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Schools urged to stand up to bullying by American Family Association

WASHINGTON -- People For the American Way today urged schools to withstand pressure from the anti-gay American Family Association to drop out of an anti-bullying day organized by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The AFA has been pressuring schools to drop out of the Oct. 30 Mix It Up Day, in which children will be encouraged to sit with someone they don’t normally talk to at lunch, according to The New York Times. The AFA, which regularly pushes harmful anti-gay myths, claims that the anti-bullying day is meant to “promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools.”

“The American Family Association makes life harder for LGBT young people by pushing harmful myths and extreme anti-gay rhetoric,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way.

“Now, they’re stepping in to stop a program meant to combat bullying – including the bullying of LGBT and LGBT-perceived kids – in schools. Whatever our disagreements, we should at least be able to agree that encouraging kids to put aside prejudices and talk to each other is a good thing. That the AFA is now attacking a simple anti-bullying program because of fear of ‘homosexual indoctrination’ shows just how blinding their rage against gays and lesbians has become,” he said.

“The American Family Association is an extreme anti-gay group, and should be treated as such by the schools that it is attempting to pressure,” Keegan said.

People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch tracks the American Family Association’s anti-gay activities, including:

· AFA’s chief spokesman Bryan Fischer, the director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point, has held gays responsible for the Holocaust and likened them to domestic terrorists and Nazis who are intent on committing “virtual genocide” against the military. He asserts that “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office” and claims that gay pride events will lead to celebrations of incest, pedophilia and bestiality.

· AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”

· AFA vice president Buddy Smith says that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”

· Buster Wilson, manager of the AFA’s radio network claimed God used Hurricane Isaac to punish New Orleans for hosting a LGBT festival

· The head of the AFA’s women’s group led a boycott against "Glee" because she accused it of indoctrinating children in homosexuality and idolatry. The group also attempted to pressure J.C. Penney to fire spokesperson Ellen Degeneres because she is openly gay.

· The editor of AFA Journal Ed Vitagliano said that gay pride months are an affront to the Founding Fathers and will usher in “a return to pagan sexuality.”