As several states were making moves earlier this year to add elective classes on the historical impact of the Bible — and the president endorsed the move — the left pitched a fit.
“State legislators should not be fooled that these bills are anything more than part of a scheme to impose Christian beliefs on public schoolchildren,” Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said back in January.
Mind you, these classes were completely elective, but they were enough to inspire revulsion and anger among the left. Which was interesting, because now Illinois is adding a mandatory plan that includes LGBT history in the school syllabus over the objections of Republicans.
According to The Hill, the bill has passed both the Illinois House and Senate. It requires the state’s K-12 textbooks to include “the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State.” The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat.
The bill was introduced by Democrat Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, who says her brother was denied tenure as a teacher because he revealed the sexuality of a historical figure 15 years ago.
“He was subjected to hate mail and called into the principal’s office to explain why he answered a student’s question honestly. My brother was teaching history and a student asked whether the historical figure there was the subject of the lesson was gay. He answered with the truth,” Gong-Gershowitz told NPR Illinois after the state House approved the bill on Wednesday.
That’s horrifying behavior and nobody ought to condone it. That doesn’t necessarily mean dedicating a portion of the syllabus to LGBT history in any way addresses or prevents that sort of thing, mind you. It also introduces a whole host of problems.
“Here’s what parents in my district said, ‘How or why is a historical figure’s sexuality or gender self-identification even relevant? Especially when we’re talking about kindergarten and elementary school history,'” state Rep. Tom Morrison, a Republican, told NPR.
However, it’s not just about teaching sexuality or gender self-identification to younger students who may not appreciate quite what’s being discussed.
What perspectives are going to be included in the syllabus? Are we talking about an ecumenical view of the subject that acknowledges that certain faiths believe — as per their holy books — that same-sex relationships are sinful?
Is there going to be recognition of the fact that science on certain aspects of transgenderism and gender identification is far from settled?
Or, will people of faith be painted as nothing but televangelists on those high-numbered DirecTV channels, speaking hateful fire and brimstone from sullied pulpits? Will the science on gender fluidity and treatments for gender dysphoria be seen as concrete and unassailable by anyone but bigots?
It’s profoundly unlikely that the syllabus will be able to avoid taking a stand one way or the other, and one can be reasonably certain, given the spirit in which the bill was passed, which way things are going to go.
If this had been in any way optional — if Illinois wanted to institute an elective class that dealt with “the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State” — there would hardly be any space for criticism.
It would be the same as those Bible history classes the left found so much time to publicly loathe earlier this year because mentioning God anywhere near a public school is a secular sin of the mortal variety.
Instead, this is a mandatory addition to the curriculum and one that’s probably going to end with most educators taking an unequivocal stance on issues that are far more ambiguous. Instead of teachers like Rep. Gong-Gershowitz’s brother receiving the obloquy for speaking the truth about the sexuality of a historical figure, it’s probably going to be students who voice any contradictory opinions to what’s bound to be the party line.
That’s assuming, of course, they can muster the considerable courage it’ll take to speak up at all.
We live in a world where teachers in almost any school district in America can say that a historical figure was LGBT and not be subject to the kind of hate that allegedly greated Rep. Gong-Gershowitz’s brother.
We’re a better country for it. We’re not a better country, however, when tolerance becomes indoctrination.
But why should the left care? It doesn’t affect them, after all.
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