Lawyer Decries Choice of US Safe Schools "Czar"

Denounces Agenda of Sexualizing Children

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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A consultor to the Vatican’s laity council is protesting U.S. President Barack Obama’s chosen “safe schools czar,” Kevin Jennings, due to his history of promoting homosexuality, especially to young people.

Helen Alvaré, a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity and a senior fellow of law for the Culture of Life Foundation, stated this in an essay on the foundation’s Web site.

She expressed concern regarding recent revelations about the career history of Jennings, who is currently serving as the Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education.

Alvaré affirmed that Jennings was chosen by President Obama based on his leadership of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a group he founded in 1990.

The deputy secretary was already under criticism for an incident described in his published memoir in which he failed to act on an incident of child abuse.

While working in a previous job as a school administrator, a 15 or 16 year old boy approached Jennings for advice regarding a random sexual encounter with an older man he met in a bus station. The only counsel Jennings offered was: “Use a condom.”

Alvaré reported that further concern about Jennings involves the recommendations of his organization, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, regarding adolescents.

The network’s Web site recommends books for youth, which “present homosexual sexual encounters as anonymous, degrading, grotesque and sometimes violent” and “describe graphic sexual encounters involving young children,” Alvaré stated.

Education

A few weeks ago, the controversy escalated due to emerging news about sex education conferences that Jennings helped organize in 2000 and 2001 while he was executive director of the network.

The conferences, held in Massachusetts with the support of the state Department of Education, the Safe Schools Program, and the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, included a “youth only” session that instructed students aged 14-21 about homosexual practices.

“Kits” were distributed to hundreds of young people that explained how to perform certain homosexual acts.

Alvaré reported that Jennings issued a statement after the 2000 conference, in which he denied knowing in advance what was going to be said in the session titled “What They Didn’t Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class.”

He assured the public that the network was “surprised and troubled,” and that they would be “more clear” with future speakers.

However, the lawyer continued, the session speaker affirmed that the network did know the conference’s material in advance.

Furthermore, the conference played out in exactly the same way the following year, with the same session and the same hand-out kits, which were given to some 400 students.

In her article, Alvaré called for a response from the public, urging her readers to contact the U.S. president to express a view on this controversy.

She warned that the title “safe schools czar” can be misleading.

“It means whatever its inventors claim,” the law professor said. In this case, it seems to mean keeping schools “safe from the influence of those opposing the early and degrading sexualization of minor children.”

Politics

She pointed out that in the political realm, sometimes positions are filled “with people intended to give a ‘shout out’ to those constituencies the president needs to thank, to court or to appease.”

Alvaré explained that some people are complaining that Obama is “moving too slowly to champion homosexual rights.”

The appointment of Jennings, however, gives the president a way to “ensure the influence of homosexual-rights-activists in important places — like our nation’s public schools — without the president’s having to pass a law, or even hold a congressional hearing, both of which might generate public attention and opposition,” she added.

The lawyer continued, “That Jennings’ influence in the Department of Education might promote the early or inappropriate sexualization of children is apparently not as important as what Jennings’ appointment might do in the way of smoothing relations between President Obama and the Human Rights Campaign.”

However, the naming of the czar has also caused political waves. In October, a group of 53 congressmen gathered to send a letter to President Obama asking for the removal of Jennings.

“It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity,” the lawmakers stated.

The letter pointed out that Jennings “has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America’s schools — an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children.”

It continued, “There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.”

However, thus far Obama’s administration has continued to back Jennings.

Watchdog

Alvaré appealed to the public to voice their opinion, asserting that “watchdog groups and citizens are vitally necessary.”

She called on them to also expose the groups that the government is partnering with in initiatives such as the Massachusetts sex education workshops.

These groups, including Jennings’ network, Planned Parenthood, or the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S, are “clearly outside the ‘mainstream’ of adults’ thinking and behavior about human sexuality and respect for human life and dignity,” Alvaré stated.

She added that since taxpayer dollars are being given to fund these groups, it “matters a lot” who the government chooses to partner with.

Many of these groups have “little in common with the average American’s beliefs about sexual morality,” the lawyer said.

She continued: “For such groups, the body is a tool, an object to be managed to maximize physical pleasure while minimizing disease and pregnancy.  The materials they publish for adolescents can only be described as depressing and dehumanizing.”

Alvaré encouraged her readers to act on this news. One outcome, she said, “should be a demand that the government get out and stay out of the business of instructing our children about human sexuality in ways that degrade them specifically as children, and also as human beings.”

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On the Net:

Culture of Life Foundation: http://culture-of-life.org/

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