Some weeks ago, former Vice President Al Gore aptly suggested that when thinking people allow themselves to get into arguments with those who would deny global warming and climate change, they give such people and their arguments more legitimacy than they deserve. Just as most descent people are no longer willing to participate in conversations about the merits of racism, Gore suggests that we should no longer tolerate discussions that suggest that climate change is a myth. It’s not theory, it’s fact, and only those with a vested political or financial interest in the energy industry disingenuously argue otherwise.
In a startling cover story in the September 13th edition of the New York Times, reporter Erik Eckholm writes about the Anoka-Hennepin School District, just north of Minneapolis, where gay-bullying is alive and well because it is tolerated. With 38,000 students, Anoka-Hennepin is Minnesota’s largest school district. And for the record, most of this school district lies within the Congressional district of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Republican candidate for president.
Under pressure from the Minnesota Family Council,(MFC) the district has refused to establish programs and policies to put in end to gay bullying out of fear
that such efforts would give legitimacy to homosexuality. According to the Minnesota Family Council’s web site, “When a child has been deliberately misinformed about the causes of homosexuality and told that homosexual acts are normal and natural, all hope for recovery is taken away.”
So go ahead, beat the crap out of any kid who doesn’t fit the MFC’s definition of “normal?”
Not surprisingly, dozens of kids, gay and not, have been subjected to bullying, beatings and harassment; eight students in the school district have committed suicide. Efforts by well intended parents, students and teachers to discourage aggressive, anti-social behavior have been stymied by what they call the district’s “gag order” on discussions that might include the topic of sexual diversity. The district’s official policy statement stresses that
“Teaching about sexual orientation is not part of the district-adopted curriculum” and that staff “shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation.”
The world is taking a closer look at this school district and wondering, what the hell is going here? Why are so many kids taking their own lives? Why is the bullying going on? In cooperation with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, six current and former students of Anoka-Hennepin School District have brought suit, charging that teachers and staff
“…ignore, minimize, dismiss, or in some instances, blame the victim for the other students’ abusive behavior.”
Gay rights are not about changing anyone’s religious beliefs. It is about promoting tolerance and acceptance of people who are not breaking any civil laws, but who do insist on being who they are, not what others want them to be.
One can find numerous quotes from Biblical scripture on the web sites of Ku Klux Klan or White Aryan Nation that suggest that white Christians are superior to everyone else and entitled to their own countries. Most Americans, hopefully, repudiate or ignore such unconscionable reasoning; so why are we still letting groups like the Minnesota Family Council promote hate and threaten the safety of American children?
Would a school district in the United States take a neutral position on racial lynchings? Tolerance and respect for all human beings has nothing to do with
how people interpret scripture. Anyone who genuinely believes that every law-abiding child and adult is entitled to basic civil rights should be challenging Michele Bachmann and all the loonies on the extreme right to forthrightly identify whether or not they are affiliated with or supporters of Christian hate groups that tolerate bullying and actively promote intolerance for LGBT Americans.
If it’s now going to be OK to silence the liars and morons who insist on arguing that global warming is an unproven theory, is it any less important that decent people show zero tolerance for the gay-bashers who hide behind Bibles and “family values?”