Higgins Responds to Throckmorton’s Criticism of Day of Silence Boycott

Grove City College professor’s pro-homosexual comments not consistent with school’s mission

warren_throckmorton.jpgEvangelical Gadfly or “Gay Activist”?: Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton has directed his hostile “reporting” at NARTH, “reparative therapy,” former homosexual Richard Cohen, Sally Kern and now the pro-family coalition campaign to boycott the homosexual activist “Day of Silence” in schools (April 17). But Throckmorton doesn’t like it when pro-family critics focus attention on his unScriptural positions, which are presumably at odds with Grove City’s Christian mission. In a 2007 interview with homosexual activist Mike Signorile, Throckmorton answered in the affirmative when asked directly by Signorile if it is “normal, natural and healthy” for people who “come out and accept that being homosexual” (“being gay”) is “fine.”

Dear AFTAH Readers,

We will have more in the coming weeks on controversial Grove City College associate professor Warren Throckmorton, who has strayed far from a Biblical worldview on homosexuality, and far from the mission of his employer. (Grove City College’s mission statement affirms that the college “remains true to the vision of its founders. Rejecting relativism and secularism, it fosters intellectual, moral, spiritual, and social development consistent with a commitment to Christian truth, morals, and freedom.”) AFTAH has written previously on Throckmorton, including this story.

Throckmorton aims to steer Christians in a new (more ambiguous) direction on homosexuality, but many evangelical pro-family leaders active in opposing the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] activist agenda are wary of his alliances and ideas, finding them to be more serving of the pro-homosexuality movement than Christian truth. There is no more troubling example of that than Throckmorton’s July 2007 radio interview with well-known homosexual activist Mike Signorile, which includes the following excerpt:

 WARREN THROCKMORTON: The aim of Sexual Identity Therapy is a satisfied life – a client who believes that they have come to an integration of their conflicts, and we’re, by the way, only talking about people who are in conflict.
MIKE SIGNORILE: So you think it is normal, natural and healthy for people who come out and accept that being homosexual — accept being gay — and completely have no issues with their religious faith — you believe — would you describe the words as [strong emphasis by Signorile] ‘normal, natural and healthy’– that that is fine?
THROCKMORTON: Yes. Yes, I have been very clear about that in my public statements, that the efforts to demonize people who accept their homosexuality and come out as gay have been futile. The research–[Signorile puts him off]

We will provide further excerpts of this interview, and possibly the entire transcript, which we will provide to Grove City College officials (who have already been contacted by pro-family leaders concerning Throckmorton’s controversial statements and tactics). We will be happy to report Warren’s response to our concerns in our future posts on this story. — Peter LaBarbera, www.aftah.com

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Here is the letter by Laurie Higgins of Illinois Family Institute responding to Throckmorton’s post accusing IFI and “avoiding the sinner” with its boycott of the pro-homosexual “Day of Silence”:

Open Letter to Warren Throckmorton:

We at Illinois Family Institute [IFI] are troubled by both the title of your article, “Illinois Family Institute Hates the Sin, Avoids the Sinner,” and its content. [The IFI press release to which Throckmorton was responding is reprinted below.]

I don’t know where in the text of our press release or in any of the documents we’ve posted on the Day of Silence Walkout you would get the idea that the coalition seeks to “avoid the sinner.” Our concern is with the exploitation and disruption of instructional time for political action.Contrary to the suggestion in your title, we actually want students–heterosexual and homosexual alike–to remain in school together pursuing their studies. We in no way seek to separate heterosexual students from homosexual students or to separate those students with conservative views on homosexuality from those who hold liberal views.

Illinois Family Institute finds your title not only inaccurate and wholly without justification but also irresponsible in that it contributes to the pernicious deceit that Christians hate, fear, or seek to separate themselves from those who identify as homosexual.

Furthermore, you made the statement regarding the Day of Silence press release that “the release first says the Day of Silence requires that teachers exempt students from speaking and then admits that the DOS does not mandate such exemption,” suggesting that statements in the press release were contradictory. The problem with your analysis is that the first statement addressed what the Day of Silence’s request for students to remain silent would require of teachers, while the second statement addressed what schools are legally required to do.

What the first sentence expresses is that the central defining feature of Day of Silence-—classroom silence-—necessitates that teachers who are permitted to accommodate student silence or are instructed to accommodate it either exempt students from speaking or create activities around their silence. The second statement regarding the ACLU and Lambda Legal document simply makes clear to confused administrators and parents who erroneously believe that schools must permit student silence that schools have a legal right to require verbal participation in the classroom. Perhaps your confusion arose because of the abbreviated nature of a press release necessarily precluded a full exposition of the issue.

Political protest does not belong in the classroom. Taxpayer-subsidized instructional time should not be manipulated, exploited, or disrupted for any social or political goals or messages. Our coalition has not asked for students to shed their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse door. Day of Silence participants have the right to wear t-shirts and put up posters. But the important goal of ending bullying does not justify the means of intruding into and disrupting instructional time; nor does it justify the use of public money to transform society’s views on the nature and morality of volitional sexual conduct.

Finally, opposition to political action in the classroom and opposition to the efforts of activist educators to inculcate students with their unproven, controversial theories on the moral status of homosexual behavior do not constitute support for bullying.

Sincerely,

Laurie Higgins

Director of the Division of School Advocacy
Illinois Family Institute
www.illinoisfamily.org

_______________________________________________________________

OPINION: Illinois Family Institute Hates the Sin, Avoids the Sinner

By Dr. Warren Throckmorton, on his blog

The Day of Silence is coming — April 17 to be exact — and some conservative groups are already calling for students to walkout of school on that day.”

From the Illinois Family Institute: “A national coalition of pro-family organizations is urging parents to call their children out of school on April 17. This is the day designated for this year’s Day of Silence when students and/or teachers will purposely remain silent during instructional time to protest so-called discrimination and gain sympathy for students who identify as homosexual or transgender.”

The Day of Silence is a yearly event sponsored by the partisan political action group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The implicit purpose is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral. It is the belief of the sponsors of the Walkout that parents should no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence.”

The walkout is a new wrinkle. Last year, these same groups called for parents to keep the kids home. It sounds like the plan this year is to allow students to go to school and then tell them to walk out.

The article contradicts itself on at least one point. First, it reads:

“The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.”

And then a little later, says:

“Higgins further emphasizes that ‘The worthy end of eliminating harassment does not justify the means of exploiting instructional time.’ The First Amendment already allows DOS participants to wear t-shirts or put up posters, but according to a document co-written by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, a “school can regulate what students say. . . and it can also insist that students respond to questions, make presentations, etc.” Students and teachers should not be allowed to exploit instructional time to advance their socio-political goals.”

Note the two sentences in bold print. The release first says the Day of Silence requires that teachers exempt students from speaking and then admits that the DOS does not mandate such exemption. As noted in the release on my personal blog last year, DOS materials make this clear. In any event, it seems to me that a walkout will be more disruptive than silence in the hallways.
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Below is IFI’s original release on the DOS Walkout (see AFTAH’s article HERE):

Parents: Keep Students Home — Schools: Stop Politicizing Our Classrooms

The Illinois Family Institute is part of a national coalition of pro-family organizations urging parents to call their children out of school on April 17. This is the day designated for this year’s Day of Silence when students and/or teachers will purposely remain silent during instructional time to protest so-called discrimination and gain sympathy for students who identify as homosexual or transgender.

The Day of Silence is a yearly event sponsored by the partisan political action group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The implicit purpose is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral. It is the belief of the sponsors of the Walkout that parents should no longer passively accept the political usurpation of taxpayer funded public school classrooms through student silence.

The DOS requires that teachers either create activities around or exempt silent students from any activity that involves speaking. DOS participants have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom.

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute explains that “While in the public school setting, it is legitimate to teach students that there exist diverse opinions on this issue, it is not legitimate to imply that one of those opinions is preferable to another. While it is appropriate to teach students that tolerance requires that society should treat all with civility, it is not appropriate to teach that tolerance requires students to accept the view that homosexual conduct is moral.”

Higgins further emphasizes that “The worthy end of eliminating harassment does not justify the means of exploiting instructional time.” The First Amendment already allows DOS participants to wear t-shirts or put up posters, but according to a document co-written by the ACLU and Lambda Legal, a “school can regulate what students say. . . and it can also insist that students respond to questions, make presentations, etc.” Students and teachers should not be allowed to exploit instructional time to advance their socio- political goals.

Parents are encouraged to call their children’s middle schools and high schools to ask whether the administration and/or teachers will permit students to remain silent during class on the Day of Silence. If so, parents can express their opposition by calling their children out of school on that day and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members.
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Endorsed by: Abiding Truth Ministries; AFA Michigan; AFA Pennsylvania; AFA National; Americans for Truth; Association of Maryland Families; Called2Action; Campaign for Children and Families; Citizens for Community Values of Ohio; Coalition of Conscience; Community Issues Council; Concerned Women for America National; Concerned Women for America Washington; Culture Campaign; Faith2Action; Faith, Family & Freedom Alliance; Illinois Family Institute; Indiana Voice; Liberty Alliance Action; Liberty Counsel; Maine Family Policy Council; MassResistance; Mission America; Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX)

http://www.illinoisfamily.org/news/contentview.asp?c=34286

This article was posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 2:16 pm and is filed under Biblical Truth, Christian Left, Evangelicals, GLBTQ Targeting Youth and Schools, Liberal Christianity, News. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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