"Cynical fear mongering" from the American Family Association

For reasons that are not immediately apparent, The New York Times has written a story about the American Family Association, which believes that telling people not to beat up gay and lesbian children is morally wrong.

The AFA is urging parents around the country to keep their children home from school on October 30, when many schools will participate in "Mix It Up at Lunch Day", when students are encouraged to spend time with kids they usually don't talk to.

The program, started 11 years ago by the Southern Poverty Law Center and now in more than 2,500 schools, was intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying.

But this year, the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, has called the project “a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools” and is urging parents to keep their children home from school on Oct. 30, the day most of the schools plan to participate this year.

The charges, raised in an e-mail to supporters earlier this month, have caused a handful of schools to cancel this year’s event and has caught organizers off guard.

“I was surprised that they completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is,” said Maureen Costello, the director of the center’s Teaching Tolerance project, which organizes the program. “It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic.”

A growing body of research suggests that when people who do not go to church hear the word Christian, they think of organizations like the American Family Association. To some extent, that's our fault. So what's out next move?

Comments (2)

"So what's our next move?" To announce, loud and clear, through the media, through advertising, through whatever means we can, that we are the Church of Luke 6:31: "Treat others the same way you want to be treated." Putting that cardinal ethic of Christ Jesus into practice is indispensable to being a Christian. There's no getting around it.

First: send some money to the Southern Poverty Law Center, so you get to see their work on tracking and exposing hate groups. Dees and his folks have been doing this for close to fifty years mostly behind the scenes.

Speaking out would be great, we ought to couple that with a repudiation of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, which is teaching elementary age kids that genocide is okay when God orders it. But we have uttered measured beige pablum for so long that we (Episcopalians) have no capital reserves of gravitas or street cred to grab the wider public's ear.

Our next move might need to be less than nice. Can we do that without becoming like these very groups?

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