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Jewish World Review June 23, 1999 /9 Tamuz 5759

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch? --
Just when you thought "strange" has been fully exploited, someone raises the bar. In one recent week, here's what crossed my desk:

* In Chicago, a group of third-grade boys were reprimanded for praying together on the playground.
* In Fort Myers, Fla., a teacher scheduled a cross-dressing day for his middle-school students.
* In Middletown, Conn., college students at Wesleyan University created pornographic movies for a film class.

Hello? Who's in charge here? I feel like the entire country is guzzling LSD punch while I'm sipping Irish Breakfast Tea. Briefly, here's what happened in each case:

The boys who prayed were perhaps a wee eccentric for elementary school. They had formed a group called The Peace Club to discourage playground bullies. Ritualistically, they handed out Roman Catholic medallions featuring the Virgin Mary and chanted a few rounds of Hail Mary and the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Naturally, school officials were appalled. "Leave your religious issues at home," the kids were told.

Meanwhile, down in Florida, children at Cypress Lake Middle School were told to "cross dress" for a day. Never mind that middle-school children are grappling with sexual identity and that most boys wouldn't voluntarily wear a dress to school. This is the '90s, after all, and everybody knows that gender is an artificially imposed cultural invention.

When a father complained that he didn't think his son should have to wear a dress to school, the teacher apologized for poorly naming the event, but not for the event itself. Said the father: "I think it's the wrong direction to normally steer the students." You could say that.

Finally, at Wesleyan, students apparently alert to the enormous employment opportunities in the burgeoning pornography industry are getting a leg up on competitors by taking College of Letters course number 289-Pornography. In the class, one student produced a short film that focuses on a man's eyes while he masturbates, for example. Another shot a female student acting out a scene of sexual bondage.

And what did you learn today, kids? Well, let's see. Prayer is bad; cross-dressing is rad; pornography is a legitimate career choice.

I realize I'm going to have to find a new country soon, but before I go, I'd like to make a couple of observations: 1) Adults are obsessed with sex and can't seem to leave children out of it; 2) Public education has become the enemy of parents who, owing to their own confusion in the midst of moral chaos, have become part of the problem.

Why aren't parents picketing the Department of Education? Why aren't they storming college administration buildings? Why aren't they fighting mad?

With one exception - the mother of one of the praying boys also happens to be an attorney who is presently expressing her outrage through legal channels - parents are curiously benign in the face of issues they "feel" are wrong but seem intellectually powerless to confront.

Recall the father who said cross-dressing was "the wrong direction to normally steer the students." The mother of one of the pornographers demurred, "I can't say I didn't have some negative feelings at first, I assume they're getting knowledge of some kind." Wrong direction? Negative feelings? How about, "This is nuts!"

Parents, to our inevitable misfortune, have been bullied into believing they don't know anything. Their inner voices have been silenced and their instincts cast in doubt by "experts" and a culture run amok. They're immobilized by the inevitability of defeat before their children are out of kindergarten, and have surrendered by middle school.

Hello? Who's in charge here? The question begs an urgent answer.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

©1999, Tribune Media Services