News Articles

Doubt voiced over BBBS claim of parents’ consent for mentors

WICHITA, Kan. (BP)–One reason not to be upset with the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ new policy permitting homosexual mentors to children and youth — according to The Wichita Eagle — is that “no child is matched [with a volunteer] without a parent’s full consent.”

That assertion, however, is being challenged nationally by the American Family Association, the Donald Wildmon-led organization based in Tupelo, Miss.

The AFA, on its www.afa.net website, cites a letter from the UPS Foundation to its supporters as a key example of corporate sponsors “caught in a web of deception” with Big Brothers Big Sisters — sponsors that “continue to feed concerned consumers misleading information regarding [the organization’s] policy regarding homosexuals who spend time with young boys and girls.”

The UPS Foundation letter notes in part that “all matches between volunteers and children must be approved by the parents. Any information suggesting otherwise is simply misinformed.”

Yet Noreen Shanfelter, a BBBS spokesperson, contradicted the statement when quoted in The Washington Times, saying, “It is possible [a homosexual] could be assigned to a child at school without the parents knowledge, in some cases.”

A copy of a mentoring program permission slip displayed on the AFA website, meanwhile, provides no information about a potential mentor. The after-school based program guidelines specifically state that parental approval is “Not required.”

Randy Sharp, AFA director of special projects, said, “National sponsors like UPS, Verizon and others bought the false propaganda fed to them by the national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. [It] has said publicly some parents have no knowledge that their child’s mentor is a homosexual, yet corporations are touting [its] ‘other story’ to their customers.”

AFA has asked its supporters to contact UPS and Verizon and remind that the BBBS-supplied information is inaccurate.

“Encourage them to re-evaluate their association with an organization which allows homosexuals to spend time with children,” the AFA noted.

— UPS contact information:
Chairman Mike Eskew
55 Glenlake Pkwy., NE
Atlanta, GA 30328
Toll Free: 800-742-5877, option 0
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

— Verizon contact information:
Verizon Communications
CEO Ivan G. Seidenberg
1095 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Toll Free: 800-621-9900
Email: [email protected]

The Wichita Eagle, in an Aug. 22 editorial, reported that Karl Monger, the executive director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County, said, as the newspaper paraphrased it, “Parents who say they don’t want their children to be matched with a homosexual will never be asked to consider it.”

The editorial stated that parents retain “the right to do what they believe is best for their kids. No doubt, for many that will mean saying no to a homosexual mentor. For some, it will mean saying yes. In either case, it’s the parent’s call.”

Wichita pastor Terry Fox said he doubts whether the crucial information will be clear to parents.

Fox, who has spoken twice from his pulpit against the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ new policy permitting homosexuals to mentor children and youth, said he has seen a permission form a parent would fill out in Wichita for BBBS participation. The reference to sexual orientation is in small letters in the middle of a paragraph — “not very obvious for sure, which brings me to have concerns that a parent would even notice it.”

Fox said he is “not convinced that parents are fully brought into compliance with [the choice] or have full understanding of that policy.”

Fox said he has received three phone calls from parents in other parts of the country who placed their children in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs but did not become aware of the volunteers’ homosexuality until later in their children’s relationships with the Bigs.

Fox also stated, “We believe this is an immoral lifestyle — perversion. Many of these kids are coming from dysfunctional backgrounds. We should never be in a position to recommend perversion to children under any circumstances, even if the parents are aware of it.

“Parents’ knowledge of something doesn’t necessarily make it right,” Fox said.