DENVER — The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is accusing national gay advocacy groups of using bullying-prevention initiatives at public schools to introduce the viewpoint that homosexuality is normal.
Focus on the Family education expert Candi Cushman told The Denver Post for its Saturday, Aug. 28 editions that the Christian group supports bullying prevention but that the issue “is being hijacked by activists.”
“We feel more and more that activists are being deceptive in using anti-bullying rhetoric to introduce their viewpoints, while the viewpoint of Christian students and parents are increasingly belittled,” Cushman said. The Colorado Springs-based group said conservative Christians are portrayed as bigots for their opposing viewpoints, while public schools increasingly teach students that homosexuality should be accepted.
The national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network says it wants all students to be treated with respect regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or race, ability or national origin.
“Bullying is a serious public health crisis in this country, according to no less an authority than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” Eliza Byard, the executive director of GLSEN, told The Denver Post.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a 2008 report that about 30 percent of sixth-to- 10th-grade students in the U.S. report being bullied, and Byard said the problem is more common with gay students.
Focus on the Family took aim at a 24-page GLSEN booklet titled, “Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth.” It will be delivered to public school superintendents around the country, Focus on the Family said.
“The theme: Schools are only allowed to provide one message about homosexuality — that it’s normal and should be embraced,” Focus on the Family said.
Byard said the idea for the booklet came from GLSEN but that it was authored by a coalition of medical, mental-health and education organizations.