High School Offers Homosexual Porn, Parents Complain

Pete Winn | Senior Staff Writer | Monday, March 10, 2008

High School Offers Homosexual Porn, Parents Complain

(Editor's Note: This story contains references to graphic material about homosexuality and violence.)

(CNSNews.com) - Parents in Deerfield, Ill., are upset that a local high school is using books in advanced English classes this spring that they say are laced with graphic sexual content, pervasive expletives and mockery of religion.

Worse, the books - "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (Parts 1 2)" - are required reading for advanced placement English students at Deerfield High School, but a parents' group wants them removed.

"Who would have ever thought that we would be handing out pornography in public schools?" asked Lora Sue Hauser, executive director of North Shore Student Advocacy, and a Deerfield parent.

"The fact that this was required is even more astonishing," she told Cybercast News Service.

Hauser cites numerous examples of offensive passages from the text, including the following:

Man: What do you want?
Louis: I want you to f*** me, hurt me, make me bleed.
Man: I want to.
Louis: Yeah?
Man: I want to hurt you.
Louis: F*** me.
Man: Yeah.
Louis: Hard?
Man: Yeah. You been a bad boy?

(They begin to f***.)

(Louis slips his hand down the front of Joe's pants. They embrace more tightly. Louis pulls his hand out, smells and tastes his fingers, and then holds them for Joe to smell ... they kiss again.)

Hauser said her group formally challenged the use of the books in school, and a school district committee reviewed their challenge.

"It was quite a lengthy process," Hauser told Cybercast News Service. "They spent five or six weeks deciding whether this book should be removed. Their final answer was it would be taken off the required reading list and put on an 'optional title' list.

Peter LaBarbera, with Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, a conservative group, said the two books are simply parts 1 and 2 of a 10-year-old play on the topic of AIDS - one that has been heralded as "one of the great American plays of the 20th century."

In fact, playwright Tony Kushner won the Pulitzer Prize, and "Angels in America" won two Tony Awards. An HBO adaptation for television was nominated for an Emmy.

"It is defended as a literary work that shows forgiveness, kindness and compassion," LaBarbera said. "Of course, the first question that comes to my mind is, how many classical works of literature are there that show these virtues without delving into graphic homosexual sodomy?"

Parents like Hauser said the work, which even mocks the Catholic nun Mother Teresa, is porn - not literature - and offers bad messages:

Man: I think it broke. The rubber. You want me to keep going? (Little pause) Pull out? Should I --
Louis: Keep going. Infect me. I don't care. I don't care.

"There's no other way to describe this," Hauser said. "It is so egregious and so vulgar. I've been doing advocacy in schools a long time - and this is the worst thing I've seen."

She added: "It's an example of what I call 'the competition of edginess.' High schools across the country have this 'thing' going, where they choose literature or they choose programming or curricula that pushes the envelope, and keeps pushing the envelope - and now after years and years of it, this is what we've ended up with - clearly pornographic materials."

While the books may be pornographic, they aren't legally prosecutable as obscenity, as the parents' group soon found out.

"The first route we went down was the criminal, because we saw this as distributing material that is harmful to minors," Hauser said. "But basically you can't prosecute schools and libraries, because all they have to do is say there is some educational purpose for these materials."

Pat Trueman, who ran the U.S. Justice Department's obscenity enforcement unit from 1988 through 1992, confirmed what the group found out is true.

"Federal obscenity law says that material can be prosecuted as obscene if it appeals to a prurient interest - that is, a shameful or morbid interest in sex - and if it is patently offensive, and if it doesn't have any literary, artistic, scientific or philosophical value. That's the situation you run into if it doesn't have pictures and is just the written word," Trueman told Cybercast News Service.

The fact that pornographic books can be protected from prosecution if they have "serious literary value" doesn't surprise parents, but it is disappointing.

"These laws need to be changed," Hauser said.

Hauser noted that this isn't the first time that Deerfield High School and the school district have come at cross-purposes to parents. The district ordered 14-year-old freshmen to take a seminar that amounted to homosexual indoctrination, she said, and had them sign a confidentiality agreement promising not to tell their parents.

Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, is stunned by the actions.

"It's not enough that students at Deerfield High are being exposed to improper and offensive material relative to unhealthy and high-risk homosexual behavior, but they've essentially been told by teachers to lie to their parents about it," Barber said.

Calls to Deerfield school superintendent George Fornero and other administrators were referred to the district's communications director, who did not respond to interview requests prior to press time.

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