All Articles Tagged "gay history"
Last week pastor Xavier Thompson of Southern Missionary Baptist Church met with other members of the Los Angeles-area clergy to pray and protest the FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48), which was signed into law in July by California governor Jerry Brown.
The law ensures that California public schools will include the historical contributions of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people in the social science curriculum.
Prior to the meeting (which I did not attend) Thompson offered the following:
“Let me be very clear, this is not an attack on the LGBT people or any particular group. I believe I am taking a stand for Biblical principles and righteous standards as outlined in the word of God. This is a big issue because you cannot sexualize history. The underlying impact of SB 48, I believe, is the advancement of a pro-homosexual, world-view in the public classroom.”
I don’t even know where to begin.
The “Black Church” as we’ve historically called it, (AME, Pentecostal, Baptist, COGIC, etc.) has long involved itself within the political debate and issues of societal importance…arguably almost to a fault. Historically it was the place where African-Americans got news updates, health statuses of fellow members and recognized young people as they matriculated to college.
Today…not so much.
The call for a city-wide “prayer meeting” in protest of the FAIR Education Act exemplifies the desperation of the Black Church to remain relevant and typifies the extreme, hypocritical lengths in which it will go to generate media coverage.
This is not about whether the FAIR Education Act should or should not have been signed into law. This is about the gross negligence of the Black church locally and more broadly.
If “Biblical principles and righteous standards as outlined in the word of God” were the litmus test for city-wide prayer meetings and calls-to-action, then why was there no such gathering with respect to Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana in California? Of all the issues which disproportionately and directly affect African-American young people (and would be in direct contradiction to what’s outlined in the word of God,) the Black Church community should have been all over it.
With the exception of Oakland’s Bishop Ron Allen…there was absolute silence.
Rev. John Hunter of the venerable First AME in Los Angeles and NINETEEN other local ministers, including Xavier Thompson recently “protested” the treatment of Dodgers owner and multimillionaire Frank McCourt by Major League Baseball.
Actual letter HERE.
Really guys…that’s the best idea that anyone could come up with in terms of ministerial outreach and Christian service? That’s a meaningful use of resources, influence and social capital in accordance to the word of God?
And speaking of John Hunter (pictured above at McCourt press conference), he’s STILL in court regarding a potential 7-figure sexual misconduct lawsuit due to the alleged abuse and coercion of a minister on his own staff. Where was the city-wide prayer meeting to protest the mistreatment of women in the church or the rampant sexual misconduct of ministers both near and far? Again, if “Biblical principles and righteous standards as outlined in the word of God” were the litmus test for city-wide prayer meetings and calls-to-action, then the FAIR Education Act needs to get to the back of the line.
There’s plenty wrong with L.A. public schools and of far greater importance than this minor portion of the social science curriculum.
Of the ten worst elementary schools in all of California, Los Angeles County boasts 4 of them. Yes, four of the worst elementary schools in all California are right here in these ministers’ own backyard. But Xavier Thompson wants you and me to gather in prayer and strategize to help repeal a law which effectively translates to some 10 minutes of social science per week…if that. Ignore the other 6 educational hours of the school day, just deal with these ten or so minutes.
Do the math…pun intended.
Again, this isn’t about whether one should agree with the FAIR Education Act; don’t miss the point. This is about understanding the reality that the issue is comparatively of minimal and marginal importance. Our priorities are hideously out of kilter, wasting resources and social capital for the purpose of generating ephemeral media coverage.
Where was the city-wide prayer and protest meeting to decrease the violence or increase the number of teachers hired in Los Angeles schools to help improve the educational environment?
John Hunter has a wanton and brazen history of “allegedly” sexually abusing a member of his own staff, yet none of the influential Los Angeles clergy publicly will say a mumbling word about it.
The reason why so many churches in Los Angeles and beyond are empty and struggling to survive, is tied to biblical hypocrisy and the worldly aspirations of its leadership. Standing on the word of God only when it is politically expedient or makes for good copy in a press release is transparent and self-serving at best and sacrilege at worst. Instead of publicly condemning the Hunters and Eddie Longs of the Black clergy, they’ve opted to push the hot-button of gay rights to rile up church members…again, under the guise of acting in accordance to the word of God…again.
Here’s a question…will Eddie Long be now taught in social science thanks to the FAIR Education Act? It only makes sense to highlight the contributions of all gay people, right?
Just posing a question…
What also makes sense is that we save our protests for use against the Black Church itself, until it stops using the word of God to serve political and personal goals of self-aggrandizement.
Morris W. O’Kelly (Mo’Kelly) is a political correspondent for the BBC Radio and Television networks and author of the syndicated column The Mo’Kelly Report. For more Mo’Kelly, go to his site. Mo’Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes all commentary.
(Slate) — A bill that would require textbooks for California public schools to include the historical contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people passed the state Assembly on Tuesday by a margin of 49-25. The proposal passed almost entirely along party lines, with one Republican joining the Democrats to approve the legislation, which is aimed, in part, at combating the bullying of homosexual students.
Over forty years ago, African Americans demanded public school districts and other educational institutions to reform their curriculum in order to reflect the experiences and histories of folks other than white men. Those opposed to the curriculum change argued that inclusion of the civil rights movement and notable black figures would challenge religious values and politicize the curriculum. Nevertheless, in the years that followed, other ethnic groups and women would follow suit and push schools to revise their curriculum to be more reflective of United States history.
These battles over what and whom should be included in public school curricula are far from over; e.g., Texas State Board of Education approves revising textbooks to eliminate the civil rights movement, and Mississippi becomes the first state to implement a civil rights curriculum for grades K through 12. But it appears that public school curricula may undergo an entirely new makeover with the recent news that the state of California is close to becoming the first state to require the teaching of gay history.
According to the Associated Press, the California Senate approved the landmark measure a week ago, but it still needs to get a seal of approval from the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. If the legislation is a success, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will be added to the lengthy list of social and ethnic groups that schools must include in social studies lessons. As early as the 2013-2014 school year, the California Board of Education and local school districts would be required to adopt textbooks and other teaching materials that would cover the contributions of LGBTs throughout history.
Those who are opposed to the curriculum change, including some churches and conservative groups, believe that homosexuality is being forced upon students. Some also add that how a child learns about homosexuality should be determined in the home by the parents.
Yet advocates believe that the instruction about gays in history would fill “an obvious gap in the state’s existing social studies framework and curb anti-gay stereotypes,” reports the AP.
“Teaching LGBT history in schools would offer all students a valuable lesson in the respect of all human beings and would help to break down stereotypes, bias and bigotry, which is learned at home, at school and in religious environments,” said Douglas Sadownick, Ph.D., founder and director of Antioch University LGBT specialization in clinical psychology.
“California has an amazing opportunity to set the bar high in an area we have previously been challenged—education,” said Michael Kyle, a member of the board of directors for the Gay-Straight Alliance Network. “It is imperative that the youth of today (our leaders of tomorrow) learn a comprehensive version of history.”
This comprehensive view of history would put emphasis on people who are considered leaders throughout history—and that just so happen to be gay, like Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes.
Former teacher Pablo Solomon, though not completely against the idea of incorporating LGBT history, believes implementing such a change in curriculum should be rethought and redirected to a different set of students. “Frankly, it shouldn’t be taught until college,” he said. “The gay and lesbian lifestyles are complex and not really comprehensible by children and even most teens. Many intelligent adults have trouble understanding some of what goes on.”
Solomon added, “while I think it is appropriate to teach tolerance, going as far as doing gay history is just too over the top early in the game.”