christians, says Focus on the Family

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Candi Cushman.
Of late, Focus on the Family has been presenting its kinder, gentler side, via venues like Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad. But this week, the organization dove back into the culture wars, declaring that anti-bullying programs presented by outfits like the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) are too pro-gay. And that's not the only problem Focus education rep Candi Cushman has with them. She also thinks they're anti-Christian.

Cushman believes the Denver Post piece about the subject -- "Focus on Family Says Anti-bullying Efforts in Schools Push Gay Agenda" -- left out "a lot of factual information -- and I feel the headline didn't reflect our position. It's not accurate to say we think all anti-bullying programs are pushing the gay agenda. There are some excellent programs out there, and we do think it's a good idea for schools to address this issue. But we do want to equip parents to respond to the fact that this issue is being politicized by advocacy groups -- and it's not necessary to politicize the issue."

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Example? In GLSEN's back-to-school guide for educators, "they encouraged them to use books recommended by them -- and some of the books are reflective of reverse discrimination. For example, one of the books they promote as a way for educators to teach anti-bias lessons is called Two Moms, The Zark & Me, which is listed as being age-appropriate for elementary school kids. And basically it presents a nightmarish portrayal of a conservative couple basically accosting a child in a park.

"I just find it ironic that GLSEN is telling educators they need to give anti-bias lessons with materials that present evil-looking stereotypes of people who disagree with GLSEN's viewpoint."

Cushman also cites another GLSEN-recommended book, Full Spectrum. "It's on the list for kids as young as seventh grade, and in addition to some sexually graphic content, it just openly mocks and gives negative portrayal after negative portrayal of religions perceived to be conservative. It even depicts people having a great time burning the Mormon Bible."

Of course, Focus on the Family isn't exactly neutral when it comes to the gay lifestyle. The organization has long held that homosexuals can be cured -- a position regarded as poppycock by the likes of the American Psychological Association.

Moreover, as Cushman stresses, "We're not ashamed to say we are a Christian organization that bases our viewpoint on Biblical believes -- and we're open about saying we believe man-woman marriage is God's best design for humanity."

To her, though, these beliefs shouldn't be construed as permission for beating gay children, or the offspring of gay parents. In her words, "We don't oppose all anti-bullying programs -- and we see bullying as a serious problem with tragic consequences. I absolutely think that bullying any child, no matter how they identify sexually is wrong and should be strongly prohibited."

What's an example of a good anti-bullying program? After noting that she's offering a personal opinion rather than endorsing anything on behalf of Focus, Cushman mentions Rachel's Challenge, started in honor of Rachel Scott, who was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Although Scott was a Christian, as is her family, Cushman says it's her understanding the Rachel's Challenge lessons are presented in a manner suitable for all young people, not just students of faith.

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A TrueTolerance.org screen capture.
In the meantime, Focus on the Familiy has launched TrueTolerance.org, a new website designed to help parents respond to "homosexual advocacy" in their child's school in "a loving and fact-based way."

"We were getting feedback from parents and students across the country who were feeling that their parental rights, and their family's value system, was often being disrespected in public schools," she explains. "The whole reason we're addressing this is to come alongside those parents and help defend their rights and values.

"It seems so divisive," she says, adding, "Can't we just address bullying on the basis of all men being created equal and having inalienable rights?"

Regarding Cushman's contentions about anti-Christian bias in some anti-bullying programs, she provides a lengthy collection of Focus on the Family talking points on an issue that she describes as "the story that's not being told." Page down to read them:

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