High School Newspaper Article On Homosexuality Called 'One-Sided'
(CNSNews.com) - An Ohio high school's publication is sparking controversy over the promotion of homosexuality in public schools.
An 8-page supplement titled "Growing Up Gay in America," distributed by the monthly publication, the Arlingtonian, at Upper Arlington High School, has some parents and religious groups calling for a retraction.
According to Linda Harvey, an Upper Arlington High School parent and founder of Mission:America, a Christian pro-family organization, the core article is about a young man's struggle with homosexuality. Her group, she said, tries to "educate people about the fact that homosexuality is not genetic. It is dangerous, and it is changeable."
The article, she said, is one-sided.
"It's a very touching story and unfortunately, it looks as though no one ever gives him the idea that he has a choice that he [does] not have to remain with homosexual desires and behavior ... There's no coverage at all in the article that there is another viewpoint other than confirming these feelings and saying 'Go for it!'" said Harvey.
"We as a school district do not do prior review administratively of student's articles. That is really left up to the advisor. And that's been a long-standing practice in this district," said the school's principal, Kip Greenhill, about claims that the article was one-sided. But he said he was not surprised by the controversy that the article has stirred up.
"I think anytime the school has a discussion on homosexuality or other controversial issues, centering on abortion or whatever, there are some people who are always going to express their concerns on both sides of the issue. So this is not surprising at all," he said.
Greenhill maintained, though that the views expressed in the article are not those of the school. He said to claim that the school is promoting homosexuality would not be fair or accurate.
"First of all, the article in no way promoted homosexuality. But, the school is not going to take a position promoting any particular agenda or anything like that. But that article did not promote homosexuality, so that's not a fair statement."
According to Greenhill the article just focused on one person's struggle with homosexuality.
The publication also features an article about a community youth organization run by adult homosexuals, according to Harvey, that invites youths age 21 and under to participate.
Harvey added, "It doesn't say how far under [age 21]. And it's a social club on Friday nights ... The boy in the story lies to his parents, tells him he's going to his church youth group, and he goes to this homosexual social group. So, I guess it's advocating bypassing your parents and going ahead and exploring homosexuality if you feel like."
Another side bar article, she said, quotes two liberal churches supporting same-sex commitment ceremonies. According to Harvey, one article trashes the work of Exodus International, a network of organizations that works with individuals to help them exit the homosexual lifestyle.
"Exodus is a fine organization with a long history of a solid track record of helping people come out of homosexuality, but they [the article] didn't solicit another viewpoint."
Jerry Armelli is executive director of Prodigal Ministries of Cincinnati and a regional representative for Exodus North America.
"The article, I think definitely promotes that if you're dealing with the same-sex attraction and it's been a painful journey that the only way to ease your pain is to come out and stronger than that is that other people accept this and help you assimilate a gay identity," Armelli said.
Armelli didn't feel the article directly bashed Exodus. "It's true that we believe that there's a way out of homosexuality through Jesus Christ. That's true, and that it's through commitment that it's done, and studying the Bible. I mean they may be simplistic about it and trite about it, but those principles are true."
Armelli added, "So they don't necessarily bash it. They just say that human rights groups strongly criticize our approach."
The article also highlights National Coming Out Day for students to announce to their parents that they are homosexual, Harvey said.
An entire page, she said, is dedicated to the local homosexual prom, and "how this is great for kids." The editorial advocates homosexual education beginning in grade school, Harvey said.
"This comes on the heels of discussions at the school about the school publication wanting freedom of speech rights and not wanting any restrictions in the student handbook on what they can report on," Harvey said. The issue was brought up at the last school board meeting, she said.
"I'm getting the sense that perhaps they were anticipating the fireworks on this issue, and they're going to try to spin this as censorship, which would be very hypocritical, because they've censored out any opposing viewpoint here. This is all homosexual propaganda," Harvey said.
Harvey added, "To me this is a great example where parents need to open their eyes to the bigger issue of students fronting homosexual issues and becoming activists and becoming ploys of the gay activists in the culture. And if you don't have oversight of the faculty and parents, that say, 'No, you're not going to promote homosexuality,' then we will have this."
Armelli applauded the planned school board meeting Monday night, at which many parents were expected to attend. "I love dialogue. I love when both sides are heard from versus one side silencing the other without really knowing and talking and dialogue with them."