Bullying as protected religious expression in Michigan

    Last week, Michigan passed anti-bullying legislation. Apparently, however, it’s got some serious issues. Most notably, it still allows for bullying… But, not just any bullying. In the defense of our Republican legislators, it’s not as though they’re saying that all bullying is justified – just that done by people of faith. In their opinion, it would seem, some people are bullied for good reason. Here’s more from Jezebel:

    …At the last minute, Republicans inserted a line into the legislation that exempts anyone who makes a comment based on their religious beliefs. Republicans say they’re against seeing children get taunted, but felt it was important to protect the right to tell a gay kid that they’re going to rot in hell.

    Michigan lawmakers have been battling for years over enacting anti-bullying legislation, and the Detroit News reports that last week the state senate finally let the law pass after adding this paragraph:

    “This section does not abridge the rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States or under Article 1 of the state Constitution of 1963 of a school employee, school volunteers, 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.”

    The bill passed 26-11 with every Democrat voting against it. The legislation is named “Matt’s Safe School Law,” and even the father of the boy its named for says the exemption is wrong. Kevin Epling, whose 14-year-old son killed himself in 2002 after being harassed by bullies, said he’s “ashamed” of the bill, adding that the law:

    “Would basically say it is okay to bully or to ignore instances of bullying based on your own religious beliefs and/or moral convictions, which is contrary to the rest of the bill and it is definitely contrary to what I’ve been telling students, to step in and step up when they see this taking place in their school. As a society, we need to decrease the bystander effect, those who sit idly by and watch as things happen”…

    One wonders what the people outside of Michigan must think of us.

    update: A clarification from Richard Murphy.

    (T)his statement is inaccurate:

    “Last week, Michigan passed anti-bullying legislation.”

    Untrue. The Michigan SENATE passed their version of an anti-bullying bill, after inserting the “license to bully” language in question. However, it has not yet passed the House, nor been signed by the Governor.

    The outcry against the Senate’s bill so far has done some good, and has House Republicans backing away as fast as they can. From today’s MIRS Capitol news brief:

    As MIRS first reported on Friday, key House Republicans, including House Speaker Jase BOLGER (R-Marshall), House Education Chair Paul SCOTT (R-Grand Blanc) and Rep. Phil POTVIN (R-Cadillac), sponsor of the House anti-bullying bill, distanced themselves from the language in SB 0137 (See “Potvin: My Bullying Bill Won’t Include Religious Exemption,” 11/4/11).

    Today, Bolger spokesman Ari ADLER stressed to MIRS that the Speaker does not believe in enumerating characteristics in the bill, something for which Democrats have pushed, but he also “doesn’t believe in going
    to the other extreme and giving an excuse for bullying.” Adler said there are “passionate people on all sides of the issue.”

    And, from the referenced piece:

    Rep. Phil POTVIN (R-Cadillac) told MIRS today that the new version of his anti-bullying bill would not include an exemption on moral and religious grounds as the Senate version passed this week did. “Absolutely not,” Potvin said today. “Why should it? We’re talking about everyone.”

    Potvin has sponsored HB 4163, which is in the House Education Committee, although Potvin is not on the panel. He said he was hopeful the legislation might be taken up before the hunting break, although he noted House Education Committee Chair Paul SCOTT (R-Grand Blanc) is busy with the recall election Tuesday.

    Note that Ypsilanti’s own Representative David Rutledge sits on the House Education Committee, which will be deliberating the House version of this bill. He’s in the minority, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to let him know his district is fired up over the issue.

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      80 Comments

      1. anonymous
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        One looks forward to the first time a Muslim student uses this as a defense for driving a Christian classmate to suicide with taunts of “infidel whore”.

      2. j
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        As far as moral panics go, bullying is a pretty shitty one. Do we really need legislation for this? Also, “bully” is a stupid word. Not sure why I think that, but maybe it just sounds like it is a word designed for 6 year olds.

      3. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 3:26 am | Permalink

        Passing the law without the added paragraph would have made it unconstitutional. It is not a religious protection as it allows for the expression of any sincerely held moral conviction. It would protect your right to call me a bigot just as vigorously as it protects my right to state known facts about homosexual pedophiles.

        Matt Epling, was attacked by upperclassmen on his last day of eighth grade during a “Welcome to High School” hazing activity. Forty days later, he took his own life. His father, Kevin Epling, says there is no indication that the assault against his son was related to sexual orientation. Homosexual activists are trying to use actual instances of bullying to pass laws to silence any public utterance that doesn’t endorse their sinful behavior.

      4. dirtgrain
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:31 am | Permalink

        “Passing the law without the added paragraph would have made it unconstitutional.”

        I don’t believe that to be true. You have not made a case for it. Support your claim.

        You will burn in hell EOS. You are a sinful abomination who is not fit to walk the earth. You are a deviant demon spawn, a descendent of Cain, born to corrupt the world with your impure mind and body. God hates you, and He will drop you into the fiery pit where you will be shred, sinew by sinew, and torched, over and over.

        That’s the sort of language I worry this law allows. That sort of language has no place in our schools, and the consequences of it could be deadly. The Republicans have the state, and they are stepping beyond reasonable law making to persecute LGBT people. I foresee terrible consequences and a lot of suffering as a potential result.

        School districts have recently been especially attentive to the issue of bullying, as victims of bullying and their families have been winning court cases against negligent schools districts that did little to address complaints of bullying. I’m not sure how this law changes that.

        Still, I believe harassment of a religious nature is still illegal. Am I wrong?

        I’m brainstorming a Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster angle on this–some way to turn the legislation upside down and highlight its ridiculousness for all to see. Any ideas?

      5. lorie
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink

        EOS – given the intellectual rigor of all of your earlier comments here, dirtgrain is right – you fail to make your point.

        And I can’t wait until the atheists taunt some claimed-christian kid into a fit over the logic that many or may not be present in any of their pontifications.

        I think this leaves a hole in the bill so large that might as well not have a bill.

      6. Posted November 8, 2011 at 6:11 am | Permalink

        “And I can’t wait until the atheists taunt some claimed-christian kid into a fit over the logic that many or may not be present in any of their pontifications.”

        Logic is not in the bible, therefore christians do not acknowledge its existence.

      7. Kristin
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Yes, EOS. The recent wave of youth suicides resulting in kids having been taunted for their bigotry, whether real or perceived, is truly shocking. No protection for youthful bigots means no protection for young homosexuals. It’s only fair.

      8. Edward
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        I hesitate to take EOS’s side, but weren’t things better back in the olden times, when we taunted faggots into suicide and didn’t make such a big deal about it? Gas was cheaper back then, and life was simpler. I’ve heard that you could see a movie for a nickle.

      9. Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        I hear that suicide is rampant amongst Klan members.

      10. anonymous
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        I don’t think it’s suicide, Pete. They just get tangled up in their sheets and suffocate.

        I’m curious as to the point you were trying to make, though.

      11. Megan
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        There are quite a few petitions on change.org for this topic if anyone is interested.

        http://www.change.org/petitions#search/michigan%20bully

      12. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Dirtgrain,

        It’s the 1st amendment to the Constitution. Speech and the free exercise of religion is protected. For example, reading Romans 1 in public does not constitute yelling fire in a crowded theater. And Romans 1 has admonitions against a large variety of sinful behaviors. No one is pushed to the brink of suicide because they are told deceit, malice, greed, gossiping, slandering, hating God, insolence, arrogance and boasting are sins. Look at Megan’s petitions. Every one is about protecting LGBTQ persons. It’s not about bullying. There’s nothing you could possibly write or say to me that would convince me to commit suicide, and I certainly won’t ever attempt to enact legislation that would restrict your hateful speech.

      13. Anonymatt
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        When bullied, the truly Godly can call upon bears to maul their tormentors.

        2 Kings 2:23-24

      14. Megan
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        They aren’t about protecting them, they’re about not excluding them. Frankly, instead of listing everything out, they should just say, “for any reason” and be done with it. There’s no excuse for bullying, and adding this language is just a weak excuse to pander to the conservative Christians (note I did not say ALL Christians) that have taken hold lately. I read somewhere today, just wait until extremist Muslims use this law to hide behind while yelling infidel whore at teenage girls who don’t “wear enough clothes”. Then where are you?

      15. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Do you think that extremist Muslims are currently prohibited by law from yelling infidel whore at teenage girls who don’t “wear enough clothes”? The right to say things in public whether or not they are endorsed by the majority is the test of real freedom.

      16. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        not in the classroom EOS, not with any teacher worth their salt

      17. Brainless
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Minors hold a privileged position in the U.S. They are protected by most constitutional principles, but not all. They must adhere to most laws, but not all. That’s basically what it means to be a minor. As this bill is about the behavior of minors in the public sphere, constitutional matters take a back seat to more practical ones.

        You are simply not free to say anything you want to my kid at school. Period. Ever. Again, school is compulsory (for minors only). Since they are essentially there against their will, they also deserve greater protections than the more voluntary activities in which we adults partake. To that end, the exclusion of Christianist bullying makes this law just another religious “up yours” to the rest of the world.

        Once again, the Christianists show themselves to be weak, merciless and soul-free. Once again, Christianists show themselves to be the least Christian people on the planet. An irony that escapes them. Way to go Christianists! 2,011 years in a row of “asshole of the year” and running.

      18. Tommy
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps a rider should be added that after someone gets bullied at school and it is determined to be okay based on religious grounds, the same bullied person can – on religious grounds – hire some peers to kick the living shit out of said bully. On religious grounds – old testament – eye for an eye motherfucker!

        Thought there was a separation of church and state. Isn’t public school considered the state?

      19. Mr. X
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        And Michigan wonders why it’s one of only two states in the entire country losing population.

      20. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969), the Supreme Court extended free speech rights to students in school. The case involved several students who were punished for wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court ruled that the school could not restrict symbolic speech that did not cause undue interruptions of school activities. Justice Abe Fortas wrote,

        “Schools may not be enclaves of totalitarianism. School officials do not possess absolute authority over their students. Students…are possessed of fundamental rights which the State must respect, just as they themselves must respect their obligations to the State.”

      21. Eel
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Just to clarify, EOS, if a teacher were to overhear a Christian student saying to a gay classmate, “You’re going to burn in hell, you AIDS-having faggot,” you don’t think that behavior should be stopped and/or punished, is that correct?

      22. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Eel,

        No, I DO think that behavior should be stopped by the teacher, but I don’t think there should be a law prohibiting that type of speech. And, no real Christian is going to say something like that to another individual. But, these laws have a chilling effect on speech and end up silencing many thoughts that are not hostile in intent but are said out of concern for an individual. In Canada today, it is illegal to read certain verses of Leviticus on the radio.

      23. anonymous
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        What’s that, EOS?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8E_zMLCRNg

      24. TeacherPatti
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        There was an interesting article on sexual harrassment in schools. Most of the time, we don’t include that in our definition of “bullying”, but it should be. Something like 60+% of girls and 40+% of boys have felt harassed (is it one “r” or two? I forget. Sorry)…boys usually for being called “fag”. Girls reported unwanted touching, being called a “slut” for having a lot of boy friends, being called names (“b’s and h’s”, I would guess). Instead of the word “bullying”, I’d kinda like to see us call it what it is–harassment (I think it is one “r”). I agree that “bullying” sounds like a 1st grade word and something about it rubs me the wrong way. I realize it’s just a matter of semantics but still.

      25. dirtgrain
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        EOS, a bit more on the Tinker ruling: “The Court ruled that this symbolic speech–’closely akin to pure speech’–could only be prohibited by school administrators if they could show that it would cause a substantial disruption of the school’s educational mission” (source). Any verbal bullying qualifies as such a disruption. Let me know if you need me to explain this in more detail.

        Read on that site about other significant decisions, and then conclude that, yes, schools can restrict student speech when it comes to bullying/harassment.

      26. dirtgrain
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think the link worked. Here is the URL: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/studentspeech.htm

      27. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        What if a Christian kid is in a classroom discussion and he states, “In my opinion homosexual behavior is wrong. There are 7 different Bible verses that support my opinion.”

        Should he be prevented from stating his beliefs if a gay kid in the class says it makes him feel uncomfortable?

      28. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        EOS…He can shut the hell up and talk about it at Bible Study or Church

      29. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for making my case WDM. It’s not about bullying at all.

      30. K2
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Here’s a better question, EOS.

        What if a Muslim kid is in a classroom discussion and he states, “In my opinion all Christians will burn in hell. There are 7 different verses in the Koran that support my opinion.”

        Should he be prevented from stating his beliefs if a Christian kid in the class says it makes him feel uncomfortable?

      31. Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        There’s a difference between stating an opinion about something and bullying/abuse.

      32. Brent
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Keep it up EOS, every anti-gay post is another $1 I give to Ozone House.

        Your narrow-mindedness might as well do some good for a change.

      33. someone
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        EOS will you use all those calories you’re burning to instead defend the right the 1st Amendment grants students to NOT say the Pledge of Allegiance?

        http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/sbt-bill-would-require-pledge-of-allegiance-in-schools-20111107,0,1567607.story

        Isn’t that like forcing – by law – all homophobes to state, every single day, that they love giving you-know-whats to you-know-whos in bathroom stalls and rectories?

      34. TeacherPatti
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        This stuff about quoting religious texts in classrooms, while interesting, should NOT be happening. I’ve had kids ask me about my religion (I’m generally the first and only Jew they know) and I have to say that I can’t really talk about it. You CERTAINLY can’t teach from a religious text. At least, I don’t think you can…I haven’t checked the most recent Supreme Court decisions….

      35. Arf
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        I can’t help but think that Jesus is about to snap that little lesbian’s neck in the picture at the top of the page.

        It really would be the merciful thing to do, wouldn’t it, EOS?

      36. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Patti,
        You can answer your students questions, but you can’t proselytize. You can certainly teach from a religious text. There is an entire curriculum designed for teaching the Bible as literature at the high school level in public schools as an elective.

        But students are not restricted. They can give speeches about their beliefs, write papers, create artwork, and state their beliefs in a respectful manner during class discussions.

        K2,
        The Muslim student has every right to state his beliefs. Most Christians would encourage the dialogue.

        WDM,
        The gay student also has every right to promote his point of view. He is entitled to say he doesn’t believe the Bible and whatever he wants to say promoting homosexuality.

      37. dirtgrain
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        EOS, you are disregarding what Brainless posted earlier. Students are a captive audience–they are required by law to attend school. They cannot say whatever they want.

        I have taught religious texts in literature classes.

      38. Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        My friend Pete just left the following comment in a Facebook thread about Herman Cain’s predatory exploits.

        Perhaps Mr. Cain was just trying to show them Jesus’ love. In Michigan, Cain’s groping hand would be protected speech.

      39. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        dirtgrain,
        Yes, there are limitations to what students can say in school, but not as broad as some would like you to believe. You can’t be disruptive, plan to overthrow the government, advocate illegal activities, discuss sexually explicit/pornographic material, and such. But a student cannot be restricted from discussing personally held religious beliefs in an appropriate context.

      40. dirtgrain
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but what is the appropriate context, excepting where a teacher asked such a question? And with that exception, what is the appropriate context for a teacher to ask students such things?

      41. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        Current events, moral decisions, values clarification exercises, opinion papers… A Christian has a worldview that permeates all of life and cannot be segregated to a few hours on Sunday.

      42. Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Gotta say (sadly) that I agree in part with EOS here, but that this agreement is somewhat irrelevant to the subject at hand:

        What if a Christian kid is in a classroom discussion and he states, “In my opinion homosexual behavior is wrong. There are 7 different Bible verses that support my opinion.”

        Personally, as someone who finds EOS’s overall worldview (at least as presented in comments here) reprehensible, I will agree that a student ought reasonably be able to make that statement in school, in the course of a classroom discussion.

        On the other hand, I don’t think that example qualifies as bullying, either in my opinion, or under the legislation proposed, and so isn’t germane to the discussion. From SB 0137, as passed by the Senate:

        (B) “BULLYING” MEANS ANY WRITTEN, VERBAL, OR PHYSICAL ACT, OR ANY ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, BY A PUPIL DIRECTED AT 1 OR MORE OTHER PUPILS THAT IS INTENDED OR THAT A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD KNOW IS LIKELY TO HARM 1 OR MORE PUPILS EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY BY DOING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

        (i) SUBSTANTIALLY INTERFERING WITH EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, BENEFITS, OR PROGRAMS OF 1 OR MORE PUPILS.

        (ii) SUBSTANTIALLY AND ADVERSELY AFFECTING THE ABILITY OF A PUPIL TO PARTICIPATE IN OR BENEFIT FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S OR PUBLIC SCHOOL’S EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES BY PLACING THE PUPIL IN REASONABLE FEAR OF PHYSICAL HARM.

        (iii) HAVING AN ACTUAL AND SUBSTANTIAL DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON A PUPIL’S PHYSICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH OR CAUSING SUBSTANTIAL EMOTIONAL DISTRESS.

        (iv) CAUSING SUBSTANTIAL DISRUPTION IN, OR SUBSTANTIAL INTERFERENCE WITH, THE ORDERLY OPERATION OF THE SCHOOL.

        Put simply, EOS is a troll, and it’s working. He’s presenting silly and irrelevant examples in order to entrap folks – I’ll agree, a law that forbade students from simply stating the fact that the bible says certain things (which it does in fact say) stands a good chance of being ruled unconstitutional, and I would oppose such a law. (If there were a law that prevented students from stating that they held a certain viewpoint that they had developed by reading Vonnegut, everybody currently beating up on EOS would be out buying 50 copies to mail to the jurisdiction in question.)

        But, fortunately, it doesn’t matter. That, ALONE, IN AND OF ITSELF, does not count as bullying under the bill – EOS’ arguments about constitutionality and speech are completely unrelated to the current discussion. (Though I would gladly trade my middle school years with anybody lucky enough to think EOS’ examples are what “bullying” is.)

      43. EOS
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Murph,

        You may not think that my statement would be considered bullying, but WDM certainly did. And in many liberal judges courtrooms it is quite likely that they might rule that it caused substantial emotional distress. Teachers, wary of how an unknown judge might rule, would most likely restrict any speech that could possibly be construed as causing anyone the slightest amount of stress. It would have a chilling effect and would stifle free expression in the classroom.

      44. Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Meanwhile, I will emphasize that this statement is inaccurate:

        Last week, Michigan passed anti-bullying legislation.

        Untrue. The Michigan SENATE passed their version of an anti-bullying bill, after inserting the “license to bully” language in question. However, it has not yet passed the House, nor been signed by the Governor.

        The outcry against the Senate’s bill so far has done some good, and has House Republicans backing away as fast as they can. From today’s MIRS Capitol news brief:

        As MIRS first reported on Friday, key House Republicans, including
        House Speaker Jase BOLGER (R-Marshall), House Education Chair Paul
        SCOTT (R-Grand Blanc) and Rep. Phil POTVIN (R-Cadillac), sponsor of
        the House anti-bullying bill, distanced themselves from the language
        in SB 0137 (See “Potvin: My Bullying Bill Won’t Include Religious
        Exemption,” 11/4/11).

        Today, Bolger spokesman Ari ADLER stressed to MIRS that the Speaker
        does not believe in enumerating characteristics in the bill, something
        for which Democrats have pushed, but he also “doesn’t believe in going
        to the other extreme and giving an excuse for bullying.” Adler said
        there are “passionate people on all sides of the issue.”

        And, from the referenced piece:

        Rep. Phil POTVIN (R-Cadillac) told MIRS today that the new version of
        his anti-bullying bill would not include an exemption on moral and
        religious grounds as the Senate version passed this week did.
        “Absolutely not,” Potvin said today. “Why should it? We’re talking
        about everyone.”

        Potvin has sponsored HB 4163, which is in the House Education
        Committee, although Potvin is not on the panel. He said he was hopeful
        the legislation might be taken up before the hunting break, although
        he noted House Education Committee Chair Paul SCOTT (R-Grand Blanc) is
        busy with the recall election Tuesday.

        Note that the House version of the bill, HB 4163 (introduced back in February!) does encompass TeacherPatti’s concern of calling a spade a spade–at least as an “or”–addressing “bullying or harassment” rather than just “bullying”:

        (B) “BULLYING OR HARASSMENT” MEANS ABUSE OF A PUPIL BY 1 OR MORE OTHER PUPILS IN ANY FORM. THE TERM INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, CONDUCT THAT MEETS ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

        Note that Ypsilanti’s own Representative David Rutledge sits on the House Education Committee, which will be deliberating the House version of this bill. He’s in the minority, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to let him know his district is fired up over the issue.

      45. Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        You see, Murph, it’s all part of the plot against the Christians. It’s like when people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” First they take away our traditional yuletide greeting, and then they try to take away our ability to bully. Next they’ll be burning down churches, and hunting Christians for sport.

      46. Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        And in many liberal judges courtrooms it is quite likely that they might rule that it caused substantial emotional distress.

        EOS, I’m at risk of experiencing substantial emotional distress both from your failure to properly use an apostrophe in judges’ as well as from your baseless talking points about the judicial branch. I’ll agree that wetdolphinmissile was being a dipshit with his comment, but I’ll ask you to quit while you’re ahead, and while I’m still willing to admit at least partial agreement with you.

      47. Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the clarification, Murph. I added your comment to the front page.

      48. Bonnie
        Posted November 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        wait- currently students can’t be required to recite the pledge of allegiance every single day? i got so many detentions for that. so many.
        i shouldn’t be so surprised – at my (public) school, we also had bible classes, through 6th grade or so, and *still* had people heavily promoting the ‘meet you at the flagpole’ crap.

      49. dirtgrain
        Posted November 9, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

        EOS hypothetical: “In my opinion homosexual behavior is wrong. There are 7 different Bible verses that support my opinion.”

        How does that compare with the following? A student says, “Blacks are descendents of Cain and have ‘no place among us.’” See the following: http://www.i4m.com/think/history/mormon_racism.htm

        Such a statement in a classroom would for sure impede the mission of the school. It would be a form of bullying. We don’t allow it in our schools. That you isolate behavior and imply that homosexual is not a type is irrelevant. You could just as well hold the believe that Black people choose to be Black. It’s the perspective of the group being targeted that matters.

      50. EOS
        Posted November 9, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        “In my opinion, alcoholism is harmful. There are a host of social ills that result from this behavior.”

        In your opinion, would it be justified to eliminate this speech from the classroom because it may make alcoholics feel uncomfortable? A person might be genetically predisposed to becoming an alcoholic, but is still held responsible for their actions. Race is not a mutable characteristic and so therefore makes a bad analogy when compared to a behavior.

      51. Edward
        Posted November 9, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        I love the equating of homosexuality to alcoholism. Good work, EOS. I didn’t know it was possible for you to dig your hole any deeper.

        And thank you, Dirtgrain, for the “Blacks are descendents of Cain and have ‘no place among us’” analogy. That’s right on the money.

      52. Posted November 9, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        If I had had a choice, I would have much rather been raised by a homosexual than an alcoholic/drug addict.

        I hate taking EOS’ troll-bait, but that statement is just beyond ignorant.

      53. EOS
        Posted November 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Way to go Peter. Now all the alcoholic/drug addicts are out committing suicide. I hope you’re happy, you big bully.

      54. dirtgrain
        Posted November 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        EOS: “Race is not a mutable characteristic and so therefore makes a bad analogy when compared to a behavior.”

        You could claim Blackness as a choice or karma or whatever. Also, for it is mutable–or, rather, something that can be disguised or altered: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_%28racial_identity%29

      55. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        I think the problem here is that EOS has no idea what he’s talking about at all. No children say “I have bible quotes to support my theory of why fags should die” they repeat the hateful mindlessness of their parents, they intimidate and brutalize, they create an atmosphere of dread that has little to do with biblical history and everything to do with our population’s moronic polity and the idiot lifestyleism of our ignorent population. As a student I was mercilessly brutalized by my fellow students for being gay, and I’m not gay, never have been gay, I am instead an eccentric intellectual which is all the same to abusive and malicious people who use religion as a cudgel, people who couldn’t live an actually religious life if they tried.

      56. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        I say if people want to use religion to maintain their agressive and abusive behaviour there should be a litmus test for their actual religiousness. That litmus test should be based on the writings of J. Krishnamurti, or Sri Ramakrishna. Religion isn’t religion because you use a single line of a book to support your vicious campaign of harassement and brutality towards others, there is in fact; nothing religious about that behaviour in anyway.

      57. Mr. X
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        I like that plan, Thom, and I think that folks like EOS would really welcome an opportunity to prove to you how religious they are by passing a test informed by the writings of J. Krishnamurti and Sri Ramakrishna.

        [sarcasm]

      58. EOS
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        I want no part of a “religious” life. I want a relationship with the one who sacrificed His life to pay for our sins. Every human has sinned and therefore deserves to die. “For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

      59. K2
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        I find this to be relevant when discussing EOS’s Christianity.

        http://i.imgur.com/OQOUe.jpg

      60. Posted November 10, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Wow, I forgot about the pigs.

        “So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.”

      61. EOS
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        K2,

        I like your website.

        http://imgur.com/gallery/Bq4GC

      62. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        That’s funny EOS; you don’t want to be “religious” but allegedly worship a god-man who was the founder of an otherworldly religious lifestyle the radical nature of which would render contemporary technological governmental systems totally inert. You as a xtian must act accordingly to the deity’s counsel, yes? If your entire bent to existence is in favor of an eternal reward in death, which is predicated by the non-resistence to wickedness and the forgiveness of sin by an eternal judge greater then yourself, where does your or these suppoesdly xtian children abuse of human beings fit? You are neither the judge of these people, nor are you to resist wickedness. You are in fact told by your diety to give them your cape when they have taken your cloak.

      63. EOS
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Religion (Self Effort, Works)

        Goal: reach out to God, try to work your way into heaven

        Means: diligent service & works, with hopes of a reward (heaven)

        Power: good, honest effort through self-determination

        Control: self-motivation and self control

        Results: apathy, failure, chronic guilt, eternal separation from God

        Salvation Through Faith In Jesus Christ (Personal Relationship)

        Goal: trust fully in Jesus, then live to please Him

        Means: confess sins, repent, yield self to Jesus

        Power: the Holy Spirit does God’s work in and through us

        Control: allow the Holy Spirit to control & direct our lives

        Results: love, joy, peace, freedom, power eternal life in heaven,…

        “Man’s way to reach God is religion; God’s way to reach man is Jesus.”

        “I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life. No one may come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

        “For by grace are you saved, through faith; and this not of your own, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

      64. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        From which theologically vapid website did you cut and paste that from? I also like the unattributed quotation which makes no sense.

      65. EOS
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Every other religion in the world consists of rules that men have to do for God. Christianity is about what God has already done for man.

      66. Anonymous Mike
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        But, when it comes to homosexuality, I thought it was about what God commanded us to do. Isn’t that what you’ve been telling us, EOS?

        And don’t you see it as hypocritical that you pick and choose which biblical verses you feel as though are appropriate for us to live by? You get up in arms over homosexuality, but, at the same time, as the comic linked to above points out, you don’t seem to feel as though there’s a need for you to give up your possessions, as the Bible also commands. How is it that you’re able to pick and choose, but you don’t feel as though others should have the same right?

      67. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Why is it he wants to allow for socalled religious exemption for the violent harrassment, and brutal social exclusion of children by children in a place that is at least supposed to be for learning; then in the same breath says that he isn’t religious in order to make an incorrect assertion about world religions? Why is he is seemingly incapable of making any distinction between what is xtian and what is religious to the point of absurdity, making the entire discussion incoherent? Because he is a person who wants to see societal persecution of homosexuals no matter the justification, a person who hates for the sake of social disorder and discord.

      68. Posted November 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        This is absolute nonsense. Clearly, you don’t know very much about world religions.

        “Every other religion in the world consists of rules that men have to do for God. “

      69. EOS
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        The Bible doesn’t command everybody to give up all their possessions. Jesus told one man to do so, knowing that the man wouldn’t. I don’t pick and choose what I believe about the Bible. I believe the entire Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. I don’t know where you get the idea that I have been writing about what God commands homosexuals to do. I’ve merely pointed out that homosexual behavior is sin and many have called me hateful and bigoted as a result. I’ve not attempted to bully or persecute anyone here. I understand that you think that Biblical teaching is incoherent and absolute nonsense. I would suggest that you try reading the Bible with an open mind. The Book of Mark is a good place to start. Twenty minutes a day for 30 days, beginning each day with a prayer for greater understanding. If you do this with a sincere heart, your life will never be the same again.

      70. anonymous
        Posted November 10, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        So, should we assume that you don’t eat shellfish, and would, if you had one, sell your daughter into slavery?

      71. EOS
        Posted November 11, 2011 at 3:22 am | Permalink

        No, I love shrimp and crab legs and eat them without the slightest bit of guilt. Christ has fulfilled the Old Testament law and set us free. The law served its purpose by showing us the need for Christ. Christ has paid the price, ransomed my soul, and I am no longer compelled to sin, but am capable of living a life that is pleasing to my Creator.

      72. Eel
        Posted November 11, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        I would find it helpful if you could provide a list, EOS, of all the biblical laws we’re still supposed to follow, and which ones we’re allowed to ignore “without the slightest bit of guilt.”

      73. EOS
        Posted November 11, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law can be summed up in those two commands. The Old Testament ceremonial laws were for a different people and time and no longer apply. It’s not about following the rules. If you try to get to heaven based on your behavior then you have to be perfect without a single mistake. Accepting Jesus as your personal Savior is the only way humans can be considered good enough. Jesus will change your desires. If your focus is on worshiping God then you will not sin. But we’re human and often lose our focus. If we as a culture start calling evil, good and good, evil then increasing numbers of people won’t understand their need for a Savior and more will be condemned to spend eternity in Hell, separated from God.

      74. Black Sabbath
        Posted November 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        EOS, you’re such an asshole, we decided to reform.

        http://www.black-sabbath.com/

      75. dirtgrain
        Posted November 12, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        I accept Jesus. Go to hell EOS.

      76. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 12, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        “If we as a culture start calling evil, good and good, evil…” who gets to make this demarcation, and from when do we start? The worst part of the absolutizing nature of xtian metaphysics is that it blots out the horizon of possibilities that anyone else can have access to truth, and is the model for the totalitarianism which has so charecterized this descent into the historical mire of nihilism over the last 200 yrs. Whoever this mindless apologist is (who does nothing but twist whatever discussion into meaninglessness in an attempt derail discussion in the event he can’t twist it towards himself), he believes himself to have access to the ultimate reality and that is the sole providence of his masculinist heteronormative vengeful sky god.

      77. Thom Elliott
        Posted November 12, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        And of course EOS is a flesh eater, sucking down mechanically murdered life at chain resturants “without the slightest guilt”; without one thought to how this process violates the essence of the earth, and is amongst those aspects of modernity chiefly responsable for the environmental destruction of this planet. Of course! Because he doesn’t die! People who believe they are immortal because they have access to the ultimate reality don’t care about the earth! They think of it as worthless, and have no problem setting upon it to satisfy their mindless desire with violence, which is what flesh eating is.

      78. Eel
        Posted November 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        EOS, my cat asked me to pass this along to you.

        http://i.imgur.com/XGKIC.png

      79. EOS
        Posted November 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Well for Thom’s sake, I hope it’s vegetable soup. I’m just thankful the cat can’t type.

      80. EOS
        Posted January 27, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Shawano, Wisconsin, Community High School student Brandon Wegner is pursuing journalism and writes for the student newspaper “The Hawk’s Post.” Brandon and another student proposed several ideas for article topics to their faculty advisor for the student newspaper.

        They eventually selected “homosexual adoption” and wrote a point-counter point in parallel columns with Brandon taking the position that homosexual adoption is wrong. He supported his position by citing Bible passages.

        Brandon wrote about his view of the importance of a family having both a mother and a father. The discussion among the two students was very civil and, frankly, a model of how people should discuss controversial issues with each other.

        But, a homosexual parent read the article and protested. The school principal called Brandon into his office and told him he could not speak about religion, politics, or social issues in a public school. And, without his parent’s knowledge, Brandon was called into one meeting after another, causing him to miss study time for exams and even missing one exam.

        He was then hauled before Superintendent Todd Carlson who told him that the column he wrote “went against the bullying policy.” Superintendent Carlson asked Brandon to recant his views, and when he would not, he told Brandon he was “ignorant” for having his belief, and then said “we have the power to suspend you.”

        The Superintendent then communicated with the school community and apologized for Brandon’s article on homosexual adoption. School officials then censored Brandon’s article, forcing him and his classmates participating in the news writing course to physically rip the page out of the newspaper before distribution at their school.

        In a statement, the school “sincerely apologized” – NOT for allowing the topic to begin with, or for rushing to judgment, or for violating a student’s constitutional rights, but ONLY for the Biblical viewpoint presented in Brandon’s writing!

        Under the guise of stopping bullying, the ACTUAL bullying at Shawano High School was perpetrated by Superintendent Todd Carlson and his subordinates – certainly not the student!

        These school officials have displayed blatant intolerance of a view on homosexuality held by many people in our nation. The school’s actions are shocking and totally unjustified. The superintendent should immediately apologize and stop HIS bullying!

        Let’s see how the courts decide this case, which according to Peter and Murph, will never happen.

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