- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2000

Pro-family groups and several former homosexuals called on gay activists Thursday to be truthful to youths about the "realities and dangers" of their lifestyle, as thousands of homosexuals began gathering here for a massive weekend rally.

"We are lying to our children regarding fundamental issues of life and our children will pay the price … because they will face the consequences of what we are are telling them," said Michael Johnson, a former homosexual who founded an outreach program called Kerusso Ministries.

He and others who oppose homosexuality said Thursday at a "Tell Our Youth the Truth" news conference that there are no large counter-demonstrations planned to coincide with the three-day homosexual rally.

"I think you'll see a lot of the churches out there that will try to reach those people one-on-one," said Mr. Johnson, 40, who lived as a homosexual for 11 years and now has AIDS.

Homosexual activists plan a "Broadway-themed" dinner tonight, a mass same-sex "wedding" at the Lincoln Memorial Saturday and a march and rally on the Mall Sunday.

This year's "Millennium March" should concern parents because it has more of a youth focus than ever before, said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

"Several events over the next few days are devoted to teen-agers," he said. "We have a right to question the impact that homosexual and transsexual activism are having on the next generation."

Former homosexual Wade Richards, 21, said he knows firsthand the efforts of activists to assist confused teens. He called an "outreach" hot line when he was 13, he said, and the male phone counselor ended up flying to his hometown in Wisconsin where the two engaged in homosexual acts.

In 1997, Mr. Richards turned away from the homosexuality, and now, through a Los Angeles-based ministry, mentors those who have done the same. He was critical of school-focused organizations like Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

"As a young person, I would have been the same age as GLSEN targets," Mr. Richards warned. "It's time for parents, teachers … to stand up to what the gay activists are telling about the lifestyle."

Mr. LaBarbera and others Thursday called on families to speak out and organize against homosexual activists who are vigorously promoting what he calls "a victim rhetoric" that children are "naturally gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered," and must be protected.

Children, he said, are "coming out," as homosexuals at younger ages, often prompted by the education efforts of activists in public schools. An estimated 700 schools across the nation have clubs like the Gay-Straight Alliance, he said.

But the clubs and activists fail to inform children about the dangers of homosexuality, said Mr. LaBarbera, who called for a blanket school anti-harassment policy without reference to sexual orientation.

Scott Whiteman, executive director of the Parents Rights Coalition of Massachusetts, described how he registered for and attended a student conference at Tufts University in Middlesex, Mass.

Children as young as 14 received explicit descriptions of homosexual acts, complete with demonstrations and diagrams, at the event sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Education, he said.

As proof of the crudity of the "Teach Out" event, run by the Boston chapter of GLSEN, Mr. Whiteman, a law student, tape-recorded the sessions and has promised to distribute the recordings to parents around the nation.

Mr. Whiteman has asked the Middlesex district attorney to investigate three public officials who conducted the event for "corruption of minors." Executives from GLSEN/Boston have threatened to sue, serving him with a letter at Thursday's news conference demanding he "desist from any further distribution of the unlawfully obtained audio tape."

Mr. Whiteman declined, and warned: "These are dangerous times for your children in the public schools."

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