February 29, 2016 - Monday
Bed, Bath, and Brevard
"This is not San Francisco," one man exclaimed. "This is Brevard County!" And thanks to hundreds of vocal parents and pastors in Florida, it'll stay that way. After a five-hour meeting at the Brevard County School District, the community broke into cheers and "amens" after winning a huge victory over political correctness. While the media hasn't exactly been eager to cover the story, moms and dads of Brevard County packed out last Tuesday's school board meeting to fight a proposal that would have added "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the district's anti-discrimination and "equal employment" policies.
In a showdown with a single teacher who demanded the measure, big crowds turned out to resist the idea. More than 90 people spoke, most of them outraged at the thought of these special LGBT perks, which, as they pointed out, would lead to "reverse discrimination of Christian children." Like other local boards and city councils, Brevard was weighing whether to open bathrooms and locker rooms to kids regardless of their biological sex. The subtle effect of the policy would be just as bad: marginalizing -- or worse, punishing -- students with moral objections to mainstreaming sexual confusion.
As our friends at Liberty Counsel pointed out in a letter to the board, "The inclusion of 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' in other school districts has led to a chilling effect upon students expressing a religious or moral viewpoint on the subject of sexuality. Instances of students and teachers being subjected to punishment or retaliation for voicing their beliefs to others, in person, or online, in social media, are readily available. Some school districts have even required other students (or teachers) to address gender-confused students or employees by incorrect names, and inaccurate pronouns, regardless of the First Amendment implications for appropriate use of language."
One by one, parents and local church leaders ticked off reasons why the policy was a dangerous precedent. "The problem is, as these policies [are] adopted, it's a slippery slope," Jason Schack told the board. And, as he made quite clear, it's a slippery slope fewer parents will tolerate. "I just hope your school board is prepared for a mass exodus." Others, like Bradford Cole, said that what families want isn't more ways to stifle faith -- but more ways for kids to express it. "The majority is speaking tonight... We are saying we want God's word in our public schools... We want godly principles in our public schools. We want Jesus Christ back in our schools."
That's when LGBT activist Scott Wall-DeSousa had enough. "I believe everyone has a right to be heard," he claimed. "Unfortunately, what's happening tonight [shows] why this policy is needed." Of course, if he really wanted people to be heard, he wouldn't be advocating a measure that bullies conservative kids into silence. In the end, Wall-DeSousa and others weren't just outnumbered by the parents, but by the board too. To the cheers of the room, Brevard voted unanimously to kill the proposal.
It was an important moment -- not just for this Florida community, but to everyone who's tempted to get overwhelmed and discouraged by the national trends fostered by President Obama's radical social policy. The Left (aided by the media) wants Christians to think that they're powerless in the face of these radical agendas. But the problem isn't that we're powerless -- it's that we're actionless. Sometimes, winning is as easy as showing up and speaking up. If you don't know what to say, FRC can help! Check out these publications on "sexual orientation, gender identity" measures, the transgender movement, and homosexuality in your child's school!