Compare the recent public statements of two PFOX officials regarding public education, and one finds that PFOX can’t make up its mind whether to claim support for tolerance among people of different sexual orientations — or to declare sweeping trench warfare against anyone who veers from PFOX’s notion of straight-and-narrow.
During this comparison, keep in mind that PFOX was launched by the Family Research Council (chaired by James Dobson) in 1996, and that PFOX continues to rely on the Dobson organizations (Focus on the Family, FRC, and Exodus) for political support, marketing and fundraising assistance.
1. Richard Cohen, M.A.
President, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays
July 6, 2005
Statement to Montgomery County, Maryland, Board of Education
Source: Teach The Facts/a>
My name is Richard Cohen. I am the Board President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, otherwise known as PFOX. The first thing I would like to do is apologize for any inconvenience and expense we have caused the Board of Education. We simply want our voice and views incorporated into the new sex education curriculum. We at PFOX believe wholeheartedly in Tolerance, Diversity and Equality for all people.
I want to thank you for including an awareness of homosexuality in the new sex education curriculum. We believe it is our moral imperative to protect and defend the right of all students, in particular those who experience same-sex attraction and those who may be questioning their sexuality. These students must be able to attend school in a safe environment. I know how important that is because I was the brunt of cruel remarks while attending high school. XXXgot, XXXX, sissy, homo…. I heard it all. No child should have to endure such things while trying to obtain an education. All students need to be taught how to respect one another.
I lived as a gay man for many years but always dreamed of a wife and children. Today I have been married for 23 years and we have three incredible children. And, for the past 15 years, as a professional psychotherapist, I have assisted hundreds of people in transitioning from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation. Therefore, I know personally and professionally that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
Regarding homosexuality, we at PFOX are Pro-Choice. We believe in everyone’s right of self-determination. The students themselves should get to choose whether they wish to live a gay life or to explore the possibility of changing from gay to straight. All we ask from the Board of Education is to NOT LIMIT THE CHOICES of our children in the new sex education curriculum. Please give the students ALL information about diverse views of homosexuality, and let them decide if they want to be gay or ex-gay. Both are OK. Please let the students decide for themselves. Thank you very much.
2. Peter Sprigg
PFOX nominee to the Montgomery County sex-education advisory committee
From an article for the Family Research Council
Pro-homosexual activists also promote policies that forbid “discrimination” against students or teachers on the basis of “sexual orientation.”
However, singling out “sexual orientation” for special protection (along with the usual categories of “race, color, national origin, sex, and disability”) is illogical. The latter qualities are usually inborn, involuntary, immutable, and innocuous–none of which is true of homosexuality, despite the claims of its advocates.
Note the contradiction among PFOX’s public representatives:
Sprigg states that homosexuality is not “inborn, involuntary, immutable, and innocuous.” PFOX’s newly chosen representative says homosexuality is not “OK” at all, contrary to Cohen’s reassurance. Nor does Sprigg wish for schools to reflect tolerance, diversity, or equality for all. Sprigg’s article for FRC favors antigay discrimination; says that opponents of discrimination “recruit children” into homosexuality; and encourages lawsuits against any school that “teaches about homosexuality” to teen-agers.
Sprigg neglects to cite the presence of religion in most non-discrimination laws. Religion is not “inborn, involuntary, [or] immutable.” Does Sprigg support discrimination on the basis of religion? Does he believe that one’s choice of religion may not be innocuous? He doesn’t say.
As Teach The Facts notes, publications on PFOX’s recommended-reading list for teachers and students uniformly refer to gay persons as defective individuals needing to be “healed.”
In short, Sprigg and PFOX appear to be less tolerant than their president claims.