Thursday, October 15, 2009
As should the following fact - the letter is not the first time King kept repeating the charges against Jennings even after they were debunked:
CNN published a report from Brewster, the student in the center of the controversy on October 2. It during that time in which Brewster debunked the accusations against Jennings.
On October 6 , King claimed that Jennings "overlooked the seuxal abuse of a child."
Now the explanation given by King's office when confronted with this distortion in his letter was poor:
Contacted for comment, King’s spokesman, Matt Lahr, replied: “Jennings, as he writes in his book, thought the boy was 15 and chose not to speak with law authorities. And as a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse.”
But Greg Sargent from Plum Line says the following:
It’s true that Jennings himself — again, wrongly — initially said the kid was 15. But the letter also states as outright fact that this was “child abuse” and the “sexual abuse of a child.” King’s office knows this is false, and yet is repeating it, anyway.
I'm with Sargent here. It doesn't matter what Jennings said. No sex was had. No crime was committed.
That should be the end of the story.
Reasonable people will say so. However, when some people are looking to reach an insidious goal, they tend to jettison truth like its cargo on a sinking ship.
We all know why King wants Jennings gone:
“The totality of [GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings’] life has been the promotion of homosexuality, and much of it within education.”
It all comes down to that, doesn't it? Lgbts have heard the mantra more times than we can count - the ridiculous lie that us taking advantage of our God-given right to not be disrespected is somehow an inconvenience to others. We are unfairly "promoting homosexuality."
It's a silly code phrase masking homophobia and assumptions of superiority.
But if lgbts are so bad, if lgbts are so evil, then why are King and company - these so-called moral people - the ones who are lying with the eagerness of a glutton at a feat?
Editor's note - Facts about two more signers of King's letter:
Virginia Foxx - who claimed that Matthew Shepard was not murdered because of his lgbt orientation, despite evidence to the contrary.
Louis Gohmert - who claimed that adding sexual orientation to hate crimes protection would lead to Nazism, legalization of necrophilia, pedophilia, and bestiality.
House Reps have a problem with gay appointees but not with anti-gay hate groups
Ever since Jennings was appointed as the Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, conservatives (especially the religious right) have waged a war of lies and innuendo in an attempt to get him fired.
The following is the latest attempt via Rep. Steve King:
King, 52 House Republicans Call on Obama to Fire Kevin Jennings
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) and 52 other House Republicans today sent a letter to the White House calling on President Barack Obama to fire "safe schools" czar Kevin Jennings. King, the first member of Congress to ask for the dismissal of Jennings, initially called for President Obama to fire Jennings on October 5.
"Support is growing in Congress and across America for President Obama to fire Kevin Jennings and replace him with someone possessing the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in a presidential administration," King said. "Despite serving as the ‘safe schools' czar, Jennings has no experience keeping students safe or keeping our schools drug free. Jennings is committed to the ‘safety' of only a narrow portion of American students, while expressing disdain for religion and traditional values. President Obama should fire Kevin Jennings immediately."
Text of the letter follows:
October 15, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We respectfully request that you remove Kevin Jennings, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, from your Administration. It is clear that Mr. Jennings lacks the appropriate qualifications and ethical standards to serve in this capacity.
As the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Mr. Jennings has played an integral role in promoting homosexuality and pushing a pro-homosexual agenda in America's schools-an agenda that runs counter to the values that many parents desire to instill in their children. As evidence of this, Mr. Jennings wrote the foreword for a book titled Queering Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling. Throughout his career, Mr. Jennings has made it his mission to establish special protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students to the exclusion of all other students. The totality of Mr. Jennings' career has been to advocate for public affirmation of homosexuality. There is more to safe and drug free schools than can be accomplished from the narrow view of Mr. Jennings who has, for more than 20 years, almost exclusively focused on promoting the homosexual agenda.
Equally troubling is Mr. Jennings' self-described history of ignoring the sexual abuse of a child. In his book, One Teacher in Ten, Mr. Jennings recounts a 15-year old student confiding in him that he had a sexual relationship with a much older man. Mr. Jennings' only response was to ask if the underage boy used a condom. As a mandatory reporter, Mr. Jennings was required by law to report child abuse, including sex crimes. Mr. Jennings cannot serve as the "safe schools" czar when his record demonstrates a willingness to overlook the sexual abuse of a child.
As the "safe schools" czar, Mr. Jennings is also charged with ensuring our schools and students are drug free. It is clear that Mr. Jennings is unfit to serve in this capacity, as well. His own history of unrepentant drug and alcohol abuse indicates that he is of the opinion that getting drunk and high as a young person is acceptable. In his memoir, Mama's Boy, Preacher's Son, Mr. Jennings describes his use of illegal drugs, without expressing regret or acknowledging the devastating effects illegal drug use can have on a person's life.
Everyone that deals with the education of the most vulnerable must be a positive role model. Our children are not blessed with the wisdom to discern and reject. Children presume the adults who educate them are approved by the larger society and their parents. Kevin Jennings cannot gain the approval of parents who want their children safe and their schools drug free. You should replace him with someone who has a record of educating children in a safe and moral environment.
Given these very serious issues with Mr. Jennings' record, we urge you to remove him immediately.
Fifty three House Republicans signed this letter of lies:
King; Alexander; Aderholt; Akin; Austria; Bachmann; Bachus; Bartlett; Barton; Boozman; Broun; Brown, H.; Carter; Chaffetz; Coffman; Cole; Conaway; Davis, Geoff; Fallin; Fleming; Foxx; Franks; Garret; Gingrey; Gohmert; Hunter; Issa; Jordan; Lamborn; Latta; Luetkemeyer; Marchant; McClintock; McHenry; McKeon; McMorris; Mica; Miller, J.; Myrick; Neugebauer; Olson, P.; Pence; Pitts; Posey; Rogers; Rooney; Ryan, Paul; Shuster; Smith, C.; Smith, L.; Wamp; Westmoreland; and Jones, Walter.
Do these folks read anything other than religious right propaganda?
It has already been established that the young man in the center of the controversy was of legal age at the time. And also, the young man has gone record saying that he did not have sex. But they are still trying to make that negative charge stick.
And it's not as if they aren't aware that the charge is false.
According to Greg Sargent of Plum Line, Rep. King's office was informed that the charge against Jennings involving the young man was false BEFORE his office sent the letter out.
As for the other claims, I chalk them up as extreme homophobic balderdash by folks too self-righteous and scared to admit that the only reason they oppose Jennings is because of his sexual orientation.
But when I read who is involved, I am not shocked. As stated before, the letter was the work of Representative Steve King, seen in the picture below with another signer of the letter, Michele Bachmann. This picture was taken at the recent rightwing How to Take Back America conference:
There was a session at this conference regarding about the supposed "gay agenda," in which attendees were encouraged to focus on the “ick” factor around gay sex and on claims that homosexuality is a health threat. . .
One of the persons who led this session was Brian Camenker. Camenker runs the Massachusetts anti-gay group, Mass Resistance.
Mass Resistance has been designated as an official hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Camenker is also the person featured in the picture with King and Bachmann.
Other representatives who signed the letter, Tom McClintock and Todd Akin, not only also attended the conference but also appeared in pictures with Camenker:
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, anti-gay hate groups:
are organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification.
In the case of Camenker and Mass Resistance, that includes:
Manufacturing a phony panic about "schools teaching children about homosexuality,"
Claiming in 2005 on Comedy Central's Daily Show that if given time, he would be able to connect gay marriage in Massachusetts to the "reduction" of the quality of life in the state, a spike in homelessness rates, or and a lowering the quality of the air in the state, or
Making a claim in 2006 that "gays were trying to get legislation passed to allow sex with animals" in Massachusetts.
So in the eyes of King, Bachmann, Akin, and McClintock, an lgbt Presidential appointee is a huge problem, but cozying up to an anti-gay hate group is nothing to be ashamed of.
And then there is another thing that bothers me about this situation.
It saddens me when I read about incidents where honor students are getting beaten to death, where gangs of students are setting their peers on fire.
Where is the letter from King and company demanding action on these incidents?
Doesn't the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools address situations like these?
Can it be that these legislators are so obsessed, so consumed with eliminating Jennings that they are willing to distract from solving the real problem of school violence?
Just where are their priorities?
Go here to support Kevin Jennings.
Gays in Uganda can teach teabaggers the meaning of 'persecution' and other Thursday midday news briefs
Uganda Parliament Takes Up Anti-Gay Bill Adding Death Sentence and Bans on Free Speech - Hey teabaggers! THIS is being persecuted!
Glenn Beck makes Keith's 'worst person in the world' - An honor that is well-deserved.
John Boehner’s Immutable Characteristic - All together now . . . this is so stupid. Is the opposition to ENDA even trying anymore?
Muslims footballers kicked out of French league - Bye bye! I respect your religious beliefs but they shouldn't give you carte blanche to decide which team you get to play.
If Rush Limbaugh Is a Racist, Why Does He Let Walter Williams Substitute for Him on His Show? - I rarely would ever, EVER spotlight a post from Peter LaBarbera on my news briefs, but this is so damned stupid that attention must be paid attention to it. Saying that "Rush Limbaugh is not a racist because he lets Walter Williams substitute for him on his show" is like saying "The Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan isn't a racist because he allows a black man to kiss his feet."
Is it just me or does Peter LaBarbera take the word "clueless" to another level?
Geneva School Board members voted Tuesday night to issue a warning against a Geneva High School teacher, who a student claimed made a homosexual slur in his classroom last week.
The notice against teacher David Burk states that any further improprieties could result in dismissal.
Geneva High School senior Jordan Hunter, who is gay and said he was personally offended by the remark, did not think the board's action went far enough. He believed Burk should have been fired.
"I'm just disappointed," Hunter said. "I'm shocked, really. This is not an acceptable end result."
According to Hunter, Burk said during a classroom lecture on Oct. 5, "How do you feel about your tax dollars being spent to fund black [homosexual slur] taking pictures of other black [homosexual slur] in New York?"
To the folks at Free Republic, the teacher is the real victim here.
Yeah, I know it's Free Republic and I know their history of being ugly (i.e. the meanspirited comments about President Obama's daughter, Malia), but still some things need to be put out there as a reminder of just how rude some folks are.
The site even posted a picture of the student so that the post respondees can make fun of him.
And they do unload on him:
Can’t say black anything nowadays. Proof they want thought police and speech police ONLY if it is against the right. Let me guess...he said FAG...oh the horror. Its better than the vulgarity spewed out by “fags” in churches in California. The homosexual worshiping left wanst “Fag” on par with the N word and the F word and more...they know its power.
How dare he offend the left’s great “Rectal god”!
Well. At least he looks the part. (Editor's note - yes the comment is talking about the student)
Not his mom, the mom of a “friend.” Poor little nerd, he is always going to be unhappy and be blaming it on the people who “hate gays.”
Conspicuously absent are Jordan’s parents!! Jordan needs to develop a thicker skin. He’s in for a rude awakening in the real world.
To me, in the photo provided, Jordan Hunter looks uncomfortable with himself. It is as if he knows that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity, and are contrary to natural law. He knows that under no circumstances can they be approved. We do not know whether he chose his homosexual condition; because for most it is a trial. Unjust discrimination must be avoided. Jordan, and others in his condition, are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter. Basically they are called to chastity. No sane person can be comfortable with people that statistically carry high risks of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, AIDS, depraved and unnatural acts, and, as a group, a statistically significant shorter lifespan. How can anyone with common sense pretend that this is normal and acceptable? The teacher has already experienced more than enough punishment, IMO.
Poofer gets the vapors... tears @ 11.
Geneva High School senior Jordan Hunter, who is gay and said he was personally offended by the remark. Too bad. You made a choice that is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. Better get used to being offended and worse.. Once you decide to live a lifestyle of perversion and disease you have to accept the consequences that go along with that.
Oh and by the way. NO ONE has any rights never to be offended. Can’t find that clause in the Constituion anywhere........
These words were inappropriate, and I am truly sorry for my actions,” the apology stated. “The message I conveyed was insensitive and hurtful. That is not what I had intended." Grow a spine Mr Burk You made the comment and frankly there was nothing wrong with it. Tired of everyone being offended by everything. What a bunch of sheep...
Musn’t offend the Fudgepackers. Especially not the Black fudgepackers.
Talk about someone in serious need of a butt kicking. I’m sure that Jordan’s Rest Stop Bathroom Buddies will take care of that.
You gotta love those "defenders of American values" who feel compelled to verbally attack a high school student for daring to defend himself.
So I guess the Freepers think that Hunter (and by extension, all of us lgbts) should be like that self-hating gay character in the play Boys in the Band - the one who after collapsing in the arms of his lover/friend says "If only we could learn to hate ourselves a little bit less"
Someone should tell these folks that the gay of the self-hating lgbt is headed for a slow, but well-deserved and painful death.
What Hunter did was correct and it signals something that I rather like.
Lgbt children should not be subjected to this sort of nonsense. Many of us who are adults (that means intellectual-wise as well as age-wise) know this.
The trick is making sure that lgbt children are also aware of this and making sure that they stand up for themselves when situations like this occur.
So continue to stand up for yourself, Hunter. And don't let the outcome bother you. When you stood up for yourself, you also stood up for millions of lgbt children.
You have more people on your side than against you.
Also, I would be remiss not to mention this incident more than validates the work done by people like Kevin Jennings.