Magazine article The New American

Standing Up to One-Way Diversity: Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Used Its Annual "Diversity Week" to Promote the Homosexual Agenda. but Resistance Resulted in the Event's Cancellation

Magazine article The New American

Standing Up to One-Way Diversity: Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Used Its Annual "Diversity Week" to Promote the Homosexual Agenda. but Resistance Resulted in the Event's Cancellation

Article excerpt

Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has an enrollment of about 2,700 students. For more than a decade prior to 2003, it held annual "Diversity Week" confabs that included general assembly programs, "open mike" sessions during lunch hours, multi-cultural music and food activities, and panel discussions on the topics of race, religion and sexual orientation.

Diversity Week 2002 was held March 18-22, and, as usual, the Pioneer High Student Council had responsibility for organizing the week's activities, pending approval by the council's faculty adviser. For the 2002 conclave, however, the council broke with tradition by inviting other student groups to assist in arranging the race, religion and sexual orientation panels.

The only response to the council's solicitation came from the school's pro-homosexual Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), which asked if it could run the sexual-orientation panel. Sunnie Korzdorfer, the Student Council faculty adviser, agreed to the request and turned the entire sponsorship and administration of the panel over to the GSA and its faculty co-sponsors.

In earlier years, the Diversity Week panelists were students, but the GSA decided to modify both the composition and format of its discussion group. Rather than "sexual orientation," the topic was changed to "Religion and Homosexuality"; and instead of student panelists, six pro-homosexual, adult religious leaders were asked to comprise the panel. Parker Pennington IV, one of two GSA faculty advisers, later admitted that the panel members (two Episcopalian ministers, a Presbyterian minister, a Presbyterian deacon, a rabbi, and a pastor from the United Church of Christ) were chosen "because the institutions they represent were welcoming and affirming" with regard to homosexuality. Some even wore their clerical garb during the panel session.

Opposing Viewpoint

Elizabeth ("Betsy") Hansen was a senior at Pioneer High at the time. She graduated in June 2002 and currently attends the University of Florida. A devout Roman Catholic who believes that homosexuality is a sin, she was also a member of the student organization Pioneers for Christ (PFC).

Betsy had earlier expressed interest in participating on the sexual-orientation panel to espouse her traditional biblical position on homosexuality. When she learned that the GSA had been allowed to co-opt the event, and that only adult religious leaders would serve as panelists, she asked faculty adviser Korzdorfer if she could invite an adult clergyman of either her (or PFC's) choosing to participate. Since the GSA did not want a viewpoint other than its own represented, a controversy ensued. But after the Ann Arbor Public Schools equity officer (a licensed attorney) opined that Betsy should have a voice on the panel, Korzdorfer, with school Principal Henry Caudle's blessing, canceled the panel.

GSA's faculty advisers promptly protested the cancellation. Though Korzdorfer did not reverse her decision at the time, she asserted in an e-mall response: "I am treading on shallow ground here, as I do not want to be sued. However, I support and believe in your vision of the religion discussion. Let me know how I can more fully show my support."

During a March 15, 2002 meeting attended by school officials and the faculty advisers for both GSA and PFC, it was decided to again reverse course and allow the Religion and Homosexuality panel to proceed as originally planned, with neither Betsy nor anyone else representing her religious position permitted to speak. Just one school day before Diversity Week began, Pioneers for Christ was invited to arrange its own separate panel discussion; PFC faculty advisers Bill Johnson and James Brink, recognizing they would have insufficient time to properly organize an event on such short notice, understandably rejected the offer.

So the Homosexuality and Religion discussion went forward without so much as a single panelist to challenge claims that scriptural references to homosexuality had been misunderstood or mistranslated by others to mean that homosexuality was immoral or sinful, or incompatible with Christianity. …

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