Stop the Tax! Newsletter


Character Education Gone Awry


Hugh McInnish

Character Education Gone Awry Immorality has become rampant in our country today and, as everyone agrees, our youth must be taught the right values if ever we are to reverse the awful downward trend that has been manifest these last several decades. Is this the job of parents? You would think so, but judged by results many haven't been doing it. So the education establishment has stepped forward and shouldered the responsibility, and Character Education in school has been mandated here in Alabama. This is obviously a great thing to do! But hold on.

Alas! So soon has this train run off the track. What would seem obvious is not proving to be fact.

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Joe Morton
On April 1, Dr. Joe Morton, Interim State Superintendent of Education, sent a memo to all superintendents and principals throughout the state announcing an "Alabama Character Education Showcase." The showcase will be presented later this month in Montgomery, Decatur, and Mobile. Morton informs his addressees that at these sessions there will be "keynote sessions featuring exciting information about character education resources available to Alabama educators."

And here Dr. Morton is as dead on target as a person can be. The "character education resources" he touts are indeed exciting, as you will most probably agree if you read a bit further. They are capable of inducing as much adrenaline flow as a coiled poisonous reptile.

According to the schedule of events sent out, the opening keynote session will be entrusted to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is well that we take a quick look at the resources they have to offer:

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Karen Dammann
On the front page of their website,, we find that they are featuring the Rev. Karen Dammann. She is the infamous gay Methodist minister who has recently been acquitted in a church trial in the Pacific Northwest. Here is part of what they say in celebrating this victory for lesbian Methodists:

Christians of many denominations have long struggled with the "traditional" view that homosexuality is somehow a sin, or "incompatible" with their faith, vs. the modern understanding of sexual orientation, and the need to treat gay and lesbian worshippers with dignity and inclusion.

The remarkable outcome of this particular case is not only that the pro-gay side emerged overwhelmingly victorious, but that it was able to put in question the very teaching that homosexuality is "incompatible" with Christianity.

And the article goes on. Please take time to read it for yourself. Another of the stories featured on the front page, under the title "Tolerance in the News" is that of Phyllis and Del Martin. A few extracted bon mots will capture the essence of this story:

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Phyllis Lyon and
Del Martin

Lyon and Martin were the first same-sex couple in the nation to be issued a government-sanctioned marriage ...

The San Francisco couple, considered by many as key pioneers in the national gay-rights movement, was married just before noon Feb. 12 at San Francisco City Hall.

[T]hey formed what is considered the first national organization for lesbians in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis.

Lyon and Martin later co-authored a book, Lesbian/Woman, documenting the lesbian movement.

Lesbian News called the couple "warriors" - "gay people who challenged established authority, who risked everything for the right to love whomever they chose."

You should read this entire article for yourself.

Here, then, is some of the "exciting character information" that will be made available to teachers for transmission to their students. Naturally, when we hear "character education" we assume that the term means good character education. But here, in a Brave-New-World inversion of meaning, we have bad character education. And conducted at taxpayer expense!

Can this most ill advised program be stopped? I don't know, but as good citizens it's incumbent upon us to try. We can't just sit silently, twiddling our thumbs, while the Montgomery bureaucrats use our money for such nefarious purposes. (By the way, I thought they were short of money. Remember: Erstwhile Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson said he may have to cut schools to four days a week!) I suggest this:

First of all, forward this dreadful message to your list. Then e-mail Dr. Morton as well as all members of the State Board of Education. Point out to them how wrong this is, and ask that the whole program be cancelled, or that the part of the Southern Poverty Law Center be scrubbed and replaced with a program that represents good character, not bad. Why not, for example, put Eagle Forum or the Christian Coalition on the agenda?

But, please, don't be a good person who does nothing.

4 Apr 04