Family Groups, Conservatives React to "It's Elementary"

By Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:02 PM EDT

(CNS) – Reaction to the publicly-funded video It's Elementary, which will be broadcast on public television stations around the nation in the next few weeks, continues to pour in from family groups, conservatives, and elected officials. (See related story)

David Miller, national field director of the American Family Association, has co-produced a video, Suffer the Children, to counter some of the claims made in the video.

"We felt that we needed to have some sort of response out there, exposing some of the claims of It's Elementary," Miller told CNS.

Miller says that the AFA's video "shows the viewer in It's Elementary's own words exactly what" the producers of the video are "trying to do and say."

AFA is distributing it's video to organizations and groups wishing to educate themselves about It's Elementary, Miller said, and is also calling on PBS stations that plan to air It's Elementary to air Suffer the Children afterwards as a counterbalance.

In a release, Concerned Women for America called It's Elementary "a masterful work of propaganda" and disputed the video director's claim that it is aimed at adults and educators.

"The target audience is children. Activists are after the hearts and minds of the next generation."

Andrea Sheldon, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, told CNS that "it's not elementary at all. It's anti-Christian bigotry."

Sheldon says that the version of the video that is appearing on PBS stations is "deceitful. . . They cut out the part where the child says that Christians want to torture gays," but, Sheldon says, an anti-Christian bias "shines through the whole thing."

Sheldon and Traditional Values Coalition plan to appear on radio and TV talk shows and meet with lawmakers to have the video removed from public airwaves.

The video, which is being run on public television, was funded by the San Francisco-based Columbia Foundation, People for the American Way, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the California Teacher's Association.

A private funder of the film is James C. Hormel, a controversial Clinton administration ambassadorial appointee.

The film has won several awards, including the prestigious C.I.N.E. Golden Eagle for Best Teacher Education Film of 1996.

The director, Debra Chasnoff, declared her lesbianism onstage in 1992 after winning an Academy Award for best documentary.