The organization People for the American Way (PFAW) has a new report out on how religious groups are working to end tolerance and anti-bullying education in schools because they believe it normalizes non-traditional gender and sexual behavior.  The arguments to end such education, as summarized by PFAW, are that 1) anti-bullying training indoctrinates children into non-normative behavior that is harmful, 2) it gives LGBT students special rights, 3) it discriminates against those who oppose LGBT rights, and 4) it removes shame from LGBT students.

The report cites a large number of organizations which have targeted anti-bullying legislation and education programs, including:  Focus on the Family (True Tolerance Campaign); Family Research Council; Exodus International, an ex-gay ministry; Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal organization; Minnesota Family Council; Mission America; Illinois Family Institute; MassResistance; American Family Association; Liberty Council (Liberty University); Texas Eagle Forum (an affiliate of Phyllis Schlafey’s national Eagle Forum); Americans for Truth about Homosexuality; Concerned Women for American; The Protect Kids Foundation; and on and on.

The sheer number of these organizations, their level of organization, funding, media sophistication, public exposure and coordination are astounding to those who support rights for the LGBT community.  But suppressing LGBT rights isn’t, for most of these non-profit organizations and their umbrella institutions, the sole item on their agenda.  LGBT rights are seen as one front in a larger battle for the legislative governance of the U.S.; others include abortion, women’s health and rights, abortion and adoption, tax policy, education, social services, and separation of church and state.  In short, an entire world view that is based on a limited interpretation of religious law.  While acceptance of LGBT rights in the U.S. may be rising, particularly in urban areas, those who stand against such rights also contribute to other areas of individual and societal suppression.

The objective of most of these organizations isn’t to just influence hearts and minds to follow their idea of moral living but to do so via legal and legislative means, using existing local and national networks for fundraising, media reach, and legislative influence. And so, attempts to teach kids that heckling their neighbors for being different has rhetorically become an attack on tolerance.