Kirsten Andersen

‘Righty or lefty?’: Quiz grills 7th graders about political/social preferences, not hand dominance

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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AURORA, CO, October 29, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Colorado parent is outraged after she says her twelve-year-old son was given a detailed and biased political survey asking about his views on controversial issues from health care to same-sex ‘marriage.’

The political survey was called “Righty or Lefty,” and asked students to rank their views on a ten-point scale, with one being the “extreme liberal” end of the scale and ten representing “extreme conservative” views.  Each question presented examples of the “extreme liberal” and “extreme conservative” position on a given topic before asking for the student’s opinion.

For example, regarding health care, the worksheet explained:

“Liberals believe that all Americans are entitled to health care when they need it.  Since health insurance is very expensive, liberals believe that the government should help those who cannot afford it.  Liberals believe that taxes should be increased, if necessary, to pay for health care.

Conservatives do not believe that Americans are entitled to health care.  Conservatives believe it is the responsibility of individuals to pay for their own health insurance.   Conservatives do not believe taxes should be increased to pay for health care.”   

And regarding same-sex “marriage,” the worksheet said:

“Liberals believe that gay people should be allowed to marry.  Since married people enjoy certain benefits at work (health care for spouse’s etc [sic]), and lower tax rates, then gays should also be allowed to receive these benefits.  Liberals believe that marriage does not need to be between a man and a woman, but rather, between any two people who are in love and want to be committed to each other.

Conservatives do not believe that gay people should be married.  Conservatives believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.  Conservatives believe that allowing gay marriage diminishes the value of marriage in our society and upsets the family structure that is important to society.”

Some of the other topics covered included abortion, gun control, criminal justice, environmentalism, education, free speech and religion, national defense, and taxes.

The survey was later sent home to parents, who were also asked to answer the questions.

One parent, stunned and angered by what she saw as an invasion of her family’s privacy, sent the survey back unanswered with the following letter:

“I am appalled by the “Righty or Lefty” poll. First of all it is nobody’s business what mine or my 12-year-old son’s political views are. Secondly, my own son does not even know what half of these issues mean until after discussing them with him. His answers vary greatly during discussion. His views will always change as he grows and as new issues arise and he learns that these things have an effect on his life.

As I am reading these topics, I have noticed the entire thing is pro-Liberal and con-Conservative, being completely skewed towards “Lefty-nicey/meany conservatives” ideology, which I do not approve of. The entire thing is unbalanced and an unfair and inaccurate representation. My family is NEITHER and I do not appreciate you or the school trying to pawn this assignment off on students who are too young to have valuable opinions on these subjects!

I do not know what importance this has as being an assigned worksheet for a “major grade” (has he has informed me). I do not want to hear about it being for a government assignment! Learning about government is one thing – but it is none of your business to try and pry personal information out of a child on extremely private information. I am excusing my son from this assignment and expect this NOT to be counted against his grade.    Sincerely, [redacted].”

The student’s great aunt shared both the survey and the mother’s comments with Stand Up For the Truth, a Christian radio show based in Green Bay, WI which also streams on the internet. 

The great aunt blamed the assignment’s intrusive nature on the controversial Common Core curriculum, but she also pointed a finger at the powerful Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided Jefferson County schools in Colorado with a grant to pay for an ongoing data mining effort to track students, their performance, their activities and even their families.

“If this assignment doesn’t necessarily fit the Common Core agenda, it certainly fits the agenda of those collecting private information on students and parents for the Jeffco School District nearby here in Colorado by a grant from the Gates Foundation,” the woman told Stand Up For the Truth.  “This assignment is clearly an attempt to collect private data from my niece and her family through her 12 year old son.”

While that might sound paranoid, leading critics of the Common Core curriculum have pointed out similar concerns.  Back in August, Diane Kepus of WatchdogWire highlighted Common Core’s National Education Data Model (NEDM), which will track, among other things:

  • “Bus Stop Arrival Time” and “Bus Stop Description”
  • “Dwelling arrangement”
  • “Diseases, Illnesses and Other Health Conditions”
  • “Religious Affiliation”
  • “Telephone Number Type” and “Telephone Status”

Michelle Malkin wrote an entire series on Common Core, paying special attention to NEDM and the way it will allow the federal government to harvest massive amounts of personally identifiable information about children and their families, which can then be shared with certain ‘partners,’ i.e. well-connected businesses and other organizations that have bought into the program  -- for example, the Gates Foundation. 

According to Malkin’s research, home-schoolers and religious families who reject traditional government education will be tracked by NEDM.  As originally envisioned, the NEDM would even have included such personal data as hair color, eye color, weight, blood type and dental status.

“How exactly does amassing and selling such personal data improve educational outcomes?” Malkin asked in her column.  “It doesn’t. This, at its core, is the central fraud of Washington’s top-down nationalized curricular scheme. The Bill Gates-endorsed Common Core ‘standards’ are a phony pretext for big-government expansion.  Individual student privacy is sacrificed at the collective ‘For the Children’ altar.”

Common Core, Malkin concluded, “is not about excellence or academic achievement. It’s about control, control and more control.”

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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