Safe Schools No Match For Safe Churches

It would be ludicrous to imagine the Commonwealth Government handing out taxpayers’ monies to fund Creationism in the national school curriculum, would it not?  There would be an outcry from secularists, and rightly so.

Hebrews 11:3 says it is by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

Hence I believe God created the world, but I cannot expect non-Christian, secular education systems to either promote that or provide money for others to promote that in the curriculum.   I’m pretty comfortable leaving it to the church and the Christian family to bring children to faith and from there, demonstrate that God did indeed create, whatever method he chose to use. So far so good.

So why is the Commonwealth Government funding the Safe Schools Coalition programs being rolled out in schools across Australia at the moment, notably in Victoria where that state has just recently cancelled SRE programs?

Make no mistake, The Safe Schools Coalition program is a faith-based program purporting, in this heady climate at the pointy end of the sexual revolution, to be an anti-bullying program containing cold hard facts.  And putting the word “Safe” in front of the word “Schools” is just brilliant, isn’t it?  It worked so well with the “Safe Sex” campaign too all those years ago.  After all, who would want an “unsafe” school?  Who would send their child there?  To willingly do so is grounds for DCP intervention.

I bumped into the Safe Schools Coalition in a school recently – quite literally.  Their two young representatives were just leaving the boardroom of a mainline church school after their sermon, er, presentation, as I was arriving to present to the school executive on the Christian perspective on sexuality and gender, and why it matters to students.

It felt awkward, a bit like meeting your “ex” in the street, where you sidle past each other with a “Hi, how are you? You’ve lost weight!” kinda thing, all the while in the knowledge that you and they are no longer on speaking terms.

That corridor crossover was significant.  One group ushered out as another ushered in. The day of dialogue is over.  But more about that later.

The Safe Schools material is, on any reading, a mishmash of facts, figures and data, purporting to be scientifically based, but grounded in a post-Romantic individualistic framework.  It claims to be about keeping gender diverse students safe at school.  In reality it is pushing a hard LGBTI agenda, with risibly unscientific data and presuppositions about human sexuality.

I won’t go into all of the details, but read this comment piece in The Age today.  Note how the article describes some of the key features of the Safe Schools materials which I quote here at some length:

Central to the program is the belief that a percentage of students are “same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse”, with 15.7% of Australian students being LGBTI. The coalition argues that such students suffer when homophobia and transphobia are rife in schools.
To further the cause of LGBTI students the coalition argues that schools should adopt a whole-school approach involving surveys of staff and students, teaching materials, library resources, posters, internet sites and professional learning packages.

The material endorsed by the Safe Schools Coalition argues that gender and sexuality are fluid concepts and that all forms of sexuality are acceptable. The belief that there are basically two sexes is condemned as “heterosexism” and students are told to celebrate diversity and difference.
One resource argues “there are many genders beyond ‘male’ or ‘female’; gender can be fluid or limitless” and that “There are no rules about who you can be: all you need to do is be yourself”.
Another resource tells teachers to “challenge gender stereotypes and heteronormativity in discussions inside or outside the classroom” and to actively support “days of action and celebration such as the annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT)”.

It’s a clever pincer move, designed to cut off the oxygen from naysayers.  But the stats are dodgy for a start.  Recent surveys put those identifying as not exclusively heterosexual in practice at around 3.5 per cent, rather than the 10 per cent the material presents.

And there are no rules about who you can be?  Surely the Biology department  of your local high school would have something to say about that?

Of course none of this is new.  This was the water we swam in at university  in the 1980s.  That water has now trickled downstream into our high schools, soon to be our primary schools, and will be the only water the education departments of the Western world swim in within ten years.

This is not to say that the backlash has not been strong.  Read the letters pages of many of the newspapers.  People are pushing back on this hard.  But to be honest that will not change the education elites.  Perhaps it’s just another example of the slow-burn, in which the decision by evangelicals to pretty much vacate academia at the start of the 20th century, is paying bitter dividends at the start of the 21st.

Why does this all matter?   It matters for a couple of reasons.  It matters because my hipster inner-west Sydney friend, a great Christian man heading up a great Christian family with smart, creative kids, has to find an adequate answer for his 11 year old daughter after she is pushed by her peers as to why she “doesn’t agree with gay marriage.”

11 year olds.  Is there an age limit to the material, or are kindergarten pop up books next cab off the rank?

For progressive Christians reading this who think it’s a storm in a tea cup and that conservatives obsess about sex, please realise that Christians are responding to a sex tsunami. The language of swimming against the tide barely seems appropriate to describe the force of the sexual torrent about to sweep away the biblical understanding of sex.  Just where is that force coming from, apart from the obvious spiritual answer to that question?

I have a good idea.  In the seminar I presented at that school I was at pains to point out that the biblical understanding of sex and gender are signs that point to a destination that will satisfy, (a place that is the safest place in the world – the arms of a loving God), not the destination itself.  And that’s crucial to understand.

The Safe Schools Coalition’s understanding of sex is that it is the destination, the end goal of what it means to be human and how to self-identify. It’s identity politics at its purest.

And it is idolatry at its purest.  Any created thing that we view as a destination rather than a sign will delude, denude and destroy us, if not immediately, then over time.  When the Creator is no longer the destination, then anything else; money, power, influence, experiences, and above all sex, will attempt to fill that roll.  Why “above all sex”?  Because sexuality and gender in the Bible are explicitly linked to the faithful and exclusive worship and adoration of something/someone like us, but different to us!  

Sex is an object lesson in worship!

And that’s why Safe Schools Coalition is playing such hard ball. It’s a worship issue.  If the very core of one’s identity is their sexual identity, then there can be no prisoners taken in this zero-sum worship game.

Hence the biblical view of sexuality and gender is not simply wrong, it is dangerous. Which was the very language used by the NSW Greens last year when describing three Christian books in the SRE programs that dealt with sexuality.

Which makes me more sad than it makes me angry.  Why?  Because sex as a destination rather than a sign will always leave you coming up short.  And as I pointed out in my seminar, that’s as true for the straight “rugger-bugger” jocks who try it on with as many girls as they can, as it is for the same-sex attracted students who are encouraged to experiment at a younger and younger age.

The word “suicide” was bandied around in that executive meeting, because that’s the great fear; that a troubled, abused teen who identifies as gay, will suicide at school, or because of school. And none of us wants that.  When that word is used, it’s as if all the bets are off, and we’ll do and say anything to stop it.  And Safe Schools Coalition blatantly, dishonestly and flagrantly uses the “suicide” word to push its agenda.

But here’s the truth: The Safe Schools Program just won’t stop suicides happening, which makes it, above all else, incredibly unsafe.

Blinded as it is by ideology, it will end up selling students short and many of them will pay for it with their lives.  If, as my clinical psychologist wife observes, the rates of suicide and suicidal thoughts among gay men is staying stubbornly high, despite the not only increased acceptance of homosexual behaviour in popular, legal and political culture, but its celebration and financially-incentivised promotion, then where does that leave us in 20 years time – a veritable aeon on the identity politics timeline – when those awful stats refuse to head south?

By then, in a culture, in which biblical Christianity is pretty much on the nose, and  a wide variety of individualistic sexual and gender expressions is not only cultural desirable, but scientifically and medically possible, who will be the scapegoat for the endless cycle of dissatisfaction, listlessness, and yes, suicide?

So what to do?  Well, there needs to be a counter-voice in the culture speaking out against the dishonesty of the Safe Schools Coalition. But that’s on the deficit side of the equation. What can God’s people do that is positive?  Well we could live as if created things were signs and not destinations, for a start.  We could live our sex, our money and our power the way Jesus talked about in the Gospels.  And that goes for progressives who are shouty about money and power, but whisper about sex, and that goes for conservatives who foghorn sex, but so often go strangely silent on money and power.

It’s a great couple of decades for the church to gird its loins, live a distinctly biblical sexuality, speak the truth in love, put aside its own idolatries in regards to sex (and everything else), and offer both a Saviour and a community of love and hope to those who, having reached the heights of their sexual experiences, and having literally replumbed the depths of their gender identity, still haven’t found what they’re looking for.

Because honestly, if the current sexual crisis is any indication of where we are headed, we won’t as much need a Safe Schools Coalition as a Safe Churches Coalition.

28 Comments

  1. Replumbed- very clever what you did there. Thanks for the distinction between sign and destination. The evidence of “destination” is cemented when sexual expression is argued as a human right. On the other side, I’ve shocked a few Christians by reminding them that they will not be married in heaven and unlikely to be using their perfect new bodies for horizontal dancing. Startling, when sex is so important in our culturally moulded worldview.

    1. Yep – that’s so true. And I guess if we can’t offer a viable alternative to same-sex attracted people in which salvation is NOT heterosexual marriage, but Jesus, then we have to think about the message we promulgate. Christians have drunk the Kool Aid too!

  2. Thanks for the article, Steven. I’m very encouraged that there are Christians who can think Biblically and argue so clearly. Would love to see your presentation some time.

  3. Sorry mate, but you’ve drunk the religious propaganda “cool aid” on this one – in fact your post reminded me of the recent Australian article and its ridiculous and alarmist “gay manual” rhetoric. Instead of reinforcing the lazy “us vs them” discourse, perhaps try to actually begin a conversation with “them” – you might find “they” are truly passionate about creating safe school environments for young people who are on the receiving end of relentless bullying, abuse and exclusion – but then again, if more Christians stepped towards these “others” and begun real and compassionate conversations, we may find common ground instead of another stone to throw.

    And in all due respect, LGBT young people continue to self report (see the latest Writing Themselves In 3 Report) as experiencing this relentless bullying, exclusion and abuse precisely because of their sexuality – resulting in higher rates of depression, anxiety, self harm, & suicidal ideation. Sadly, it is LGBT young people who come from religious backgrounds who experience the worst outcomes – did I hear you say safe church communities? Where do you think the justification comes from for the “perpetrators” to carry out this abuse? Schools? Homes? How about churches? Yes, yes and yes.

    The Safe schools coalition seeks to create safer school environments for these particular young people, their teachers and their families. They do this by offering support, training and curriculum – all of which can only be voluntarily authorised by the school administration. The SSC is invited into the school just like you are. And just like you, they are convinced that young people’s lives matter.

    As a Christian and a parent of 4 teenagers, and as someone who does sit and meet and talk with “them”, the SSC has my continued support and respect.

    1. It seems as though you may have swallowed the Safe Schools “cool-aid”… have you had a read of this article? A prominent (non-religious) psychiatrist who is a member of a world famous medical institution (the first to perform transgender surgery) who advocates against what is being taught in SS with the medical institution no longer performing surgeries due to harmful outcomes. Have a read and think again. http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120

  4. I know this is slightly left field but am wondering if you will ever reflect on issues of sexuality from a position that considers the alternate Christian conviction that same sex sexual relationships can in fact be celebrated as an act of worship, just as heterosexual sexual relationships can be – as espoused by a number of well known evangelical Christian leaders, theologians, pastors, like James Brownson, David Gushee, Tony Campolo, Brian Maclaren, steve chalke etc.?
    It’s just that based on all of your posts regarding this “issue” one could be mistaken to think that Christianity (i.e. proper Christians not those “lefty” progressives who have sold out) is all in agreeance. When in fact a number of key evangelical leaders, such as those above, have changed their stance on this, precisely as a result of long and determined journeys into what they believe is a faithful Christian response is to this issue.

    Thoughts?

    1. The sex issue is not the issue. It’s the presenting issue of a wider issue, namely the unfortunate abandonment of orthodox Christian faith by the men you just mentioned. Their view of sex came well after their view on just about every other doctrine fell through the floor over a period of time. I would pretty much disagree with the central thrust of what they believe Christianity is held up by these days. For Steve Chalke to label a central doctrine as “cosmic child abuse” (i.e substitutionary atonement) saw him championed by those who don’t believe in the deity of Christ, have no time for the resurrection, and basically deny biblical authority. Sex is just the last vestige of an already abandoned position They are no longer key evangelical leaders in the true sense of the evangel”. I have said it before, but they have given up central doctrines of the faith – FIRST – before they then followed the culture on the sexuality issue. I guess Matt, what I am saying, is that you need to show me from the TEXT. But if we don’t hold the same view of scriptural authority then we cannot have any meaningful dialogue about this. Not that we can’t be civil, or even, as I think we do, have a genuine regard for each other, but we can’t come to a position from a common starting point.

      1. I guess that is the reality of the positions we hold – one of us sees this changing stance as a faithful evolving movement towards a greater understanding of the message of God/the Gospel, whereas the other (forgive me if this misrepresents your position) sees it as a movement away of from this. And I dare say, if I spent the time providing texts from scripture and theological arguments to support my view, they would still be held at arm’s length because we see, hold and wrestle with Scripture from different perspectives/postures.
        Luckily there is room enough at the Table for all of us to dine (even those we think are wrong 😉
        Grace and peace.

  5. Thanks for the warning. It’d be great if you and you lovely wife would bullet, and distribute widely, an apologetic for use in sacred and secular settings

  6. What both you and Kevin Donnelly of The Age article have failed to grasp is that LGBT advocacy, LGBT youth mental health, and LGBT bullying are all part of the same issue. That is: stigma for such people still exists, and it exists mostly because of ignorance. Education is the solution to that.

    I remember a friend of mine telling me how his son had come home from school in tears one day. The boy, 8 and from a secular family, had been told by a couple of young Christian peers that he was destined to burn in hell for eternity instead of going to heaven, because he was not a believer. It sounded like something I would have said at that age. It doesn’t matter how nuanced a religious belief might be: kids will be kids, and they’re not always going to bring that nuance with them to the school yard if there’s a simpler way of expressing it. This is only going to be magnified when it is about others who are different. What those kids can bring to the school yard however is an understanding about what makes others different, and when being different is OK. This education needs to happen early enough so that potential victims are spared the abuse in their formative years.

    That said, a simple anti-bullying message for kids is not sufficient because it does nothing to educate those kids who are LGBTI themselves. They don’t need to be told not to bully themselves, it’s for their straight peers. Rainbow youth deserve to be informed, so they can understand themselves better. They also deserve to be validated, because they’re human beings. Looking after these kids requires such a two-pronged approach if we are to make a serious dent in self-harm and suicide rates. This is what we have failed to do so far. This is what the Safe Schools Coalition is trying to do.

    The 15.7% figure from Donnelly’s article is bogus, and not supported by the Safe School Coalition’s own material. That material does have several sub-figures which, if simply added together, come to 15.7%, but that fails to cater for the overlaps which are guaranteed to exist across those same figures. The fact that a PhD-holding senior research fellow at ACU doesn’t even understand this demonstrates the need for such an educational program to exist. And if it’s going to exist, it should be in our school system.

    So, in this tea cup, a father has to “find an adequate answer for his 11 year old daughter after she is pushed by her peers as to why she “doesn’t agree with gay marriage.” What a calamity. If a father having to actually explain the reasoning behind his family’s religious beliefs is the major problem that this program has created, then I think you will understand why progressive Christians won’t be on board with you here. For us, that’s par for the course.

    1. No one should be bullied. If Christians bully someone (and I would suggest Xn young people are less likely to bully someone than the average jock who views it as a sport), then they are transgressing the biblical concept that all humans are created with value, dignity and worth.
      Bullying comes in different forms, the most sophisticated being the language bully who will shut down and threaten anyone they do not agree with. SSC is such a sophisticate. There is no room for diversity or disagreement. They are dishonestly coming in to deal with a bullying situation that should and must stop, and using the vacuum created by the lack of any school strategy to stop this bullying as an ideological push, pure and simple. The SSC material refuses to validate anyone who maintains a believe that same sex relationships are wrong, whether they bully anyone or not. Their material is clear on this. Very clear. Willing for you to show me how splendidly diverse they are on this issue though. Pure and simple they are not.

      1. It would make no more sense for such a group to accept such exclusionary attitudes on this issue than it would for them to accept racist or sexist attitudes regardless of what mindsets (religious or otherwise) created those attitudes in the first place.

        If someone is born female, it is safe to say that the education system should be informing females about their own sexual health just as well as they do for males, and ensuring males are educated on the matter as well. It is also safe to say that the males should also be educated on what appropriate attitudes towards females actually are. Meanwhile, the students’ families are safe to promulgate their women-should-submit views at home or in church.

        If someone is born black, it is safe to say that the education system should be informing black kids about any issues specific to their skin colour (such as different susceptibility to skin cancer types, and vitamin D needs), just as they would do for white kids. It is also safe to say that the white kids should also be educated on what appropriate attitudes towards black kids actually are. Meanwhile, the students’ families are safe to promulgate their no-interracial-marriage views at home or in church.

        It is not hard to extrapolate from these examples to see how the taxpayer-funded education system should be responding to LGBTI children, and while the SSC is not perfect by any means, it appears to be a step in the right direction, and your criticisms don’t hold water.

        LGBTI advocacy is an ideological push only as far as gender equality and racial equality were themselves ideological pushes. The fact is, we as a society know better now than we did before, and we have learned that certain viewpoints are simply bearers of bad fruit and not worth entertaining. Attitudes that exclude LGBTI people are up there, along with racists, misogynists, and anti-vaxers.

  7. Stephen,

    What you described sounds exactly like an experience I had in the 80’s. Planned Parenthood had put on a seminar called “one in ten”, or some such, for local teachers from the government school. It was then based on statistics from Kinsey, who apparently put the gay population at about 10%. It took a while to catch on that his research took its samples from prison population. That figure was a lie, and the one told to you was even more of a whopper.

    Even that far back it was recognized that “facts don’t matter” to the advocates, as long as their agenda advances.

    I have always said that our gay friends have two enemies: the rock-throwing gay-basher and the lie-telling gay-advocate. The first has no love; the latter cannot see the issue through love’s perspective enough to embrace truth.

  8. Also a bunch of propaganda on the scale of Safe Schools Coalition, perhaps even more so. For example:

    QUOTE – “It matters because my hipster inner-west Sydney friend, a great Christian man heading up a great Christian family with smart, creative kids, has to find an adequate answer for his 11 year old daughter after she is pushed by her peers as to why she “doesn’t agree with gay marriage.”

    11 year olds. Is there an age limit to the material, or are kindergarten pop up books next cab off the rank?” – END QUOTE

    Mcalpine complains about an 11-year old being too young for this, but the hipster’s daughter referred to gets exposed to the view that “homosexual marriage is wrong” right at home from her parents. If it’s not too young for a parent to teach it to their kids at 11, why and how is it too young for them at school?

    Furthermore, it’s precisely this type of institutionalised teaching that leads to such feelings of depression and shame for LGBT kids. They’ve been taught their whole life that it’s wrong, that it’s sinful, and if a child does find themselves attracted to the same sex they become ashamed – feelings like “surely it’s MY fault that I’m feeling this way”. Then if the child is comfortable enough to talk about it with their parents, the parents become “you should never ever act on your feelings, they are wrong and shameful”. Some of the more extreme parents may even beat the gay out of their children (as shameful as it is, conversion therapy is still seen by some to be a valid way of getting rid of the gay in a child). In short, it is not being gay that is causing gay kids to become depressed and suicidal it is the ingrained homophobia that exists among many people that doesn’t allow acceptance for a person for who they fall in love with.

    This is why the Safe Schools Coalition is important, even if you don’t particularly agree with homosexual marriage yourself. Christian parents ingrain these beliefs into their children at a young age, and even if they aren’t Christians there is a cultural bias that still strongly exists in the world, despite the forward steps that have been taken to seek equality for people, that leads even non-Christian parents to think their child is a failure if they are gay. You may not even realise it, but Christians can be the worst offenders of homophobia in the world we currently live in.

    That doesn’t mean that Christians have to accept gay marriage, but the way we treat a gay person is sometimes as far from loving as one can get. When a gay person comes to a Christian in love and humility, so easily it can escalate from this into Matthew 18:15-17 where a gay person is excommunicated from church, reinforcing that they should feel ashamed about who they are, that they are not worthy of the love of the congregation, that they are lesser beings. And when you’re a teenager this is a BIG deal, when acceptance and self-image are craved from family and friends.

    That’s not to say that the Safe Schools Coalition is a perfect answer, but I think it’s the height of Christian propaganda to liken it to a religious belief taught in schools. It isn’t, it won’t be, and never will be.

  9. It rather dims the reality to suggest that the “size of the table” has something to do with who does and who does not sit there (1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:20-21).

  10. Also a bunch of propaganda on the scale of Safe Schools Coalition, perhaps even more so. For example:

    QUOTE – “It matters because my hipster inner-west Sydney friend, a great Christian man heading up a great Christian family with smart, creative kids, has to find an adequate answer for his 11 year old daughter after she is pushed by her peers as to why she “doesn’t agree with gay marriage.”

    11 year olds. Is there an age limit to the material, or are kindergarten pop up books next cab off the rank?” – END QUOTE

    Mcalpine complains about an 11-year old being too young for this, but she gets exposed to the view that “homosexual marriage is wrong” right at home from her parents. If it’s not too young for a parent to teach it to their kids at 11, why is it a complaint when it’s taught at school?

    Furthermore, it’s precisely this type of institutionalised teaching that leads to such feelings of depression and shame for LGBT kids. They’ve been taught their whole life that it’s wrong, that it’s sinful, and if a child does find themselves attracted to the same sex they become ashamed – feelings like “surely it’s MY fault that I’m feeling this way”. Then if the child is comfortable enough to talk about it with their parents, the parents become “you should never ever act on your feelings, they are wrong and shameful”. Some of the more extreme parents may even beat the gay out of their children (as shameful as it is, conversion therapy is still seen by some to be a valid way of getting rid of the gay in a child). In short, it is not being gay that is causing gay kids to become depressed and suicidal it is the ingrained homophobia that exists among many people that doesn’t allow acceptance for a person for who they fall in love with.

    This is why the Safe Schools Coalition is important, even if you don’t particularly agree with homosexual marriage yourself. Christian parents ingrain these beliefs into their children at a young age, and even if they aren’t Christians there is a cultural bias that still strongly exists in the world, despite the forward steps that have been taken to seek equality for people, that leads even non-Christian parents to think their child is a failure if they are gay.

    That doesn’t mean that Christians have to accept gay marriage, but the way we treat a gay person is sometimes as far from loving as one can get. When a gay person comes to a Christian in love and humility, so easily it can escalate from this into Matthew 18:15-17 where a gay person is excommunicated from church, reinforcing that they should feel ashamed about who they are, that they are not worthy of the love of the congregation, that they are lesser beings. And when you’re a teenager this is a BIG deal, when acceptance and self-image are craved from family and friends. The gay person just wanted to talk about their feelings but because it’s “sinful” the Christian feels obliged to tell every person and their horse at church about it. What was said in presumed confidence is now the talking point of every person at church (and despite the biblical edict not to gossip, it is still a popular past time for Christians at churches around the world, particularly small country towns where any gossip is good gossip and by the end of the day everyone in town knows about it).

    That’s not to say that the Safe Schools Coalition is a perfect answer, but I think it’s the height of Christian propaganda to liken it to a religious belief taught in schools. It isn’t, it won’t be, and never will be.

    1. I think you make some good points. There are some holes in your arguments however. The primary assumption is that gay people are suicidal primarily because they are rejected by society at a variety of levels. Yet the evidence in countries (Sweden for example) where it is much more accepted at a social level, and there have been a more positive response to gay rights over extended periods of time, is that it has not changed the suicide rate among gay men at all. No one seems to address that anomaly. And if they suggest there might be something else going on, or a natural law matter going on, they’re gonna get howled down.

      But I am not trying to shut down diversity of opinion on this matter at all. The same cannot be said of the Safe Schools Coalition. For them you are either ok with gay or you are heteronormative, bigoted, homophobic or whatever. Diversity is not the name of their game – it is uniformity, no more, no less. There is no way to acceptably disagree with them, because ideologues take no prisoners.

      1. Partly because laws and overall social acceptance doesn’t necessarily trickle down to the school yard in a linear fashion. Especially when there are other children in that yard who, without being able to explain their reasoning, still voice their disapproval because of their family’s religion, like a certain 11-year-old girl’s example.

        If we look beyond Sweden, for example, in Canada: http://news.ubc.ca/2014/01/20/gay-straight-alliances-in-schools-reduce-suicide-risk-for-all-students/

        Quoting:

        In schools with gay-straight alliances implemented three or more years ago:

        – The odds of homophobic discrimination and suicidal thoughts were reduced by more than half among lesbian, gay, bisexual boys and girls compared to schools with no GSA.

        – There were also significantly lower odds of sexual orientation discrimination for heterosexual boys and girls.

        – Heterosexual boys were half as likely to attempt suicide as those in schools without GSAs.

        In schools where anti-homophobic policies have been in place for more than three years:

        – The odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts for gay and bisexual boys were more than 70 per cent lower. Suicide attempts among lesbian and bisexual girls were two-thirds lower.

        The need for actual, targeted education and support systems in the school yard on this issue is well proven to be effective.

  11. Social stigma, aimed against immorality, is a good and healthy thing. We do no favors by advocating for immorality. Love can work across a stigma to produce positive transformation. It is not love that locks a person in immorality. Immorality is a barrier to healthy relationships with people and with God.

    Years ago, Peggy Noonan wrote of seeing a pregnant girl marching across the stage to get her high school diploma. At the time, this was unusual. The viewers applauded, and Noonan realized in that act that she was watching America change. The older, less permissive and more stigmatizing, America would have expressed a strange mixture of public disapproval and of private love and support. The new America, now apparently willing to applaud anything, seems flipside incapable of showing redemptive love and support to “girls in trouble.” Noonan’s take-away lesson: “Message to society: What you applaud, you encourage. Watch out what you celebrate.”

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