The message from Texans was loud and clear in the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s statewide survey last spring: 88 percent of likely voters said they support “requiring public schools to protect all children from bullying, harassment, and discrimination in school, including the children of gay and lesbian parents or teenagers who are gay.”
Far-right pressure groups like Focus on the Family, however, seem to believe promoting their anti-gay hate agenda is more important than protecting children — even after the recent suicides of three teenage boys (including one from the Houston area) who had been bullied severely and repeatedly by classmates. Two teens, one 13 and the other 15, hanged themselves. The Houston-area teen, 13, shot himself. But Focus on the Family says laws that seek to protect gay and lesbian students from bullying simply “promote homosexuality to kids.” Focus and other far-right pressure groups have also launched a full-scale media assault on the Safe Schools Improvement Act in Congress.
The Texas Legislature has refused to pass anti-bullying legislation in previous sessions. Last year, Focus on the Family’s Texas affiliate, Liberty Institute, dishonestly attacked an anti-bullying bill (House Bill 1323 by state Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin) as simply a “transgender special rights” bill. In reality, the bill sought to protect all children from bullying. But because it specifically mentioned sexual orientation, pressure groups like Liberty Institute think such common-sense legislation somehow promotes “special rights” for victims of abuse and harassment.
Here’s the reality: for religious-right groups like Liberty Institute and Focus on the Family, opposition to such legislation is important in their hateful campaign to stigmatize and shame gay and lesbian people, even children. Perhaps their versions of the Bible don’t contain such familiar phrases as “Judge not, that you be not judged” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
8 thoughts on “Bullies and the Religious Right”
Why should we expect evangelical Christian fundamentalist to oppose bullying? It’s how one can best describe their efforts at evangelizing. To bully is to evangelize.
One could reverse Keanus’ statement above to say: “to evangelize is to bully.” Bullying has been the Christian Right’s m.o. for centuries, starting with the Crusades, the Inquisition, the pogroms, the expulsions, etc etc. As they see it, to prevent them from bullying would be to prevent them from evangelizing. First Amendment rights, ya know. And if the bully-ee offs him/herself, well, then that’s just tough toenails for them, ain’t it? It was their decision, not that of the bully. They were only doing God’s work.
That’s how these a-holes rationalize everything.
“But Focus on the Family says laws that seek to protect gay and lesbian students from bullying simply “promote homosexuality to kids.” Focus and other far-right pressure groups have also launched a full-scale media assault on the Safe Schools Improvement Act in Congress.”
Those on the Religious Right believe homosexuality is a simple choice, like whether to buy a Chevy truck or a Ford truck. Okay. Let’s run with that for a minute. As a solidly heterosexual person all of my natural life (as Nanci Griffith might say), I have never felt sexually attracted to a man in any way, form, or fashion. That’s pure heterosexual and Bible normal.
Now here is the problem. If you are a man and you are a pastor or just an ordinary member of an evangelical, Christian fundamentalist, or Christian Neo-Fundamentalist church, you need to listen to this closely. So do you Jonathan Saenz. This is important.
You apparently think homosexuality is a simple choice. Most people think like that because of things that are going on inside themselves—familiariity with their own experiential inner self. There is also a tendency in every human being to think, “Oh, I feel like this inside, and I consider myself to be an average person. Therefore, EVERYONE ELSE must be thinking and feeling about the SAME AS ME deep inside.”
How many of you Christian men out there have ever met a really nice looking guy and felt strangely attracted or drawn to him—like maybe you could have sex with this guy. However, you made the simple choice that doing so would not be right—so you refrained and did not pursue it. C’mon. Be honest. How many of you have ever felt that inner urge or have even seen it crop up several times? Be honest now.
I have news for you boys. Normal heterosexual men do not have those urges—not even one time. If you have internal urges towards men like those I described, even at a very low, smoldering, and occasional level, you are a homosexual or bisexual. You just think it’s a simple choice for all of your fellow men out on the street because you get those urges and you feel like you can choose whether you want strawberry or chocolate today. You think everyone else is just like you and has that same simple choice. Wrong!!!! No, no my friend. It is indeed JUST YOU—and in your own conservative ideological parlance—what you are feeling AIN’T NORMAL.
Just like there are “True Christians” in this world (according to you), there are also true heterosexuals—the women only kind of men with no urges whatever for other men. Also, just like there are so-called “True Christians,” there are also true homosexuals. These are people who awakened one morning about 12 years old and found themselves inexplicably attracted to other men—with no urges whatsoever towards women—and it has remained so all of their lives.
The true heterosexuals are many in number—like the stars of the sky and the sand grains on the beach—as God said to Abraham. The true homosexuals are very few in number–maybe about 2 out of every 100 people. I am not so worried about either of those two groups because they KNOW who they are sexually and something in nature determined that for them—something over which they had no choice or control. They do not operate by sexual choice. There quite literally is no such thing as choice for the members of these two groups.
What has me worried is all of you self-righteous and sexually conflicted Christian “choiceters” in the middle who have not figured out the fact that you are either gay or bisexual—and are always running from it and those occasional unnatural urges that well up inside of you. I say this. If you feel these occasional unnatural urges towards the same sex and you really do have a choice, please DO NOT ASSUME that all of the rest of us are somehow just exactly like you—because—quite frankly—we are not. Your condition of choice is a minor oddity in this world. If you feel compelled to make a choice one way or another about sexuality simply because you are one of the few who can, then just do it. Choose. Choose wisely. But please—please—quit working out and acting out your own abnormal sexual choice condition by pursuing a program of bigotry and hatred towards people who were not given a choice.
What many don’t realize is that you don’t have to be gay to be called gay and be bullied as if you were a gay. If you have a limp or a speech defect, you are likely to be targeted by such bullies. The beatings can be brutal and the psychological damage is difficult to bear. The religious Right is supporting ill treatment of both gays and straights by using this to promote their anti-gay agenda.
Let me slightly rephrase that last sentence for proper effect:
Your ability for choice is a minority condition in this world. If you feel compelled to make a choice one way or another about sexuality simply because you are one of the few who can choose, then just do it. Choose. Choose wisely. But please—please—quit working out and acting out your own internal conflict with your abnormal “sexual choice” condition by pursuing a program of bigotry and hatred towards people who were not given a choice.
Hey guys. Look what I found on the web:
These are the ideological underpinnings of the brave new (supposedly taken back old) world that will begin on November 2, 2010. Happy reading.
As a straight guy who was bullied unmercifully from 2nd grade through high school and often called gay or a fag I have to agree with SpaceEagle that the problem is more widespread than just those who are actually gay. I was simply an introverted child who was on the sensitive side in addition to being the youngest kid in class and the bullies had a field day. I do recall clearly considering suicide more than once, I also remember wishing my dad kept a gun because I wanted to take it to school and use it on the bullies. One day there will be a Columbine like episode where the victim of the bullying takes the gun and shoots the bullies then maybe this country will finally have the conversation that should have occurred 70 years ago.
I too was bullied as a pre-teen and teen. I was just too “different.” I liked classical music, I liked horses (long after it’s “proper” for a girl to like horses), I liked to draw, and I liked to draw horses. Worse, I started to develop a womanly body before it’s considered “proper” for a girl to have a womanly body. So I was appropriate for verbal and physical abuse by both boys (who didn’t like boobs) AND girls (who hated me because I HAD boobs). Physical abuse included groping, grabbing, punching, as well as the traditional constant bra strap-snapping. (Why do boys HATE girls so much? But that’s another topic).
So, I guess what the Religious Wrong is saying that it’s not fair unless they are allowed to bully. For the TX Legislature to take their side confirms what I’ve been saying all along about how primitive Texas is. I am even MORE thankful I don’t have a kid in TX schools. What with the addition of the internet to provide another forum for bullies, there’s no telling what kind of abuse MY kid could be undergoing right now. And with the blessing of the state legislature as well as the Religious Wrong.