Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Grant Me Patience? Too Late.

I rarely do this, but let me take a moment to point, aghast, to a letter to the editor in today's Coast Press newspaper.

One Maria Johnson, of Georgetown, has written a letter asking "Is AIDS education a sly 'agenda'?"
Is it true that there's a poster contest in the middle and high school sponsored by CAMP Rehoboth to recognize HIV and AIDS? Do other organizations like heart or cancer foundations, pregnancy care centers, Alcoholics Anonymous, or domestic abuse groups go into schools and tie up young people's emotions, energy and brains with their stuff?
Okay. First let's check on that "is it true?" question. A Google search finds the CAMP Rehoboth web site, where a small amount of perusing shows us that, yes, CAMP Rehoboth did sponsor a Student Art Contest this fall as part of the local World AIDS Day activities.

The contest was one of two activities added by local sponsors for this year. The other was a Wall of Healing, Remembrance and Prayer at Epworth United Methodist Church.

The Art Contest wasn't intended to "recognize" HIV and AIDS, though. It was designed to call attention to the risks of HIV infection that young people face. Here's what the organizers had to say:
CAMP Rehoboth chose to sponsor the Student Art Contest out of deep concern with the latest statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control. The data establishes that 50% of all new HIV infections occur in young people under the age of 25. In addition, national case surveillance data for people ages 13 to 24 revealed that the burden of HIV/AIDS falls most heavily and disproportionately on black and Hispanic youth. CAMP Rehoboth believes that accurate, age-appropriate information is our best hope for reducing these trends for our young citizens. By working with Sussex County school districts, CAMP Rehoboth hopes to ameliorate this situation.
And yes, Ms. Johnson, quite a few other issues-based organizations sponsor student arts contests, essay contests, and the like. My daughters have both been winners in fire-prevention essay and art contests, and young people we know have won citizenship essay contests and that sort of thing. It can be rather a positive experience.

Let's see what else Ms. Johnson had to say.
There's a whole page of support groups in the Delaware State News. If there's a private matter that a student needs help with, maybe a guidance counselor could direct the young person to a support group or a helpful foundation.
I'm not sure why you would limit yourself to the State News, but directing kids to guidance counselors makes excellent sense. I quite agree.
I am not a gay-hater, but this example demonstrates that the gay agenda is being slyly and forcibly taught to children in schools. I think people should be aware of this, and I think CAMP Rehoboth should be kept out of our schools.
You are not a gay-hater? Let's leave that to one side for the moment. I can say, though, that something can't be both "slyly" and "forcibly" done. I think those two adverbs are mutually exclusive.

If the "gay agenda" is to teach young people about the risks of unprotected sex and the dangers of making poor choices, then I say bring on the homosexuals as soon as possible.

And by the way, let us not suppose that HIV and AIDS are only a gay issue. We know well that AIDS affects gay and straight folks alike.

But this is silly. CAMP Rehoboth is not in the schools trying to turn young Sussex Countians into gays and lesbians. If you spend your time worried about this sort of thing, please get a clue. Or a life.

As it happens, I have gotten to know a few of the founders of CAMP Rehoboth over the years. The Executive Director, Steve Elkins, is in the Epworth Church bell choir with Karen. His partner Murray Archibald, CAMP Rehoboth President, is a lay leader in the church.

Both gents are much more religious than I am, but I am sometimes at the church and they have been most welcoming and friendly, despite my less-Christian status.

By the way, if you were wondering, CAMP Rehoboth stands for "Creating a More Positive Rehoboth."

1 comment:

Joe M said...

Unbelievable. My favorite thing in the world is when people let their fear and prejudice blind them.

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