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Mission America and Linda Harvey's Shameful Message

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Message Cody Lyon

    Barring a mission from the Lord himself, there is probably no way to alter the thinking of those who subscribe to the philosophy of fringe right wing groups like the Columbus Ohio based Mission America and its leader Linda Harvey.  

    And, if it weren't for the particularly nasty tone or incessantly misleading words contained in an October 20, opined by Linda Harvey in the conservative "World Net Daily", any response to Mission America's typically insecure, filth-laced and fright-filled hyperbole wouldn't be worthy of time or effort.   

    But, in this case, a word or two, perhaps even a counter attack are warranted because, in her latest poisonous diatribe, Harvey not only spews lies about one of the LGBT community's most respected organizations, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, but also attempts to link her lies to the candidacy of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama.  

    Understanding just how fringe Mission America is easy.  This is a group that beckons visitors to its web page by advertising "learn the truth about homosexuality, witchcraft, changing Christian Church, Radical Feminism and the Youth Culture."  Even more "mainstream" right wing groups may find this a bit outrageous.

    Mission America calls itself a public policy analysis foundation.  According to its 2007 tax returns,  the 'private non operating foundation' Mission America took in a meager $12,000 in contributions and donations.  On its IRS Form 990 PF on question where it asks "did the foundation attempt to influence any national, state or local legislation or participate in any political campaigns," Harvey--or whoever filled out the returns--checked NO.   

    That said, there's no doubt Harvey and her writing is indeed attempting to influence this year's campaign.  She's using a tired tactic, one long used by those on the far right that attempts to plant  seeds of fear, be they racial, spook tactics on national security or in this case,  that always-reliable hot button topic, the homosexual agenda.    

    Currently featured in a prominent spot on the group's web page is a link to the article  "Advocate of homosexual corruption of kids is leader in Obama's campaign."

    That link then takes visitors to 'Gay pedophilia and Obama', the "World Net Daily" piece where Linda Harvey asks if Obama agrees with his GLBT supporters.

    Harvey's article charges that the LGBT organization GLSEN's mission "has been to plant 'gay' clubs and training programs in as many schools as possible," calling those groups a Trojan Horse into America's school children's minds.

    She says that the "more closely one reads the GLSEN material, the worse it gets," implying that all manner of sexually suggestive material and pedophilia are acceptable behaviors.  She says "just about every sexual practice imaginable is apparently acceptable and even worthy of celebration by any age student or teacher as far as GLSEN is concerned."  

    Then she asks "is this the kind of 'school reform' Obama has in mind?"
    Harvey makes these charges because GLSEN's founder, Kevin Jennings, happens to be a prominent fundraiser in the LGBT community for the Obama campaign.

    In the article, she says that Obama should remove Jennings from his 'position' and that voters need answers to a series of questions from Obama regarding his stance or beliefs about the origins, practice and acceptance of homosexuality especially when it comes to school-aged children.

    She then kicks her piece with "if we want a totalitarian, pansexual society, with its accompanying disease, dysfunction and abuse, and no room for nobility, goodness and tradition, then we need to make sure we vote for Obama with all his various revolutionary hangers-on, including Jennings." If, on the other hand, we envision another America, it's time to speak up now."

    Well, Ms Harvey is correct, we do need to speak up.

    It's nothing short of pathetic that Mission America would resort to such disgusting misleading smears that use vulnerable children in a Presidential campaign.  

    Perhaps her desperation arose out of the clear indication that if the "another America"  Harvey envisions resembles the noble, good society where the 'tradition' of the past eight years are celebrated, according to a number of polls, most Americans plan to pass this go around.  

    Clearly, most voters are choosing to look beyond the political smokescreen of far right groups like Harvey's Mission America, groups on the edge that have long sought to steer voters from the true issues affecting their lives, and their children's futures by raising false charges about candidates like Harvey does in her Obama/GLSEN piece.  There are greater concerns occupying the minds of voters than an LGBT fundraiser at the Obama campaign.  

    But, besides that, if Americans look at the fine work of all the LGBT organizations in America, GLSEN has the distinction of perhaps being one of the more politically benign.  It's mission is clear and it actually speaks to a fundament of who we are as a nation, the opportunity for all Americans to receive a quality education in a safe learning environment.  
   The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network narrows its mission 'to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.'

    Exactly how does that mission mission cross over into pedophilia?

    GLSEN's battles have been defined by its own research.

    According to a recent GLSEN survey of almost seven thousand school children across the nation, 86.2% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 44.1% reported being physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation.  Around 74 percent heard derogatory remarks like "f*ggot" or "dyke" used often at school.  According to the survey, more than 60 percent of students felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation.  

    Linda Harvey and her friends at Mission America must not remember what goes on in the hallways or schoolyards of America's schools.  The truth is, kids can be extremely cruel, often resorting to name calling and bullying, unfortunate behaviors usually directed at the most vulnerable, those perceived as different or weak, maybe the less than masculine male, or the masculine-appearing female.  Harvey fails to understand that those taunts, those abuses, that even the victims themselves are often ashamed of, have the ability to leave a child feeling isolated, alone and damaged.  Those insults backed up by much of society's deep prejudices have the ability to cripple the self esteem and psychological health of children for years, if not lifetimes.

    And, what good does it do the child issuing those taunts, or more importantly, the child on the receiving end of those taunts, when his or her parent, has read a piece like Linda Harvey's or any of the other vicious material on her website, where she has equated the mission of GLSEN and the candidacy of Barack Obama to pedophila or the "homosexual agenda?"

    While GLSEN does indeed help in the establishment of what are called Gay Straight Alliances in schools across the nation, the fact is, they are more prominent in places that tend to be more tolerant, places with more socially open school districts, and rarely in the rural hamlets of Mississippi or Alabama, places where if a child who happens to be different, perhaps gay or lesbian, life can be hellish, perhaps destructive and very lonely.  

    If parents in those more conservative areas are subscribing to the hate filled vitriol of Linda Harvey and her crowd, a child may feel he or she has no place to turn.

    Back in 1989,  the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its "Report on the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide," which found that "a majority of suicide attempts by homosexuals occur during their youth, and gay youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.

    In 2001, the American Psychological Association said that suicide is the number one cause of death for gay teens.

      Calling someone heterosexual or straight is not a common insult or perceived as hurtful.  In most school yards, shopping malls, social functions or other gathering places the straight jock or pretty cheerleader has less to worry about when it comes to the prejudices facing them. But the prejudices, even disregard for humanity that gets reinforced by the rhetoric of ghoulish figures like Linda Harvey, individuals who spew poisonous rhetoric, reinforcing hate for political gain into the minds of concerned parents and voters is nothing short of  shameful.
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Cody Lyon is an Alabama native who is a freelance writer in New York City.
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