Equal Rights For Bullies: Religious Right Comes To The Defense Of `Faith-Based' Harassment
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 11:52:50 AM EST

If you're the parent of young or teenaged kids, you're probably concerned about bullying. It's one of those unpleasant facts of life that just about everyone who has children must eventually confront.

Since children spend much of their time in school, these institutions are the focal point for anti-bullying efforts. Thankfully, the national conversation over this issue has become a lot more serious in recent years, and many schools have adopted anti-bullying policies.

This has alarmed the Religious Right. Groups like Focus on the Family (FOF) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) are worried that fundamentalist Christian young people in public schools won't be able to properly harass gays, atheists and non-Christians if anti-bullying policies spread. So they've more or less formed a pro-bullying caucus designed to shoot down as many of the policies as possible.

A new FOF-ADF salvo takes the form of a document called the "Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick," which purports to help public school officials formulate policies that respect the rights of Christian students. In reality, FOF and the ADF are seeking to gut anti-bullying policies by making them utterly ineffective.

I was struck by a number of things about the document:

It attempts to carve out an exemption for protected "religious" bullying. In several states, Religious Right groups have attempted to exempt bullying and verbal harassment based on sincere religious beliefs. In other words, a fundamentalist Christian kid can harass a gay student as much as he wants as along as he sincerely believes what he is saying. Some yardstick there!

It seeks to gut reporting requirements. One way to combat bullying is to require that the people in charge - mainly teachers - report it when they see it. FOF and the ADF recommend dropping this requirement entirely. They claim this will somehow protect teachers from liability. In fact, it does just the opposite.

It advises school officials to ignore what kids do after hours or online. According to FOF and the ADF, school officials have no authority to respond to what students say or do online after school hours because this is free speech. So, if a bunch of students are using Facebook's chat feature to discuss how they plan to beat the tar out of Phil the next day because he's gay and a teacher gets wind of this, she's just supposed to throw up her hands and say, "Oh well, that's free speech!"

It tells schools they have no right to educate bullies about why their behavior is wrong. According to FOF and the ADF, such "re-education" is bad because it is designed to "change the way they think." Pardon my bluntness, but if young people have the belief that they can bully others, they need to change the way they think - and if they won't, they should be expelled.

It warns schools to avoid anti-bullying materials produced by "homosexual activist groups." Since many of the young people who are bullied in schools are gay (or perceived to be gay), it seems that the "homosexual activist groups" might have some special expertise in this area. Perhaps schools should listen to them.

What's most offensive about the FOF-ADF document is that it purports to outline the differences between "good" anti-bullying policies and "bad" ones. In fact, these organizations don't support any anti-bullying efforts at all. Schools that adopt their suggestions would be left with toothless policies that give budding fundamentalist bigots license to harass anyone they want. If they resort to physical violence, the school might be able to stop them - maybe.

And remember, this is being done in the name of the Christian faith. I'm very familiar with the "faith-based" initiative, but faith-based bullying is something new entirely. I don't claim to be a theologian, but I doubt Jesus would approve.




Display:
In fact, this is the gospel according to St. Ayn, the Friedmanists, and Mr. La Vey. 'Voe victis!" The weak deserve further punishment for being unable to defend themselves, and if they act collectively, that's cheatin'. They're supposed to be happy to be sawed iin half by their superiors, the way Marion Parker was by the superior William Hickman, and anything else is downright uppity.

by Rey Mohammed on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 02:31:43 PM EST

Apparently, the capacity of children to have civil conversation is beyond the comprehension of the conservative evangelical Christian punditry. The pundits all fall short in home training when they advocate that children should not be taught to behave themselves. Exactly why do the pundits think that children will stop at bullying the gay kids?

by NancyP on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:59:29 PM EST

the entire dominionist movement and all of the adherents as bullies.  It's inherent in their actions and worldview... they have to force Jesus (whether or not He wants people to do that - and I strongly suspect He considers it a sin as much as we do) on others.  They try to coerce others to follow their version of morality (as hypocritical as it is) and are abusive towards those who don't go along.  Look at what they're trying to do to women... to LGBT people... to atheists!  They're spiritual, emotional, mental, as well as physical bullies.  They even attack other Christians who don't follow their intolerant and unaccepting ideology.

Indeed, IMO the adults are just trying to extend the "freedoms" they "enjoy" to their kids... from my experiences they're just as bad at bullying (at the individual level), but more subtle and vicious about it (for the most part they do it so you cannot defend yourself or trace down the perpetrator).  Look how they're trying to use the law and our political system to abuse people!  The way it is done deflects criticism and blame at the individual level.

The sad thing is that in my experience, the "Good Christians" (of all denominations) were the worst bullies in the school... the more religious, the more they were abusive and hateful.  They're just imitating or mirroring their own parents and churches.  I was encouraged when the problem of bullying was starting to be addressed at the state and national level... as the saying goes "There but for the Grace of God go I" with regards to the Columbine shootings, which were the result of bullying (and from what I've read, primarily driven by and at the hands of "Good Christians").  This is worse than a step backward... no person, no child has a "right" to bully another, no matter what their religion says.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 10:26:39 AM EST


Since children are being given the right to say anything they want, so long as it's in the Bible, why can't we join in? Let's teach every child what the Bible has to say on the following Bible verses. Let's have them read aloud how, according to the Bible. . .

1. Non-Israelites could be taken as slaves for life and their children passed of as inheritance. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

2. A Hebrew slave was obligated for only six years of slavery but had to leave behind the wife his master gave him along with his children. (Exodus 21:2-6)

3. A master was allowed to savagely beat his slave so long as he or she did not die within a day or two. (Exodus 21:20-21 compare to Exodus 2:11-12)

4. A man could sell his daughter into permanent slavery. (Exodus 21:7-11)

5. Women got their hands cut off for defending their husbands if they pulled on his attacker's testicles. Deuteronomy 25:11-12

6. If an engaged or married woman was raped she was to be executed if she failed to scream. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)

7. If a single woman was raped, her rapist was punished by being forced to marry her. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)



by Villabolo on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 06:33:20 PM EST
I don't want to teach children the laws of Leviticus.  Too many of their parents want to impose it already.

by pcolsen on Wed Sep 05, 2012 at 09:03:44 AM EST
Parent



WWW Talk To Action


Dark Discussions on the Christian Right
The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Oath Oaf: Religious Right Columnist Calls For Religious Tests In Military
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA) is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Deeper Background on Dominionism -- Revisisted
In the Fall of 2011, there was an extraordinary -- and extraordinarily scurrilous -- wave of criticism aimed at those of us who had......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we'll have less corruption. Biblical......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
A Visit To The Reality Community: Americans Have Sex. Americans Use Birth Control. Let's Move On.
Over the weekend, Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Lipper took part in a panel discussion about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision at......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Thomas DiLorenzo's Rebel Yelling
I have written a great deal in the past few years about the odd phenomenon of Catholic Neo-Confederatism.  Let's add one more name to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Censorship Challenge: Texas Pastor Seeks Restrictions On `Dangerous' Library Books
Back in the 1990s, some Religious Right activists in Virginia got the bright idea to begin attacking America's public libraries. The idea was to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Suspended St. Louis County Officer Dan Page Made Rounds on Rightwing Radio Shows
St. Louis Police Officer Dan Page drew national attention when he shoved CNN's Don Lemon during a broadcast of the protests in Ferguson, and......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Cop Who Shoved CNN Host Don Lemon Lassoed in Another Conspiracy Rodeo
Rachel Tabachnick broke an important story this evening showing that the rant by Officer Dan Page that got him suspended from the St.Louis County......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Exile Excitement: Some Fundamentalists Seek Escape From Decadent Society
OK, now we've done it. Those of us who advocate things like separation of church and state, secular government, LGBT rights and self-determination when......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Controversy Over White Nationalist GOP Candidate Still White Hot
The 2004 Constitution Party candidate for president Michael Peroutka's current race for County Council in Maryland -- as a Republican -- it is still......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Race, Republicans and the Religious Right
The Republicans have a race problem, and by this I don't just mean that racial minorities don't much vote for them, particularly in the......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Rev. William Barber on Religious/Political Inclusiveness
A few weeks ago, I posted about the extraordinary oration of Rev. William Barber at Netroots Nation. (A transcript of the speech is now......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Short Takes
Salon.com  Columnist Thomas Frank considers how snark can cut more than one way. What does it mean when being "on the left" is defined......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
David Brat as a "Libertarian Catholic" is an Oxymoron
David Brat, the Tea Party Young Turk who recently shocked the GOP establishment with his primary win over Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is reportedly,......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)

Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.