What is tolerance

My husband read this great article by Orson Scott Card the other day, and I have to share it with you all. Go read it at http://mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/orson_scott_card/?id=4740.

Card writes about how we should be able to disagree respectfully, and why the LDS Church opposes legalizing gay marriage. His point that really caught my eye, though, was this:

“I speak from experience: My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don’t agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share.

Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they called me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of “tolerance.”

Tolerance implies disagreement — it means that even though we don’t agree with or approve of each others beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren’t being tolerant, we’re being uniform.

It’s uniformity or submission these former friends wanted, not tolerance at all.”

You might object and say that this refers only to Orson Scott Card’s understanding of the word tolerance. But you’d be wrong. Here’s what the dictionary has to say under the entry “tolerance”:

1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

Tolerance, therefore, can only exist when we agree to disagree. Some gays are opposing Proposition 8 under the guise of desiring tolerance from heterosexuals. However, the ones doing the name-calling and vandalizing signs are more often opponents of Prop 8 than not. Legalizing gay marriage; requiring that we treat it the same as heterosexual marriage; teaching it as the same in school; suing photographers, doctors, newspapers, adoption agencies, and newspapers for expressing a different opinion and standing by their religions; threatening to even remove the people’s right to vote on the issue in San Diego… None of these things sound like tolerance to me. This is not peaceful co-existence. This is not agreeing, politely, to disagree. This is attempting to force the opinion and habits and standards of a vocal minority on the majority of the population under the guise of “rights” – even though the right to marry is not protected, and establishing gay marriage directly contradicts existing federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which states: DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws.

How can forcing the 96% of the population that isn’t gay to endorse homosexuality truly be considered tolerance? Gay activists aren’t fighting for tolerance of their behavior. Their rights are already protected as domestic partners under the California family code. They gain nothing by marriage, except the validation of the rest of the community, and the ability to force others to support their beliefs. Legalizing gay marriage does not gain them more rights; all it does is undermine our society and confuse gender issues until we are all one homogenized, featureless lump. They are fighting to PROMOTE A GAY LIFESTYLE. Not for tolerance. If they were so big on tolerance, perhaps they’d be a little more TOLERANT of their opposition. You know, those of us who are out there fighting for our children, our educational system, our right to parent our children and teach them our own morals, our religious freedom, our freedom of speech, and the rights of future generations of children to be born into a home with a mother and a father who love them and are socially responsible to them.

Please support real tolerance, and vote in favor of Proposition 8. Otherwise, dissent becomes illegal.

Liar liar pants on fire

So you’ve probably seen the No on 8 TV ads by now which state that there is nothing in the law that requires children to be taught about marriage in school. Technically, this is a true statement. What they aren’t telling voters, though, is that schools do teach about marriage. Here’s the facts from the California Board of Education website:

(This comes from an article here: ) Most interestingly, BOE President Mitchell seems unaware of guidelines on his own Web site, which state that 96 percent of school districts accept the technically voluntary sex education curriculum. Further, the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site notes specifically that in the 96 percent of school districts that do accept the curriculum, they are REQUIRED to include instruction and materials that “teach respect for marriage.”

So 96% of California schools teach sex ed. The schools that teach the established curriculum about sex ed are required to teach about marriage. So, in essence, at least 96% of California schools will be required to teach about homosexual marriage if Proposition 8 fails. I think that qualifies as lying by omission for sure.

I found this interesting as well. It comes from the California curriculum guide about health education: The approach of this framework is to encourage districts to work with parents and community members in developing curriculum, especially in the area of family living. The intent of the curriculum in this content area is not to invade the privacy of families and their right to teach values to their children but to assist families in teaching about family living and encourage effective family communication.

So California’s guide concerning health and sex ed says that they should respect family values. Yet I still worry about what is going to be taught in schools if Prop 8 fails. Conservative parents will be upset if homosexuality is taught as prevalently as it is in Massachussets schools; gay parents will protest if their lifestyle isn’t taught, if Prop 8 fails. And which side do you think the (cough – LIBERAL) judges and CTA will choose?

Letters to the CTA

These are actual letters that have been sent to David Sanchez, the president of the CTA. It always heartens me to know that I’m not alone in this fight. There are letters from parents and teachers expressing their displeasure at the CTA’s $1 million donation to the No on 8 campaign. I think the second one down is my favorite so far. If you readers have any letters to add, go ahead and add them in as comments – Please remove last names as I have done here, to protect individuals’ privacy.

Mr. Sanchez,

 

I have been a teacher for 30 years here in California . The position the CTA has taken on Prop 8 is a joke. Why is it so difficult for you to show real leadership and stand up AGAINST political pressure? I realize the union is filled with liberal democrats like your self and the people who work for you.

Your union that you are in charge of does not represent my views and what I believe in. I will no longer maintain my membership in ANYTHING associated with the CTA. If the union has a political stance on an issue, I will find out what it is and vote the opposite. Your views on Prop 8 are morally and ethically wrong. The million dollars spent could have been given to kids that need it instead of supporting a position such as gay and lesbian rights. Are you kidding me? You hide behind the cover of equal rights because you do not have the guts to call it what it is. It is morally reprehensible. The people of the state of California will agree with me, watch what happens on November 4th.

You are a disgrace to the profession of teaching, to your family and to the state of California .

I hope one day we can meet so I can REALLY tell you what I think of your liberal view points.

I hope I hear back from you, I probably won’t because you have no guts. You are a 100% coward!

I hope to hear from you.

Bill *****
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To David Sanchez, CTA President

Dear Mr. Sanchez:

I am very disappointed to know that the CTA has donated $1M to the “No on 8″ campaign. I read that your justification is that teachers believe “in teaching the importance of equal rights for all.” How ironic that you chose to support the rights of gay activists, at the expense of the children you are committed to serve. Clearly, gay rights are not the issue, as California law already grants homosexual unions the same rights as married couples. What is at issue is mainstreaming homosexuality into society by equating homosexual union with heterosexual marriage. And by so doing, you indoctrinate our children beginning in public schools with your politically correct definitions of the family unit and field trips such as in the recent news in San Francisco. What is so glaringly obvious is the fact that gay couples are not even capable of conceiving children naturally, and that in order to exercise their right to “parent,” they would intentionally deprive a child of either a mother or a father. The gay community could not have less of a stake in children’s rights. As teachers, you should also know that current science shows homosexuality to be a spectrum phenomenon whereby a person’s sexual identity is affected by environment as well as genetics. Legalizing gay marriage profoundly affects our children’s environment. The CTA’s support of the gay community’s right to change our society’s definition of marriage (which is the only right at issue in Proposition 8), is directly at our children’s expense. As teachers, you are expected to safeguard and defend children’s rights. Shame on you.

-Judy *****

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The following letters are some of the ones sent in on a blog:

http://beetlebabee.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/cta-tuesday-response/

Dear Mr. Sanchez,

To me, this has nothing to do with equal rights. All I am fighting for is to protect a word. MARRIAGE. I have a gay niece that is in a committed relationship and I support her in that. I have also told her that I do not believe that she should be able to say that she is married. Committed, taken, whatever, just not married. She even understands this and does not think that I am not fair in my views. My children do not need to know the specifics of what goes on in anybody’s (private/intimate) relationships. We as parents should discuss this with our own kids. I do realize that there are parents out there that are “dropping the ball”.

I never thought that I would be looking into the option of Home Schooling my 3 kids, but now, I may have to consider it. Or, move out of this state. Of all of the things for the CTA to support. Did they really think that this would not cause alarm with others? I cannot believe that anyone in their position could be that naive.

As for equality, what is not equal. We are all human beings with the same needs. To be loved and cared for. We all have that. Find a new word that works for this situation, and I will use it and support it. Not marriage, married or any sense of this word. It is taken by MAN & WOMAN / HUSBAND & WIFE.

As teachers and educators, you should be supporting children and their parents. I know quite a few teachers that are appalled at what the union did with their hard earned money. They will be fighting for refunds.

Discouraged,
Deanne *****

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October 21, 2008

Arcohe School
Herald, California

My children did not attend school today. As you probably know, there was a statewide sickout today for parents to keep their children home from school in protest of the recent political donation of OVER $1 MILLION dollars to the NO on Proposition 8 Campaign by the California Teacher’s Association. The teacher’s association should be involved with issues that support our children’s education, not in promoting an issue that is so anti-family and having nothing to do with education whatsoever. I am angry that the California Teacher’s Association is so closely tied with activist gay issues. Our schools are not social experimentation labs for the gay rights lobby. The amount of money the CTA donated to the NO on 8 campaign is staggering. It shows the lengths to which they will go in supporting the gay agenda in our schools.

We opted to not send our boys to school today in protest and want you to know that if the public schools start teaching about the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage and presenting it as equal to and as normal as traditional marriage, we will have no choice but to cancel our children’s attendance in the public school system. This is OUR state, and OUR public school. Please do what’s right for OUR children, and encourage the CTA to do the same.

Sincerely,
(signed)

 

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Mr. Sanchez,

I sent my daughter to school today because I did not want to hurt the local teachers. They work hard and are devoted to teaching our children. I cannot imagine that they would be happy with their hard earned money being spent on an agenda that clearly only benefits a minority of the members of the CTA. I am confident that your political statement was not the will of the majority of the CTA members and that is the only reason that I sent my daughter to school. I never thought that there was an agenda to indoctrinate my child in the school system until just now. Your actions convinced me gay marriage will in fact be taught in our school system if we do not pass proposition 8.

Sincerely,

Erik *****

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To the teachers of my (daughter),
I am contacting you today regarding CTA’s political contributions to the No on Prop 8 campaign. I was asked to participate in a state wide sick out yesterday, October 21, to protest CTA’s actions, and seriously considered participating. However, I placed the immediate financial needs of our school district above my personal feelings, and sent my daughters to school.
Please consider the message that those contributions are making to parents of public school children in this state. It was my understanding that the Union’s mission is to represent the needs of teachers, and that they can only make donations to issues that affect teacher’s “on the job” needs. Therefore, issues regarding a teacher’s private life should not be addressed by the union. Regardless of how you feel about same-sex marriage, I hope that you will demand a refund of the portion of your dues that were used inappropriately.
Thank you, (signed)

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David A. Sanchez,

I am appalled that you as the President of CTA thought it prudent to give over $1,000,000 to the “No on Prop 8” Campaign. Parents all over California have been afraid that the defeat of Proposition 8 would adversely affect our children’s education, that there would be a constant slant in all that our Teachers offer, that would try to legitimize homosexuality.

How incredibly arrogant of you and the CTA to try and push through the legalization of same sex marriage, when the people of California voted to have the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman, a few short years ago. Obviously you all think you know what is best for our children, and we should no longer have the right to guide our children to have the ideals we hold dear. At the very least the CTA should have remained neutral on this issue, so that parents could feel as though there were a possibility that the whole same sex union idea could be approached with some objectivity.

Your actions in regard to Proposition 8 have made it clear that parents have much to fear if Prop 8 is defeated. I am convinced that your actions here are just a hint and a whisper of what is to come in our school system, and it really scares me.

I am the mother of 7 children and have had my children in California public schools every year for the past 27 years. I have 4 years left to go with my youngest. If Prop 8 is defeated, I intend to bring my children home, and home school them myself, and I know at least 20 other families who feel the same. How many families to you think will “jump ship” so to speak if Prop 8 is defeated? I would venture to say that there would be many unemployed teachers and administrators throughout the state of California….so you have apparently not only caused harm to families and children, but also the very teachers who rely upon the support of the CTA.

I want to make it perfectly clear that neither I nor anyone in my family would ever treat a same sex couple with any degree of disrespect, but Prop 8 isn’t about equal rights, because they already have them. I believe they simply want the world to validate their lifestyle so they no longer need to feel uncomfortable about living their lives contrary to the laws of nature.

Mr. Sanchez, I fear you have just made the biggest mistake of your life. You ought to think twice (or three times) before you take on the concerned parents of California. Our voices will not be silenced.

Sincerely,
Lynda *****

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Dear Mr. Sanchez,

The California Teachers Association, the organization you lead, exists to protect and promote the well-being of its members, to improve the conditions of teaching and learning, and to advance the cause of quality public education. I can’t help but ask, what does Proposition 8 have to do with advancing the cause of quality public education in our state?

Quite frankly I am furious that my money, my union dues, are being used in such a manner. CTA’s actions certainly don’t promote my well-being or improve the already difficult conditions in which I teach. By involving CTA in this proposition you have violated your own mission statement. You considered one side of this argument, made it your own, and used my money to support it.

To say that your decision to oppose Proposition 8 is based on CTA’s desire to promote human and civil rights is not only flawed, it’s a one-sided, close-minded perspective. What about my civil rights to believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman? Where am I being represented as a paying union member of the California Teacher’s Association on this issue?

Just today I heard an advertisement on the radio stating that California ‘s teachers support no on 8. I am infuriated that you have labeled me, a California teacher, as endorsing something I wholeheartedly oppose simply because I am a teacher.

In the past I have stood by CTA and my local San Juan Teachers Association as a representative. When called upon, I have willingly spoken on their behalf to local television, radio and newspaper outlets on issues relating to education. But now, Mr. Sanchez, I am angry and disappointed in your leadership. I see clearly now that you represent me in name only, because you certainly don’t represent my well-being, my civil rights and my opinions. If you are unable to capably stand as a leader for all paying members of CTA, perhaps it would be wise to instead stay out of an argument such as Proposition 8 and use your member’s money in a way that helps them better educate their students.

You had no reason to get involved in this matter, unless you are trying to use the political power and financial backing of CTA as the engine to drive your own personal or political agenda. It’s quite obvious that you are not interested in representing me and thousands of others who share the same opinion.

I look forward to your response to this concern, particularly a detailed explanation of how you have ethically represented me and held true to CTA’s mission statement in regard to Proposition 8.

Sincerely,

Dianna *****

Third Grade Teacher

Carmichael, CA

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Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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Speechless

Wow. I’m horrified at this newest news article that has come out about homosexuality being taught in elementary schools. Why in the world we need to be teaching 5 year olds about gender issues is beyond me. Children are so easily confused by so many things at that age; throwing homosexuality at them is incomprehensible to me. Most of these kids aren’t going to face their own sexuality for several more years. Why not present information to them at that time? Why teach our kindergarteners about it? I would be horrified if my child came home from kindergarten one day and said they had learned about sex in school that day. Why are they teaching about sexuality of ANY type? And why are they ONLY teaching about homosexuality? Why not teach heterosexuality also, if you’re going to get into the issue?

So parents of children at this public – yes, public – school in Sacramento find out that their 5 year old children are being taught to be pro-gay. They are having a “Coming out day” tomorrow. Parents were not told, the event wasn’t listed on online calendars, and the event is being held almost two weeks after the traditional “Coming out day” that is observed in high schools. Sure sounds like SOMEONE is trying to sneak something into the curriculum to me.

And before anyone jumps on my case, I will state my opinion that there is a big difference between teaching children to be tolerant of gays and teaching them to be pro-gay. In my view, being tolerant in this case simply means accepting that someone chooses a different lifestyle than the majority. Being pro-gay is actively promoting a gay lifestyle, and teaching our children that it is just as good as a heterosexual lifestyle. Studies have shown that gay relationships are less stable; homosexual practices account for more new instances of STDs; homosexual people engage in sex with more partners, thus furthering the spread of diseases and leading to unstable personal relationships; and homosexual relationships even have a stronger tendency toward violent behavior than heterosexual ones. Does that sound just as good to you? It doesn’t to me.

Vote YES on Proposition 8! Please, remember, the failure of Proposition 8 will have dire consequences for our children.

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is one of the things that is bothering me about Proposition 8. I know it is a sensitive issue for a lot of people on both sides. But when people start saying hurtful things to those they disagree with, when people are physically attacked for their beliefs, and when we can’t even put up simple yard signs to express our political views on our private property without vandalism and theft, something’s wrong.

America was founded on principles of freedom. Our forefathers left European countries to embrace a lifestyle where they would have more freedom. Religious freedom, political freedom, freedom of speech. No one should ever be attacked for simply expressing themselves in a calm, concise manner. Disagreement does not justify disrespect.

I have a religious belief that homosexuality is an immoral practice. Under the First Amendment, I am free to believe that. It is part of my religious freedom. I also have the right to express my belief without fear of physical harm ensuing. I also have the right to raise my children to follow my religious beliefs, and not have contradictory beliefs pushed on them at school. Other people are free to make a different choice – to be gay, and to express their preference for that lifestyle. However, why should my daughter go to school and have to listen to her teachers telling her that her religion is wrong? We should be teaching tolerance at schools, but not affirmation of lifestyles that are considered by most religions to be wrong.

I’m not sure when we decided as a society that in order to be tolerant of our differences, we had to embrace and promote them. I can be tolerant of my gay friends’ choice without teaching my daughter that a gay lifestyle is a perfectly normal, acceptable lifestyle that is equal to my heterosexual relationship with my husband. I don’t believe it is equal, and I don’t think it is a behavior we ought to be promoting.

If Proposition 8 fails, then my religious freedoms will be infringed upon. As has been evidenced by cases in Massachusetts, parents will not be notified every time homosexuality is discussed in school. If classrooms are going to discuss sexual behavior, then yes, they have to notify the parents. But if they are simply discussing “families” and homosexuality as a social trend, then they don’t have to notify the parents at all. Don’t believe me? Check out the video in my previous post, where a father was actually sent to jail after requesting that he be notified when such things were going to be discussed in schools. And if California schools aren’t excited to be teaching about homosexuality, then why did the California Teachers Association donate $1 million to the No on 8 campaign? I’m apalled that $1 million, which could have been used for books, classroom supplies, and funding of school programs, was taken from teachers’ dues and donated to a political cause which many teachers don’t support. If I paid dues to a union, I would expect them to represent my interests; if people are bound to disagree on a controversial issue, then maybe that’s not someplace they ought to be donating their money.

And before people start commenting about their “right” to get married, go read the Constitution. There’s nothing mentioned anywhere about marriage. No one’s right to be married is guaranteed by our Constitution.

Published in: on October 20, 2008 at 2:14 pm  Comments Off on The First Amendment  
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Why I worry about what Proposition 8 means for my kids

Supporters of Prop 8 keep getting told we don’t need to worry about homosexuality being taught in schools, because we will be forewarned and have the choice to keep our children out. What happened to this family obviously illustrates that that isn’t the case. When sex ed is taught, parents will, as always, have the choice to teach their children about it in the privacy of their own homes. But sex ed isn’t the only time homosexuality will be discussed, if Proposition 8 fails.

The family in the video had their child exposed to the idea of same-sex marriage in kindergarten – way before a child needs to learn about such issues anyway. I applaud the idea of diversity. But treating same-sex marriage as equal to heterosexual marriage isn’t about embracing diversity – it’s about calling two very different things by the same name. Apples and oranges, if you will. The relationships are fundamentally different. And by trying to teach our children to be accepting of those few individuals who choose a homosexual lifestyle, teachers end up pushing homosexuality. To get the message across, they have to talk about it more and praise it more than they do a normal, heterosexual relationship.

Children are impressionable, and easily confused. What their teachers tell them at school is very important. How many little kids’ first crush is on their elementary school teacher? They soak up every word they hear. For example, my three year old loves her uncle Trevor. I think he’s probably her favorite relative. Trevor is a very animated person. Whenever he comes over and plays video games with my husband, he has to be very careful what he says. He’s resorted to yelling “Flowers and puppies and happy things!” when something doesn’t go right in his game. All because my little girl adores him and repeats every word he says. (After the “fat cow” incident, we had a little talk about watching his language around her.) Kids adore certain adults, and what those adults do and say leaves a stronger impression on a child than they realize. So if my kid’s teacher tells her homosexuality is a great thing, it’s just as good as your mom and dad’s marriage, she’s going to have a hard time when mommy tells her that’s not what we believe. Children shouldn’t be learning two different sets of standards and morals.

And imagine the fun literature our kids will be reading as they get older. When I was in middle school and high school, we read a lot of literature about the oppression of blacks, about families who experienced horrible things like child abuse, and about turbulence in Latin America. We read about things our school district decided would probably be issues we would hear about in our lives, to help prepare us for the “real world.” Evidently, preparing us for the real world entailed reading about horrible things, difficulty, and diversity, rather than reading any literature from our own culture… So if gay marriage becomes a legalized practice, doesn’t it follow that our children are going to start reading gay literature too? If we represent every other group in our English classes that has experienced what some would term oppression, it seems logical to assume that we will someday at gay literature to that list.

It’s not just something kids are going to hear about in sex ed. They are going to hear about it anytime marriage is discussed. They will be exposed to it when gay parents take our kids on field trips. As the recently squashed Harvey Milk day idea suggests, in the future our kids may be taught to celebrate homosexuality. As I recently blogged about, kids were taken to a homosexual wedding, which was considered an appropriate activity for young children and an appropriate use of school funds.  Our kids will be bringing books home from school that will, in our hearts, horrify us if we don’t believe homosexuality is a moral practice.

And since when did it become the school’s job to teach our children morality? Especially when the school is going to be teaching our children that immoral behaviors are, in fact, moral? Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: Most Americans don’t practice homosexuality. The majority of religious citizens believe that homosexuality is immoral. In our efforts to be politically correct, we have taken the idea of tolerance to a whole new level. Not only do we accept what people choose to do in private, but now we are going to be teaching our children to accept abberant behavior in our public schools. Being tolerant of others’ beliefs doesn’t mean embracing them and teaching them to our children. Just because we are tolerant doesn’t mean we have to legalize what most Americans term immoral behavior.