Friday, January 9, 2009

Milwaukee, the new San Francisco

I didn't realize we were on the liberal (or libertine) cutting edge here in the Milwaukee area, but evidently we are. Here is the web site of our gay-friendly Milwaukee Public School, which reportedly is going to be the first of its kind in the country to extend the grade levels it serves from high school down to middle school. Yes, middle school. The slogan for this school is "Where you can be who you are." But seriously, how many middle schoolers have a firm grip on who they are? They also say in their vision statement that they want to create "a safe environment where students will be treated fairly regardless of sexuality, ability, appearance, or beliefs." I wonder how fairly someone would be treated who expressed their Scriptural belief that homosexuality is sinful? (See Romans 1:24-28 or 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

This, of course, is just another sign of how far our schools have fallen, from promoting academic knowledge and learning to promoting a social agenda. But even more so, it's a sign of how the church needs to clearly proclaim both repentance and the forgiveness of sins, not only the sinful corruption of our humanity that homosexuality is, but also how Christ is the Lamb of God who bears and carries away the sin of the world. As we observe the Baptism of our Lord in the coming days, we are reminded of how the sinless Jesus became the homosexual and the adulterer Himself in the water of the Jordan, how He absorbed all of our sin into Himself and became Sin for us, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Only as those baptized into Christ do we really find who we are, holy and beloved and forgiven children of God.

The funny thing is, this hasn't really been a news item here in the local Milwaukee media that I've noticed. I don't think anyone wants to be labeled as hateful or bigoted by questioning the motives or the wisdom of this move. However, U.S. News and World Report picked up on the story. Here's a snippet of the article:

The Milwaukee Public School System will expand the services provided by its gay-friendly high school and apparently become the nation's first school system to create a gay-friendly middle school.

At a meeting two weeks ago, a subcommittee of Milwaukee's Board of Education unanimously approved the Alliance School's proposal to serve sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. The proposal gained unanimous approval from the full board by default when the item was not pulled for further discussion or a vote at last night's meeting. Alliance School lead teacher Tina Owen said the public charter school will begin accepting new applicants eligible for middle school in the 2009-2010 school year immediately.

Milwaukee's response to gay-friendly schools has been much different from other cities'. In Chicago, community leaders' concerns about creating a gay-friendly high school stalled plans to bring such a proposal before the city's school board. In New York City, protesters greeted students of the gay-friendly Harvey Milk High School in Manhattan's East Village on its first day of classes five years ago. But in Milwaukee, the Alliance School's birth as a high school and expansion to serve middle school students passed with no real opposition. Calls from social service organizations and parents urging Owen to create the middle school more quickly are the only responses she has received from the community, Owen said.

(Hat tip to Charlie Sykes for this story)

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