According to Family Research Council, science isn’t scientific and it is dangerous.
|An e-pamphlet from Family Research Council|
I have an email from Tony Perkins, leader of Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group. The intent of the email is to induce people to make donations to FRC. The title of the email is Guess what public schools are teaching? Hint: It’s not education! Most of my readers can anticipate what is coming.
The email provides a link to an FRC e-pamphlet titled Sex Education in Public Schools: Sexualization of Children and LGBT Indoctrination. The diatribe, written by Cathy Ruse, was posted in April.
Presumably the folks at Family Research Council realize that sex-ed doesn’t have the ability to turn kiddies into Richard Simmons or Caitlyn Jenner. Neither sexual orientation nor gender identity are subject to influence. Both have biological components.
Maybe they do not realize that sexuality is not subject to influence. FRC’s Peter Sprigg is a staunch advocate of conversion therapy. Given the paucity of evidence of effectiveness, what on earth would lead them to conclude that reverse conversion therapy could possibly work? In fact, if you think about it, the impetus for sexual minority to mainstream would be much stronger than mainstream to sexual minority.
As I plod through this, please consider two questions:
- What does “indoctrination” mean and;
- what is the peril?
We begin with a manufactured controversy
Marriage, sex/gender, and sexuality are the subject of profound debate in the culture and the
courts. Yet many school districts have, effectively,
chosen sides on these issues and are using sex education as the vehicle to enforce conformity with
The only “debate” that I am aware of is from religious conservatives who do not like certain facts. Marriage equality is the law of the land and has been since 2015 (actually 2013 if you consider the effect that United States v. Windsor had on various state laws).
The overwhelming consensus of science is that sexual orientation and gender identity are organic continuums and that every point in both spectrums represents a natural variation of human sexuality. When people argue from dogma that certain facts are false that is not debate. It is argumentum ad ignorantiam.
“Wait a minute,” you say. People have religious beliefs contrary to science. Should those beliefs not be respected? Well, consider the following:
- Parents with religious objections can opt their children out of sex-ed.
- Common sense dictates that instruction should be fact-based.
- Scientific fact is established through evidence while belief systems are based on faith.
- The Establishment Clause prohibits religious instruction in public schools.
- Overall, instruction in public schools is based upon the needs of the mainstream majority.
Going back to the quoted text and “using sex education as the vehicle to enforce conformity with
their views,” that is stated as if scientific facts are subjective. That is simply not the case.
Is the science always correct? Absolutely not! However, the existing science at any point in time represents the best evidence-based information that we have. It is presumably more accurate than ancient religious texts or opinions from the Vatican or the opinions of Baptist ministers or those of orthodox rebbes.
Now we get to the stuff that’s really about victimizing religious conservatives
Lessons can be highly manipulative—carefully
designed to get children to approve of the concept of sexual rights and fluid sexual “identities,”
and to reject their religious beliefs, the authority
of their parents, and even physical reality itself.
And these lessons are given to young children today.
No one associated with Family Research Council should ever accuse others of being manipulative. I do not know what “sexual rights” even means. The only people who ever talk about sexual fluidity are religious conservatives.
By “sexual identities” does Ms. Ruse mean gender identity and why is the word identities in defensive quotes.
Rather than manipulative, curricula should be scientifically accurate. If that is not the case then someone would have a legitimate concern. Ms. Ruse does not point to any inaccuracies.
Then there is the supposed peril “to young children.” Knowing about the existence of LGBTQ people doesn’t pose a danger to kids of any age.
I grew up in the Jewish ghetto of Great Neck. In elementary school we received comparative religion instruction. It did not turn me into a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim. But I did understand that most people in America are Christians and the basics of what they believe.
Enter those ubiquitous activists
The LGBTQ movement demands that homosexual relationships be presented to children as
good, healthy, and equal in every way to heterosexuality within man-woman marriage. Many sex
ed developers and providers are all too happy to
I do not know who comprises the “LGBTQ movement.” What I do know is that same-sex relationships are as valid and healthy as opposite-sex relationships and that gay people should be treated accordingly. Again, this information is not going to turn a kid gay.
This information might make a child kinder to people who are different. Is that the problem?
Another thing that I know is that legally, in the United States and much of the industrialized world, same-sex marriages are equal to opposite-sex marriages. That is a fact. It is a durable fact regardless of religious opprobrium. Religious disapproval does not alter the law of the land.
The obligatory parade of horribles is followed by this
Born in the Wrong Body?
Many public schools are beginning to teach the
radical, anti-science proposition that biological
sex is meaningless, that some kids are born in the
wrong body, and that some girls have penises, too.
The American College of Pediatricians calls this
psychological child abuse.
The above is dishonest in every respect. There is nothing “radical” about the concept of gender identity. That concept is certainly not “anti-science.” The overwhelming consensus of science is that gender identity is a separate construct from natal sex. Moreover, a small minority of people have incongruent gender and natal sex.
Furthermore, for that small minority of people who experience this incongruence, some will have a better quality of life if they present as their gender rather than their natal sex. None of this even hints at some notion that “biological sex is meaningless.” That is just nonsensical hyperbole.
Those are the scientific facts. If Ms. Ruse feels that some curricula in that regard is not age appropriate then that might be a legitimate concern. The knowledge does not pose a danger to children of any age. The scientific facts will not cause a child to have the underlying medical condition.
Furthermore, the opinions of the American College of Pediatricians are irrelevant! That organization is a minuscule Christian, anti-LGBTQ hate group with revenues just over $160,000. The real professional organization is the American Academy of Pediatrics. Including its chapters, 2018 revenues were $161,353,025 (that pretentious “college” has no chapters).
As for “child abuse” that would be the case if a kid with acute gender dysphoria were required to remain in distress. The clinical guidelines of that real peer group, the AAP, are for “gender-affirming care.” Gender diverse children do exist. Pretending otherwise is willful ignorance.
The parade of horribles continues with some willful confusion
Fairfax County, Virginia recently scrubbed its
sex education materials of the concept that human beings have a biologically-determined sex of
male or female and replaced it with “sex assigned
at birth.” “Sex assigned at birth” is transgender
“newspeak” to support the idea that a person’s sex
can change; that a male-bodied person can have
a female brain.
The footnote within that text reads:
Austin Ruse and Cathy Ruse, “Fairfax County Votes
to Tell Boys They Might be Girls,” The Stream, June 15,
2018, accessed February 27, 2020, https://stream.org/
The text and the footnote both editorialize the issue. The intent of the article in The Stream was to activate people to contact the school board. It is without links to disputed content as it claims that the science isn’t scientific.
I respect the religious beliefs of Austin and Cathy Ruse. Let us not confuse faith-based belief with evidence-based science.
There is nothing sinister about using “sex assigned at birth” and no one suggests that a person’s sex can change. At the risk of repeating myself, the validated, conclusive, consensus of science is that a small minority of people have incongruent gender and natal sex.
It is nothing new. One of the first recipients of gender confirmation surgery in the United States was Dr. Alan L. Hart (no relation). Hart, a transgender man, was a highly respected physician, radiologist and tuberculosis researcher. His surgery was performed more than 100 years ago.
By the way, I have scanned the footnotes of this treatise and they are mostly, if not all, links to opinion pieces written by religious conservatives rather than to source materials.
Denying the reality of marriage equality
What would you call a program that asks teachers to avoid using the words “mom” and “dad” to
describe parents? You’d call it the radical new curriculum in Austin, Texas adopted in the face of
overwhelming community opposition.45 “It is important to avoid terms which refer only to ‘male’
and ‘female’ identities when speaking with young
children,” the teacher instructions say. “Try not to
only use terms like ‘mom’ or ‘dad’.”
I fully understand why that might seem “radical.” I get it. However, the absolute reality is that, even in Texas, some kids have two moms or two dads. It is unnecessary to marginalize those children.
A return to the science isn’t scientific
The new curriculum in Austin teaches middle
school children that doctors assign a sex to babies
based on their genitalia but that “sex does NOT
always match with their gender identity.” Do not
“assume that people with a penis are boys” because
“someone with a penis might identify as a girl.”
The footnote to that blather is a polemic written by Texas Values, another anti-LGBTQ hate group. There is no way to know whether or not that accurately depicts the curriculum. However, if that represents the curriculum, it is scientifically accurate. A small minority of people have incongruent gender and natal sex. That represents the accepted science.
It is the expectation of FRC and Texas values that curricula should conform to religious doctrine rather than established science. That is extremely unreasonable and unrealistic. It’s comparable to the preposterous demands that children should learn about human development through Genesis (as “Intelligent Design”) rather than Evolution.
Intelligent design is a pseudoscientific argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins.” It is not evidence-based and neither are arguments that amount to the idea that transgender people do not really exist.
This continues with questions. Does your child’s school curriculum include thus and so. The questions were written by yet another hate group, Family Watch International.
Promotes Homosexual/Bisexual Behavior
Normalizes or promotes acceptance or exploration of
diverse sexual orientations, sometimes in violation
of state education laws. May omit vital health information and/or may provide medically inaccurate
information about homosexuality or homosexual sex.
Presumably, they want people to know that gay sex causes AIDS as a means of persuading kids not to be gay. Mini conversion therapy is an absurd proposition. The truth is that all unprotected sex can transmit the HIV virus.
Promotes Transgender Ideology
Promotes affirmation of and/or exploration of diverse
gender identities. May teach children they can change
their gender or identify as multiple genders, or may
present other unscientific and medically inaccurate
theories. Fails to teach that most gender-confused
children resolve their confusion by adulthood and that
extreme gender confusion is a mental health disorder
(gender dysphoria) that can be helped with mental
Neither “gender ideology” nor “gender confusion” is to be found in any medical literature. The fact that gender dysphoria usually resolves naturally is entirely irrelevant. The persistence of gender dysphoria is a function of its severity. Only the most severely affected people will transition.
Furthermore, it is a scientific fact that gender dysphoria is not a “mental health disorder.” There is no evidence that acute gender dysphoria responds to “mental health interventions.” People cannot be talked out of gender dysphoria.
They are trying to conform medical science to scripture. It does not work.
This goes on at considerable length to make people fear all of the sinister conspiracies and evil activists without stating anything different. I choose not to repeat myself more than I already have.
The bottom line is that these folks want school curricula to mirror religious instruction. It’s not going to happen. It should not happen; at least not in public schools. Parents are free to offer whatever religious guidance they choose. If the dogma conflicts with the science they are free to explain the difference.
A good explanation usually begins with: “We believe that God …” Claiming that the science is false or even dangerous is counter-productive. It only creates neurotic children. Why do that? FRC would be more useful if it helped parents explain conflicts between faith and science and why they believe that faith prevails over science.
I happen to disagree but that is my opinion and it, too, is irrelevant to people of faith.