By Paul Likoudis, The Wanderer, November 5, 1998
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – How easy is it for a homosexual activist with 20 years of experience in “gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered ministry” to use a Catholic archbishop, “contaminate” Catholic schools, and frustrate the parents of Catholic school students?
It’s very easy, according to homosexual activist Bill Kummer, who publicly disclosed his step-by-step plan that transformed nine of the eleven Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis into “gay-friendly” schools.
He has been so successful, as a matter of fact, that he can proudly boast that some Catholic high schools in his archdiocese have gay student clubs, survey students on their “homophobia,” publish gay newspapers, have queer literature in their libraries, and even permit same-sex couples to dance at their high school proms.
In just three years, Kummer claimed, under his direction, Catholic high schools have adjusted their curricula to include gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered ideology in most classes, including history, literature, science, religion, and even math.
And if any parents of Catholic school students dare object to what he’s doing, well – there’s always an affirming letter from Archbishop Harry J. Flynn to squelch them.
Speaking to his fellow Church workers at the September meeting of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, held in Rochester, N.Y., Kummer explained that the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment approach” is the best shield for advancing the homosexual agenda in Church structures and overcoming opposition from “fringe parent elements.”
Kummer, who is cofounder and general coordinator of Family and Friends of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Persons in Catholic Education, which works with the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese’s Catholic Education and Formation in Ministry office (as well as the pro-life office and the office for separated and divorced Catholics), conceded to his audience that opposition to the homosexualization of Catholic schools is growing, but it’s still easy for school administrators to quell parents who object.
And in a revealing moment, Kummer – who serves on the Catholic Committee on Sexual Minorities and who has taught and held administrative posts in Catholic elementary and secondary schools – illustrated how he has “worked” Archbishop Flynn. Responding to a questioner who asked why Flynn would exempt two Catholic high schools from participating in the archdiocese’s “safe staff” program – which trains administrators, faculty, and staff to be gay-friendly and supportive of homosexual students – Kummer explained that “we’re trying to be respectful, trying not to push too hard” lest “we be perceived as too political.”
But Kummer quickly added that “as we move along in the process with other schools, some of this will rub off [on the nonparticipating schools] and be kind of – in a good sense – a contaminating effect…
“If people aren’t ready to embark on this, there’s no sense in spinning your wheels, trying to get them to do something they’re not prepared to do.”
Chuckling throughout his presentation, Kummer was suddenly afflicted with continuous laughter as he spoke of how he used the archbishop and his office to dispel parental opposition to his homosexualist agenda for the schools:
“We don’t have any real official statement at this point from the archbishop on this – other than what he told school presidents and so forth. But the way we get it – especially as we face opposition from parents – especially white, heterosexual, upper-class – you know, that whole thing – they always have to have their way at any cost – but – and the way we’ve tried to work with that is to get schools that are engaged in the process, for example, to write to the archbishop – and it’s a kind of a way to touch base and kind of say this is what we’ve been doing over the past year or two, this has been a blessing for our school, yielded these benefits, these fruits, and so forth and so on – and he’s happy to write back and say all kinds of wonderful things in personal correspondence.
“The value of that in this stage of the process is that it’s a letter that can be used appropriately. Okay?
“So, if an administrator, and often this is the case, has some parent – a delegation of parents – that come in and say, ‘I just found out after this has been going on for a whole year and I’m just sick to death to hear this and I want it stopped immediately and blah, blah, blah, and we’re going to pull our funding’ – and so forth and so on – and appropriately, that school president might take that letter out and say, ‘Well, you know, the archbishop is behind this and here’s a letter he just sorta wrote to me.’
“Now, some people might say that’s a little backhanded kind of backwards way to do it, but you’ve got to be creative about this and you gotta sorta use what works and anything that works, use it, as long as it’s ethical and so forth and moral and doesn’t get you caught in a corner.”
This boast reveals the homosexual educators’ determination to exploit and abuse the very bishops who authorize their excursions into Catholic schools to spiritually and emotionally ruin the Catholic families and children that the schools purport to serve.
This tactic – of using a contrived “personal” letter from the bishop, as if it were an official document, to bamboozle any parents who might have the knowledge and courage to oppose what Kummer is doing – is a masterpiece of Alinskyite manipulation: to identify, divide, isolate, and demoralize the opposition.
His remark that anything that works is fine as long as it “doesn’t get you caught in a corner” is the same immorality exemplified by Bill Clinton.
Another tactic Kummer suggested is to have a chancery official at school meetings where the gay agenda will be introduced.
One of the “pivotal” and “controversial” events Kummer described was held in November, 1997, at which members of all the high school boards were present – in the midst of rising parental ire at the intrusion of the homosexual agenda in their schools – along with vicar general Fr. Kevin McDonough.
“The archbishop was not there,” Kummer related. “I don’t know where he was that night. But the vicar general was there, and the vicar general, I might tell you, is generally very supportive of what we are doing in our archdiocese, but all he managed to try to get out that night was celibacy. That’s all he kept talking about, was celibacy” – and here, mocking the vicar general’s voice, laughing uncontrollably, Kummer spit out: “It’s very important to maintain celibacy.”
“And so, you know, people kept questioning that through the evening – ‘Well, but I thought the point of this was’ – not so much – I mean, we all agree that sexual abstinence, particularly for adolescents – is a very, very good thing for obvious, for obvious reasons.
“So we were kinda looking past that and saying but isn’t the point of this safe schools? Isn’t that really the point that we’re trying to really promote here, a climate, or an environment that fosters not only safe schools – safe schools for everybody, but also the kinda climate that can be affirming, inclusive, and so forth regardless of anybody’s sexual orientation or sexual identity?
“But it didn’t really matter: The reason I share this with you is because the long and short of it is that it didn’t matter what the vicar general said: The very fact he was there people took as permission to go ahead. That’s the lesson of that particular event.”
Of all the presentations at the Rochester NACDLGM conference, Kummer’s was, far and away, the most explicit in detail on how gay activists employ tricks and subterfuge to achieve their goals.
Kummer’s project began three years ago, he explained, when the Catholic schools in the archdiocese were suddenly faced with a large number of adolescents announcing their “coming out.”
“A lot of people threw up their hands. There were no policies, no procedures. Presidents were getting alarmed. In one school, 23 kids presented themselves [as gay]. The presidents met with the archbishop who decided there needed to be some sort of official response,” Kummer said.
A study group was composed, initially of school presidents, who quickly bowed out and appointed administration, faculty, and staff to take their places.
As Kummer explained, initially, the group was composed of “impassioned straight persons, and impassioned GLBT persons.” Then his group was asked in as a “community-based resource,” at the invitation of Sr. Mary Ellen Gevelinger, O.P., a chancery “insider who had the ears of the power brokers,” in Kummer’s words.
Sr. Gevelinger is director of personnel and placement for archdiocesan schools.
Kummer immediately seized control of this fabricated “crisis” and imposed a prearranged plan to implement the gay education agenda in the Catholic high schools.
Under his leadership, the study group set three objectives, which he described as:
- “Present the accurate and full teaching of the Catholic Church because many people reduce that to three paragraphs in the Catechism and we all know there’s much more than that.”
- “Provide a respectful and faithful position that unites the archdiocese through the archbishop, the Catholic Education and Formation in Ministry office, and community groups,” i.e., homosexual activist groups.
- Develop a “strategy to respond to express needs, i.e., kids presenting themselves.”
Nine Catholic schools agreed to continue in the study group, and to develop it as a “place to network and share resources and give tons of support to each other.”
Kummer’s organization, Family and Friends of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Persons in Catholic Education, was accepted as a full partner with the school personnel and the archdiocese.
The study group then declared its agenda: full faculty in-service programs to sensitize teachers to homosexual issues.
Immediately, some faculty members objected because they sensed that the materials with which they were instructed contradicted Church teaching. Other teachers wanted to know why they had to receive this instruction.
“The response we were tempted to make,” Kummer said, “was ‘the archbishop said so,’ though we didn’t like to because sometimes an appeal to authority can backfire.” In some schools, he continued, where as many as one-third of the teachers are evangelical, a lot of teachers wanted to opt out because they didn’t want to get involved.
For faculty and staff who attended the meetings, Kummer’s job was “to bring people up to speed on Church teaching. A lot of people have a time-warp on this issue – the Church of the ’50s – that’s where they left off and so that’s what they brought to the table – what it said in the Baltimore Catechism – or, ‘I always thought this was a choice’ – so there was a slow and painstaking process of providing training opportunities.”
Kummer’s commitment paid off, and his first great achievement was developing and implementing an “inclusive curriculum.”
“That means we take the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience and find ways to write that into the curriculum,” he explained. In this project, “we don’t write the curriculum and say ‘do it.’ We are part of a process and offer it as part of a program for literature, art, religion, and history. . . . It gets really interesting when you get to the basics. Math teachers have told me how they’ve included it in math programs…”
An example he cited is: If a certain city has such-and-such a population, and x percent is gay and x percent is lesbian and x percent is bisexual and x percent is transgendered, what is the total percentage of people who are GLBT?
The next step was to form a core group of teachers who would sign up for ten hours of training to be “safe school staff.” The course was titled GLBT 101, and had a 250-page training manual with “lots and lots of handouts” designed to help teachers understand and learn “coming out strategies” for GLBT youth, family issues, family dynamics, cultural and professional issues, and “pastoral practices.”
Next, the study group defined its “operating principles”:
- First: It must provide “storytelling” opportunities for gay and lesbian students in Catholic schools and provide a safe and affirming environment for such students.
- Second: It must respect the “culture and climate” of each school. “What you can get away with in one school isn’t what you can get away with in another school,” Kummer said. For example, in some schools it is accepted that gay students can attend the prom together, but in others it would not go over well.
- Third: “Empower families and students to be advocates for themselves.”
- Fourth: “The process must involve the entire school community,” and the benefit here is that it “relieves general tensions that exist around the issue of sexuality and reduces the level of homophobia: It frees a lot of our students to think much more broadly about such things as gender role stereotyping – that’s something that affects a lot of straight people, too.”
Kummer also offered a list of “keys to success.”
- First is the importance of having sustained, committed leadership among school administrators.
- Second is to “develop a lot of allies” both within and outside the Church. Here, Kummer cited Bernardin’s “seamless garment” strategy as the basis for his approach for help from the archdiocesan pro-life office and the office for ministry to divorced and separated Catholics.
- Third, “always, always, always be open to the Holy Spirit,” especially “when trouble is brewing.”
In addition, Kummer exhorted his listeners to be committed to “walking the journey” with gay students; of being committed to keeping the schools united in their mission. “When trouble arises, it’s time to connect,” he said.
Since his project began, there have been many successes, including: a student-written publication, The Rainbow Journey, which focuses on gay and lesbian student issues; “liturgies celebrating diversity,” commissioning rituals for safe staff; “lots and lots of articles and op-ed pieces in school newspapers,” one of which, “Is God Homophobic?,” was “a real barn-burner . . . a lightning rod for discussion in the parishes”; “protocols for restorative justice,” i.e., a “process that tries to bring offender and victim together”; a zero tolerance or anti-slur policy which mandates that any student who makes an anti-gay remark will be severely disciplined; a support group for GLBT students; student diversity committees in schools, some of which conduct surveys on homophobic attitudes; teen retreats for GLBT students; antidiscrimination policies that allow same-sex couples to attend school proms; the formation of GLBT alumni groups to come into the schools to talk about their coming-out experiences; and the influx of gay reading material into school libraries and media centers.
Among the challenges Kummer cited, the first was the sense of job insecurity many gay and lesbian faculty members feel, “especially those in relationships,” because archdiocesan policy requires that such persons, if “outed,” be fired.
Another is the growing opposition of the “fringe parent element” which is demanding that these programs be shut down. In one Catholic military school, said Kummer, “parents are putting together a hit list – to figure out who are the gay and lesbian teachers…
“The reality is that’s out there. We knew when we began we’d get opposition. That’s why we moved quietly the first few years. And it’s usually not the usual protocol when schools implement new programs to inform the entire school community. Usually, you wait till the program takes effect and then you inform,” said Kummer.
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Officials of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, including Fr. McDonough and Thomas McCarver, director of the Catholic Education and Formation in Ministry office, were contacted for their observations on Kummer’s activity, but were unavailable for comment.
Sr. Gevelinger returned the Wanderer’s telephone calls, but was not able to provide any useful information. Asked if she knew Bill Kummer, she replied, yes. Asked if Kummer is a teacher in a Catholic school in the archdiocese, she replied, “I can’t answer that question. That’s a privacy issue.” Asked if she could, at least, disclose whether or not Kummer is teaching in a Catholic school, without naming the school, Sister repeated her previous answer: “I can’t answer that question. That’s a privacy issue.”