Christian Group: School Lunch With a Stranger Promotes ’Gay Agenda’
A Christian group is slamming an anti-bullying campaign that urges public-school students across the country to make new friends by sitting with kids with whom they normally wouldn’t associate during lunch period.
The organization’s leaders claim to see a sinister purpose behind such efforts to promote empathy. They say the effort is detrimental; more specifically, part of the ongoing effort by liberals to push the so-called "gay agenda," New York Daily News reports.
Members of the American Family Association are up in arms about the annual "Mix it Up at Lunch Day," which is part of a campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance. The fact that the program was created by officials of the Southern Poverty Law Center only inflames them further. SPLC, a prominent and venerable civil rights think tank, has labeled AFA a "hate group."
The event takes place on Oct. 30. It calls upon students in participating schools to sit in the lunchroom with classmates with whom they wouldn’t normally interact.
The AFA believes that the SPLC, which was founded 41 years ago in Montgomery, Ala., is acting as a de facto "fanatical pro-homosexual group" by trying to force Mix it Up day into American schools.
"The Southern Poverty Law Center is using this project to bully-push its gay agenda, and at the same time, intimidate and silence students who have a Biblical view of homosexuality," officials of the AFA wrote on its website.
Director of Teaching Tolerance Maureen Costello told ABC News that the organization’s goals are simple: to get students "past the idea that you have to distrust people in another group."
Members of AFA have been telling parents of children whose schools plan on participating in the event to complain to administrators. AFA sympathizers are threatening to keep their kids home that day.
"It is a thinly veiled attempt to push the homosexual agenda into public schools," Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for AFA, told the Daily News. "Groups like the SPLC are not interested in anti-bulling leglisation unless it can be used to bully Christian students who have moral questions about homosexual behavior. This looks innocent on the surface. But it’s like Halloween candy that’s been poisoned," he continued. "The wrapper is fine. The label is fine. But if it’s been poisoned, it’s not until you ingest it that you realize how toxic it is. That’s what this ’Mix It Up’ day is like."
Costello has shaken her head at the accusations. She terms the AFA’s attack on the event "bizarre," as it has nothing to do with sexuality. She adds that about 200 schools have decided to not participate in the "Mix it Up" day as a result of pressure from parents responding to AFA’s criticism, bringing the number of participating schools down to 180.
"We don’t tell schools what to do on ’Mix It Up’ day," she told ABC News. "We suggest activities, none of which have to do with sexual orientations. We used to focus on divisions of race and social class, but now we encourage schools to focus on what their own school issues are."
She did note, however, that a number of victims of bullying are gay or perceived as such. "We’ve become used to the idea of lunatic fringe attacks," she said, "but this one was complete misrepresentation."
The principal of the Chattahoochee County Education Center in Cusseta, Ga., one of the schools that backed out of the program, explained why the event was cancelled. The official said teachers were preoccupied with trying to meet basic state teacher requirements, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports.
"The decision had nothing to do with taking a position on gay rights," Principal Tabatha Walton said. "We support diversity." (Apparently, officials didn’t notice previously that eating lunch would jeopardize the school’s academic standing.)
Parents of students who attend the Avon Grove Charter School in Pennsylvania complained to Kevin Brad, the head of the school. But Brad has insisted on holding "Mix it Up" day.
As for the SPLC’s having added AFA to its national list of active hate groups, AFA’s Fischer told the Daily News that, in fact, the SPLC is the real hate group. Why? Because, Fischer insists, the group, which incidentally (or not) has always been staffed by a large number of Jews, is trying to oppress
Christian students and for trying to shutdown groups that stand against LGBT rights.
"The reality is we are not a hate group. We are a truth group," Fischer said. "We tell the truth about homosexual behavior."
AFA’s Fischer Thrown Off CNN for Extreme Views
CNN’s Carol Costello had invited Fischer on her program to speak about the controversy. But when Fischer made the claim, common among the fringe Right, that the Nazis were largely a party of homosexuals and controlled by a homosexual elite, the exchange became heated.
Initially, Fischer attacked "Mix it Up" day and said the program is "toxic" to the "moral health" of young students, much like "poisoned Halloween candy" injected with cyanide, reports Mediaite. "The label looks fine, it looks innocuous, but once you internalize it you realize how toxic it is."
After some initial debating, Costello asked if Fischer’s views would be considered hate speech. She then read a passage of a radio interview where he said, "Hitler recruited homosexuals around him to make up his storm troopers. They were his enforcers. He discovered he could not get straight soldiers to carry out his orders but homosexual soldiers had no limit to the savagery and brutality Hitler sent them after."
"That spells ’agenda’ to me," Costello said. Most would find such an interpretation of a political organization that is actually well known for rounding up homosexuals and throwing them into the death camps classic "hate speech." Fischer, in turn, averred to the book "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party," by perhaps the most notorious homophobe in America today (the Phelps Westboro Baptist Church clan excepted), Scott Lively, who wrote it with Kevin Abrams.
Serious historians are unanimous in condemning the book as continuing a canard begun -- ironically, considering who has since adopted it -- in the 1930s by the Left to attack the Nazis. "I think most historians would take issue with that," Costello said of Fischer’s Nazi assertion.
The anti-gay activist then reiterated his group’s line that SPLC was the real "bullying group" and that "they’re the ones that want to silence any view that would criticize the normalization of homosexual behavior." Once Fischer began the Right’s argument that homosexuality is inherently unhealthy, Costello abruptly cut him off and ended the interview.
"That’s just not true," she said. "I’m going to end this interview now, sir, because that’s not true. Thanks for sharing your views, I guess?"
The ultra-Right Christian website World Net Daily picked up on the AFA boycott and urged readers with children to pull them on that day if their school is participating. World Net Daily has been the most prominent proponent of the "birther" movement that maintains President Obama was born in Kenya.
Watch the clip of Costello and Fischer’s interview below: