A teacher’s resource book has been removed from staff rooms in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board after an anti-gay group, Defend Traditional Marriage and Family, lobbied to have it pulled.
The book, entitled Open Minds to Equality, advises on how to deal with ageism, sexism, and homophobia in schools. While the resource was available for teachers to consult, it was not required reading, nor accessible by students directly.
Jack Fonseca, a spokesperson for Defend Traditional Marriage and Family, was thrilled by his lobbying victory:
[The removal] will make it more difficult for the book to get into the hands of teachers who might’ve been misled by the flawed lessons within.
So, what “flawed lessions” might these be?
Prior to the censorship decision, Fonseca was unable to present anything demonstrative of his rhetoric, only saying that the book “could have the effect of encouraging students and teachers to view the gay lifestyle as being morally neutral,” and adding “they will have been led to reject Jesus.” In an open letter, however, the group said that “the effect of this book is to indoctrinate teachers and children to accept and celebrate homosexuality under the guise of ‘diversity’ and ‘equality.’”
It’s clear from the language used by Defend Traditional Marriage and Family that they are incapable of distinguishing a “morally neutral” presentation of homosexuality from one that “indoctrinates” and “celebrates” the “rejection of Jesus.” When convinced, however, that there is no such thing as gay people—only straight people who are sinning—that’s enough for them to expend great effort ensuring teachers do not even have the option of consulting resources to help them deal with issues that gay students face.
What a sad state of affairs. It’s no wonder Catholic teachers feel they must hide their student compassion from these groups.
Incidentally, of the lobby group’s executive members, only 6 indicated that they support the Catholic School Board on the voter list, and none of the 11 members have their children enrolled in the system. Could all this hoopla over a rarely-consulted resource book be ostensible rhetoric for a larger anti-gay agenda? I think I’ll let Catholic board spokesperson John Shewchuk’s jugement stand on this one: “It seems fairly obvious this group isn’t as concerned about Catholic schools and Catholic education as they would have local Catholics believe.”
The board has kept the book available in a central teacher’s resource library.