What we really mean when we say quot;family valuesquot;

by Beacon Staff • February 14, 2007

He learned about families, and the book showed him how many different kinds of families there are. Some children have only one mommy or daddy, but some have two of each.

At this point, the parents have a decision to make: they can reinforce ideas of tolerance, or they can be like several Massachusetts parents and sue the school.,One day a 6-year-old boy comes home from school with a new book.

He learned about families, and the book showed him how many different kinds of families there are. Some children have only one mommy or daddy, but some have two of each.

At this point, the parents have a decision to make: they can reinforce ideas of tolerance, or they can be like several Massachusetts parents and sue the school.

In late April 2006, two sets of parents filed a lawsuit against the town of Lexington's school system because a teacher read a gay-themed fairy tale to a class of 7-year-olds without parental notification.

David Parker, one of the parents involved in the suit, told The Associated Press, "When the teacher puts it forward, it becomes the gospel according to the teacher. The children are so young, they can't reflect on that idea. They're too young to put it in context."

But in what context should they be putting it in?

There is absolutely no place for state-sanctioned homophobia in our public schools. To force teachers to notify parents every time a controversial idea is discussed would be a logistical nightmare.

John Davis, an attorney for Lexington school officials, said it best when he told the AP, "The parents do have rights ... but they don't have the right to dictate to the public school system what their children can be exposed to in the way of ideas."

It's the job of the parents to create context for those ideas, according to their morals at home.

The controversy over gay families is often advertised as a fight by the morally superior to preserve family values.

But it is these self-righteous types who are hijacking our family values--not gays or Democrats, but the arrogant and intolerant.

"Family values" have been reduced to a clever political slogan used to denounce those who choose to live differently from the status quo. This narrow sloganization is used to discriminate and instill ignorance.

If you think that's too harsh, ask the Lofton-Croteau family.

Steven Lofton and Roger Croteau, two nurses and life partners, spent over ten years caring for five unwanted HIV-positive foster children.

However, one of the children miraculously got better; he no longer tested HIV positive. The state of Florida declared the boy "adoptable," or suitable to live with a heterosexual couple.

These fathers who were good enough to care for a sick child were deemed inadequate to care for that same healthy child. A child raised from birth in this loving home was in danger of being torn away from his family, yet the Supreme Court refused to hear the Lofton-Croteau case.

This is the real war against family values.

We all have a right to our beliefs, and Massachusetts has laws preserving parents' rights to teach their own morals to their children.

However, we must not confuse information and tolerance for immorality. We also have no right to impose our beliefs on other families, especially when it leads to their being torn apart.

Where's the family value in that?