As the stigma of homosexuality fades from public discourse, people are becoming more open about their sexuality and doing so at an earlier age. This is a sign of a healthy society. Yet, there is a segment of society that is deeply disturbed by this trend and it manifests itself in our schools as anti-gay bullying. The result has been a rash of suicide among gay teens across the country.
In an effort to stop this mindless harassment, Michigan is in the middle of passing “Matt’s Safe School Law” (official title SB 137) named for 14-year old Matt Eppling, a gay teen that committed suicide in 2002 as a result of bullying. Sounds like a reasonable response but that’s only if you’re a normal person. To a Republican, SB 137 steps on our constitutional right to hound someone until they kill themselves.
The exact language inserted by Republicans:
THIS SECTION DOES NOT ABRIDGE THE RIGHTS UNDER THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR UNDER ARTICLE I OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION OF 1963 OF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, SCHOOL VOLUNTEER, PUPIL, OR A PUPIL’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. THIS SECTION DOES NOT PROHIBIT A STATEMENT OF A SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEF OR MORAL CONVICTION OF A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, SCHOOL VOLUNTEER, PUPIL, OR A PUPIL’S PARENT OR GUARDIAN. (emphasis mine)
So if you really believe that homosexuals are evil and immoral, it’s perfectly fine to tell them so as much as you want. Hell, your parents can get in on it, too! You can all get together and scream “You’re a goddamn disgusting fag and you’re gonna burn forever!” whenever you feel like it!
Just so we’re clear: this would be bullying a homosexual student.
But it’s OK because it’s a religious belief! Isn’t it funny how religious conservatives use their religion to excuse so many behaviors the civilized world considers to be immoral? Let’s put it to what I like to call the “Muslim Test”: Would these same tireless defenders of the Constitution allow a group of radical Muslim students to direct their “sincerely held religious belief” that infidels should be converted or killed at a lone Christian student until that student was good and terrorized?
Don’t be stupid! That would be bullying the poor child and that would be wrong!
Muslim Test: Failed as always.
Once again, we see the Right indulging in its favorite past time: cloaking its bigotry and hate in “religious freedom.” In this instance, the freedom to drive children to suicide over a few cherry picked verses from the Bible. Because nothing says “Love thy neighbor” like bullying people you don’t like.