Family Research Council Video Spews Homophobic Lies About Kevin Jennings

December 15, 2009 4:59 pm ET

On December 15th, 2009, the right-wing Family Research Council released a hateful video about Kevin Jennings, the head of the Department of Education's Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools.  Predictably, the video is devoid of facts and full of homophobic smears.

Family Research Council Lies AGAIN About Kevin Jennings

Family Research Council Video:

NARRATOR: Kevin Jennings has an extensive record of un-renounced, radical homosexual activism, as well as professional neglect as a teacher that disqualifies him as the caretaker of America's public school students.

In the 1980s as a Massachusetts school teacher, Kevin Jennings was approached by a boy believed to be 15 or 16 who told Mr. Jennings he was seeking out adult male sexual partners in a bus station restroom.

FRC SENIOR FELLOW PETER SPRIGG: If people in certain professions, including teachers, suspect a child of being abused in any way, physically or sexually, they are required by law to report that abuse to the authorities.

NARRATOR: What was Kevin Jennings' advice to his pupil?

KEVIN JENNINGS: I hope you knew to use a condom.

NARRATOR: Jennings failed to report this incident to authorities, ignoring not only mandatory reporting policies, but also basic common sense that any parent would want their child's teacher to grasp. [FRC Video, accessed 12/15/09]

In Reality, No Sexual Contact Occurred & The Adolescent Was Of Age

CNN Debunked This Exact Smear Months Earlier.  As reported by CNN:

Conservative groups charge that Jennings, who is openly gay, condoned statutory rape and child molestation. That's in reference to an incident in 1988 when Jennings, who was a teacher at the time, did not tell authorities that a 16-year-old student revealed to Jennings that he'd had sex with an older man.

Now that former student is speaking out for the first time and telling CNN he did not have sex with that man at all. He did not elaborate on what he told Jennings at the time. Jennings could not be reached for comment late Friday.

In a statement obtained by CNN, the former student, who wanted to be called Brewster, wrote: "Since I was of legal consent at the time, the 15-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings 21 years ago is of nobody's concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my 'well-being' and that of America's students, they'll be relieved to know that I was not 'inducted' into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery."

[...]

Critics contend that Brewster was 15 at the time of the incident. But CNN has obtained a copy of Brewster's driver's license which verifies he was 16 at the time. The legal age of consent for sexual activities in Massachusetts is 16. [CNN, 10/2/09; emphasis added]

No Sexual Activity Occurred.  From MediaMatters.org:

The former student at the center of the Fox News fueled Jennings controversy has provided Media Matters for America with the following statement:

Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody's concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my "well-being" and that of America's students, they'll be relieved to know that I was not "inducted" into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery.

In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation's students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings' courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I'd be the proud gay man that I am today.

- Brewster

The Adolescent Was Of Legal Age At The Time Of The Alleged Incident.  From MediaMatters.org:

Media Matters for America has exclusively obtained the Massachusetts drivers' license of the student confirming that at the time of the incident, he was at least sixteen years of age -- the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

Jennings' 2006 memoir, Mama's Boy, Preachers Son, makes clear that he began teaching at Concord Academy, the student in questions school, in late August or September 1987.

The following scanned image of the student's current drivers' license has been heavily redacted to protect his identity.

This should put to rest claims made by Fox News and other conservatives that Jennings covered up "statutory rape" or "molestation."

F.R.C And Peter Sprigg Are Notoriously Anti-Gay

FRC: Homosexuality Is Unnatural And Harmful To Society.  According to its website, the "Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.  It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects." [FRC.org, accessed 10/1/09

FRC: "There Is No Convincing Evidence That A Homosexual Identity Is Ever Something Genetic Or Inborn."  The FRC position on homosexuality includes: "While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools." [FRC.org, accessed 10/1/09]

FRC's Robert Knight: Acceptance Of Homosexuality Will Result In More Unwanted Pregnancies.  In his 2008 work, Chaos, Law, and God: The Religious Meanings of Homosexuality, Jay Michaelson wrote, "many critics claim that homosexuality forfeits or betrays the masculine gender role, a critique sociologist Dana Briton calls a form of 'boundary maintenance.' For example, the Family Research Council's Robert Knight has predicted that the acceptance of homosexuality will reduce the value of masculinity, which will then lead to further societal decay: '[A] s man is reduced in stature, all hell will break loose. We'll see a breakdown in social organizations, with more drug use, more disease, more unwanted pregnancies. You're mainstreaming dysfunction.'" [Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Chaos, Law, and God: The Religious Meanings of Homosexuality, 2008]

FRC Policy Director: "Pro-Gay Theology" Is Pathetic.  The Dallas Morning News reported that Robert Knight, Family Research Council policy director, said: "We stick with the word of God, which is quite clear on homosexuality...You have to twist yourself into a theological pretzel to come up with a pro-gay theology. It's pathetic, the lengths they will go." [Dallas Morning News, 10/10/98]

FRC's Peter Sprigg: The Issue Of Homosexuality Is Not One Of Identity, It Is One Of Behavior.  In a piece critiquing Harvey Milk's posthumous Medal of Freedom award, Peter Sprigg wrote: "Pro-homosexual activists will describe the issue as one of identity - 'who they are.' But the real issue is one of behavior -- what they do. And what Harvey Milk (like other homosexual activists) wanted was not only the freedom to engage in homosexual sex, but the right to do so without ever being criticized."  [FRC.org, 8/12/09]

FRC's Sprigg: I Would Prefer To Export Homosexuals.  According to Andrew Sullivan, the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg said, "I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society." [The Atlantic, "The Daily Dish," 3/20/08]

  • Sprigg Apologized To Immigration Group For "Export" Comment.  Immigration Equality received an apology from Peter Sprigg for his "export" comments: "'I used language that trivialized the seriousness of the issue and did not communicate respect for the essential dignity of every human being as a person created in the image of God,' Sprigg wrote.  'I apologize for speaking in a way that did not reflect the standards which the Family Research Council and I embrace.'" [Immigration Equality, 3/27/08]
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