School Plays

Should ‘The Laramie Project’ Play Be Taught in Schools?

Friday, October 31st, 2008

laramie_project.jpgThis article by my friend, Laurie Higgins, Director of School Advocacy at the Illinois Family Institute, deserves wide circulation. Kids are being propagandized relentlessly in our nation’s schools — public and private — and what’s the evangelical church’s response? Soften your approach toward homosexuality — deal with the Church’s “antigay” image problem. We suggest the guilt-ridden Church would be wiser to get back to the life-changing Gospel, stop obsessing about “image,” and deal with the pro-homosexual indoctrination problem among young people. That certainly includes many who identify as Christians but, due to agitprop like The Laramie Project, have drifted away from a Biblical worldview on homosexuality — to the point where they now view “homophobia” as a bigger sin than the homosexual behavior itself. — Peter LaBarbera

This article first appeared on the Illinos Family Institute’s website:

Intolerant “Progressive” Educators

10/30/2008 7:36:00 AM
By Laurie Higgins, DSA Director –Illinois Family Institute

“Propaganda Is To Democracy What A Bludgeon Is To A Totalitarian State.”
~Noam Chomsky

An alumnus of District 113, an affluent school district on the North Shore of Chicago, recently informed Illinois Family Institute that once again public money is being used to fund activities that articulate only one side of the cultural debate on homosexuality.

It’s fascinating to see our “progressive” public educators — our foes of conformity; devotees of diversity; teachers of tolerance; defenders of dissent; spurners of censorship — in action. And they are busy little beavers when it comes to propaganda. When it comes to the sacred cow of homosexuality, the “progressive” educators among us are intolerant, conformist censors, deeply committed to using public funds in the service of eliminating intellectual diversity and silencing dissent from their subversive dogma.

Students in District 113 cannot make it through their freshman year without being exposed to resources that affirm controversial, unproven, and bleakly deterministic theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality. And yet they make it through the entire four years of high school without ever being exposed to a single resource or activity that affirms or articulates conservative views.

Read the rest of this article »

Teacher Calls School Use of Profane ‘Angels in America’ an ‘Arrogant Challenge to Conservative Parents’

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007


The perverse, homosexuality-themed play ‘Angels in America’ contains lines like “Holy Orifice!” and “You [f—–d] this angel?” The blasphemous and vulgar play was taught in a Chicago area high school.

Americans For Truth has learned that the vulgar, homosexuality-themed play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, was chosen for study last year at a Chicago area high school.

I must ask after reading a few profane, pornographic excerpts from Angels in America — with highly artistic lines like, “Holy Orifice!” and “You [f—-d] this angel?”: what is wrong with liberals? What good comes from foisting this blasphemous garbage on students? The use of this play in the classroom borders on mental abuse — it constitutes the corruption of minors — and I suspect that educationists could only continue with this sort of malpractice if parents remain ignorant. — Peter LaBarbera 

(emphasis added below):

WARNING: Offensive sexual language, of the sort that should not be forced on impressionable students in our schools. 

By Laurie Higgins

I have just read Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner which is currently being taught in some high schools.  I am dismayed that any high school teacher would choose this highly polemical, vulgar, pro-homosexual play. It is egregiously profane and obscene with references to “fellatio” and “blowjobs,” and casual and frequent use of profane and obscene language.

I reject the anticipated caterwauling from teachers about censorship. Parents who object to this and other offensive texts are not recommending prior restraint or removal of a text from a library. Rather, they are arguing for reasonable respect for parental values and community standards of decency when selecting texts to be taught to minors in public schools. Apparently, what teachers actually mean when they squawk about censorship is that they will never take into account vulgarity, profanity, obscenity, or the deeply held beliefs of conservatives on arguably the single most divisive, contentious issue facing American society. Evidently liberal teachers will continue to promote the normalization of what many, including virtually all Muslim traditions, Orthodox Judaism, the Roman Catholic Church, and many Protestant denominations, as well as many secularists consider sexual perversion. Do faculty members, school boards, and administrations think that Muslim families want their sons and daughters discussing oral sex and homosexuality at school at all, let alone in mixed groups? Certainly, I, as a Protestant, would not want any of my children to discuss these topics in their classes.

I find it nigh unto impossible to believe that this play was chosen simply because of how critically well received it has been within the amoral, arrogant, elitist intelligentsia of American culture who purvey cultural collapse. I believe this text was chosen in order to take on the philistines who contend that traditional values deserve respect and that there should be an end to the advocacy of liberal views on sexual orientation and identity. Choosing an odiously vulgar “gay fantasia” constitutes an insult and an aggressive, arrogant challenge to conservative parents.

What a repugnant and diabolical irony it is that teachers are often prohibited from discussing, even in an intellectual (as opposed to proselytical) way, religion, but they may ask students to read and discuss “blowjobs” and homosexuality. If nothing changes, and teachers continue to ask adolescents to read and discuss texts like this, there is no reason for public school administrations to prohibit students, staff, faculty, or administrators from using obscene and profane language or discussing fellatio in the halls of higher learning.

The curious thing is that those liberal educators who with obsessive vigilance monitor public school classrooms for violations of the separation of church and state don’t seem to object to the presence of religion in Kushner’s gay fantasia. His theology touches on the nature of God, Heaven, angelology, and theodicy. I guess it’s okay to commingle the church and state as long as religion is treated in a perverse, blasphemous kind of way.
Laurie Higgins who works full-time in a suburban public high school writing center in the Chicago area.

Answers to Liberal Teachers’ Arguments — for Parents Challenging Objectionable Books in Schools

Friday, August 24th, 2007



Tony Kushner’s anti-Reagan, pro-homosexuality propaganda play, “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” is simply not appropriate for schools.

Even people without children or grandchildren in schools will find Laurie Higgins’ excellent arguments below compelling. Also, click HERE to read her take on “Angels in America,” which was studied in Deerfield High School, north of Chicago.– Peter LaBarbera

By Laurie Higgins

As a new school year begins, here are some of the arguments that parents may encounter when they challenge books (e.g. The Chocolate War, Fat Kid Rules the World, The Laramie Project, or Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes) for their problematic ideological messages, the nature and extent of profanity and obscenity, or the nature and extent of depictions of sexuality, followed by brief responses.

Parents who challenge a book because of language need to bear in mind that many of the parents and teachers who approve of these objectionable texts use the same obscene and profane language commonly and casually in their personal lives, even with their children, though they will not likely admit it. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that they will concede that profanity and obscenity are objectionable, for conceding that would constitute a personal indictment:

1. Parents are taking words out of context, and it is the context that justifies the language.

Response: There is no context that renders frequent and excessively obscene language acceptable in texts selected by public school teachers for minor children. In other words, the extreme nature and pervasiveness of obscenity renders the entire text unsuitable for public schools whose mission is to cultivate the best behavior in students.

2. Profane and obscene language is justified because it represents authentic adolescent language.

Response: If the author is justified in using this language to portray authentically adolescent culture and the emotional experiences of adolescents, then surely students are justified in using this language in school in order to be authentic and to express adequately and accurately their emotional truths. Teachers too should be allowed to use this language because it also represents authentic adult language and experience. In fact, society often erroneously and euphemistically refers to profanity and obscenity as “adult language.”

3. Counting numbers of swear words constitutes an immature or silly evaluative mechanism.

Response: Taking into account the extent of foul language is neither silly nor juvenile. There is a substantive difference between one incident of “f**k” and one hundred. The incessant drumbeat of obscenities desensitizes readers to their offensiveness and normalizes their use. Moreover, although adults may distinguish between literary use and endorsement, many adolescents do not.

First, the prevalence of foul language should be taken into account. Second, the nature of the obscenity or profanity should be taken into account. Third, who is using the offensive language should be taken into account. Is it the hero or the antagonist? Fourth, parents and educators should realize that books with profuse obscenity and the willingness of educators’ to teach them convey the message that there are justifiable reasons and contexts for using extremely foul language.

4. Since students mature at different rates, some students are mature enough for these texts. Parents, therefore, should decide what is appropriate for their child.

Response: Whoever makes this argument should be asked to define maturity. If they are referring to intellectual development, then it is irrelevant to the discussion in that parents who challenge texts because of language, sexuality, or pro-homosexual messages, are not doing so because they find the material intellectually inaccessible.
If educators are referring to emotional maturity, meaning that students are emotionally stable enough to read and discuss emotionally difficult material without being traumatized, that too is likely irrelevant, for few parents who object to language, sexuality, or pro-homosexual messages are concerned that their children will be emotionally traumatized.

The concern conservative parents have is with moral development. They recognize that all adolescents, including even mature high school seniors, are not yet adults. They are still constructing a moral compass. They are impressionable, malleable, and much more vulnerable to external influences than are adults whose moral compass is likely fixed and stable. For a teacher to contend that there is any 12-18 year-old whose moral compass is fully developed, mature, and fixed represents an ignorant and hubristic assertion.

Every parent should be able to send their child to school confident that their beliefs regarding decency and morality will not be challenged by educators or curricula, especially since this confidence can be secured without compromising the academic enterprise. It is even more important today in a culture in which profanity, obscenity, and sexual imagery relentlessly bombard our youth that schools stand as one of the last bastions of integrity, civility, and temperance.

5. A small minority group is trying to impose their morality or religious beliefs on the whole community.

Response: Since schools are ostensibly committed to honoring the voices of all in the community, there is no justifiable reason to ignore the concerns of even minority voices. Schools should respect the values of people of faith, especially when doing so does not compromise student learning. In addition, objections to obscenity, sexuality, or pro-homosexual messages can be either religious or secular in nature. If objections to, for example, the use of obscenity represented the imposition of religious belief, then why do virtually all school districts have policies against its use by students in school?  It is the mark of a civilized society to honor the concerns and values of people of diverse faiths and to aspire to decency.

6. There are other options for those who object to particular texts.

Response: First, opting out of reading an assigned class text results in a diminished, isolated academic experience for students. But equally important is the issue of whether taxpayers, even those who have no children in school, should be required to fund the teaching of offensive material. A text like Angels in America contributes to the debasement of an already vulgar culture, and schools should never in any way contribute to the baser aspects of culture. This does not mean that texts must avoid looking at the flaws and evil that afflict man. Rather, it means that we should choose texts that look at the presence of ignobility and evil but do so in ways that inspire, edify, chasten, and point us in the direction of truth, beauty and righteousness. Texts like Angels in America do none of this.

 7. Refusing to offer this book will lead ineluctably to the world of book-burning à la Fahrenheit 451.

Response: This is an irrational, alarmist, specious canard. There is simply no evidence that including in selection criteria the nature and extent of obscene language or sexuality, or a consideration of highly controversial political messages will result in wholesale book banning. There is, however, ample evidence, that a steadfast refusal to ever take into account these elements will result in a slippery slide down the other slope to the use of corrosively vulgar and polemical texts.

8. This book has won prestigious literary awards or has been approved by the American Library Association (ALA).

Response:  This justification begs the question: Who serves on committees that award prizes or review texts? And this argument calls for a serious, open, and honest examination of the ideological monopoly that controls academia and the elite world of the arts that for decades has engaged in censorship of conservative scholarship. To offer as justification for teaching a text the garnering of literary prizes or ALA approval without acknowledging that those who award the prizes and belong to the ALA are generally of the same ideological bent is an exercise in sophistry.

What school committees, departments, administrations, school boards, the ALA, the National Education Association (NEA), and organizations that award literary prizes desperately need is the one form of diversity about which they are least concerned and to which they are least committed: ideological diversity.

9. Kids relate to this book and, therefore, it captures and holds their interest.

Response: If this criterion has assumed a dominant place in the selection process, then teachers have abandoned their proper role as educators. Appealing to the sensibilities and appetites of adolescents should not be the goal of educators. There’s another word for capitulating to the tastes of adolescents: it is called pandering. Schools should teach those texts that students will likely not read on their own. We should teach those texts that are intellectually challenging and offer insight, wisdom, beauty, and truth. We should avoid those that are highly polemical, blasphemous, and vulgar.

10. To remove this text constitutes censorship.

Response: Parents who object to the inclusion of texts on recommended or required reading lists due to obscene language, sexuality, or highly controversial messages are not engaging in some kind of inappropriate censorship. All educators evaluate curricular materials for objectionable content, including language, sexuality, and controversial themes. The irony is that when teachers decide not to select a text due to these elements, the choice constitutes an exercise in legitimate decision-making, but when parents engage in it, they are tarred with the label of “censor.”

Furthermore, virtually no parents advocate prior restraint and only rarely are they asking for the removal of a text from a school library. Rather, parents are suggesting that it is reasonable to include the nature and extent of profanity, obscenity, and sexuality when selecting texts to be recommended and/or taught to minors in public schools.

Are those teachers, administrators, and school board members who disagree with that suggestion saying that they will never take into account the nature and extent of profanity, obscenity, and sexuality? If they are claiming that they will never take into account these elements, then parents should reconsider their fitness for teaching.

In all four years of high school English, students read approximately 28-32 books. From the dozens and dozens of texts available, it seems unlikely that any student’s education would be compromised by teachers, in the service of respect for parental values, comity, and modesty, avoiding the most controversial texts.

Laurie Higgins is a writer and public school teacher in the Chicago area.

Richard John Neuhaus Skewers Kushner’s ‘Angels in America’

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Richard John Neuhaus, writing in the journal First Things (Feb. 2004), on Tony Kushner’s play, Angels in America:
“The theater world is abuzz with the effort to mainstream Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. The show was wildly acclaimed on the Great Gay Way that Broadway has become. It is titteringly asked whether dumb, plodding, pious, bourgeois, so very ordinary America is ready for this scintillating inversion of its old certitudes and fixed creeds, in the half-hope that the answer is in the negative, thus providing further proof of the genius and, yes, the courage of Mr. Kushner and, by extension, of the herd of independent minds who join in his contempt for our repressive society that would, don’t you know, jail him if it could. Mr. Kushner has also written a little book, Save Your Democratic Soul!: Rants, Screeds, and Other Public Utterances. Civil discourse is not his shtick. His agent says that in his many campus appearances Mr. Kushner “prefers to speak to progressive audiences open to change.” But of course. Because old certitudes are no longer certain and fixed creeds no longer so fixed, people who cannot help but know better nervously applaud the assault on what they used to call their convictions, thus appeasing the great god Progress who might otherwise be displeased. Their nervous approval is offered in the hope of avoiding the terrible judgment of the priesthood of comic inversion that they are too witless to join in the fun of trashing what, to their embarrassment, they know they believe. They are keenly aware that their every response is ruthlessly scrutinized by the queer eye for the straight guy. Their laughter is forced, however, for, try as they might, they cannot quite rid themselves of the suspicion that they are being watched also by those large and awful and unsmiling faces from beyond.”

Laurie Higgins Summarizes Kushner’s Debauched ‘Angels in America’

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Here is Laurie Higgins’ summary of homosexual playwright Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America: a Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” which was taught last year in Deerfield High School (Deerield is a north Chicago suburb). Click HERE for Richard John Neuhaus’ sardonic take on “Angels” (emphasis added below):

By Laurie Higgins

Angels in America is filled with obscenity, primarily forms of f**k. And although it addresses forgiveness (albeit not in a Christian sense, but rather, interpersonal forgiveness), compassion, community, and AIDS, it is primarily a pro-“gay” treatise with heavy-handed leftist politicking (e.g., explicit criticism of the Reagan administration) and sacrilege.
The plot revolves around two couples: married Mormon couple Harper and Joe whose marriage is disintegrating in large measure due to Joe’s repressed homosexuality, which he eventually acts upon: and a homosexual couple, Louis and Prior, who has AIDS. Louis leaves Prior due to his AIDS and has a month-long affair with Harper’s husband Joe. Roy Cohn — the infamous, unscrupulous, foul-mouthed, closeted, Republican lawyer — is also a central character who dies of AIDS.

Then there is the black, homosexual, drag queen nurse with the heart of gold, Belize, and the Angel with eight vaginae whose visits prompt sexual arousal and orgasm. Heaven is a dreary place that looks like San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and people sit around on crates playing cards. The Angels say that God has abandoned man.
At the end, Harper has left Joe. Prior who now uses a cane and has lost some vision, Louis, Belize and Hannah (who is the Mormon mother of Joe) are sitting by Bethesda fountain talking about the hope embodied by the the statue of the Angel of Bethesda. Please note the diversity represented: Prior is very WASPish, homosexual; Louis is Jewish homosexual, Belize is a black, homosexual transvestite, and Hannah is white, perhaps heterosexual, and sort of Mormon. 
Angels in America concludes with an emotional speech to the audience about all those homosexuals who have been lost to AIDS who “will be commemorated.” And further that homosexuals “are not going away. . . . We will be citizens. The time has come. . . . You are fabulous creatures. . . . And I bless you. . . . The Great Work Begins.”


Now isn’t that edifying for students? 

Laurie Higgins works full-time in a suburban public high school writing center in the Chicago area.

MUST VIEWING: Lesbian Gangs Raping Girls; GLAAD Tries to Block Airing of News Segment

Friday, July 6th, 2007

linda_jernigan.jpg Former lesbian Linda Jernigan was asked to speak at a Chicago-area public school suffering from lesbian assaults on innocent girls, but she had to turn it down because the school wanted her to ‘de-Christianize’ her testimony.

By Peter LaBarbera

Lesbian gangs are raping and bullying girls and engaging in criminal activity, but you probably haven’t heard about this story, right? Now a Memphis TV station and FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly have broken the silence:

Click below to watch two video links that homosexual activists with the group GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) desperately tried to prevent the public from seeing:

  1. The original Memphis TV news report on lesbian gang violence, including school washroom rapes of female students;
  2. O’Reilly’s follow-up report on the lesbian assaults news — an excellent, Canada-based pro-family website that we highly recommend — has picked up on the Bill O’Reilly segment with the story below. 

I heard about this lesbian bullying phenomenon from former lesbian turned Christian evangelist Linda Jernigan, who a few years back was contacted by a teacher about speaking at Rich East High School in Park Forest, Illinois (a south suburb of Chicago), where this sick behavior was occurring. 

Jernigan said she was told that lesbian girl gangs would drag a targeted female into the school restroom, hold her down, and perform oral sex on her to “turn her out” — i.e., forcibly “seduce” the poor girl through lesbian rape.

‘Vagina Monologues’ condoned lesbian predatory rape

Maybe the young lesbian thugs got some inspiration from “Vagina Monologues,” the vulgar feminist-lesbian play celebrated by liberal elites and performed by many female Hollywood stars. Did you know that the original Vagina Monologues book by Eve Ensler contains a chapter about a 24-year-old lesbian woman who plies a 13-year-old girl with alcohol to seduce her? Ensler turns this pedophile rape into a sort of feminist-lesbian “moral good” by having the girl victim end up as a happy lesbian who says, “I’ll never need to rely on a man” — don’t you just love liberal morality?

Please take a few minutes to watch both the Memphis TV video and the O’Reilly video and ask yourself: where is the rest of the media on this story? We hear from the pro-homosexual Left about “bullying” in schools — as if it’s mainly an “antigay” phenomenon. Now we learn that lesbians are doing the bullying — is the educational establishment taking action to prevent this? Have politically correct, pro-“gay” pandering and the ubiquitous glamorization of homosexuality — in the schools, media, and in pop culture — contributed to this crisis?

How many liberals have joined lesbian “conservative” Tammy Bruce in condemning “Vagina Monologues'” pedophile lesbian rape-seduction chapter? Evidently not enough to stop this lewd play from being celebrated by the cocktail set and from now moving from colleges to high schools. I suppose rape and pedophilia are vile crimes except when performed by lesbians on girls…. 

Read the rest of this article »

EqualityMaine Names Leather Fetishist, Children’s Performer Their ‘Homosexual of the Year’

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

From our very fine friends at Christian Civic League of Maine: Is this the kind of man you would care to have invited to perform at your son’s elementary or junior high school? In the homosexual activist social sphere, Lew Alessio is considered not just normal, but laudable. Meet their “Homosexual of the Year”…

From Lew Knows Leather, by Mike Hein, published Mar 21, 2007, by Christian Civic League of Maine:

New York’s “New American Leathermen”, 2001

Homosexual activist Lewis (Lew) Alessio of Greene, Maine was recently announced by EqualityMaine to be the 2007 recipient of the Cameron Duncan Award. The annual award is the radical homosexual lobbying group’s ‘homosexual of the year’ award. The award was presented to Alessio at EqualityMaine’s 23rd Annual Awards Banquet on March 10 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland.

The EqualityMaine press release spoke of Alessio as a homosexual demonstrating “extraordinary accomplishment, commitment, and service within the AIDS community” and “an outstanding leader in Maine’s gay community.” Lew Alessio is better known in the central Maine community as being the leader of a homosexual men’s social club called “ Just Guys.” The “Just Guys” motto from their website is “… the new men’s social group for men who have sex with men.” The group meets at MaineGeneral Heath’s Green Street location, located immediately adjacent to the Green Street United Methodist Church in Augusta.

New York Leathermen Contestants

Less well known is Alessio’s recent past, where he competed, and was named 1st runner up, in a homosexual leather bondage fetishist contest in 2001 in New York City. Alessio placed 1st Runner Up in the homosexual leather bondage “New American Leatherman 2001” according to the homosexual leather bondage fetish website Later that same year, Alessio “married” his homosexual partner, Jim Shaffer.

Besides being a leather bondage fetishist and leader of a homosexual sex men-only social club, Alessio is also self-employed as part of the theater troupe “Actors Theater of Maine.” The State of Maine Arts directory website states the theater group charges $500 per performance and caters primarily to children, from pre-kindergarden to 8th grade. Alessio’s ‘Actors Theater of Maine’ troupe stages plays that “all use students in the performances along with the professional casts. [The performances] are accompanied by extensive teaching materials,” according to the Maine government website.

Read the rest of this article »

School Officials Make Prudent Decision to Protect and Educate Students

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Highland Park High School is in District 113, as is Deerfield High School whose “Freshman Advisory” class has recently been the subject of much controversy. We commend the administrators at HPHS for this decision. Perhaps HPHS teachers and parents can explain to Mr. Hurwitz why standards for what is taught in Illinois public school classrooms ought not be equivalent to those of what might be seen on Saturday Night Live.


Excerpted from School Disinvites Comedy Troupe, by Lisa Black, published Mar 19, 2007, by Chicago Tribune:

Highland Park High School officials who fear that a sketch comedy troupe’s material is not appropriate for students have rescinded an invitation for the group to perform during a three-day arts festival in April…

The chairwoman of Highland Park’s Fine Arts Department “was concerned at the point she received a description of their presentation,” said Suzan Hebson, assistant superintendent for human resources. She said the discussions occurred at least a month before the Deerfield controversy erupted.

“I understand they had concerns recognizing this is an educational classroom environment and not a nightclub entertainment sort of function,” Hebson said.

Last week, DeGrazia shared some sketches with administrators, agreeing to cancel a skit that was deemed offensive. The skit portrayed a militaristic high school drum major who is gay but overly defensive in insisting he’s not gay, while none of the other band members care.

Comic Thread performed at the 2005 Focus event, and school officials objected to a skit called “Great Moments in Amish Pornography.” The theme song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” blared as an Amish woman revealed her ankles and an Amish man lowered his suspender straps, DeGrazia said...

Two years ago, school board member Joel Hurwitz took issue with administrators sharing complaints about Comic Thread with the group.

“The material is not new to our students or beyond their maturity level,” wrote Hurwitz, a lawyer, who could not be reached Friday for further comment. “Our Fine Arts Department has not achieved excellence by censoring performances to satisfy the sensitivities of fringe elements within our community who are uncomfortable with mainstream culture.”

Continue reading in Chicago Tribune…

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