Further weakening education in the name of religion.


The favored method of harassment used by the principal and assistant principal at the high school where I taught while trying to get the school district to add “sexual orientation” to district student policies on nondiscrimination, bullying, and harassment was mindless micromanagement.

They would object to anything I did in class that they did not understand, or did not see the value of in their limited experience and view, and rather than have it explained to them, would issue a reprimand for violations of curriculum or required procedure, or insubordination so as to have one more piece of evidence to present to the Board when they would recommend my dismissal.

The problem was that each attempt to employ this method would either blow up in their faces almost immediately after applied, or was finally exposed for what it was in front of a district judge at the trial de nova when I appealed the eventual dismissal as being wrongful.

There was that time when the principal objected to a poster I had hung on my classroom door because it was obviously not curriculum related, and hanging it without prior permission violated the invented school policy, applied only to me, that said that any teacher wishing to hang non-curriculum material in the classroom had to first obtain permission.

This poster, written in what was judged by these two administrators to be some “elfin” language, and, therefore, obviously had no relation to my English Literature class, was finally shown at the meeting at which I was to receive a reprimand to be the opening paragraph to the epic poem Beowulf in Old English.

Even with this information the reprimand was simply reworded so that I was no longer chastised for hanging a non-curriculum related poster, but for knowingly hanging such a poster for the sole purpose of attempting to make the principal look stupid because I knew she wouldn’t know what it was.

I didn’t do that. She did.

On another occasion I wanted to get my American Literature students interested in attending lecture by Edward Albee that was going to be presented for free one evening at a college just up the street from the high school.

It was one thing for me as the American Literature teacher to explain American drama to my students, but it would be a much better thing to have it explained by one of America’s leading playwrights.

However, because he was not included in the class textbook , I was forbidden to bring Albee up in class as the principal and her assistant decided that the lack of such inclusion meant he was not relevant to my course.

Although I had been forbidden to teach him in class or show any video excerpts of any of his plays, I did recommend his lecture to my students, and for that I got reprimanded.

I was able to relate this story to him the night of his talk.

Although Mark Twain was included in the textbook, my request to show my American Literature students some of Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight was not allowed because it, too, was not related to the American Literature curriculum.

Another time that I was called to the office for a reprimand was when two athletes in my American Literature class went to the office to complain that one day in class I had used the “N” word repeatedly and without justification.

Whenever I covered Langston Hughes in class I would read his essay, “When the Negro Was in Vogue”, and then randomly assign each student one person he had mentioned in his essay, Eubie Blake, Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, Noble Sissle, Bessie Smith, Fats Waller etc, so they could do research on them when I took the class to bank of computers in the library, and report what they had found to the rest of the class.

These two students had refused to look up their assigned person or report on them to the class, and rather than accept the zero for not doing the assignment, something that could result in their being placed on the sports ineligible list until it was done, chose instead to make the complaint so that I would get in trouble, and they would be off the hook.

The ploy almost worked, as, once again, I was called to the office and reprimanded this time for insensitivity to my students for having used the “N” word repeatedly in class. However, I was able to explain that I had not arbitrarily used the “N” word in class, not only because I had been reading an essay from Langston Hughes, but the word he had used in his essay was “Negro” which was acceptable at the time he wrote it.

Not willing to give up the chance to add one more document to their expanding file of things to misrepresent to the Board, I was reprimanded any way, and forbidden to use the word “negro” in class under any circumstances, or to read anything to my class from that point on.

I am very familiar with false accusations, twisted information, and the disciplinary actions that a teacher could face due to them, or the desire to have an excuse to discipline a teacher for personal reasons.

So what is happening in Kansas caught my attention as a targeted teacher there could face unnecessary and foolish discipline because of fabricated reasons or because of a misguided, and perhaps, purposeful complaint.

This week the Republican controlled state Senate in Kansas, rather than accept a school disciplining a single teacher who had exercised poor judgment, passed a bill that would make it easier for teachers to face criminal charges for showing material deemed offensive.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Kansas National Education Association have rightfully claimed that the bill is just too broad.

According to the ACLU, “The bill’s definition of materials that are “harmful to minors” is overly broad, and would prevent the distribution of materials that educators have determined to be age-appropriate. The restrictions imposed by the bill will tie the hands of Kansas educators, preventing them from providing the education that students want and need and that parents expect.
Most seriously, SB 56 could criminalize teachers simply for distributing handouts, displaying posters, or sharing educational information. Teachers should not be criminalized for doing their jobs”.

Teachers could be charged with a class B misdemeanor and face up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

As an art teacher from Wichita, Liesl Wright, told The Wichita Eagle, “I’d be in trouble. I was showing my high school art students charcoal drawings of nude people just today. I do it all the time. You know when the religious laws regarding art are more restrictive than the European Renaissance, you’ve gone too damn far.”

There are always going to be people who complain about something that they might find offensive whether there is any real justification for that complaint.

Science teachers might show pictures of the human anatomy, particularly the so called naughty bits that a parent might find offensive.

A literature teacher might have the students read a work of literature that a parent might find offensive. There are any number of American classics that have been the object of complaints over the years based solely on personal taste or imagined offense.

Classrooms would be controlled by the “Heckler Veto” that says that someone somewhere may someday complain about something.

This bill would have a chilling effect on the classrooms in Kansas, and this may spill over into other states as well.

Depending on the politics of a school, a complaint could be supported, or even suggested to a parent by an administrator for personal gain.

From my experience there is little protection to prevent a teacher being the victim of a complaint that has no validity beyond political, religious, or personal animus.

The legislation will now move to the GOP-controlled House in Kansas, and, judging on some of the craziness going on in red state legislatures, could show up anywhere.

Bibi vs George


Next week Bibi Netanyahu is coming to speak to both houses of congress, having been invited behind the president’s back, for the purpose of undermining the president’s actions regarding diplomacy with Iran.

Those who are responsible for his invitation, and those who defend it, claim that Israel is our strongest ally, and we have an obligation toward it.

Even if the American people do not accept what Netanyahu has to say and decide to stay with the course laid out by President Obama, if Israel decides to start a war with Iran on its own, we will be dragged into it as an ally.

Since those defending the invitation are the same ones who selectively quote the Founding Fathers when they want to support whatever they feel needs that support, perhaps they should review what the most referenced Founding Father had to say about such alliances.

From George Washington’s Farewell Address:

“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it – It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.

Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.

Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy.

The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld.

And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other.

Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns.

Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard”.

Geo. Washington.

The inaugural pledge of Thomas Jefferson?
“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.”

So do we stick with the Founding Fathers, or go with Bibi?

The one part of conversion therapy the ministers will love.


Back in the mid 1990’s, when I had first arrived in Oklahoma City, I wanted to learn about my new home. In the past I had found one of the best ways to do that was to get involved in the community, and as I had been a Gay Rights Activist elsewhere, I figured getting involved in Gay Rights activism there would work.

I joined a group, Simply Equal, that seemed to fit the bill, and because of that group I had ended up on a committee that was going to help fine tune the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

There was a swearing in and everything, so it was an official committee, not just a concerned group of people seeking change.

Besides cleaning up any language that already existed, the committee thought it would be a good time to add “sexual orientation”. No one on the committee had a problem with that, but some members of the city council did as did many Baptist ministers in town.

When the new language was presented to the city council, not only did the members object to the inclusion of “sexual orientation”, they also decided that in order to avoid any further discussion or any problems that might result from the rejection of this term, they would simply disband the city’s Human Rights Commission thus becoming the first, if not the only major city and capitol of a state to do away with such an existing commission.

Just as some red states are now finding the most convenient way to avoid same sex marriages by not having the state involved in performing any marriages, the city of Oklahoma City decided that in order to avoid having to deal with the human rights of its GLBT citizens, it would not be involved with the human rights of any of its citizens.

Basically, this was as a result of the actions of the Baptist ministers of the local Baptist Convention.

At the City Council meeting when all this happened the people sitting in the public seats were divided with the GLBT community members and their supporters on one side of the chamber and the ministers on the other.

While those from the GLBT side, which included at least one Rabbi and a few open minded Christian clergy, presented facts, figures, and studies to illustrate the need for the inclusion of “sexual orientation”, the Baptist ministers based their objections to the inclusion in a civil ordinance on their interpretation of the Christian religion.

One minister, the main Baptist minister in town, stood up at one point and claimed his objections were based on the lewd things that all Gay people engaged in. To illustrate that to which he objected, he explained to the city council that he had driven across the border to Texas where he had purchased some Gay pornography so he could show the council members and his fellow ministers the horrible sex acts that all Gay people, to his way of thinking, enjoyed.

He not only followed up this part of his story by describing in great deal some of the lewdest acts he had found, but he held up opened copies of the magazines he had purchased for all to see, including those at home watching the council meeting on local cable.

As a modern day parallel, his claiming that all Gay people committed the sexual acts it had taken him time to choose after browsing the shelves of the adult bookstore would be equivalent to saying that all heterosexual couples enjoyed the practices contained in Fifty Shades of Grey.

I found this rather ironic since it was a Baptist minister who not only went into great detail about some pretty lewd and specialized sexual acts, but had driven across state lines to buy pornography that, while legal in Texas, was illegal in Oklahoma, and then had held up the open magazines for people at home to see including any children who might have been watching with their parents.

Before he passed his “evidence” up to the council dais, he first passed it to the minister to his right, and the magazines then made a slow progress from one minister to another as each flipped through them to see what they contained.

Pornography that was purchased in a state where it was legal had been brought across state lines where the possession of such pornography was illegal, was first held up so it could be seen on cable, and was then passed around the City Council chamber.

And, no one, not even the City Council members, objected to that, especially none of the ministers who seemed fascinated by what they were viewing.

I was renting a room in the house of a friend’s grandmother at the time, and when I got home that afternoon, she told me she had been watching the council meeting and could not believe what she had seen on her television.

I thought I would recount this because in Representative Sally Kern’s original iteration of her conversion therapy bill clergy played a prominent role in the therapy she wants protected, as did shock therapy.

The role of the clergy has been lessened, and shock therapy was totally removed, but, pornography, which plays a role in the therapy, as does intimate touching, has been left in.

However, in light of my experience, and as things are getting more radically conservative in the state of Oklahoma, there seems to be plenty of room for malpractice.

And I have to wonder that if the clergy is too involved in conversion therapy, will pornography play too major a role.

And will the ministers ever get around to showing it to the patient.

Laws should be based on the Constitution. Period.


One has to wonder with all the distortions of religion that are invoked to justify the ill treatment of people by politicians, if Jesus was to come back, would they find fault with Him because He is not judgmental.

A few years ago, during my sojourn in Oklahoma, an incumbent conservative politician was fending off his challenger. The office holder was a Southern Baptist who presented his being a Christian as a major reason for keeping him in office.

When his challenger, who was also a Christian, but not a Baptist, pointed out that he, too, was a Christian, the incumbent agreed that he might be, but he was not the right type.

He was from a different denomination, not the “right one”.

After Rudi Giuliani offered his assessment that President Obama was not a true Christian, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin took the easy way out when asked if he agreed with Giuliani by saying the president might be a Christian, but he didn’t really know, Erik Erickson of Fox News offered his opinion, “I don’t think Barack Obama is a Christian. He certainly is not one in any meaningful way”.

How ever you define a “meaningful way”.

The Constitution bans a religious test for the office of president, but it seems that certain politicians, who are considering a presidential run, are awkwardly making one’s religion an important issue.

Religion is irrelevant to who holds the office of president. The president is there to look out for the common good and general well being of every citizen, not any particular group.

These people are attempting to create a division between “us” and “them”, and have decided that since religion is important to many people, division along those lines would be most effective, especially if they can present a narrative that claims one group of people is attempting to attack and destroy the religion of another.

I have to assume they approve of what goes on with the Shiites and Sunnis and won’t be happy until there is a domestic holy war here and are betting that their denomination prevails.

Kern’s pervert employment bill


Rep. Sally Kern has found a way to create jobs in Oklahoma.

In spite of the obvious potential for abuse, anyone can now claim to be a conversion therapist and can hang up a shingle claiming it.

There is  no certification for such a practitioner, and no one in a real position dealing with children can say anything if they have a concern.

Unless she has found a way to limit such therapy to her husband’s church and those of her other clergy friends, she is opening a career field for child predators.

And she claims it is to keep children safe.


Rudy’s rudeness


Rudy Giuliani claims President Obama does not love America, you know, like he does. I guess Obama’s best way to express this lack of love is to become president.

It’s like with teachers.

For my 38 year career I constantly heard people, administrators of schools and school districts among them, claim that teachers do not like children.

I guess we took the low pay, some often crappy working conditions, and the very often abusive treatment from our administrators, who had a penchant for inventing requirements and quite often did not support us, so that we could be in the classroom every day trying to make the lives of those we hated better.

But I digress.

According to Rudy, Obama was not brought up like the rest of us.

There will be those who will do mental and verbal gymnastics to deny it, but we know what he means, Black kid brought up by his white mother because his African father left, and who was not brought up in a totally “American” environment.

Fact is, we are all pretty much brought up differently even in our own neighborhoods.

My father went to a legitimate job every day until he was forced to retire. My mother was a loving wife and mother.

Standard upbringing in Post War America: Boston-Irish Catholic, schooled by nuns, altar boy, Cub and Boy Scout, little league, unless you went to public school, were a protestant or Jew, got into something other than scouts, spared yourself having to quit little league, like I did, because you never signed up to begin with.

As a matter of fact, in hindsight it would appear that in spite of general similarities, there were quite a few differences in the upbringing of most kids I knew.

Rudy’s father, Harold, was the enforcer for the loan-sharking operation run out of his uncle’s bar, and did time in Sing Sing for holding up a Harlem milkman.

We obviously were not brought up the same way.

Another way Obama’s upbringing shows his lack of love and a big difference is that, in spite of the numerous rumors spread as news in those checkout counter gossip rags that have him Gay, Michelle a drag queen, and his having been thrown out of the white House because he likes a certain unspecified entertainer, he is still married to his wife, Michelle, and has raised two daughters.

Rudy, for his part, married his second cousin, Regina Peruggi with whom he had been raised, then had that marriage annulled through the intervention of the priest who had been his best man, basing the annulment on their being cousins.

How very Henry VIII of him.

His second wife, and the mother of his two children, Donna Hanover, found out that he wanted a separation so he could marry the woman, Judi Nathan, whom he had been dating while still married to Donna when she heard it along with the rest of us at a news conference .

Difference in upbringing, I guess.

A major sign of his love was that he had gone to Judi Nathan’s house in the Hamptons at least 11 times charging the public $3,000 for each trip since he brought along a number of police officers.

Apparently the $33,000 total and the police escort were because it was official business.

To prove his love of country is greater than the president’s Giuliani also stated, “I would go anywhere, any place, anytime, and I wouldn’t give a damn what the President of the United States said, to defend my country. That’s a patriot. That’s a man who loves his people. That’s a man who fights for his people. Unlike our President.”

However, Rudy got 6 deferments during the Viet Nam War, one resulting from a special exemption orchestrated by the federal judge he was clerking for.

But this could be because of the different way he was bought up.

Although he had always done his work under an alias, Rudy’s father made sure that the draft board knew who he really was so that his felony history would keep him out of service during WWII. His uncles found ways to avoid service as well.

Obama’s uncle helped liberate Buchenwald and paid a psychological price for that.

Giuliani also claims that Obama is “more of a critic than he is a supporter of America”.

On the Kelly File on Fox he said, “I’m not condemning his patriotism — patriots can criticize. They’re allowed to criticize. I don’t hear from him what I heard from Harry Truman, what I heard from Bill Clinton, what I heard from Jimmy Carter, which is these wonderful words about what a great country we are, what an exceptional country we are. When he called us an exceptional country, he said we’re an exceptional country, but so is Greece.”

Yet, the president has publicly said:

“I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy; our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ That is the true genius of America.”

“These people are a part of me. And they are part of America, this country that I love.”

“The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.”

“The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known.”

“Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each others’ backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard.”

“We keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon knowing that providence is with us and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.”

“I just spoke to Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Congressman Ryan on a hard-fought campaign. We may have battled fiercely, but it is only because we love this country deeply and we care so much about its future….What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we except certain obligations to one another and the future generations so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for comes with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love, and charity, and duty, and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.”

“If we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody, and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead.”

“I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions.”

As far as Giuliani’s claim that the president equated American Exceptionalism to Greece, what he actually said was, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I’m enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that — though imperfect — are exceptional.”

So what exactly did Rudy Giuliani mean first by saying Obama does not love America because he was brought up differently than the white middle aged, monied people he was talking to when he made his statement, and then by claiming that President Obama never speaks of the United States in any way other than to put it down, or apologize for it?

I think it is clear he is attempting to feed the fear of the other.

He knows such a fear is a useful tool as it was one Italian Americans had to deal with from the great migration until World War II.

He has learned well from those whose tactics he should reject.

Big Day.


My friend, Mary Jo Kinzie, has been contacted by Freedom Oklahoma to speak at a news conference Monday, Feb. 23 in anticipation of Representative Sally Kern’s committee, Children, Youth & Family Services, taking up Kern’s “Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act,” (HB 1598) which seeks to legitimize and provide special state protection to a dangerous and discredited practice of “conversion therapy” that has been denounced by every major medical and mental health association in the country.

She will be speaking as executive director for the Oklahoma chapter for the National Association of Social Workers.

Hopefully members of the committee will recognize this legislation as harmful and not supported by any recognized profession, including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

She would like people to contact members of the committee to express their concerns.

She would also like people to remember that the phones are answered by staff, and not the committee members, so remember, just as at the airport when your flight is delayed or cancelled, it’s not the person behind the counter or who answers the phone who did that, so they should not be the target of any anger.

The contact numbers are
Sally Kern 557-7348;
Pam Peterson 557-7341;
John Paul Jordan 557:7352;
Jason Nelson 557-7335;
Tom Newell 557-7372;
Pat Ownbey 557-7326;
George Young 557-7393;
and Ben Sheerer 557-7364.

The bill number is HB1598.

The press conference is at 10:00 am on the fourth floor in the press room, across from the snack bar.

Good luck Mary Jo.