Bigotry and Ignorance from TX Eagle Forum

by Dan Quinn

Texas Eagle Forum’s December “News and Notes” e-newsletter offers more of the bigotry and pro-ignorance rhetoric we’ve come to expect from that far-right group.

Part of TEF President Pat Carlson’s email notes a Dallas Morning News report about a whisper campaign that led State Board of Education member George Clayton, R-Richardson, to acknowledge recently that he is gay. The newsletter continues:

Because of redistricting, all 15 SBOE seats will be up for election in 2012. We need to recruit and elect/re-elect true conservatives to these important positions so Texas will not go the way of Massachusetts or California in mandating K-12 pro-homosexual education in the classroom.

Gay people can’t be “true conservatives”? Perhaps Carlson’s version of a “true conservative” is one who promotes fear and hate toward people who are different. And what exactly does she mean by a “pro-homosexual education in the classroom”? To our knowledge, Clayton has never even mentioned the issue of sexual orientation in his time on the state board (not, at least, until his personal life was the subject of a whisper campaign by political opponents). Most likely, Carlson simply wants to make sure that state board members don’t object to efforts by far-right pressure groups to demonize gay people in textbooks and other instructional materials, as they tried during the adoption of health textbooks in 2004.

And speaking of health, Carlson’s e-newsletter also noted the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s new report showing that more public school districts in the state are moving toward an abstinence-plus approach on sex education. Carlson’s group insists on abstinence-only sex ed policies that keep young people ignorant about even basic, medically accurate information on contraception and disease prevention. From the TEF e-newsletter:

The ONLY PROVEN method to prevent teenage pregnancy is abstinence. Abstinence-plus education gives kids mixed messages—“don’t have sex, but if you do, use a condom.” Condoms and other forms of contraception do not “protect” a teen’s heart and mind from emotional distress and pain, nor prevent pregnancy or STDs 100% of the time; only abstinence does.

What Carlson doesn’t want her readers to know is that Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation yet has received more federal abstinence-only funding than any other state. Even now most school districts in the state teach abstinence-only or nothing at all when it comes to sex education. In a state where, on average, a teen gets pregnant ever 10 minutes and teen childbearing costs taxpayers about $1.2 billion annually, abstinence-only ignorance clearly hasn’t been a good education strategy.

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