Don’t Say Gay, The 1619 Project, and Ron DeSantis
GAYoda: Today’s global magazine for gay Christians
So, where do you stand on parents’ rights to guard their minors’ exposure to certain teaching?
Two initiatives in Florida have attempted to educate minors on sexual orientation plus the history of Black Americans. The governor has sided with parents’ rights — and restricted certain kinds of education.
Buckle up because this is a sneak preview of the “battle royale” in the 2024 national elections!
Don’t Say Gay
In 2022, the “Parental Rights in Education” bill was passed in Florida. Opponents of this bill have referred to it as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This bill, in part, reads,
“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3.”
The bill’s promoters say that school personnel or third parties have no right to teach such a sensitive topic as a sexual orientation to those in Third Grade or younger. The promoters believe that such teaching may take on the form of indoctrination rather than pure information. Plus, they think that such youth (typically age eight or younger) have not developed their sexuality, let alone their sexual identity.
Interestingly, promoters of the bill implicitly agree that such teaching would be appropriate during puberty (i.e., approximately age 11, but potentially as early as age 8 for girls and 10 for boys).
LGBTQ supporters are enraged by this bill. For example, “The Trevor Project” is an annual national survey on the mental health of LGBTQ youth (younger than age 18). The most recent survey results show that:
· 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
· 21% of Black LGBTQ youth — and 12% of White LGBTQ youth — actually attempted suicide.
Furthermore, LGBTQ supporters point out that it is somewhat common for boys to realize their gay sexual identity at age 8. LGBTQ supporters say such youth should be informed about sexual orientation rather than consider suicide.
The 1619 Project
This endeavor was largely written by Nikole Hannah-Jones and endorsed by the New York Times and the Pulitzer Center. Most recently, the project became a television event. The project,
“Aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the United States’ national narrative.”
The 1619 Project is aligned in ways with Black Lives Matter, Woke, and Critical Race Theory.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement that seeks to highlight racism, discrimination, and racial inequality experienced by black people.
“Woke” basically alerts people of racial prejudice and discrimination. It also promotes egalitarian changes in the economic, political, and cultural institutions of the United States.
“Critical Race Theory” (CRT) is an examination by civil-rights scholars and activists of how laws, political movements, and media shape one’s concept of race and ethnicity.
The 1619 Project recently received backlash from conservatives for its accuracy, political agenda, and exposure. For example, some officials balk at providing this project to high school students. They believe that such principles of Woke and CRT are perfectly suited for college volitional courses rather than mandatory high school education.
Ron DeSantis is the current Republican governor of Florida.
Governor DeSantis signed into law the “Parental Rights in Education” bill (described above). Furthermore, the governor is an avid opponent of The 1619 Project, Woke, and Critical Race Theory.
His primary goal, as self-stated, is to restore and secure the rights of the parents in shaping the well-being of their youth. “Our goal,” Governor DeSantis says, “is to educate kids, not to indoctrinate.” Furthermore, he believes that The 1619 Project “distorts American history.”
Ron DeSantis is also currently believed by many to be the primary contender against former President Trump for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Are we curious and courageous enough to hear information that is outside our current box? Can we hold one idea in our left upright palm — while simultaneously holding a contrarian idea in our right? Can we treat an adversary with complete dignity?
As for me, the answer is yes.
I am a gay Christian, married to a black man. We share a common faith and values. I want to learn more about what it is like to be Black in America. Thus, I have purchased and am reading the book “The 1619 Project” (plus watching the television series). I have also enrolled in the “Be the Bridge” Facebook group, where I will read more content to gain perspective from a wide array of people of color. I want to grow in this area.
I believe Black lives matter. Social justice is one of my highest values. Reconciliation is necessary for both Blacks and LGBTQ. I have devoted much of my life to helping LGBTQ individuals. I hope to do the same with Black Americans.
And I also am keenly aware that there is much about racial reconciliation that I am utterly ignorant. I also appreciate that, as a white person, I am prone to being complicity guilty of racism. But I am passionately interested in helping and growing.
Relatedly, I was a Republican all of my life — that is, until I became disgusted by former President Trump’s actions as an individual. As a consequence, I am now registered as a voting Independent. I take my responsibility as an Independent seriously. I want to hear all perspectives and then vote for the person I believe is the best leader of America (based on my values).
As such, I am open to what Governor Ron DeSantis has to say. I disagree with his “Just Say No” bill. I believe elementary-age students should know that being gay is not the same as being disordered. That said, I will be listening and seeking to understand what Ron DeSantis believes. Governor DeSantis deserves dignity, as does every human life.
I want to have a humble “listen first” posture — regardless of who is speaking.
Finally, there are so very many people groups that deserve dignity and reconciliation. Just a few examples include Native Americans, Jews, the handicapped, women, and more. My primary energies go toward LGBTQ and Black individuals. Thus, one cannot invest in the reconciliation of every people group. But one can treat every engaged individual with dignity, an ear to listen first, a heart of compassion, and necessary mercy where possible.
The Love Cure
As a macro stereotype, it is clear that many Black Americans support The 1619 Project, Woke, Critical Race Theory, and Black Lives Matter. It is equally clear that many Republicans oppose all of those initiatives.
I am struck by how Jesus would handle the issues we face.
Indeed, Jesus faced political “party differences” in his country. He also encountered many marginalized people. Here is how Jesus handled similar circumstances.
Jesus felt compassion for all of the hurting people whom He encountered. Moved with compassion, Jesus served up merciful kindness. It took great courage and resolve for Jesus to consistently take that posture. In fact, it cost Him His life.
Despite Jesus’ unending love for individuals, He also said, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and paid the national taxes. Furthermore, when tortured for His actions by the political leaders, Jesus forgave His opponents.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to do what He did. In fact, I would be a hypocrite if I did not.
Therefore, as for me, I am guided by the following life ethos:
I will feel compassion for those hurting and give them merciful kindness. I will also show dignity toward my leaders, even when I oppose their directives.
In the end, love wins.
Dr. Mike Rosebush (he, him, his; Ph.D., Counseling Psychology) is the founder/writer for GAYoda: Today’s global magazine for gay Christians. Contact Dr. Rosebush at email@example.com.