September 3, 2010
Queering EducationBy Mary Grabar
The recent court rulings against students Jennifer Keeton in Georgia and Julea Ward in Michigan reveal the power amassed by the cabal of radicals in academia who have pushed the gay agenda into education. In both cases, judges upheld the right of counseling departments at public universities to expel Christian students who refused to counsel homosexuals in a manner that affirmed their homosexuality.
In Keeton's case, Augusta State University mandated that all students completing the master's program adhere to professional standards that require counselors to counsel all clients in ways that do not criticize their sexuality or attempt to change it. According to affidavits, Keeton, whose attitudes towards homosexuality are rooted in her Christian faith, had stated a desire to refer gay clients to other counselors or to inform them about conversion therapies.
Julea Ward, too, claimed that her rights to freedom of religion and free speech were violated by Eastern Michigan University when she was required to counsel gay clients in an affirming manner. Her suggestion that such clients be referred to other counselors was rejected.
In both cases, the graduate students were in good academic standing until the final stages of their programs, when it came time to practice counseling clients. Both refused to undergo remediation programs with activities clearly intended to change their attitudes toward homosexuality.
The judges cited the "professional judgment" and "academic standards" at the universities, both of which adhere to the American Counseling Association (ACA) code of ethics. The "professional judgment" and "academic standards" that determined the activities for remediation are more in line with Soviet-style reeducation, however. The twelve tasks assigned to Keeton, such as attending a gay pride parade, hardly involve legitimate scholarship.
Another task assigned to Keeton was quoted in the ruling: to read "peer-reviewed counseling or psychological journals that pertain to improving counseling effectiveness with GLBTQ populations." The department's directive, as quoted in the decision, continues: "There is much research available on the ALGBTIC [Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling] webpage under Resources."
Keeton is reported as aspiring to be a guidance counselor, so the "professionals" would probably want her to read resources under "Lesbian and Gay Youth." Included are such titles: Young, Gay and Proud and Positively Gay, the latter a collection that features essays by gay rights advocates and a foreword by Congressman Barney Frank. It's published by Celestial Arts.
Even articles linked on the organization's homepage have advocacy as their mission. Consider "Surviving and Thriving in the Midst of Anti-Gay Politics," published in Angles, the "Policy Journal of The Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies." (Emphasis added.)
The gay-positive lifestyle is being promoted aggressively in K-12 schools, often under the cover of anti-bullying efforts, under the leadership of Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools. Before his federal appointment, Jennings founded and ran GLSEN, (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Under Jennings' direction, GLSEN was involved in activities that affirmed homosexuality to children with explicit materials. Jennings also wrote the foreword to a book titled Queering Elementary Education.
GLSEN, which in the 2008-2009 year enjoyed a $157,500 contribution from the NEA, the largest teachers union in the country, pitches its materials and training services to schools. It targets not only high school students, but middle school students. For example, the video and teachers guide for Out of the Past, about a 17-year-old who begins a gay-straight alliance group in her public school, is targeted for grades 7 through 12.
But this spring, the Eagle Forum reported that the American College of Pediatricians urged all 14,800 U.S school district superintendents to avoid prematurely labeling children as homosexual. The College president cited studies showing that most adolescents who experience same-sex attraction no longer do so by age 25.
Such studies are ignored by the organizations that put out a brochure titled "Just the Facts about Sexual Development of Youth." These organizations include not only the two largest teachers' unions, but also the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association. Who else is on the list? Why the American Counseling Association, the very group that provides the "professional" standards for the public universities where Ward and Keeton studied.
Furthermore, "Just the Facts" is promoted aggressively on the (GLSEN) website.
In such a way, the peer reviewers, the accrediting organizations, and professors assert their power; they actively exclude not only opposing religious views, but also studies and professional opinions of those who disagree with them. It's a problem that plagues our entire educational system.
It happens certainly in the humanities, as I can attest from my experience over nearly twenty years in earning a Ph.D. in English and then living on the crumbs of part-time teaching. Sure, one can have an opinion. She can value the writing of a conservative, Christian writer like Walker Percy, but unless she does scholarship that deals with the presumed privileges of his gender, class, and race, she will not have a scholarly paper accepted at the prestigious conferences, nor have her job application considered seriously. In the meantime, my colleague, a full professor, can direct the Sexuality Studies program in the English department and display a pornographic line drawing of a homosexual act on his office door.
While undergraduates become acclimated to graphic displays of homosexual sex, they will not be exposed to the serious ideas of someone like Walker Percy.
Perhaps there has been no outcry during the last year the drawing has been posted because students are used to such displays. A look through MTV or Comedy Central will reveal how cool and edgy homosexuality has become among teenagers and young adults.
Such an attitude is nurtured by years of classroom exposure to the narrative of victimhood and tolerance. The troubled, confused, and abused young person, if he seeks counseling, will then have the benefit of someone sealed with the approval of the American Counseling Association and the radical gatekeepers at the university. This is what passes for "professional judgment" these days.
Such prevailing "professional judgment" must be exposed for what it is: an assertion of power that promotes an agenda of "queering" education. This is where the public with its good sense must invade the ivory towers and demand that its tax dollars no longer fund the academic frauds.
Mary Grabar writes for various publications and teaches in the Atlanta area. Read her publications and sign up for notices at www.marygrabar.com.