Quote of the day

"We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing. "

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hutcherson's school assembly invite causes new controversy

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, an outspoken opponent of gay rights who last week launched a stock-buying campaign to try to win influence over gay-friendly Microsoft, is apparently creating controversy again.
The administration at Mount Si High School, part of Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools, invited him to speak at a Thursday assembly honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
But when Hutcherson was introduced, some people booed him. As he wrote in a message to church members, "One of the sponsors stood up and challenged me during the assembly. Then one of the teachers called a gay newspaper."
Mount Si teacher Kit McCormick, who questioned how Hutcherson can support human rights if he doesn't support gay rights, told KING/5 that she thought the students should know the full story about the leader of the Antioch Bible Church in Redmond.
He's not about equality for everyone, she told KING/5, he's about equality for some people.
Mount Si Principal Randy Taylor told KING/5 he's scheduled a Friday morning meeting with McCormick to discuss the incident, but didn't reveal whether she would be reprimanded.
Hutcherson said in his message to followers: "I have been quiet as a parent, but now the line has been crossed. Pray for wisdom as I deal with this situation!"
On another note, Hutchinson is scheduled as a guest on Friday's Rush Limbaugh Show between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Eastern time for his annual football discussion. Limbaugh airs locally on KTTH-AM 770 between 9 a.m. and noon.
-- Casey McNerthney, Seattle PI, Jan 17, 2008


MtSiParents said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mr. Joel Aune
Snoqualmie Valley Public Schools
PO Box 400
Snoqualmie, WA 98065

January 21, 2008 (Martin Luther King Day)

Re: Ken Hutcherson, MLK, and Washington State Law

As the parents of current Mt. Si students, we’re not sure what worries us more, the administration’s insulting choice for a human rights speaker or your district’s poor reaction to the inevitable outcry. We are forever grateful for the courage of Ms. McCormick and the coverage of the local media; otherwise we would have never realized the nature and depth of this problem.

As I understand it, this is not the first time Mt. Si has dealt with this man or this issue. According to blog reports from teachers and students, Mr. Hutcherson was invited to address your students three years ago. Even then, a number of concerned folks raised concern. Now that we know this, you can’t blame us for fearing that someone high in your district has a secret agenda.

As you well know, Mr. Hutcherson is not famous for playing football, growing up African American, or preaching Christianity. No, he’s world famous for his militant stance against all homosexuals. Much of his “Christian preaching” uses twisted, violent imagery, equivocating homosexuals with society’s worst criminals:

“My idea here is to drop a spiritual bomb on D.C, like Spain, where they had the terrorist bomb.”

“I'm lovingly aggressive, [with gays] the same I'd be for a murderer or an adulterer.”

But that’s nothing. He also founded the anti gay extremist group Watchman on the Walls. He did so together with Holocaust Revisionist Scott Lively, the guy who wrote The Pink Swastika. In that book, Lively not only claims Hitler was gay, he preaches that the Nazis and WWII were the product of a vast gay conspiracy. As one book review states, the author claims that:

“because "sodomy" was a crime in Germany and many other countries both before and after the rise of the Nazi regime, it's perfectly acceptable that homosexuals were placed in concentration camps during the days of the 3rd Reich. By that reckoning, people today shouldn't be upset about slavery in Colonial America, because it was "legal" at that time. The authors point out that there was never a directive to murder all homosexuals in Germany, as there was against Jews. This is true, but, as they admit, homosexuals were killed in the camps, and through violent attacks on the outside. Yes, the number of gays killed by Nazis was miniscule compared to the number of Jews murdered, but so what? Does that mean no one can talk about it, or that we should pretend it never happened? Discussing the topic of Nazi homophobia in no way lessens anyone's respect for what Jews, political dissidents, Catholics, Romany, degenerate artists, etc., suffered under the 3rd Reich, unless you're hysterically homophobic, as these authors appear to be.

So despite all of this, the district tagged Hutcherson to speak again and once again, a few brave souls spoke out. This time however, the media caught wind. On January 18, 2008, the administration issued their first “apology” not to the parents or the students but to Mr. Hutcherson who, according to your administration, should never have been questioned in a public forum celebrating civil disobedience and civil rights. Then came your second apology to the parents, that informed us that Hutcherson came to speak on “MLK” and “racism” but purposely failed to tell us the nature of his “separate issue” which caused all the controversy.

For now, it appears that Mr. Hutcherson and the administration see eye to eye on their criticism of Ms. McCormick. According to the district, the main issue and main lesson here is assembly decorum, not human rights. That must be so because asking Hutcherson an honest question is much more destructive to MLK’s message than using a violent homophobe to deliver it. Even now, after Ms. McCormick has called him on the carpet, your damage control claims that Hutcherson was still a perfectly acceptable method to “stimulate discussion.”

I think it’s the district’s mission statement that claims your administration seeks to “foster acceptance, appreciation and respect for…the cultural and ethnic diversity of our community” and to “promote understanding and appreciation of the rights, duties, privileges and responsibilities in an ever changing world.”

Our legislature couldn’t agree more and recently passed amendments to RCW 49.60.010 which makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. So what message do you send our children and their parents when you give this man a school podium for any subject let alone human rights? Is it that difficult to find an admirable leader to speak about MLK? True, Hutcherson has a perfect right to his religious beliefs, but a public school has absolutely no right to promote it.

Since it was his day after all, it’s only fair we let MLK and his family have the final word on this subject. As many people are discussing on and off line, the ultimate irony here is that Coretta Scott King has spoken out repeatedly comparing the fight against gay discrimination to her husband’s grand struggle. “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people [and] to deny their humanity.”

In the end, your parents letter, encourages us to “discuss these issues with [our] children.” We found that a little challenging since your letter failed to tell us what Hutcherson’s “separate issues” actually were. Moreover, since it was your district not the parents that placed Hutcherson on a school podium and pedestal, it is your district that should now devote formal student time to a discussion of gay discrimination and how it fares under Hutcherson’s views, Washington law, and international human rights. Finally, we also request the district issue Ms. McCormick a formal apology for making her the scapegoat.

Concerned and Disappointed Parents

Anonymous said...

Is the PI Blog still active? I have seen only the posts on the Stranger SLOG, many of which are disheartening

Gayle said...

Wow, I am Kit McCormick's sister and only just now, got wind of this whole situation (I'm living in another state). I am in disbelief that the school board is actually reprimanding my sister for "disrupting" the school assembly over honoring her for bringing some truth to the situation? I am absolutely floored.

Anonymous said...

"Invite" is a verb, not a noun. It's "invitation". Come on, parents.