Illinois Family Institute
These images from the website of Illinois Family Institute demonstrate irrationality over public schools.
Hate groups insist that it is essential to “indoctrinate” children
with anti-LGBTQ bias.

Laurie Higgins of Illinois Family Institute speaks with American Family Association — Hate group to hate group so to speak.

Some religious conservatives are insistent that they should make children ignorant or stupid. They want to pretend that absurd religious teachings contrary to objective truth are incontrovertibly true. They are immune to contrary evidence.

According to American Family Association:

A cultural analyst is re-emphasizing a call that Christian parents should remove their children from public schools, arguing that leftists within the education system are indoctrinating children with a corrupt ideology.

It is common among conservative Christian activists to assign preposterous sinister motives to anything that they do not like. According to Laurie Higgins the intent of anti-bias education is to destroy the nuclear family. No, stupid. The intent is to make kids less, well … biased.

People who accept settled science aren’t “leftists” (or rightists for that matter). Furthermore, objective truth is not an “ideology.” It is easy to appreciate the danger that ultra-religious people pose to both children and our society. They are perfectly willing to posit that 2 + 2 = 5 if doing so is necessary to conform to religious dogma.

According to Laurie Higgins, quoted by American Family Association:

Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute states K-12 students today are continuously subjected to poisonous rhetoric about race and positive images of homosexuality. Such propaganda, she contends, is designed to destroy the nuclear family and traditional society.

Critical Race Theory

“[P]oisonous rhetoric about race” probably refers to Critical Race Theory (CRT). Before discussing “positive images of homosexuality” it is worthwhile to dedicate some time to the right wing nonsense regarding Critical Race Theory.

CRT criticism started, as expected, in southern Red States. CRT became a shiny object for so-called conservatives when, in 2019, the New York Times published the 1619 Project. Then Trump opened his racist mouth.

In September, 2020 Donald Trump ordered all federal agencies to cease any anti-bias training that is reliant on CRT. When asked by Chris Wallace (as debate moderator) about it Trump’s response was that Critical Race Theory is racist. Trump went on to say:

We were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and frankly, very sick ideas. And really, they were teaching people to hate our country, and I’m not going to allow that to happen.

In a speech a few weeks later Trump said that CRT was “toxic propaganda that will destroy the country.” Higgins has reworked that to “poisonous rhetoric.”

Hopefully Mr. Trump’s political career has ended forever.

The problem that conservatives have with CRT is that it tells the truth. To understand race in America one has to understand the history of race in America. Pretending that slavery, followed by the deliberate imprisonment of Black people to create a free workforce followed by Jim Crow are not important historical factors is to make a virtue of ignorance.

The “sinister agenda” is to make our country more inclusive and to eliminate barriers that still exist. Mr. Trump provided ample evidence of the need to remove barriers and to make America more inclusive.

Apparently Laurie Higgins has a problem with teaching accurate history. Angst over Critical Race Theory is silliness over a deliberately manufactured controversy that is not controversial.

“positive images of homosexuality”

According to the American Psychological Association:

Same-sex sexual attractions, behavior and orientations per se are normal and positive variants of human sexuality — in other words, they do not indicate either mental or developmental disorders.

The above does not mean that the APA is part of an evil conspiracy. The organization is accurately reflecting settled science.

I can think of two reasons why Laurie Higgins doesn’t like the science; religion and contagion. Her competing objective is for people, particularly young people to maintain negative views of a sexual orientation that she disapproves of. Negative attitudes support discrimination. Higgins also supports discrimination based on sexuality.

Ms. Higgins and the hate group she represents are at odds with most of American Christendom. I believe that she is a conservative Catholic and the percentage of Catholics who supported marriage equality was greater than the general population. Furthermore, over two-thirds of Americans now support marriage equality. 65% of our population is Christian.

Teaching scientific facts in public schools will not cause students to become gay. Were we to impose Ms. Higgins’ agenda on curricula, that wouldn’t turn any gay kids straight. According to the Catholic Church, gay people are “objectively disordered.” Most people know better. Those who do not should know better.

Scientific accuracy regarding sexual orientation and gender identity is a positive for all students. LGBTQ kids learn that they are perfectly normal. Heterosexual, cisgender kids acquire the same understanding. This is not opinion. It is objective, scientific fact.

Aside from the current, there is a future. Eventually, today’s students are likely to have LGBTQ coworkers. They might even end up with a boss like me. Should those future employees be unable to realize their potential in the workplace due to baseless bias?

I fail to understand any benefit of an alternative approach. Students might substitute the baseless opinions of others over LGBTQ people for what they should be learning in school.

Pull the kids of orthodox Christians out of the public schools and those schools become safer for LGBTQ students. However, that is beside the point. We live in a diverse society. Diversity is part of American culture and we are a better society for it.

Monolithic societies like Iran or Saudi Arabia are rigid and they reject new ideas. Critical thinking becomes an endangered concept. When is the last time a citizen of Iran or Saudi Arabia won a nobel prize? Iran’s sole recipient is Shirin Ebadi who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. No citizen of Saudi Arabia has ever become a Nobel laureate.

If these religious fanatics ever immersed themselves in reality — in contrast to ancient texts — our collective IQ would increase substantially. Laurie Higgins is entitled to her beliefs. She can worship Rocky Mountain oysters (which are not oysters) if that floats her boat. Imposing her religious views on society is another matter.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.