Blame the Gays

Didn’t think the curriculum battle in Texas could get any loonier? Guess again. Now right-wingers have decided that the controversy over social studies standards in Texas is part of a big homosexual conspiracy to undermine the education of young people.

That’s the gist of a new e-mail screed sent out by Donna Garner, the right-wing gadfly who last year circulated an e-mail suggesting that Jeffrey Dahmer became a serial murderer because he believed in the science of evolution.

Actually, Garner is a bit more than just your common gadfly. In 1998 she nearly derailed the curriculum revision process in Texas with her own proposed curriculum standards for language arts courses. Gov. George Bush’s education commissioner, a majority of State Board of Education members, teachers, and curriculum specialists rejected Garner’s “alternative document” at the time as outdated and inferior.

But Garner has the ear of right-wingers who now run the state board. In 2008 those far-right board members fell just one vote short of adopting Garner’s proposed language arts standards (essentially the same one she was pushing 10 years earlier) instead of a new standards document put together by educators and curriculum specialists over the previous three years. The board’s right-wingers eventually sneaked some of Garner’s standards into a final document they slipped under the hotel doors of other board members an hour before the final vote on those standards two years ago.

Interestingly, Garner apparently didn’t have the courage to come to Austin in 2008 to testify before the state board in defense of her standards document. Instead, she sent out a flurry of vicious e-mails attacking anyone who opposed her “alternative document.” In fact, hiding behind insulting e-mails is Garner’s standard modus operandi — and the board’s right-wingers eat it up.

This new e-mail from Garner is a good example. In it, she claims that the Texas Freedom Network is working with San Francisco Chronicle/ online columnist Mark Morford to attack the State Board of Education over its appalling revisions to proposed new social studies curriculum standards. Garner attacks a new Morford column (“Dear Texas: Please shut up. Sincerely, History”) and bizarrely suggests that the columnist’s support of gay rights (Morford is straight) has led him to work with TFN. (We have never met or corresponded with him, but we’d be delighted to do so.)

Anyone who has read Garner’s e-mails knows that she is obsessed with homosexuality. And in today’s e-mail — as in numerous others in the past — she charges that the Texas Freedom Network, Human Rights Campaign (which she describes as “the largest homosexual organization in the country”) and her other favorite whipping boy, Planned Parenthood, are all working in cahoots to destroy America (or something like that):

“Texas Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood, and the Human Rights Campaign work together as ‘triplets’ and speak with one voice. Mark Morford is a part of that network. What parent in his right might would want TFN and their network to have any influence over what impressionable and vulnerable students are taught?”

So there you have it. Flak the board is getting for censoring discussions of Thomas Jefferson in world history classes, refusing to teach that the Constitution bars government from promoting one religion over all others, suggesting that Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts and baseless smears were justified, minimizing the struggle of women and minorities to gain equal rights — all of that and so much more — are the product of an evil conspiracy among homosexuals and abortionists. So thinks Garner, who is defiant in the face of the homosexual horde supposedly harassing the state board:

“When our new Texas Social Studies standards are approved in the May 2010  SBOE meeting, we will have the most fact-based Social Studies standards in the country.”

“Most fact-based in the country”? Anyone who watched the state board vandalize the social studies standards over the past two meetings knows that’s a joke.

What really worries us isn’t the nonsense Garner sends out in her hateful, bigoted e-mails. It’s that seven extremists on the Texas State Board of Education take what she says seriously.

32 thoughts on “Blame the Gays

  1. When I was growing up, I kept catching hell for being smart. To be smart was to be a sissie. So I had to fight a lot. Most of the time I lost. I fought to defend all the other underdogs who were being bullied too.
    So I’m familiar with Ms. Garner’s “Everyone knows all the smart educated people are gay,” line.

  2. RE: “Texas Freedom Network, Planned Parenthood, and the Human Rights Campaign work together as ‘triplets’ and speak with one voice.”

    The new Trinity?

  3. I think they make pills nowadays that can help with extreme and obssessive paranoia and a tendency to disassociate from reality. Anyone heard that or know what the best ones are?

  4. “What parent in his right might would want TFN and their network to have any influence over what impressionable and vulnerable students are taught?”

    I would. Not because they’re liberal, pro-choice, or gay, but because they’re correct. Thanks to Ms. Garner and her jackass friends, I’ll have to heavily supplement my son’s curriculum when the time comes.

    Then again, I’m one of those liberal, pro-choice, atheist, lesbian mothers, so in Ms. Garner’s narrow little mind, I’m the single biggest threat to civilization out there.

  5. As a gay man, I formally apologize for this, and also all those hurricanes and other natural disasters we cause.

  6. Enough is enough! These people are not Justices of the Supreme Court. Somehow or another they need to be gotten rid of and I don’t care how their demise is handled. Their attitude is “if you’re smart and an expert, you’re wrong.” Of course, this is merely the reflection of a state in which the former Governor proclaimed a “Jesus” day, hawking up a lugie large enough to cover all non-Christians in the state. It is unfortunate that they are called the Right when they are so clearly WRONG. It’s time we rid ourselves of the old British parliamentary method of nomenclature of the right side of the parliament being conservative and the left side, liberal. These people are not left nor right; they are an uneducated group of morons who are PROUD of their ignorance. Extreme right-wing Christianity (not Christianity, mind you, just the extreme right wing) has been responsible for destroying more than one country and now they are intent on destroying Texas, making Texans an object of ridicule and frankly I am horribly embarrassed to call myself a Texan. FIRE THE ENTIRE BOARD and turn their mission over to the Texas Educational Agency (NOT the TEA party)

  7. Before they’re gone, I want to see Rick “Jefferson Davis” Perry try to defend them in a debate.

  8. My parish is teaming up with some other parishes (both Lutheran and non-Lutheran) to form a charter school where we can teach our kids biology (including evolution), age appropriate sex education (including discussions of birth control, contraception, family planning, abortion and homosexuality), social studies (including the fact that most of the Founding Fathers were Deists, not Christians; social activists in the 19th and 20th centuries including Sojourner Truth, Abigail Adams, Jane Addams, Susan Anthony, Clara Barton, Grace Hopper, Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Tubman, Barbara Jordan, Julliette Low, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, etc.; the rise of the labor movement and the need for a labor movement in America as a response to the abuses of the Golden Age; the rise of Jim Crow and the need for civil rights activism; the rise of McCarthyism and its repudiation, etc.) because we have gotten SICK AND TIRED of the Texas State Board of Education politicizing education and ramming their ultra-conservative agenda down our throats; and because we believe our male and female, white, black and Mexican American, straight and gay students DESERVE an education free from a radical conservative political agenda!

  9. I forgot who it was–maybe James F–but somebody posted a link to the Texas GOP platform the other day. It is appalling. Not only says separation of religion and state is a myth, also denies evolution, denies global warming, says some horrible things about homosexuality, on and on. So if you’re reading this and you’re a moderate Republican, maybe it’s time to raise some hell about where the party is going, if you aren’t already doing that. Also might be a good time for all of us to question any Repub who reps us and see if they agree with everything in the platform. Call ’em out on it and make them disown the extremism in the platform.

  10. I am currently living in Nebraska and have found out through discussions on religion that many kids here were taught Christianity and Catholicism. Evolution was a subject that was never brought up until college. It is surprising to me that teachers are not teaching kids about the world but instead their own personal ideals.

  11. Texas Freedom Network – Planned Parenthood – Human Rights Campaign

    Finally, a new Axis of Evil! The old one is, like, so boring already.

    Can’t have a new Axis of Evil without a boogyman – I mean, leader, right Mark Hussain Bin Laden Morford?

    Like Stephen Colbert said the other night – ‘Those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. Unless they rewrite the history. Then, problem solved.’

  12. The Donna Garners of the world take the intellectually lazy and morally bankrupt shortcut of labelling people as gay, liberal, or whatever, because they don’t have what it takes to support their viewpoint. But then, again, I have never found one of her type that had any justification for their hateful ways.

  13. Mark, it’s not “the new trinity.” It’s the Unholy Trinity. Ha. Although I like the Axis of Evil too. I agree the old Axis is so last year.

    David, a society that calls smart people sissies, liberals, gay or whatever label one wants to ascribe is a society entering a Dark Age.

    Marq, good luck with your new school. Sounds like one I want to attend.

    Beverly Kurtin, you hit a bulls-eye about firing the lot of them. Problem is these people are VOTED IN. So, it’s not so much the SBOE that scares me; it’s the fact that people vote for these nuts that scares the s**t out of me.

    Oh, and Eshto, don’t forget earthquakes. You guys are responsible for those too, ya know. (j/k)

  14. I agree with Ben (#10). The 7 ultra-conservatives are perfect Republicans. They are doing exactly what the Texas GOP platform supports. We need to alert everyone, both Democrats an Republicans, what their platform is. Also, there are no more moderate Republcans anymore. We need to welcome them into the Democratic party. If the Republicans win, our state and country is lost. We are at war with the Republican Party.

  15. Surely we all realized that Tinky Winky would grow up, leave PBS, and start public education in Texas, perverting our children, thanks to Ms Garner? I bought a bunch of the Tinky Winky dolls back in the 90’s just for occasions like this. If I only knew how to contact Ms Garner, I could send her one as a token of our Texan appreciation and hospitality. I even have original genuine authenticated prints of Rev Fallwell’s Tinky Winky screed to include with each doll. Such a deal.

    We have viable, competent SBOE candidates (#5 & #10) who give a damn about the entire spectrum of public education, its curriculum content, and the outcomes for Texas students and the State. We need to support them strongly and make sure they get into office this cycle, not more buffoons and wing nuts. Then, we need to do it again in 2012 for the entire SBOE, if there still is one, and its members are elected (we can always hope).

  16. I had a flat tire a few weeks ago. I was pretty sure it was just bad luck—a random nail in the road that I ran over. But now I realize that I can blame it on Eshto, or even Dan Savage, and boy does that make me feel better. God put that nail there to send me a message about gay people. Makes perfect sense. My wife’s favorite coffee mug broke in the dishwasher this morning. That one’s probably Harvey Fierstein’s fault. I have to admit, though, that it’s sort of hard to figure out which misfortune means what, since God doesn’t actually leave a note or whisper in my ear. I mean, if I got out of the shower and there was writing in the steam on the mirror (for instance, “Blame the recent flooding on Ellen Degeneres”) then things would be easier to interpret. Please, God, be more clear on this issue, okay?

  17. “Oh Lord, please make my socially conservative opponents ridiculous.”

    Answered, in spades.


    The Dutch prime minister Friday denounced as “irresponsible” a claim by a retired U.S. general that gay Dutch soldiers were partly to blame for allowing Europe’s worst massacre since World War II.

    Dutch officials, from the Cabinet to the military, were outraged by retired Gen. John Sheehan’s remarks at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

    Sheehan claimed that Dutch military leaders had called the presence of gay soldiers in the army “part of the problem” that allowed Serb forces to overrun the Srebrenica enclave in Bosnia in July 1995 and kill some 8,000 Muslim men.

    Dutch troops were serving in the undermanned U.N. peacekeeping force in Srebrenica when they were overrun by heavily armed Serb forces, who went on to turn the surrounding countryside into killing fields littered with mass graves.

    Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called Sheehan’s comments irresponsible and said at his weekly news conference that “these remarks should never have been made.”

    “Toward Dutch troops — homosexual or heterosexual — it is way off the mark to talk like that about people and the work they do under very difficult circumstances,” he said.

    Sheehan, a former NATO commander who retired from the military 1997, was speaking in opposition to a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military.

    Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop called Sheehan’s claim “damaging” and not worthy of a soldier. “I don’t want to waste any more words on it,” he said.

    Gen. Henk van den Breemen, Dutch chief of staff at the time of the Srebrenica genocide, called Sheehan’s comments “total nonsense” and denied ever having suggested gays in the army might have played a role in the Srebrenica massacre.

    The Netherlands has a long history of accepting homosexuality, and gays have long been welcome in the country’s armed forces — which also allow labor unions.

    The leader of one such union, Jan Kleian, was incensed by Sheehan’s comments.

    “The man is crazy,” he told Dutch radio. “It sounds hard, but I can’t put it any other way.”

    My comment: The Srebrenica massacre has been thoroughly studied, and no evidence has ever been found that homosexuals in the army was a factor. Gen. Sheehan’s remarks were outrageous and unbecoming of a military man. And very impolitic of him to say against one of our Allies.

  19. It would seem that much of this nonsense in Texas could be averted if the textbook publishing firms simply said and with one voice “We re not going to print the #### you want. It clearly has no basis in reality. You need to get your heads from out your a$$e$. Now #### off.”

    And then print books the REST of the nation can use and let Texas schools print whatever the hell they want so that they can raise an entire generation of George Bush, Jrs.

  20. That “largest homosexual organization in the country” phrase was in Randy Rives’ campaign literature for the Position 15 SBOE campaign. I wonder where he got it…….

  21. Poor Ben, I’m really sorry God doesn’t talk to you, leaving you to try guess the meaning of these really cryptic signs, like nails in your tires. But, I have a suggestion that may help. Watch Peter O’Toole in “Ruling Class”. His character has the solution. When asked by the shrink how he knew he was Jesus, he responded “Because when I’m praying, I find that I’m talking to myself”. You can be as clear with yourself about sexual preferences when you’re talking to yourself as you want, and that will solve all the confusion your suffering from, all the ambiguity about your preferences and punishment. Yeah, what the hell, blame it all on Ellen, since you probably watched her TV show. Did you examine the nail closely, to see if it had three sixes on it, or even “Ellen”. That’s why you’re being made to suffer, for this abomination, this unnatural act/shoe on God’s TV. So, talk to yourself on it.

  22. DRB, I can’t tell if you didn’t realize I was being sarcastic, or if you’re being sarcastic and I’m missing it. Either way, I like that Peter O’Toole line. So, uh, thanks.

  23. Have we all gone “sarcasm blind”? Dealing with SBOE has burned out all my sarcasm receptors.

  24. I gotta agree with Ben in this instance, ’cause it’s hard to tell what the hell the Baron is talking about.

  25. Ben,that was pure wit what baron said.I wouldn’t call it sarcasm as that implies malice to me.I love the “is there a 666 on the nail?” perfect, and an enjoyable comment. BTW,I grew up in Alaska and they didn’t try to pass me that stupid religious education crap even there.

    Believe what you will,but there is no God

  26. The next thing the SBOE will be excising from history texts will be the pre-WWII history of Germany, because it’s all too eerily familiar.

  27. cabra,

    My confusion came from wondering if DRB thought my post was sincere, which it wasn’t. I was being silly. DRB was too, apparently. I’m a nonbeliever, too.

  28. Re: Ben @ March 18, 5:15 P.M.

    It is time for all of us folks who want some common sense and historical accuracy to start calling out Republicans (and Democrats for that matter), who keep wanting to politicize history. I’m sick and tired of all this Founding Father nonsense, and the “I chopped down the cherry tree, I cannot tell a lie” silliness.

    There have been great Americans from all walks of life in the past 2-3 hundred years of this nation. Not just the people who wrote the Constitution. Let’s get real people. The MSM seems to enjoy their radio & TV status ( and ratings, whatever that means) by constantly undermining the true accounts of American history. I don’t want the next generation to grow up thinking that Jesus was born in Texas, or Utah. Or that everything was peachy in 1861. Or that everyone (women, people of color, most immigrants, and the American Indian) always had the vote.

    Despite the ignorance of so many, we’ve actually been able to move forward as a nation. And, despite the legislative controls of a few well positioned financial bigots, and their faithful “sheep”, most Americans have steadily crawled out of their caves of fear and paranoia. And here in the 21st century, the only way to get through to the “flat earthers”, and all those that remain entrenched in their fundamentalist beliefs, is to keep holding their eyes open.