The Taipei Municipal Jieshou Junior High School recently invited a production company to show students a film called Smiling Cross.
The 2011 production by Passion 99 International Movie Co tells the story of a young male college student who longs for romance but who has difficulty meeting women.
Although the story seems innocuous, the question-and-answer session that follows is a textbook example as to why religious groups should be kept out of the public school system, reports taipeitimes.com.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tuan Yi-kang wrote on his Facebook page that at the end of the screening to an estimated 700 eighth grade students, the film’s lead actor appeared in front of the assembled children and “confessed” to taking the wrong path, a reference to being gay.
Finding god, he added, set him on the right path, and that is he was cured of his same-sex orientation. He concluded the session by telling the students to lower their heads and pray.
The lawmaker says he learned of the incident following outrage by parents that the school had signed off on the film and discussion.
Tuan said such schools should be responsible for teaching students to respect diversity but instead allowing anti-gay propaganda.
“Imposing a certain standard for one’s sexual orientation is torturous for gay students,” he said. “The school should not try to forcefully change a student’s sexual orientation.”
Ironically, Lin Tsai-jui, principal of Jieshou Junior High School said that the film was part of the school’s gender equality education and that the movie enables students to see that there are many kinds of options in life.
“Appealing to diversity of opinion to allow discrimination in the schools is a slap in the face for education,” the report says.
The Ministry of Education earlier this week celebrated the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the Gender Equity Education Act but various state education agencies are headed by members linked to homophobic religious groups.
According to Passion 99’s blog, the movie was played at dozens of schools, from primary and secondary schools to universities.
Passion 99 is fully funded by Passion 99 Harvest Church, a conservative Christian organization that is active in anti-gay demonstrations.
Allowing such vested anti-gay information into the state school system raises questions about the separation of religion and the state, the taipeitimes.com report said.
It pointed out that Article 6 of the Education Basic Act clearly states that public schools shall not engage in promotional activities for any religion or belief nor force administrative personnel, teachers or students to participate in any religious activity.