Sunday, October 12, 2008

To defend one lie Prop 8 proponents lie again.

It will upset readers for me to say this, but why change tactics now? The most dishonest people I’ve ever meet have been religious. The more religious they are the more dishonest they feel they have the right to be. Of course, they don’t just lie about anything. They only lie to push their religious agenda and that discrimination allows them to feel sanctimonious.

The religious groups operating the Yes on Prop 8 campaign are as big a batch of liars as I’ve ever seen. I outlined already how their ad campaign on Prop 8, to strip gay couples of equality before the law, was one lie after another. Now, they have a press release out allegedly proving their case regarding one of those lies.

That lie was the so-called requirement to teach gay marriage in the schools. They reported on 18 first graders going to San Francisco city hall for the marriage of their teacher to her same-sex partner. The Godly bigots said this was “overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose.” This supposedly proves how gay marriage will be required course work at school Typically the Prop 8 Christians avoid telling the public all the facts.

It is true that 18 children were allowed to go to wait outside City Hall where their teacher was being married but they don't appear to have actually gone to the ceremony. But not one child went to that event without parental permission. If there was indoctrination it was indoctrination by the parents. Are the Christians now wanting to strip parents of the right to teach their values to their children?

Why are they lying and pretending that this was government indoctrination? They are doing it because the truth doesn’t back up their bigotry.

The field trip was not even the schools idea. The actual news reports on the field trip reported: “A parent came up with the idea for the field trip -- a surprise for the teacher on her wedding day.” So the idea came from parents not from the school. And the reports noted that every student who went was required to have parental permission to attend. Students whose parents objected did NOT attend but studied with another first grade class as the school. No student was forced to attend and the only “indoctrination” was the child’s own parents wanting him or her to do this. Video I watched of the event seemed to show a group of parents standing behind their children to greet the teacher. This is what parental choice looks like and the Christians don't like it. Choice to them means choosing what they want only.

There is another thing left out of all this. The school in question is the Creative Arts Charter School. Up until now I thought conservatives were fond of Charter Schools precisely because they do give more control to parents. The Charter School organization says these schools “operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.” That is what attracted conservatives to the idea. And major conservative think tanks have been in the forefront of promoting Charter Schools precisely because they more controlled by the parents and less controlled by the bureaucrats.

So, here we have a case where a Charter School is being attacked by the religious coalition pushing Prop 8 who send out press releases attacking this field trip which are now being picked up by fanatical Christian web sites and news sites by the dozens. And these Christians intentionally left out critical information. Let’s look at precisely how they selectively left out facts to promote their cause.

1. They never tell the readers that it was a Charter School -- in fact they went to great lengths to avoid mentioning the name of the school lest it lead to someone discovering the facts. That this school is free of many government regulation with more parental controlled was ignored by them. Instead they said this proved how government would act if gay marriage remains legal.

2. They referred to this as a school sponsored field trip but they never mentioned the idea came from parents not from the school. And it appears several parents accompanied the students to the wedding. Also the students were not inside the wedding as the “Yes on 8” people imply. They stood outside City Hall and greeted the teacher when she came out but they do not appear to have attended the actual ceremony.

3. They called it indoctrination without mentioning that every single child who attended did so at the request of their parents not at the behest of the school. Of the students in the classroom two sets of parents did not want their children to go and those children were excused. There was NO indoctrination. It was a voluntary activity started by parents and done at their request.

As much as the Prop 8 people whine about being pro-family what they did here was attack parental rights. For this was not government indoctrination at work at all -- it was parents exercising their right to teach their values to their children. What has the Christians pissed off is that parents weren’t teaching the values that these bigots demand everyone live by. While they are pretending to support parental choice they are actually pushing for conformity where everyone must abide by their stilted “Biblical” view of the world. In this case, the parents of the 18 students who went to the wedding disagree with that view, so the Christians are attacking their right to decide what values they will have taught to their children. They call this attack “pro-family”. Sure, it is,

By the way, the Prop 8 people knew they were lying to the public. They used photos from a San Francisco Chronicle article on their web site. The article mentioned the name of the school, mentioned that the trip was a parent’s idea and explicitly said that all the students had parental permission to attend. So, while the Yes on 8 crowd read the article and borrowed the photo for their website, they just ignored all the facts which stripped their story of all its power. Lying for Jesus -- it’s the in thing in their circles.

UPDATE: Further news reports have confirmed what I suspected based on photos and video of the event. The children did NOT attend the wedding as the Prop 8 people have been claiming. They waited outside City Hall to greet their teacher. Almost nothing about this story, as promoted by the Prop 8 people, is true. However, the falseness of the report has not prevented Christianist web sites from reporting the falsehoods verbatim as the truth.

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