It’s Tuesday in November in White Plains, New York and time for the annual PrideWorks conference. School buses packed with middle and high school students drop off load after load at the Westchester County Center, where the marquee displays the event’s rainbow-enhanced logo.
On the sidewalk stand two well-dressed, polite women who hand out flyers to students as they exit the buses. The message? “There’s another way, one full of hope.”
Why would these kids need such encouragement? Because they are about to listen to authoritative but misleading voices of decadence, bigotry, sexual confusion and anger, disguised as “freedom” and “civil rights.” And there are even community organizing influences, false faith and radical politics thrown in for good measure.
PrideWorks 2009 was the 11th annual all-day event held on November 17 to indoctrinate students, teachers and other interested parties in the acceptance of “gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered” behaviors and lifestyles. Students from area schools are given a day off from academics. Many attend with other members of their “gay” clubs. Some of these underage youth are there without parental knowledge or permission. PrideWorks is sponsored by the Hudson Valley chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, with support from county government, IBM, Pepsi, and a few professional education groups.1
While an array of deceptive, manipulative and explicit workshops are underway inside the large auditorium, two women who have been following the event for years are gently speaking on the sidewalk about real hope and change that comes by rejecting such destructive, dead-end messages.
Jeanne Sparks first attended the event in 2006. She was aghast at the inaccurate and harmful information she heard. And typical of many venues advocating homosexuality to kids, some teens openly confessed they were attending without a parent’s knowledge. Jeanne decided to begin distributing truthful information at future conferences, so at this year’s event, she and a friend handed out testimonies of ex-homosexuals.
This year’s PrideWorks workshops included How to Start a GSA [a “gay-straight alliance,” or homosexual school club], LGBT 101, Political Action 101, Latino Families Discover the Rainbow, Putting the B in LGBT [about bisexuality],and De-Bunking Anti-Gay Myths in the Bible, presented by a United Methodist minister, a Unitarian minister and a rabbi.
This isn’t the first year an inaccurate, anti-Christian message was presented as “fact.” A workshop in 2008 featured excerpts from the distorted pro-‘gay’ propaganda piece, “For the Bible Tells Me So.”2
One session this year was “How to Be a Straight Ally,” a session promising to “teach you how to evaluate your own homophobia and heterosexism, as well as teach you advocacy skills.” Eliciting confessions of one’s presumed “homophobia” is a strategy of left-wing indoctrination. The PrideWorks session was taught by a United Methodist minister.
The keynote speech was delivered by Alan Van Capelle, executive director of New York State’s principal homosexual lobbying group, the Empire State Pride Agenda. According to his bio, Van Capelle gives priority to “grassroots organizing both inside and outside the LGBT community. “ 3 Sounds a lot like “community organizing,” especially when one also reads that Van Capelle was formerly a political director for the left-wing union, SEIU. SEIU (Service Employees International Union) has been publicized for its thug-like tactics. Purple-shirted SEIU members were filmed physically assaulting a citizen attending one town hall meeting.4
This isn’t the first extremist from GLSEN to influence students. In fact, the group was founded by one. Kevin Jennings, a former homosexual teacher and ACT-UP member, started GLSEN in the early 1990s. Jennings is now Obama’s “czar” for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education.
ACT-UP, the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, is well known for its vandalism, vulgarity and disruptive tactics. At a Sunday mass in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1989, the group’s members screamed obscenities while standing in pews, tossing around condoms, and displaying blasphemous pictures.5
With such poor role models, it’s no wonder kids may be looking for a different message than offered at PrideWorks. Jeanne Sparks and her friend decided to fill that need if possible.
“We were able to give out about 150 testimonies, and then the kids refused to accept them from us as they exited the buses,” Jeanne said.“We were grateful to give out as many as we did before, I assume, they were told not to take our materials.”
After that, the two women were told to stand behind a barricade on the sidewalk. At lunch, and even during workshop sessions, students came outside to ask questions and to dialogue. The two women continued to hand out materials and to tell them change is possible to those who want it.
“We told them we were not ‘protestors,’ as one young lady called us, but we were just saying, ‘There is another voice, another way.’ We spoke to more students this year, with only two of us than we did in the past two years,” Jeanne said.
Teacher Agitated by Conference
“At dismissal, we were approached by a young educator who was visibly shaken,“ Jeanne related. “She asked us, ‘Are you Christians?’ We said, ‘Yes, we are.’ ‘Oh, thank God, thank you, thank you for being here. I am not here because I want to be. I have to be here as a part of diversity training.’”
She went on to say how horrible it was to sit there and listen to what they were telling the kids. Trembling with emotion, the teacher was deeply distressed after hearing the lies, deception and blasphemy that GLSEN and the GSAs in middle and high schools routinely promote as natural, reasonable and factual.
Jeanne Sparks and her friend gave the teacher their hand-outs, which provided a truthful viewpoint. “It’s not right to force teachers to do this, but if they go, I pray they have the same response,” Jeanne believes. “We need more teachers to speak up about this issue.”
Using Kids for Militant Goals
Why have a major “gay” political leader as the main speaker to middle and high school kids? Perhaps fostering early indoctrination into radical political ideology—and the enlistment of grass roots recruits —is a higher priority than helping students with their personal questions and struggles. However, revolutionary tactics are sold to impressionable adolescents by manipulating personal drama into political goals.
Left-wing radicalism on campuses and in venues throughout America follows this disturbing pattern. Marxism and sexual identity politics go hand in hand, with the young easy to recruit.
PrideWorks starts by nurturing rebellion on the home front. “When I attended the conference in 2006,” said Sparks, “I realized that most of the workshops were about the promotion of homosexuality as normal and natural, and same sex marriage as a civil right. This year, with Alan Van Capelle as keynote speaker, they no longer are trying to hide their motives. Out of 25 sessions, it seems as if only three dealt with ‘tolerance or anti-bullying.’”
“This is a highly politically- charged conference and our students are pawns in the hands of GLSEN,” Jeanne continued. “They are using our kids to accomplish their agenda. In 2006, they had an open mike session and the room was packed with kids who stated openly that their parents did not know they were there. GLSEN promotes rebellion to parents and to God, and so do the Prideworks conferences. Why are we allowing this?”
This trend of mindless, hate-filled dissension only worsens as students reach college age and are recruited into openly revolutionary groups that also support the goals of “GLBT” politics. FIST is one such group. FIST—“Fight Imperialism Stand Together”-- describes itself as “a national group of young activists committed to fighting racism, sexism, oppression of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, and exploitation of the working class, all of which result from imperialism and capitalism.”6
One of the FIST leaders, Larry Hales, addressed a rally in Washington on November 7, 2009, calling Ft. Hood killer Nidal Hasan a “brother” who had a “right to be p***ed off.” Hasan had a right to strike back because of the oppression against Palestine, Hales said, and he continued by saying that “struggle” is the only way to overcome a “brutal, oppressive, homophobic society.”7 Hales is a contributing editor to the communist Worker’s World magazine.8
Irrational, misinformed and virulently negative attitudes are woven throughout the “gay” political agenda, one more reason for parents and communities to oppose its propagation among youth. The soul of sexual confusion can readily fixate on added causes— supposed “racism”(seen in virtually everything), “sexism,” etc. – and a heart of poison implanted in a young life. Desperate parents often look back and wonder, “What happened? How and where did this start?”
It starts with lies and corruption in conferences like PrideWorks, directing kids down paths of destruction.
Gentle Voices of peace
In the midst of this confusion and darkness, Jeanne and her friend decided to take a sensitive approach. They simply stood and offered printed material, giving witness to the love of Christ and a hopeful alternative.
“From the beginning of our day to the end at 3:00 pm, we sensed the power of God with us to peacefully present the truth with the love of God to hundreds of kids,“ Jeanne said. “I remember their faces and many names, and I will pray for them.”
Jeanne believes Christians must be involved in confronting such events. “If we show up, God is there. Salvation is of the Lord,“ she said. “May we all, co-labourers with Christ, enter into His mission to rescue the lost, and bring and be the light in the dark places.”
- PrideWorks 2009 program
- PrideWorks, 2009, op. cit.