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Believers against bullying (of gay kids, that is)

The media are full of lamentations  about anti-gay bullying in schools, a welcome focus on a subject I have written about  on this blog. Traditionally some evangelical Christians have been skeptical about, if not hostile to, efforts to combat such behavior, such as  the "Day of Silence" sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.  Their fear is that such efforts mask an attempt to insinuate the "homosexual agenda" into schools. (They are right if the "homosexual agenda" is to convince students that their gay classmates are worthy of respect and, yes, not candidates for "conversion").

At least some evangelicals, however, are boarding the anti-bullying bandwagon.  Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the conservative Grove City College in Pennsylvania, who is associated with the view that sexual orientation is sometimes fluid, has written an interesting piece defending gay-specific efforts against bullying. Let me quote:

"Gay groups want to enact legislation which specifically includes prohibitions on bullying based on bias toward gays or those perceived to be gay. Some Christian conservatives believe such laws communicate approval of homosexuality and thus disapproval of traditional Christian teaching on sexuality. My view is that evangelicals need to put ideological worries aside and become part of the solution. Addressing anti-gay bias doesn't require anyone to change religious beliefs about sexuality." The full article is here.

I suspect some gay rights activists will be suspicious of Throckmorton's peace offering. But it's certainly progress when evangelical Christians recognize that anti-gay bullying is a discrete and despicable phenomenon. 

-- Michael McGough





 

 

Comments () | Archives (22)

The comments to this entry are closed.

troy edwards

In Manhattan Playwright/Activist Larry Myers is working up a new play on bULLYING..
Dr Myers often tackles serious issues having them ironically fuse with pop culture icons
in New York City there s a new war zone with patrons of historic STONEWALL attcaked on the premises...guys walking in Chelsea jumped & mugged...............a new terrorism

Ironman Carmichael

Evangelical Christians don't need to announce to the world that they're against anti-gay bullying or harassment. They need to address the issue within their own ranks, starting with Focus On the Family and ending with Westboro Baptist.

Joseph

It may be progress, but inaction by any Christian is anti-Christ.

Just Ed

Another example of a group crusading for "equal rights" when what is they really want is preferential treatment. ALL bullying should be eliminated. A person who is being harassed and/or assaulted is no less victimized because he or she has been targeted for a reason other then their sexual orientation.

Newport

Just Ed thinks gays are asking for preferential treatment? Try walking into a school as an obviously gay teacher or student and see what happens; it's not what happens to an obviously black, Hispanic or Asian teacher or student.

Mike D'Virgilio

Since when do Christians of any stripe have to get aboard an anti-bullying bandwagon? To even write such a thing assumes Christians are for bullying homosexuals. This is calumny pure and simple. Because Christians believe homosexual action is morally wrong or sinful, doesn't mean they think it's ok to treat homosexuals with contempt. Doesn't make them phobic either, another calumny. They believe premarital and extramarital sex is morally wrong, but they are not afraid of it. What Christians are against is making homosexuality the moral equal of heterosexuality. If anyone uses this to treat homosexuals maliciously, they are not followers of Christ.

Robert

Please. Pat yourself on the back for having a thought that isn't totally against the teachings of Jesus. There's nothing Christian about these people.

miles beacom

Bullies are stupid people , but the "Christians" that advocate bully behavior are both stupid and ignorant.
The bible they profess to know and love says:
" Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

If not stupid and ignorant, then hypocrites, because there is no love in being a bully.

Dee

Numerous children at my son's former Catholic school in the Brentwood section of west Los Angeles suffered bullying. None of these children is gay but they are all still dealing with the effects of it. Bullying is wrong, no matter who the victim is. Let's not turn this into another gay issue.

J.Ho

Kids, actually people in general, are bullied because they exhibit weakness. Bullies will pick on you because they can. The right thing to do is to teach people to be strong, to stand up for themselves but also exercise good judgment to avoid conflict.

To raise up a special class of people is just another form of discrimination.

Raphael

Anti-gay bullying is despicable, but hardly "discrete".
Whenever evangelical and conservative groups campaign against gay rights and gay marriage, there is always a rise in anti-gay violence. Throckmorton is a bigger part of the problem than he admits.

A.

Thank you, Just Ed, I completely agree. The bullying needs to stop across the board, period. What message does that send to someone who is NOT gay, and being bullied?! In essence, they're being bullied twice--once by the original perpetrator, and the second time by a brainless institution who sees only gay bullying as something to be eradicated, not just bullying in general. Disgusting.

raymond

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "

- Steven Weinberg

Neil

I'm wondering about the Los Angeles Times and the character of their staff.
Today their journalists seem to be taking
swipes at the gay community in their opinion columns.
It seems like apologism for the religious faction.

I assure the Los Angeles Times that the contempt is mutual.
Not all bigotry is racial. The Los Angeles Times
would not dare make similar comments in support of the Klan
demonstrations.

Just Cirroc

Lord help any gay kid who admits to liking Sarah Palin.

Your tormentors will be wearing pink triangles, not crosses.

Major Variola (ret)

Gays are a small fraction of the adolescent population. Bullying of any kind needs to be treated seriously; physical bullying needs to be treated as assault.
School administrators should be liable under loco parentis rules for ensuring safety --zero tolerance for excuses.

Or, just bring a gun to school and solve it yourself. You get out at 18.

Kurt

I pastor a large evangelical church in the Northwest. I have my beliefs about homosexuality. But I would never ever ever ever condone any type of bullying of a person because of their sexual activity. A human being has intrinsic value because they are made in the image of their creator. What I hate is that idiots like Fred Phelps and the Westboro Circus give Christians like me a such a terrible reputation...

Tom

Oh poor little gays were bullied. Boo-hoo. Line up with the rest of us that were bullied when we were in school. Unless you were the school bad-ass, being bullied was always just around the corner. Ask any nerd. Two things you have to do to eliminate bullying:

1. School officials would need to keep a close eye on bullying and nip it in the bud immediately. Not always possible and not enforceable once the kids leave the school.

2. Teach the ones being bullied how to handle the bullys. If it is physical, you have the martial arts. If it's verbal, you have everybody's favorite saying "stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". Bottom line: grow up and quit worrying about what other people say about you. I know in this current touchy, feely society were all suppose to sing kumbayah and get along, but that's not reality, and you're not going to change it. Deal with it.

Major Variola (ret)

Tom,
School is *compulsory*. You can't tell me that, therefore, being bullied is compulsory, or part of growing up.

Maybe you can. Maybe that's part of your pathology, or history.

Whatever. In reality, bullies need to be... taken out...
if school people won't protect your kids. But it should not come to that
in civil society.

PlayfulWalrus

I understand that marriage unites the sexes. I also believe that sex is morally reserved for bride+groom couples (though I wouldn't want that enforced in law). I am against sexuality-based clubs (and that includes sexual orientation-focused clubs) at schools for minors supported by my taxes. HOWEVER, I also believe in the rights to life, liberty, and property, and that nobody should be unduly deprived of these based on their sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic. People who are bullying gay kids (or any kids) are LOSERS who need discipline.

Linguist

Bullying can take different forms. The reason anti-gay bullying gets singled out for mention is that there is institutional SUPPORT for it in many schools, unlike what happens when a Jewish or Christian or black kid gets bullied.

And Christian organizations are prime movers behind that "special treatment" of innocent gay kids.

Don't believe me?

What happens when a gay high schooler wants to bring a date to the school Prom? Or a couple walks down the hallway holding hands, as so many opposite-sex couples do? Or wears a t-shirt saying "God made me gay and He loves me"? Or if a teacher invited a representative of the Trevor project or "It Gets Better" to speak in school (that puts the lie to the notion that you cannot live a healthy, happy life as an openly gay person)?

The notion that groups like Focus on the Family would support the gay student's right to be openly gay is, well, ludicrous. They don't. They oppose it at every turn.

And school boards across the country have given in to pressure from anti-gay groups.

And the message that it send to innocent gay students is no, it's NOT ok to be gay. And the message to the bullies?

Just guess.

Nathan

Legislation which specifically includes prohibitions on bullying based on bias toward gays or those perceived to be gay is giving favoritism to homosexuals and thus DOES communicate approval of homosexuality. A better solution would be have legislation against bullying. All of it.


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