And by the way, how come the U of A ignores the human rights of peeping Toms and flashers?
Whenever I pause to think of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies (which admittedly isn’t often) I find my curiosity aroused by the glaring limitation of view that so inhibits their work.
This institute, you will recall, was caught last month running a government-funded website that offered Alberta school children down to the age of six detailed instructions on oral sex and masturbation, and presented them with illustrated positions for various forms of homosexual activity. This and much else was being purveyed through the student sex clubs which Education Minister David Eggen is vigorously urging upon all schools throughout the province.
The purpose of the clubs, we are told, is to offer “safe places” to protect these children from the vicious bullying and ridicule which so often assails “sexual minorities” throughout the school system. The possibility that these students could easily fall into more danger from their protectors than from their supposed persecutors, does not seem to have occurred to the management.
But what intrigues me is this: Where are all the other sexual minorities? The institute seems to focus totally on male homosexuals and lesbians, and on boys who think they’re girls and girls who think they’re boys. What about the necrophiliacs, the bestialists, the peeping toms, the gropers, all of them fully qualified sexual minorities and yet totally ignored? Why are we not getting heart-rending appeals by the Institute’s Dr. Kris Wells for the “protection from scorn” of those unfortunate men, dressed only in raincoats, who flash them open when women and girls go by? If the homosexuals can be given their own “rainbow room,” why can’t the bestialists be given their own rainbow barn or something? And why can’t the flashers be given, say, a continuing supply of new raincoats? After all, we wouldn’t want our Alberta flashers to appear on the streets ill clad.
(Be careful now, Byfield, you’ll be accused of spreading homophobia. I deny it. What I’m spreading is homonausea, a common disease, acquired when the mind moves from the pristinely clinical glossary of a Professor Wells to the brutish, bawdy and bizarre actualities of the bedroom — actualities so incongruous with our spiritual nature that as long as our thoughts have been recorded, our species have found the whole process of sex uproariously funny. God’s joke on us, some say, so that we won’t take ourselves too seriously.)
True, we share these activities with the other animals. Dogs, cats and camels copulate. But there’s no evidence they laugh hilariously about it, or chuckle over dirty jokes. Neither is there any evidence that Dr. Wells finds it funny. In fact, his whole life and livelihood is founded on the sombre centrality of sex to virtually everything we think, say, and do. Maybe his institute should now and then break free from its myopic obsession with sexual perversions, and do a study on us boring sexual majorities for a change. I’m sure he will find us a very kind and generous people, who do not bully, nor ridicule, nor scorn, though we might sometimes laugh at the very funny things that he thinks, says and does, and that he does not find funny at all.
In any event, I’m directing attention to these clubs because a long-time supporter of our work insists that I’ve missed the story. He did not speak anonymously. He is Leo Gaumont, a long-time Alberta high school teacher who now runs Education Unlimited, a much-respected guide for home-schooling parents throughout the province. Here is his point:
Mr. Eggen has stressed that when students apply to have a club established in their school, neither the teachers nor parents may intervene. The club must be authorized. He could not have insisted upon this point more emphatically. He had in mind, of course, the sex clubs because they, after all, would come under the greatest criticism.
But the proviso under which the sex clubs operate covers numerous other kinds of clubs. One Edmonton high school has 49 of them — including clubs for baking, knitting, technology and engineering, Harry Potter book lovers, photography, writing, and several advocating human rights. Since these occasioned little criticism, little attention was paid them.
However, noted Mr. Gaumont, the very existence of these clubs offers an astonishing opportunity for Christianity to return to the public school system. If there can be Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and all these others, surely there could be a Christian club in every school as well. This, of course, is not at all what the zealous promoters of the Gay Straight Alliance foresaw. But having made such an imperative out of the dictum — what the students ask for, the students must be given– it would now be unthinkable to deny the application.
Moreover, with the Alpha movement showing such remarkable success, among young adults in Catholic churches as well as Protestant all over the world, a program for the clubs is already at hand, easily managed, and tutored by many years of experience in thousands of churches
This, says Mr. Gaumont, is the door that the GSA movement has unwittingly opened for the Christians. Our churches should now take full advantage of it, he says, and I up to now you, Byfield, have not so much as mentioned it. I plead guilty.
Yet there is a connection between the GSAs and the Christian clubs, if the latter should come about. Both are missions for a cause, and both challenge the individual to a life-changing experience. But there the similarity ends. The paths take opposite directions. One begins with the promise of freedom for the self and ends in total bondage. The other begins with bondage to Christ and ends in perfect freedom. But where only one of these options at present lies before the student, the second may now appear. I believe it will prevail. It always has.
Thank you, Leo Gaumont. And you, too, David Eggen, though I somehow doubt you would much like to go down in history as the man who restored Christianity in the public schools of Alberta.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.