PFOX has distributed an ex-gay flyer to students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. I don’t recall PFOX winning direct access to students, but the local NBC affiliate is reporting that they have.
Targeting gays with hard-to-miss billboards, groups like PFOX weren’t always allowed inside schools. But when it sued to pass out literature, it won.
Now, policy and the law allow the group to reach students through school.
Clearly students, faculty, and administration alike are unhappy with the intrusion of a religious-based anti-gay activist group distributing propaganda during class time.
Administrators, faculty and students quickly blasted the group as an anti-gay, homophobic organization.
PFOX claims it’s a resource for students.
Avi Edelman, president of the Gay Straight Student Alliance, said that message is a sham.
“If you look at their Web site, if you look at their use of religious materials to condemn homosexuality, I think the message that they say they give and the message that they show on that flyer is very different than what the organization actually stands for,” Edelman said.
The article does not make clear exactly what was distributed and PFOX’s most recent press release was in April so they don’t provide much help either. However, it most likely was this, which includes such complete lies as
There is no evidence showing that the origins of same-sex attractions are genetic, but rather the evidence points to the environment. In other words, your feelings of same-sex attraction are mostly tied to your history not your genes.
Thousands of ex-gay men and women had those very same feelings in school.
I believe that a school could (and should) refuse to distribute literature that makes factual claims that are blatantly false. Let Regina Griggs argue away the half dozen studies that have appeared in the past year that suggest a biological etiology to sexual orientation and tell a judge that “evidence points to the environment” when there are few, if any, current studies that support her assertion. Let her argue that there are “thousands” of ex-gays when Dr. Spitzer took two years to try and find 200.
Further, a school could argue that directing children to a web site that tells you “how Jesus feels about you” and to “talk about same-sex attraction openly, honestly, and with a Christian perspective” is clearly a violation of the separation of church and state. I find it very unlikely that a judge reviewed and approved anything that gives religious teaching approval for school-wide distribution.
If it was wrong for this school board to plan sex education that was disrespectful of certain denominations, it is even more inappropriate for it to be forced to distribute literature that endorses religious teachings and makes claims that are substantiated by nothing more than faith in denominational adherence. They aren’t distributing literature that links to the United Church of Christ or to Reformed Judaism so why should they be required to push conservative Christian dogma?
I think that Avi Edelman, or his parents, should make the case that if PFOX wishes to present it’s views it must do so with factually accurate information and without proselytizing or preaching to a captive audience. Let the judge see how little non-religious factually based information Griggs has to offer.