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Whenever 'Brokeback's involved, our opposition condemns at 'breakneck' pace

by Jeremy Hooper

Image2796149In reaction to the news that a grandfather is filing a lawsuit because a substitute teacher showed his twelve-year old granddaughter Brokeback Mountain during class time, Focus on the Family today says the following regarding the situation's implications for parents:

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action, said he's seen many news reports in recent months about elementary students being forced to take sex surveys or read pro-homosexual materials.

“As government schools continue to be controlled by liberal educators, this encroachment upon parental rights will intensify,” he said. “The Chicago situation is similar.”

The Supreme Court has recognized parental rights, Hausknecht said, including rights to be involved in all aspects of public education.

“Unfortunately, of late, we have seen federal courts limiting those rights by coming to the aid of school districts that make outrageous detours,” he said, “granting cover to such activity by buying into the notion that it is all ‘curriculum related.’ ”

But here's the thing: Virtually nobody is defending the substitute teacher's actions! You simply cannot show an R rated movie in an eighth grade class without obtaining parental permission. And you especially can't show one with a sex scene (be it gay or straight). So we actually agree that the substitute teacher deserves to be reprimanded for the decision. However, just like the lawsuit would likely have not materialized had the R-Rated movie been The Last King of Scotland, it is highly likely that folks like Focus on the Family would not be so quick to jump on this story, had the film not been Brokeback Mountain!

When we first saw this story yesterday, our immediate thought was that the religious right would seize the opportunity to once attack the "gay agenda" in public schools. But then we actually gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that even the most gay-antipathetic among us could see that this was an issue of extremely poor judgement, not "forced indoctrination." Sure, there was Peter LaBarbera's attack yesterday on the film, the showing, and the lube-less gay sex, but that one struck us as more comical than anything else. However, with this Focus on the Family piece, these "pro-family" kids have once again proven their non-stop passion for turning any benignly gay-related situation into an attack on values, parental rights, traditions, and all that is good in the world. And they clearly will continue to get whatever mileage out of this that they can. Hell, by the time this baseless lawsuit is tried, tossed, or settled, we're sure folks like FOF will have reworked the situation to make it sound like GLSEN hogtied the entire male student body and forced them to reenact the film's scenes while wearing nothing but rainbow flags and cowboy hats!

On second thought -- maybe we shouldn't give the many ideas!

12-Year-Old Forced to Watch Brokeback Mountain Sues School [FOF CitizenLink]

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Your thoughts

I can't believe Brokeback Mountain is an R-rated movie in the US... It's M rated, here... not even M15+ (I'm not 100% sure on the difference between the two... but I think the first is a recommendation that bthe film is not shown to children under 15, and the second is enforceable in cinemas and video rental place... I could be wrong...).

In either event, the teacher needed parental permission to show it to anyone under 15 (15 here - 18 if you guys give it an R rating - though why would you? The sex scene was in the dark, and no more graphic than many other movies out there that are lower rating... Or did the US also give Love Actually an R rating, and Pretty Woman, and a whole host of other mildly lude films?)

So yes, he did the wrong thing... but the reaction is disproportionate, and your guys classifications are sort of laughable...

(Actually, I'm glad I didn't see brokeback too young... it was heart breaking... The hardcore emotional rollercoaster was wayyyyy more disturbing than any mostly-implied sex scene...)

Posted by: Anon | May 15, 2007 10:15:38 PM

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