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01/18/2008

I have a dream...that this is just a bad dream

by Jeremy Hooper

So who did Snoqualmie, Washington's Mount Si High invite to speak at a Thursday assembly honoring Dr. King? Well, check out this email:

Today my daughter came home outraged that Ken Hutcherson was the guest speaker at an assembly regarding Civil Rights (and Martin Luther King Day). While Mr Hutcherson said nothing about his anti gay beliefs he is such a public figure and so outspoken in the media about his beliefs that having him in a school that’s motto is No Place for Hate seemed wrong. This is the 2nd time he has spoken at Mt Si. After his first visit several teachers expressed their concern about having him speak in the school and asked that he never be asked to return. At the conclusion of his speech today a teacher stood up and demanded to know why such a hate filled and anti gay public figure would be allowed to speak in their school. She also demanded that Mr. Hutcherson return to the podium and answer her questions on where he stood regarding gay rights. Mr Hutcherson refused to do so and finally the Principal asked the student facilitator to shut the teacher down.
I am bringing this to your attention as upon searching the Net for more information on this man your site came up. Watch Mt Si and the Snoqualmie Valley for more news about this. There was quite a stir at the school and several teachers and students are very upset.
Sincerely,
[Name redacted]

Picture 8-72Yes, that's right -- the notoriously anti-gay Rev. Ken Hutcherson was invited to speak on civil rights. The same Ken Hutcherson who is so against gay rights that he is actually encouraging people to buy stock in a major American corporation so that he and his friends can turn the company against gay rights. The same Ken Hutcherson who has been involved with the frighteningly extreme anti-gay group, Watchmen on the Walls. This is one of the men that this public high school chose to recruit to speak about this nation's most beloved bastion of equality and freedom. In terms of poor choices, this one was completely bankrupt!

Regardless of the fact that he didn't address his anti-gay endeavors, his queer-antipathetic work is the only reason why this man is even in the public eye these days. He has chosen to enter into the so-called "culture war" as a voice of the anti-gay far-right, and as such, he has indelibly connected himself with those beliefs. And those beliefs are hostile towards the non-discriminatory outlooks that our nation's church-separate public schools should rabidly embrace. Whether the school is unaware of the full extent of Mr. Hutcherson's civil rights antipathy or simply chose to overlook it is unclear at this point. Regardless of the impetus for this boneheaded booking, they owe an apology to all of the students, teachers, parents, and community members who trust them to decrease hostility and better civil freedoms, not foster regressive bias.

For more, see both the Seattle Post Intelligencer's blog and Slog:
Hutcherson's school assembly invite causes new controversy [Seattle PI]
The View From Mt. Si [Slog]

**UPDATE, 1/21: The principal, Randy Taylor, has reportedly offered a somewhat meek, point-missing apology for the controversy: Principal's letter apologizes for Hutcherson event [Seattle PI blog]

**UPDATE, 1/29: Check out the knowingly disingenuous way that Focus on the Family's Stuart Shepard has addressed this situation.

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Your thoughts

If you're interested. The King5 news has video from that evening.

http://www.king5.com/education/stories/NW_011708WAB_mount_si_speech_KC.32738465.html

Posted by: Daimeon | Jan 18, 2008 10:12:13 AM

I can't agree with you more. How wonderful is that teacher who had enough courage to stand up and call foul. Truly impressive. Now that's a lesson for those kids in fighting bigotry.

Posted by: Shane | Jan 18, 2008 2:10:56 PM

I'm a student at Mount Si.
I was sitting there in the assembly, I listened to the speech, and I heard and saw that teacher get up and interrogate our gust.
Rev. Hutcherson was asked to speak because it was an open counil organizing the meeting. And you know what? His peach was amazing. It gave so much hope to the "colored" people of our school, and made them so proud (I have a friend who is Phillipino and was very deeply moved).
He may be an "anti-gay-rights" activist, but he never said a word about it, and his speech was not even meant to address ANY sort of issue of the sort.
Rev. Hutcherson said that he became a Christian because Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian. Martin Luther King was not gay. In fact, he was a leader of a church, and he was in favor of what the bible has to say when it comes to getting married as far as I'm concerned. The thing is, racial equality and giving "extra" rights to people who are homosexual are two completely different issues.
The fact is that what Kit McCormick did was out of line, disrespectful to our guest, and mostly just very rude. On a day where we were supposed to be remembering how Martin Luther King changed America for the better, she had to stick her own selfish causes in there, like a monkey wrench in a machine.
This came to me as such a blatant insult to Martin Luther King and his memory. It was truly uncalled for, and made every feeling of pride I had in MLK feel cheap and just… worthless.
Leave it to a Language Arts teacher to take two completely different subjects and make them look like the same thing.

This of course led to debates throughout the day and people taking sides. And by all means, controversy is good to form your own opinions, but for a place that has been quoted in other news sources to be "largely anti-gay" there were many people who were harassed in school because they were on the side of Hutcherson. How is that for standing up for what you believe in? I believe that the issue at Mount Si, which is supposedly "No Place for Hate" is the fact that you aren't able to stand up for what you believe in, unless it is entirely politically correct and eye-pleasing to everyone.

Posted by: (Anonymous) | Jan 18, 2008 5:37:35 PM

Anonymous: You are obviously very bright and seem to be engaged in the world around you. Bravo for that!

The issue for those who are LGBT, however, runs very deeply. Rev. Hutcherson has been a very vocal anti-gay rights activist who has fought basic protections being extended to gay people. While I do not doubt that he has much to contribute to a discussion on the African-American experience, it is very tough too see someone who has cause so much pain towards another community speaking up for civil rights. Rev. Hutcherson is nationally known ONLY because of his anti-gay endeavors. Regardless of whether or not they came up in his speech, they cannot and should not be disconnected from his public persona.

FYI Martin Luther King's widow, Coretta Scott Kingg, was atirless gay rights activist in the years before her death. She seemed to think that LGBT people were absolutely a part of Dr. King's dream.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 18, 2008 5:57:23 PM

Here are the email addresses for teacher Kit McCormick and Principal Randy Taylor:

Principal Taylor: taylorr@svsd410.org
Kit McCormick: mccormickk@svsd410.org

Here is my email to the principalL

"Dear Principal Taylor,

As a citizen of Washington State, I write to ask that you extend my gratitude to teacher Kit McCormick for her bravery in questioning Rev. Hutcherson regarding his stand on equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Rev. Hutcherson is known nationally, chiefly for his work against gay rights, and I feel that he may have been an inappropriate person to represent the topic of civil rights despite his experience with such in regards to race. As he was chosen to speak, I feel it was wholly appropriate that he be asked to answer for what seems to many to be his hypocracy in fighting against rights such as discrimination protection and marriage equality for members of the LGBT community.

Corretta Scott King advocated for many years, until the time of her death, for the rights of LGBT people and she affirmed that such equality was a part of Dr. King's dream. Like Dr. King, Ms. McCormick's question may have made some feel uncomfortable; such is true of all questions truly worth asking.

I am a true advocate for free speech in our schools, so I will not ask that you bar Rev. Hutcherson from speaking in the future. I will however request that Ms. McCormick and others who's opinions might differ from those of Rev. Hutcherson be allowed to speak and ask questions freely and without fear of censure so that a fair and open dialog can be achieved.

Thank you for service to our public schools and for extending my sentiments to Ms. McCormick.

Regards,

[My Name]
Seattle, WA"

Posted by: GayMormonBoy | Jan 19, 2008 11:32:08 PM

Here is my email to the principal:

Dear Principal Taylor,

I am appalled at the behavior of Kit McCormick at the recent speech by Reverend Hutcherson. Based on all accounts, Reverend Hutcherson presented his thoughts on civil rights without sharing any of his personal positions on homosexuality or gay rights. Yet, this teacher -- someone who is supposed to be one of the shining examples for our children, someone who is supposed to be helping parents teach their children how to be people of character -- stood up and assaulted a guest of the school, someone who appeared at your request.

It is clear that Kit McCormick, clearly an unprofessional teacher and one that should find another calling, disagreed with the school's choice for an MLK Day speaker. However, that protest should have been made in private to you, to the superintendent, the school board, not during the presentation in an effort to embarass, belittle and degrade Reverend Hutherson, with his daughter present no less.

It is teachers like these that are driving parents in droves to private education and home schooling. She deserves to be disciplined firmly for behaving like a petulant child.

Posted by: | Feb 5, 2008 1:08:09 PM

People who disagree with your moral position have the same rights that you have. They have the right to teach their children what they believe to be morally right and wrong. Just as you have the right to teach your children that you believe that the gay and lesbian lifestyle is a morally acceptable choice, so do the people who disagree with you have the right to teach their children that it is not morally acceptable. And, just as you have the right to fight for certain cultural and societal concessions based on your moral position, so do those who disagree with you have right to fight for the opposite.
As with any moral position, just because someone takes a position opposite yours, it does not make them a hate-monger, nor does it preclude them from being able to talk about racial equality and the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King at Mount Si High School. Regardless of one's position on the issue of gay rights, at this event, Kit McCormick was completely out of line, rude, unprofessional, and acted outside the spirit of Dr. King.

Posted by: | Feb 5, 2008 1:58:03 PM

FYI: The last two comments come from the same IP address.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 5, 2008 2:04:29 PM

To the student that said King was not for gay rights. Please check your facts. Rev. King was for gay rights look it up. Not only was he for gay rights one of his closet friends and allies was a gay man and that gay man helped Rev. King stage the march on Washington. Once again, before you speak please check your facts. Rev. King and his wife both beleived in equality for all including homosexuals.

Posted by: HB | Feb 15, 2008 4:30:50 PM

I see a mouse in a dream.

Posted by: geri | Feb 16, 2008 1:28:49 PM

As Mother Theresa said, "There is a famine in America. Not a famine of food, but of love, of truth, of life." Since I'm writing out of deep concern over the disrespectful treatment of Pastor Ken Hutcherson by progressive teachers at Mt Si High, something Martin Luther King, Jr. said back in 1958 is appropriate, "He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." Words like diversity, pluralism and tolerance have anesthetized us to the reality of good and evil. We're called to love all men in the name of Jesus, not ignore their debauchery in the name of diversity. Sin is a big deal to God. So much so that He allowed Jesus to die on a cruel Roman cross to rescue us from its grip. Glossing over evil - whether our own behaviour or something the entertainment media has produced - is to say in essence, "What you did is really of little value to me, God. My view of sin is different from yours, and frankly I'm not that disturbed by it. Tolerance is the cultivation of an attitude of indifference to things we see happening around us. It is a numbing of one's conscience, a dumbing down of one's convictions. It is political and cultural correctness. It is being afraid to step on toes. It is not wanting to make waves. It is keeping one's head in the sand like an ostrich. In the name of peace, we tolerate evil. In the name of tolerance, we accept sin and call it free enterprise or freedom of sexual persuasion. We dare not stand up for what we believe for fear of being labeled intolerant. "Tolerance" and "love" are two very different things. Tolerance sees your sin and embraces it. Grace sees your sin and hands you over to Christ's healing embrace.

Having much wisdom, William Jennings Bryan made statements such as, " We do not ask that the teachers in the public schools, colleges and universities become exponents of orthodox Christianity … but Christians have a right to protest against teaching that weakens faith in God, undermines belief in the Bible and reduces Christ to the stature of a man." One does not have far to look to witness the chaos and devastation caused in our society due to our turning away as a nation from our Judeo-Christian roots. Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action said, ""It's a sad fact that those who complain the loudest about any mention of Christianity in public settings are also the first to hide behind the First Amendment to slander faith, morality and country and indoctrinate our children with repulsive ideas under the ridiculous guise of 'education'." Being able to discipline oneself for the benefit of others is the very essence of maturity. What examples are adults, entrusted with the awesome responsibility for their care, to the rapidly maturing next generation who will impact our society positively or negatively depending on to what we expose them. Albert Einstein once said, "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

If we don't stand for something, we will fall for anything.

Posted by: Ginny Bain Allen | Apr 1, 2008 6:11:53 PM

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