Friday, July 3, 2009

Family Values

The irony-challenged Family Research Council has launched an attack against Kevin Jennings, President Obama’s appointee to a post in the Department of Education, because he’s (gasp) gay and he used to be the executive director of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

Jennings is set to begin his new job on Monday, as Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education for the Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, after his appointment was announced about a month ago. And this week, FRC launched a last-minute Web petition to oppose him. It asks a pointed question: Would you choose this teacher to guide your children?


Many of the quotes [in the petition], regarding youthful drug use and other misadventures, are from Jennings’ autobiography, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, about his coming of age in the South.

They also have a comprehensive, point-by-point essay on why Jennings shouldn’t be responsible for kids in school. Headings include, “Jennings’ and GLSEN’s concept of ‘safe schools’ means special protections for privileged groups (especially homosexuals), rather than safety for all,” and “Jennings’ own youthful drug use calls into question his suitability for promoting ‘drug-free schools.'”

Then there’s a section with this heading, to which very close attention should be paid: “Jennings favors indoctrinating even elementary-age children in pro-homosexual ideology.”

I am sure that Mr. Jennings would be more polite, him being a Southern gentleman and all, but I have a two-word response to the FRC, the second word of which is “you!”

Mr. Jennings’ appointment does not require Congressional approval, so the only point of having this hue and cry over him is just to raise a stink against a gay man who is on the record as not being particularly enthralled by the bigotry and homophobia of the FRC.

If the FRC really wants to talk about protecting family values, then why haven’t they put up an on-line petition demanding the resignation of Gov. Mark Sanford, who is actively destroying his own marriage on nationwide TV with serial news conferences that sound more like an afternoon with Oprah? So far, though, all we’ve heard from them and the other finger-waggers is silence.

The Family Research Council has been completely quiet on the South Carolina governor’s affair. So has Concerned Women for America. Ditto for Focus on the Family.

The wall of silence is all the more striking given that 10 Palmetto State senators in Sanford’s own party have called for him to step down. Does the pro-family movement burn up credibility if it looks the other way when Republican allies own up to extramarital affairs?

That assumes that they had any credibility to begin with.