THE BLOG
09/15/2010 03:14 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

How Many Teens Have to Die Before Focus on the Family Gives a Damn?

Another teenager killed himself because of bullying and anti-gay harassment. This one was in Minnesota, and his name was Justin Aaberg. The local news report is here. School officials, wary of conservative protests, did nothing.

This comes on the heels of the suicide of another teenager in Indiana, one who never actually said whether he was gay but who was mercilessly harassed nonetheless. His name was Billy Lucas. The local news report is here. Again, school officials did nothing.

Eleven-year-old Jaheem Herrera of Atlanta hanged himself with a belt. His mother had complained to the school authorities about the bullying he endured, but they did nothing. Seventeen-year-old Eric Mohat of Mentor, Ohio killed himself after being called "gay," "fag," "queer" and "homo," and after a student said, "Why don't you go home and shoot yourself? No one will miss you." Eleven-year-old Carl Hoover of Springfield, Mass., hanged himself with an extension cord. School officials did nothing.

These are just the ones who lately made the news.

Focus on the Family, a right-wing lobbying group that fronts as a religious organization, pays lip service to the bullying issue, but wants no mention of homosexuality in schools because it might encourage kids to be gay -- this in spite of the fact that the vast majority of bullying is directed at teens who either appear to be gay or are actually out, not those who are fat or wear glasses.

If Focus on the Family thinks that the mere mention of the topic will prompt impressionable children to suddenly turn gay, they need to immediately see a neurosurgeon. They do anyway, but that's a another story.

Same for the Family Research Council, a right-wing lobbying group that fronts as a religious organization that purports to be helping families, but does nothing to help families with gay members in them. In fact, they're part of the problem; in the guise of fighting a "gay agenda" in the schools, they help to make the actual problem worse.

School officials, running scared from screaming religious fanatics and conservative parents who have bought into the lies of Focus and FRC, are afraid to actually address the issue. Sometimes school officials are religious fanatics themselves. It's the same with teen pregnancy. By merely saying "abstinence only," they do nothing to help teens, who are going to be sexually active whether school officials like it or not, make sane choices. There's a reason why teen pregnancies are highest in the most conservative, religious states. But don't take my word for it; look it up.

Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, and similar groups don't actually give a damn about these kids or their families. They couldn't care less how many of them are beaten within an inch of their lives or actually take their own lives. What matters to them is power, influence, and promoting an extreme religious agenda to help them hang on to said power and influence. They are deathly afraid that some of the kids might not grow up to be as bigoted as they are.

The facts are that when schools actually mention sexuality, bullying goes down. It's been proven time and time again. When schools say some generic thing like, "Uh, leave other kids alone for any reason, please," it makes no difference whatsoever. Kids need to be told these things explicitly. They're kids.

The documentary For the Bible Tells Me So includes first-person testimony by a mother who raised her gay daughter ccording to the teachings of Dr. James Dobson, former head of Focus on the Family. The daughter killed herself. Dobson, of course, said nothing.

Lost in the hysteria of Quran-burning and mosque-building is the clear and present danger to our youth, and society in general, by these American "religious" organizations, their teachings, their agenda and their political influence with equally insane right-wing politicians, who callously turn away when the clear evidence of the atmosphere they help create manifests itself. In the name of Almighty God, they are evil. How about some good old Tea-Party-type energy directed against these people?

What's the difference between the Taliban and the Focus on the Family? About 7000 miles.