Answering Bigotry in Galveston

Feb 23, 2007

A few days ago, I received a note from our East Texas PFLAG President, Lou Anne Smoot, which had filtered through various PFLAG districts in Texas. The note originated with Janet Cohen of PFLAG/Galveston regarding an article in the "Galveston News" by Mr. B. Joe Cline of the Lighthouse Freedom Ministry targeting PFLAG's influence on school children ... "promoting homosexuality under the label of tolerance". Although Galveston has a very strong gay/gay friendly population, Mr. Cline keeps reappearing from time-to-time in an effort to "reform" the population. In fact, in addition to his negative newspaper article, his group is also responsible for the display of many billboards in the area showing "I Question Homosexuality" with a phone number to call for reform.

My response was just published in this morning’s edition (Feb 23, 2007) of the Galveston Daily News. This short response is actually an excerpt from my book “The Remainder of My Life, an autobiography written in real time,” that came to my mind as I read it. The editorial, entitled “Fundamentalism is a Way to Damage Children” can be found at this link ( and I’ve also pasted a copy right after Mr. Cline’s frighteningly prejudiced commentary below.

…. if we keep preaching acceptance, maybe someday they’ll “get it.”

Best wishes to all, Troy Carlyle

My letter:
(Published Feb 23, 2007)

Lighthouse Freedom Ministry has put up a series of billboards promoting its view that homosexuality is a choice. In a recent guest column, B. Joe Cline, executive director of the organization, said some organizations are promoting homosexuality in public schools under the label of tolerance.

Fundamentalism Is A Way To Damage Children

In regard to the column, “There’s a pro-homosexual agenda in schools” (The Daily News, Feb. 13): There was an article in The Advocate about Kyle Rice, a gay fundamentalist Christian who is undergoing “ex-gay” therapy to try to become straight.

I wish him the very best, but the topic reminds me just how unthinking fundamentalists can be.

We all know that our children grow up smarter when we tell them they are smart. They grow up well adjusted when they are surrounded by a loving environment. So why do Christians believe their children will be anything but suicidal when they grow up hearing that they are fundamentally wrong and evil?

The whole viewpoint that we must change what we cannot change only serves to make us feel valueless and leads, in my opinion, to the disproportionately high suicide rate among gay youth. If only these fundamentalists would think about their children before they try to convince them that an unalterable part of their personage must be altered, because it is inherently wrong.

It’s like telling your child she will never get into heaven with red hair. She can color it, of course, but she will always know she is naturally redheaded and therefore unworthy.

There are few things we can do to children so preposterously damaging as the mantra imposed by fundamentalists that there is something wrong with their gay and lesbian selves.

Troy Carlyle, Tyler


Here’s the original article that prompted my response.

There’s a pro-homosexual agenda in schools

By B. Joe Cline
The Daily News
Published February 13, 2007

It is time to speak out concerning the rights of parents in public education. Remember, it is the parents who build (taxes) the schools, hire (pay) the teachers and furnish the students.

There are schools that wish to usurp parental authority.

They want to teach their views, often the separate views of the teacher, to your children.

However, many parents, and their numbers are growing, recognize that the rearing of their children is their responsibility.

The school system should be only one element in teaching the basic values of life to our children.

Remember, they are our children: they do not belong to the school system or to the state.

It is very possible to teach general sex education in the “upper” school grades, not in elementary, please, without promoting sexual promiscuity, i.e., teaching how.

Most parents I know would prefer their children be taught “not to” rather than “how to.”

Abstinence works 100 percent of the time.

It is the right and responsibility of the parents to mold the character and beliefs of their children.

Remember, they are our children, they do not belong to the school system or to the state.

Using the examples of those with little or no parental control or guidance does not justify usurping the parental rights of responsible parents.

Teaching tolerance in schools is a basic part of education.

However, the use of a label of “tolerance” must not be used to promote what is not appropriate in schools.

The organizations, such as PFLAG, have an agenda of influencing the local schools and schools all across the nation, not to tolerate but to teach about and thereby promote homosexuality.

They have been supported by the N.E.A. (National Education Association) to go into the schools with their agenda.

They are promoting homosexuality under the label of tolerance.

Go to the Web site www.pflag (large city in your area).org and then click on “monthly bulletins.”

There are the listed names of schools visited, monthly, in your area.

Ask to see the materials (books, etc.) that representatives of PFLAG are distributing.

They try to portray themselves as the victims rather than the aggressors.

The safety issue is equated erroneously with acceptance, i.e., since you agree that we should enjoy equal safety, then you agree that our total agenda is also acceptable.

Also, the LGRL and the GLSEN are the lobbyists for promoting legislation favorable to the homosexual agenda.

They have been at work in Austin and Washington, D.C., for a number of years.

The issue of homosexuality must be brought out into the open for a two-sided, full discussion on the physiological, the psychological, and yes, the spiritual aspects of homosexuality.

Then informed parents can work with school officials to decide on the material to teach and at what age to teach our children about gender issues.

Complete information is at page 3 — schools.

B. Joe Cline is executive director of Lighthouse Freedom Ministry, Galveston and Waco.