LGBTQ books for all? Muslim, Christian and Mormon parents unite in protest
Religious parents -- Muslims, Christians (many of them Ethiopian) and Mormons -- have united in Maryland to protest new requirements that their children must read (or listen to) books about LGBT topics, reports Bethany Mandel on The Free Press
In response to a lawsuit against Montgomery County Public Schools, a district court concluded that a parent’s right to opt out of a public school curriculum that “conflicts with their religious views is not a fundamental right.”
A devout Muslim, Raef Haggag has a daughter starting second grade. The district's list of approved texts alarms him. Among the featured books, writes Mandel, are: Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope; Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ People Who Made History, and "Pride Puppy!, aimed at children aged 3 to 5, which asks readers to search for images from a word list that includes intersex, drag queen, underwear, leather, and the name Marsha P. Johnson, a celebrated (and controversial) trans activist and sex worker."
Maryland law lets parents opt their children out of “instruction related to family life and human sexuality objectives,” which Haggag did in his daughter's first grade year. But the opt-out policy was revoked "when school administrators decided that the books fell into their English language arts curriculum rather than sexual education,"writes Mandel.
Haggag briefly worked as a public school teacher and his wife is an elementary teacher. He helped co-found Family Rights for Religious Freedoms (FRRF) to fight the new curriculum -- or restore the opt-out.
“It wasn’t just Muslim families who were concerned,” he said . “There were many other families of devout faith and we wanted to make sure everyone has a voice.”
Conservative parents want to be included too.
In most polls, a majority of people -- including the secular -- don't want gender and sex lessons in elementary school.