William Saturn has been an IPR contributor since December 2011. He is also an accredited reporter for Wikinews. Saturn’s personal blog can be found here.
Former State Chairman for the California Constitution Party, a 2008 and 2012 Constitution Party presidential candidate, and frequent IPR reader, Don Grundmann operates CandleCrusade.org. It hosts ten pages of documents supporting Grundmann’s controversial thesis that the true agenda of the LGBT movement is the corruption of children, ideally through legalized molestation, to solidify and normalize homosexuality. In IPR discussion, Grundmann often refers to his website as proof for his claims.
As a result of Grundmann’s strongly held beliefs, IPR discussions on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues are often contentious and usually descend into name-calling, the lowest rung on Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement (see chart below). In order to foster a higher level of discussion, I volunteered to make a neutral assessment of the content on CandleCrusade.org.
After reading all of the material on the site, I conclude that Grundmann makes valid points concerning the indoctrination of children in public schools, encouragement of activities hazardous to the health of children, and erosion of religious liberty and free speech in the United States. I will cover each in detail below. Despite these valid points, I cannot in good faith connect these to an overarching agenda to intentionally corrupt children. However, I believe there are two primary reasons Grundmann draws a different conclusion.
First, according to Grundmann himself, a major motivating factor behind CandleCrusade.org was the creation of a LGBT-S club at Roosevelt Elementary School, Grundmann’s alma mater. It seems quite strange for an elementary school to have a gay-straight alliance. Most such alliances are found in high schools and universities. But Roosevelt’s club is not like these. On the Roosevelt Elementary School website, the LGBT-S club is located under the “Parent Organizations” header. Though I have no information of what goes on at this organization’s meetings, the fact that it is a parent’s organization, makes me doubt it is anything more than a support group for parents. I presume Grundmann misidentified the club as a student organization, which led to his speculation that the organization is part of a coordinated effort to “indoctrinate, recruit, teach, and expose children to queer sexuality.”
Second, Grundmann misuses the above quote often at CandleCrusade.org to reinforce his thesis. It actually comes from the May 12, 2011 Queerty.com post, “Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Actually Do Want To Indoctrinate Kids?” This post presents only the opinion of its author, Daniel Villarreal, who does not necessarily represent the entire LGBT movement. In its full context, Villarreal writes, “I and a lot of other people want to indoctrinate, recruit, teach, and expose children to queer sexuality AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.” Grundmann believes this reveals the true motives of the LGBT movement, but truth requires deeper examination.
In the first response to the post, a Queerty.com commenter remarked, “you have used the term recruit as if it meant educate. We get it, but what the haters mean by recruit is entirely different. They use it as code for pedophilia.” Villarreal responded, “When I say recruit, I mean ‘get on our side’ and ‘get to help fight our battles for us.’” This is not recruitment as a means to turn children into homosexuals or sodomize them. It may be viewed as Villarreal’s personal endorsement of the indoctrination chronicled at CandleCrusade.org, but the consensus among Queerty.com readers is that schools should discuss homosexuality when appropriate to minimize bullying and improve self-esteem. This is an outlook bereft with idealism, but no matter how misguided, the goal seems genuine. A commenter named Steve summed up this perspective:
Rational adults do not talk about sex in front of kids who are too young to learn about such things. But, when the kids reach an age and start asking questions about sex, rational adults give honest answers. And, at some point, the whole truth really should be told. Many school districts have a “health” class in which the curriculum includes some sex education.
The fact that some people are gay, is one of the facts of life that should be taught at an appropriate age. That bit of knowledge can literally save the life of a kid who knows he is different, and has started contemplating suicide.
The accusation of recruiting is just an attempt to gin up support in their base, among parents especially. We really should respond by calling the lie. Rational parents should be concerned about suicide, much more than whether their boy knows that gays exist.
Indoctrination of Children
Throughout CandleCrusade.org, Grundmann demonstrates how special interests have used the state to push certain points of view in public schools, particularly in California. As a result, politicians and administrators force schools to indoctrinate children with distorted realities.
For example, in “Sodomites in Public School,” Grundmann brings up California’s FAIR Education Act. Following heavy lobbying from the LGBT movement, Governor Jerry Brown signed the act into law in 2011. It mandates schools teach children “the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans,” among others. Rather than striving for an accurate depiction of history, this law skews the lesson to make certain groups or figures more prominent than they otherwise should be.
Since the modern understanding of homosexuality developed only in the latter half of the 19th century, this law effectively forces educators to commit such anachronisms as connecting the LGBT movement to figures, who lived before the LGBT movement even existed. In a more general sense, the law overemphasizes the importance of sexual orientation as a factor in historical accomplishment. For instance, when examining the American Civil War, is it fruitful to discuss the alleged homosexuality of Abraham Lincoln? When debating Keynesian economics, does the bisexuality of John Maynard Keynes somehow bolster his arguments?
This embracement of the superficial, TMZ.com view of history highlights the idiotization of children occurring in public schools today. Not only does it stray education from truth, it wastes time and taxpayer money. Nevertheless, the FAIR Education Act would be just as damaging if it came about from activist groups with other perspectives, wishing to have their points of view taught in a disproportionate manner.
On a much smaller scale, Grundmann chronicles this same waste in his example of a San Francisco charter school’s “field trip” to a teacher’s lesbian wedding in 2008. However, like the FAIR Education Act, it is not the lesbian aspect that is most troubling. It is the waste of school time. A “field trip” would be just as wasteful if taken to a traditional wedding.
Grundmann provides further evidence of activist-sponsored indoctrination in “Combating Sodomite Infiltration At the Earliest Level of Public Education.” In this, he mentions an Oakland public school using the activist group “Gender Spectrum” to teach “gender expression” to first and second grade children. In the lesson (available on video here), children listen as a “gender coach” indoctrinates them with Gender Spectrum’s viewpoint that it is “normal” to have a separate “gender identity” from physical sex. However, this viewpoint is adverse even to the information on the group’s website:
Some gender specialists estimate that 1 in 500 children is significantly gender nonconforming or transgender. An older study based on statistics of postoperative transsexual men put the number at 1 in 20,000. (emphasis added)
The school claims the program is a way to reduce bullying, but even under the liberal estimate, gender nonconforming significantly affects no more than one child in an average elementary school. With so few children experiencing the issue, how is it appropriate to direct taxpayer funds toward an entire position dedicated to the issue? If anything, such a lesson only leaves children confused. For example, a boy may enjoy playing with dolls. Gender Spectrum’s “lesson” plants the idea that because he enjoys a “girl hobby,” he may somewhat be a girl on the gender spectrum.
Surely there are ways to reduce bullying that do not intentionally confuse children in such a manner. Unfortunately, students are stuck with the lesson since the school does not permit parental opt-out. This raises concern, as should any activist group forcing its agenda on children through the public education system.
Though the above examples reflect the unfortunate results of activism in the education process, there is no evidence that the indoctrination here is being used to “recruit” children or “mentally, emotionally, and morally rape and molest” them. In my opinion, the indoctrination is a misguided attempt of government and certain activist groups to improve the self-esteem of a very few children at the expense of time and reality. Officials willing to make that exchange do so likely to avoid the appearance of bigotry. The fact that it can be done is a symptom of a government too large for its own good.
A libertarian solution would be the privatization of the public education system, giving parents who do not want their children indoctrinated, the option of going to schools where no indoctrination occurs. However, this solution is not likely in the current political climate. An easier approach would be to empower public schools to answer to the parents directly and decide important issues for themselves without intervention from the state.
As Grundmann notes, the same state actions causing indoctrination of children in public education also can negatively impact children’s health. Changes to school bathroom policy, encouragement of dangerous sexual practices, and relaxed attitudes toward pedophilia, are the results of an ideology justified as inclusive and anti-bullying.
Under “Virtuous Sodomy: The Fight to Distigmatize Homosexuality,” Grundmann explains how the Maine Human Rights Commission ruled against a school policy preventing a transgender student, who is biologically male, from using the girl’s bathroom. The school allowed the student to use the staff bathroom instead, but that was not good enough for the student or Commission. The school appealed the Commission’s ruling and the case is currently before the Maine Supreme Court. The Commission argues the school discriminated against the student based on gender. However, as Amnesty International argues, every girl has a right to “sex-segregated toilets and washrooms.” (emphasis added) For a state to mandate that this right be intruded upon, puts girls at an increased risk of violence, particularly sexual violence. It is reasonable that bathroom segregation be done based on the actual sex of the student, rather than their gender mindset. Because so few transgender students actually exist, based on Gender Spectrum’s statistics above, there should be no difficulty in allowing such students to use the staff bathroom. As some LGBT activists say, this may cause emotional distress for transgender children, but shouldn’t the state have a greater interest in preserving the rights of girls and preventing sexual violence? Again, that may be a decision best left to the school.
On a similar note, in “How Sodomites Promote Violence to Children,” Grundmann introduces Fistgate, a 2000 scandal surrounding a Tufts University workshop sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education. The workshop, titled, “What they didn’t teach you about queer sex and sexuality in health class,” included three openly homosexual state employees fielding questions from a group made up of adolescents aged 14 to 21 years. The employees answered questions about sex in graphic detail. During one answer, an employee (Margot Abels) gave a positive spin to the practice of fisting, a potentially dangerous sexual activity in which a participant inserts his entire hand into the vagina or rectum of a receiver (this is not strictly a homosexual act). According to MassNews.com:
Margot Abels was quick to point out that although fisting “often gets a really bad rap,” it usually isn’t about the pain, “not that we’re putting that down.” Margot Abels informed him and the class that “fisting” was “an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with.” When a child asked the question, “Why would someone do this?” Margot Abels provided a comfortable response to the children, in order to “put them into an exploratory mode.”
Abels and the other two employees were fired after tape of the session aired on the radio. Anger over the conduct was not limited to heterosexuals. MassNews.com reported, “many homosexuals called [radio host] Graf and agreed that the meeting should not have taken place.” Appropriate sex education is not a heterosexual or homosexual issue. Under common decency, no moral adult would knowingly encourage a child to engage in practices dangerous to his health. Nevertheless, the workshop was completely voluntary and not forced upon any child. All those who attended already identified as LGBT or were at least curious. No recruiting occurred, just bad sex education.
Grundmann turns to evidence of child molestation advocation in “Virtuous Sodomy: The Fight to Distigmatize Homosexuality,” citing an article about a conference sponsored by the psychiatry group B4U-Act. B4U-Act activists advocate public destigmatization of pedophilia, believing it best to control rather than suppress as a criminal matter. The group wants the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to declassify pedophilia as a mental disorder, placing it on the same level as heterosexuality and homosexuality. Grundmann believes this alone shows the APA moving toward that goal. However, B4U-Act is extremely small. According to its website, it has a “board of directors …[and] a larger group of about 25 people.” Though it is troubling that these psychiatrists wish to remove the classification of pedophilia as a mental disorder, the APA “stands firmly behind efforts to criminally prosecute those who abuse and exploit children and adolescents.” A group with unpopular views and no influence cannot change this standing.
Likewise, Grundmann seems to defeat his own conclusion in “Sodomite Child Targets: Sex Before 8 Or It’s Just Too Late.” In this document, he introduces pedophilia activist group NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association) as if a prominent member of the LGBT movement. Though some connection existed in the early history of NAMBLA, the group has since been largely ostracized in the LGBT movement.. Like B4U-Act, NAMBLA has unpopular views and very few members. Many LGBT groups rejected NAMBLA from its formation, and nearly all do now. GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) labeled NAMBLA’s goals as “repugnant” and “a form of child abuse.” NGLTF (National Gay & Lesbian Task Force) adopted a resolution condemning NAMBLA and rejecting “all abuse of minors, both sexual and any other kind, perpetrated by adults.”
Like the APA, GLAAD, NGLTF, and Grundmann, I stand strongly against NAMBLA and any others who promote child abuse under the name of “intergenerational relations.” Society finds these views repulsive. I have no reason to believe the people in this country will support any effort to change these groups’ views into law. I can vow to Grundmann that if such views ever become popular, I will oppose them with every fiber of my being.
Moral people recognize that society maintains the responsibility of protecting the health and well-being of children. In the examples cited, society mostly fails in that responsibility. Grundmann understands this, but misdirects his criticism toward activist organizations rather than failing government policies. As I stated at the end of the last section, the problems here are not the result of private activism, but of government doing too much. The Maine Human Rights Commission is out of bounds when it instructs a school on bathroom policy. The school should make that decision, and if problems arise, school officials should answer to parents. Then the community, and not the government, can decide whether it places greater value on protecting the human rights of little girls or allowing one student to feel included. Likewise, the Massachusetts Department of Education has no duty to instruct adolescents on the joys of certain sex practices. Sex education based on parental input is most appropriate and again returns responsibility to the community. When the state holds this responsibility, bad sex education results, as it did in Massachusetts, endangering the health of adolescents. Lastly, when it comes to protecting children from molestation, despite his conclusion to the contrary, Grundmann actually agrees with the vast majority of LGBT groups in that, the state should never approve of child abuse and molestation.
Erosion of Religious Liberty & Free Speech
Despite overwhelming disagreement with Grundmann on IPR, Grundmann enjoys just as much First Amendment protection as anyone else. Though nobody actually has any rights on IPR except for the owner, there is no reason it need not replicate a free and fair society. Those calling for Grundmann’s banning from IPR are part of a larger problem plaguing the United States. Rather than argue points with Grundmann on the highest levels of Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement, commenters here prefer to label him a homophobe, believing that wins the argument. It does not. Instead, this tactic causes Grundmann to continue on with his thesis unchallenged. Further, it ignores his valid concerns. The last of which is the erosion of religious liberty and free speech in the United States today.
Political correctness is a major obstacle for free speech and religious expression in this country. In “When Broadcasters Cave In To Sodomy,” Grundmann explains how a Florida public school teacher was suspended and investigated for ethics violations because he made a private Facebook post in opposition to same-sex marriage. The post in question read:
I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up.
If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???
When the school first took action, not only did it violate the man’s right to free speech, it violated his right to religious expression. He clearly based these private views on his religion, and they were no concern of the state. Perhaps, as Grundmann cites at “Sodomite Persecution,” the teacher did not receive the proper “gay sensitivity training.” According to the standard of the officials in the Department of Agriculture, the teacher committed “heterosexism,” the thought crime of not equating same-sex marriage with traditional marriage. Though the teacher was reinstated after a week with help from the Liberty Counsel and ACLU, he never should have had to go through such an ordeal for privately expressing his personal and religious opinions in America.
Like Grundmann, I fear America is on the wrong track. I believe this not because of the progress of the LGBT movement, but because of the progress of the political correctness movement. I discussed this issue in a recent IPR article. Grundmann rightfully advocates free speech as a solution to the overall problem he sees. He wants for people to:
- Protect your own children from the LGBT movement in the public school system
- Show true love to your LGBT friends by informing them that they have a sickness, of which they should not be proud
- Protest the LGBT agenda by lighting candlelight vigils and passing out the Candle Crusade flyer as part of a “massive Crusade of non-violent public resistance”
I too have three free speech-based solutions to resolve the issue I believe to be most at fault for the situations chronicled above. They are:
- Remain on the upper levels of Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement and be willing to both stand your ground and admit when you are wrong.
- Disregard political correctness and be willing to point out the practical problems with everyday issues using rational argumentation, no matter who you may offend.
- Defend the right to free speech, no matter who the speaker may be, be it me, Grundmann, or even NAMBLA.
I thank Don Grundmann for introducing me to issues I never would have examined on my own. I did not enjoy writing this review, but I wanted to remain true to my word. I also thank those who got through the entire reading. Please point out any factual or logical errors on my part.