New Jersey will soon require its schools to teach students about LGBT history and the impact that LGBT Americans have had on society, that some critics say is another step toward indoctrination. Following in the footsteps of California, New Jersey Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed into law legislation that requires boards of education in the state to include an instruction that accurately portrays the “political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.” The school boards will have to implement changes to the curriculum by the 2020-2021 school year, according to the law.
The bill was promoted by a number of pro-LGBT political organizations. Local school boards will decide what books should be studied and how lessons should be organized. Supporters say that such lessons promotes “acceptance and diversity” and will bring “classroom materials into alignment” with the state’s core curriculum standards by ensuring that “students receive diverse instruction in history and the social sciences. “Our youth deserve to see how diverse American history truly is, and how they can be a part of it one day, too,” Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino said in a statement.
While the law’s passage has been celebrated by activists and liberal lawmakers, social conservatives voiced concern with the legislation. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, a state-wide conservative advocacy group, said that the new law infringes on parental rights. “It further erodes the right of parents to discuss this sensitive issue with their children if in fact schools are going to be making the claim that this particular person was an LGBTQ member,” Deo argued. Conservative radio host Judi Franco wrote in an op-ed that the new education requirement is just “another step in the total indoctrination of our kids.
Ken Ham, founder of the Christian apologetics organization Answers in Genesis, also weighed in, tweeting, “Public schools have increasingly become anti-Christian churches of secular humanism indoctrinating generations of kids in moral relativism and evolutionary naturalism. There are some missionaries in the system, but many teachers are priests of humanism.” Ham added that to teach “true equality and inclusion” would require teaching that “all human beings are made in God’s image. All are sinners who can receive the free gift of salvation, and all need to judge their behaviour/worldview against the absolute standard of God’s Holy Word,” he stressed.
The state of New Jersey has passed six pro-LGBT equality laws in the last 12 months, according to Garden State Equality. Last fall, the New Jersey Department of Education sent schools guidance instructing schools to use the preferred pronouns and names of trans-identified students and provide them access to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that match their gender identity. Greg Quinlan, founder of the advocacy group Centre for Garden State Families said, “We have to stand up and fight this. Parental rights really is a constitutional right. No one has the right to tell our children that they can undo what a parent wants them to do.”
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