Pacific Justice Institute’s Brad Dacus takes on law changing California sex education curriculum
Know & Go
Who: Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute
What: Speaking to the Nevada County Republican Women, Federated and Nevada County Tea Party
When: 12:15 p.m. Wednesday (Republican Women), 6 p.m. Wednesday (Tea Party)
Where: Casa Las Katarinas, 10100 Alta Sierra Dr., Grass Valley (Republican Women), The Foothills Event Center, 400 Idaho Maryland Road (Tea Party)
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, is coming to Grass Valley today to speak in opposition to the California Healthy Youth Act.
The law, enacted in 2016, ensures school districts teach grades seven to 12 comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education.
The law provides students with knowledge and skills about natural growth and development, body image, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, marriage and family. It also promotes sexuality as a normal part of human development, and teaches students what it means to have healthy, positive and safe relationships and behaviors.
According to the law, parents or guardians have the right to opt-out their children from “all or part of comprehensive sexual health education, HIV prevention education and assessments related to that education.”
The office of Assemblymember Shirley Weber, who authored the law, could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for the Informed Parents of California opposes the law because “(Representatives) are using our kids and our tax dollars to undermine families, parental authority, cultural values and the very principals this nation was founded on.”
The Nevada County Tea Party agrees, writing on its website, “The new revamped health curriculum lessons will conflict with the values taught at home and church.”
Jan Collins, president of the Nevada County Tea Party, could not be reached for comment.
The president of the religious liberties defense organization will first speak against the law Wednesday at a Nevada County Republican Women, Federated event and later at a Nevada County Tea Party event.
The Pacific Justice Institute has been listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Center is an organization that monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the U.S. and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies.
The Southern Poverty Law Center asserts Dacus and his organization have endorsed conversion therapy and fought against protections for trans children. The Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t return a phone call seeking comment on its classification of the Pacific Justice Institute as a hate group.
Dacus doesn’t deny the use of language cited, but said the law center misinterpreted him. He also called the center an extremist leftist organization.
“They started off on an important mission to fight hate groups, like the KKK and those being trampled on by groups in the South,” he said. Now, “they are very extreme,” attacking people like Ben Carson and those who don’t agree with their leftist viewpoints, he said.
Dacus published a video responding to the hate group label. He does not directly confront the nonprofit’s assertions, but says he believes in religious rights, parental rights and “true civil rights.” He believes gay individuals should have dignity, but previously opposed same-sex marriage, and does not support it today.
“I think (same-sex marriage passing) was a mistake,” he said, but added that we should not return to the days before it existed.
Dacus said he often wants to protect the civil rights of gay individuals — say, if they are personally harmed — but if the issue conflicts with someone’s religious belief, he thinks that belief deserves priority.
In 1993, Baptist minister Eugene Lumpkin was removed from San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission after saying homosexuals were an abomination, and that the Bible says gay men should be stoned to death.
At the time, Mayor Frank Jordan asked Lumpkin to step down from his position. Dacus, Lumpkin’s attorney, said removing the minister from the commission violated his constitutional right to freedom of religion.
“The issue was, could he be removed solely because of his religious beliefs untested onto his actions?” said Dacus, adding he “defends religious freedom for everyone” even if others perceive that as conflicting with their civil rights.
Dacus has also been said to support conversion therapy, a form of counseling meant to change the sexual orientation of gay individuals. The practice has been regarded as junk science by the American Psychological Association and previous practitioners, and has been banned in a number of states.
Dacus said he was misinterpreted, and that proper counseling — no matter the subject — should not pressure an individual, and make them feel depressed or lead to thoughts of suicide.
“If someone does not want counseling, they should not be forced to have counseling,” Dacus said, adding there can be good counseling on sexual orientation.
Dacus was also criticized by the Southern Poverty Law Center for comparing homosexuality to chain smoking, in remarking gay men have an average lifespan of 40 years. Dacus said he was not referring to gay individuals at the time – only people who partake in gay male sexual activity.
“That statement was talking about health ramifications of people not with that orientation but people who engage in that lifestyle,” said Dacus.
DACUS: WHAT I MEANT
The Southern Poverty Law Center also said Dacus likened same-sex marriage to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler’s rise to power at a rally in favor of Proposition 8, which California voters approved in 2008, eliminating same-sex marriage, before being ruled unconstitutional in 2010.
“There was another time in history when people, when the bell tolled. And the question was whether or not they were going to hear it. The time was during Nazi Germany with Adolf Hitler,” Dacus said at a rally.
Dacus said his words were taken out of context.
“Obviously, gays are not Nazis,” he said, adding that gay people were targeted by the Nazi regime.
Dacus said he meant the Christian church should not be silent on political issues, and should openly stand against same-sex marriage. If they don’t, he said, America, in supporting gay marriage without church intervention, could become like Nazi Germany.
Ultimately religion, Dacus said, should create tolerance, and personal religious beliefs need to be held sacred and protected in the political realm.
“We should not force people to compromise their sincerely held religious beliefs,” he said, even if that compromises the rights of others.
Dacus said though he considers the Southern Poverty Law Center a far-left extremist group, he acknowledged there are problematic far-right groups as well.
“Are there people on the far right who don’t have a heart of compassion, who have prejudicial feelings?” he said. “Yeah, you bet there are and we don’t try to placate that.”
Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at email@example.com.
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Editor’s note: The following is the 2021 Valedictorian Address for Ghidotti High School, given by graduate Amina Federspiel-Otelea.