Right-wing media outlets have relied on false or misleading claims by MassResistance, a Massachusetts-based anti-gay group, in advancing several recent attacks on Department of Education official Kevin Jennings. The founder of MassResistance -- a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a "hate group" -- reportedly denied that gays and lesbians were a target of the Holocaust and has compared the gay rights movement to the Nazis. The organization has also called on parents to keep their children home from school during an event promoting awareness of, and opposition to, anti-gay bullying and has stated that suicide prevention programs for gay and lesbian youth have no "legitimate medical or psychological basis."
MassResistance a top source for false and misleading attacks on Jennings
MassResistance falsely claimed "hundreds of kids (middle school age and up)" were given explicit safe-sex booklet. A MassResistance Web page asserted that an explicit safe-sex booklet "was distributed to hundreds of kids (middle school age and up) at Brookline High School, Brookline, MA, on April 30, 2005," at a conference sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which Jennings headed at the time [boldface in original]. Gateway Pundit and BigGovernment.com are among the websites that have cited MassResistance in repeating the claim. In fact, a community health group -- not GLSEN itself -- reportedly said that it had mistakenly "left about 10 copies" of the booklet on an informational table it rented at the conference; the group reportedly apologized for doing so; GLSEN stated that if it had known the booklets had been at the conference, it would have demanded they be removed; and the Brookline school superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had actually taken any of the books.
Smear that Jennings is "linked to shocking sex talk" based on MassResistance video. In 2000, MassResistance videotaped a workshop for students at a GLSEN-sponsored conference that included explicit discussions of sex. While MassResistance did not claim that Jennings participated in the controversial session, some right-wing bloggers, including from Gateway Pundit and Accuracy in Media, have nevertheless used the MassResistance video to falsely claim Jennings was directly involved in the session or even made the presentation himself. In fact, Jennings reportedly criticized the content of the session after he became aware of it, and the Massachusetts Department of Education employees who led the session in question either resigned or were fired.
MassResistance makes unsupported assertion that Jennings knew of session's content beforehand. In a December 8 blog post -- repeated by Gateway Pundit, BigGovernment, and WorldNetDaily.com -- MassResistance asserted: "Of course Jennings and the Massachusetts Department of Education knew beforehand what the 'sexuality educators' would discuss with children at the 'fisting' workshop" [emphasis in original]. But as Media Matters for America has noted, the statements MassResistance cites instructor Margot Abels of reportedly making indicate only that her immediate supervisors in the Department of Education were aware of her work -- not Jennings or other GLSEN officials. Moreover, while MassResistance claims that Jennings "worked hand in hand with the Mass. Department of Education from the beginning, as co-chair of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth education committee," Jennings left that commission years before the 2000 workshop took place.
SPLC lists MassResistance as a "hate group"
The Southern Poverty Law Center named MassResistance among "anti-gay" groups on its list of "Active U.S. Hate Groups in 2008." The SPLC continued: "Anti-gay groups are organizations that go beyond mere disagreement with homosexuality by subjecting gays and lesbians to campaigns of personal vilification." Even conservative commentator Dean Barnett has stated that the organization "verges on being a hate group."
MassResistance leader compared gay rights movement to Nazis
Camenker reportedly denied that gays and lesbians were targets of Holocaust. In May 2007, MassResistance longtime leader Brian Camenker appeared before a Massachusetts legislative committee during its discussion of a bill that makes it illegal for schools to discuss "alternative sexual behavior" without notifying parents and another mandating statewide health education. From a report by Bay Windows:
Rep. Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge), a member of the education committee and one of the lead proponents of the health education bill, challenged Camenker's views on history, arguing that it would be appropriate to include discussions of homosexuality in discussions of the Holocaust.
"That's just a factual historic thing. You don't have to have an agenda to talk about the fact that although the Jewish population was the largest population, six million who were killed, there were others killed for other reasons, among them homosexuals, and I just want to make that clear," said Wolf.
Camenker told her he disagreed and claimed that Holocaust survivor Stephan Ross, who spearheaded the creation of the New England Holocaust Memorial and is the father of Boston City Councilor Michael Ross, "came to our banquet and has told me at the banquet several times that homosexuals were not picked up as homosexuals and that he's very angry at that movement trying to use that. What he says is that the Germans would use that as an excuse, and this is from him being at Auschwitz, to arrest people for other causes such as Catholic priests and then let them go. But as homosexuals, according to him, that is simply untrue."
When asked about Camenker's claims Ross told Bay Windows, "I don't know anything about his organization," and he declined to comment further, directing Bay Windows to speak to his son. Councilor Ross said he had spoken with his father about Camenker's claims and that his father "was very upset that someone was hijacking, was misappropriating his good name to get behind something he does not agree with."
Camenker compared his supporters to the Allies, gay rights movement to the Nazis. In a May 28, 2007, letter, Camenker wrote:
This Memorial day, here in Massachusetts in 2007, the homosexual lobby dominates our State House, and is filing bills to push their agenda further than ever. They have homosexual clubs in high schools across the state. They use state money to bring kids downtown to mingle with adult cross-dressers and other hard-core activists. A federal judge ruled that schools can show picture books to elementary school children about homosexual romance. And our political leaders help raise money for their movement.
Sixty-five years from today, what will people remember about what you did to stop them? Will you dedicate yourself to this fight?
World War Two was won with guns and bullets and bombs. This war will be won with truth and fearlessness. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that we can and will prevail completely. Our adversary's movement has the illusion of indomitable strength, but it is really a house of cards, held up by threats and intimidation and a dysfunctional ideology. If you are willing to fight -- to tell the truth and not be afraid -- it will fall.
There is one difference from 1942. Today, one of the biggest obstacles in this battle is the mainstream conservative movement itself -- our side. They value "dignity" and "polite behavior" over speaking the harsh and uncomfortable truth. They preach prayer as a way to avoid taking action. They seek to compromise as a way to avoid conflict. They talk about differences of opinion as a way to avoid facing good versus evil. It subverts our efforts and causes terrible results.
Did people in1942 talk about respecting the Nazis "choice" of political philosophy? Or that we ought to consider letting Japan have Korea and the Solomon Islands if they'd let us have the Philippines -- because that's what the "experts" say we could work out?
Don't listen to them. It's a false promise. It's extremely tempting but it's the road to hell. That's why we support a Parents' Rights Bill that gives parents complete control. And it's why we don't support the current Constitutional Amendment that purposefully compromises by only banning future homosexual "marriages" and allowing all others -- including civil unions or domestic partnership -- to stand unimpeded. Compromising in normal discourse is often appropriate; but compromising with evil is disastrous.
Camenker: Same-sex marriage "hangs over society like a hammer with the force of law." In an October 2008 commentary, Camenker wrote:
Anyone who thinks that same-sex "marriage" is a benign eccentricity which won't affect the average person should consider what it has done in Massachusetts. It's become a hammer to force the acceptance and normalization of homosexuality on everyone. And this train is moving fast. What has happened so far is only the beginning.
Homosexual "marriage" hangs over society like a hammer with the force of law. And it's only just begun.
It's pretty clear that the homosexual movement's obsession with marriage is not because large numbers of them actually want to marry each other. Research shows that homosexual relationships are fundamentally dysfunctional on many levels, and "marriage" as we know it isn't something they can achieve, or even desire. (In fact, over the last three months, the Sunday Boston Globe's marriage section hasn't had any photos of homosexual marriages. In the beginning it was full of them.) This is about putting the legal stamp of approval on homosexuality and imposing it with force throughout the various social and political institutions of a society that would never accept it otherwise. To the rest of America: You've been forewarned.
MassResistance bashed Jennings' focus on safety for gay youth
Commentary: Suicide prevention programs for gay youth have no "legitimate medical or psychological basis." Responding to a 1995 speech by Jennings stating how a focus on "how homophobia represents a threat to students' safety by creating a climate where violence, name- calling, health problems, and suicide are common" allowed advocates for gay youth to counter criticism by anti-gay activists, a 1996 MassResistance commentary stated:
Now do you get it? Parents are always astounded when they are told that the gay assemblies, gay-themed plays, gay clubs, secret counseling sessions, gay books, and other school-wide homosexual events are for "safety" and "suicide prevention."
In fact, none of these so-called suicide prevention programs have any legitimate medical or psychological basis. No one with actual credentials to deal with suicide, or even mainstream suicide-prevention groups such as the Samaritans, are ever involved. Yet, they're dealing with vulnerable children.
Upon examination, you see that all of these programs are simply put together by homosexual activists to normalize homosexuality in the minds of as many kids as possible -- and if possible without any parental knowledge or consent.
The homosexual movement cannot operate without using lies and deception. When the light of day is shown on their activities in the public schools, and when people are forced to objectively examine them, they are seen for the destructive things they are.
A September 13 WorldNetDaily article featured Jennings' speech, adding that "[e]xcerpts have been posted on the website of MassResistance, where chief Brian Camenker has worked to oppose the demands of homosexual activists." The WND article also repeated MassResistance's attack on the speech.
MassResistance promoted "Day of Silence" walkout. MassResistance has criticized the "Day of Silence," which is designed to bring attention to "anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools" and, in 2009, joined with 22 other "pro-family" groups to encourage parents to keep their children home from school that day. From the MassResistance page announcing the alliance:
Day of Silence: psychological assault on kids
During the Day of Silence, which has become an annual day-long event, school officials encourage students to be silent for the entire day as a sign of solidarity with the homosexual activist movement. Students are encouraged to wear special homosexual badges, stickers, and bracelets which are often handed out at all the school entrances that day. There are also pro-homosexual posters and handouts, and even workshops. The schools use various psychological methods during the day to attempt to create a strong bond with the homosexual movement in the minds of the kids.
Group chronicles "Brutal fascist tactics" by "homosexual movement." A page on the organization's website purports to document "Brutal fascist tactics against citizens" carried out by the "homosexual movement" because it "cannot achieve [its] goals without eventually resorting to brutal tactics of intimidation and even terror."