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Events and opportunities in Tucson

One opportunity that I want to stress just now is the unpleasant revelation that World Vision, an organization that I have supported for years with sponsorship and other gifts, has bowed to pressure from bigoted evangelical organizations and reversed their decision to hire LGBT citizens, even those in same-sex marriages, which was their original decision. However, they will not be doing that according to today's Huffington Post.

I am pretty much at a loss for words about this. World Vision has had so much respect, even internationally, that it is hard for me to believe that they would enter into open discrimination against American citizens who are just as much the beneficiaries of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution as I am. But so they say. I sent them an email commenting on it, and their automated reply mentioned that they are receiving a high volume of communications at this time, so I presume that there has been a reaction to this.

I do have a little girl in Haiti that I support through them, and I will not drop my sponsorship of her because she needs it on a much higher level that this dispute going on far from her in America. However, she will grow older and move out of the program someday, and then I will end my financial contributions to World Vision.

In its place, I would like everyone who wants to get involved with poverty and hunger to consider Food for the Poor, a nonprofit organization that collects money and distributes relief goods, especially food, to the most needy. Their website is foodforthepoor.org and there you can familiarize yourself with them and set up a contribution, either repeating or one-time. I will never send another cent to World Vision for anything other than my sponsored child in Haiti, which will free up a few dollars a month to send to Food for the Poor.

In other events, Refugee Horizons for Families, another relief organization that I am involved in, will be having a fashion show raising funds for their resettlement of their families. There will be a silent auction of clothing and jewelry featured in the fashion show, among other things; here is the pertinent information for those who can attend.

General Admission will be $10, except for UA/Pima Students, who only need to pay $5 for admission. If you are 55+ or bring a child, admission will be free. The event will take place at Lincoln Park, 4325 Pantano Road, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Another coming attraction for Tucsonans will be the South Tucson Fair, which is being held in conjunction with Cyclovia, a bike event in the downtown area. Streets will be closed to motor traffic and there will be a long bicycle promenade area down 4th Street to the fair, which will of course have food, entertainment and various attractions.

In other news, there was a major flap in southern Virginia that made national news, as an un-Christian school came down on one of their younger students. The young lady apparently did not look feminine enough to satisfy the school administration. The HP story says:

"Timberlake Christian School in Virginia sent a letter to Sunnie Kahle's grandparents and they said she wouldn't be allowed to go to school next year if she didn't follow biblical standards and look more like a girl.

"WDBJ television, [which covers southern Virginia in the Lynchburg/Roanoke County area generally], spoke with Doris Thompson, Sunnie's great-grandmother and legal guardian, who says Sunnie actually used to have long hair until she asked for a haircut when she was five years old.

"'She wanted to give it to a little child that had cancer who lost his hair. I said that's great, so we cut her hair and then she started wanting to dress in jeans and a t-shirt.'

"CBS says the school administrators found that students were asking Sunnie whether she was a girl or a boy, so the elementary principal, Becky Bowman, sent a letter home to her family in February saying: 'We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education.'

"The letter goes on to say that administrators can refuse enrolling for 'condoning sexual immorality, practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.' School administrators told WSET they're just asking Sunnie and her family to follow the school's guidelines. Sunnie's grandparents have since taken her out of Timberlake Christian School and enrolled in her their local public school."

Is she perhaps approaching a gender-identity passage? I don't know; do you? What does it matter, at her age? But if you don't like this story--and I don't--just give some thought to what it would be like for this little girl if the PUBLIC SCHOOLS began treating their students this way. We are not far from this situation.

School boards, legislators and charitable organizations are bowing their collective knee to primitive bigots who want not only the freedom to discriminate against children in civil law. They want to use quotes from the Bible to change our existing laws. They have no respect for your religion--they want you to live by THEIR religion.

As my longtime readers know, I have taken a position against home schooling because I fear that it provides, first and foremost, an inadequate education. Anyone who would trust me to teach any math beyond geometry would be making a mistake, and I will admit it. I also trace the beginning of large-scale home schooling to Jerry Falwell, one of the biggest evangelical leaders who posited home schooling as a way to get around integration of the public school system.

On Falwell's heels the primitive Christians started to make incursions into public education, running for school boards and changing the curriculum and, in the case of Texas, the actual textbooks to fit their beliefs (not yours).

But the possibility exists now that home schooling may be the only recourse for parents who want their child to get a conventional education rather than indoctrination into evangelical Christianity. Perhaps parents could band together to form charter schools that teach language arts, social studies, math and science instead of creationism and fundamentalism.

I may not be around to see the final situation when it all comes down after years of being up in the air over whether it is okay to force the schools to teach YOUR religious beliefs. I once wrote an article called "YOU can't do that because it is against MY religion." Examiner.com was kind enough to re-publish that article, which I appreciate, and it seems that putting it that way struck a chord with some readers.

I live and worship as an Episcopalian and I do not appreciate the attempt of evangelicals to influence what goes on in my spiritual life. Fortunately I am no longer worried about my children's education, because they have all grown up. Both of my sons graduated from college and my daughter is studying to be after graduating from high school years ago. I need not worry about their ability to cope with the "reality-based community." But they may have children someday; perhaps that will be my cue to re-enact my father's life and begin a school, as he did a long time ago in 1962.

Are you angry about this yet?