Descending, circle by circle
Not content to merely interfere in the lives of gay people who just want to be treated like everyone else, the Catholic Church wants to be sure that gay kids come in for their share of grief, too. In a recent article in the Catholic Spirit, Jason Adkins — a temporal goombah for the church at the Legislature — endeavors to explain why a bill to protect kids from bullying is a Bad Idea.
Stripped to its essence, here’s Adkins’ argument:
We won’t be able to tell teh gay eighth graders they are going to hell.
In the special world that Adkins and his ilk live in, this is a problem. It is, in fact, positively Orwellian, according to Adkins. But to quote again Inigo Montoya, You keep saying that word, but I don’t think, Jason, that it means what you think it means. Well, Montoya didn’t say “Jason,” but you get the idea.
It is Adkins and the Catholic Church who are advocating mind control here. For you see, Jason, nobody is telling you not to think like a bigot, just don’t act like one. And tell your kid not to act like one either, at least to the extent it interferes in a material way with other kids’ learning experience. Simple, no?
This is just a manifestation of the age-old ego boundary problem, where people don’t know where they end and the rest of the world begins.
As somebody who grew up eating — and hating — greasy fish sticks or thin tomato soup at hot lunch every Friday in a public school cafeteria, I know all about oppression from unbidden religious authority. Kidding. Well, sort of.
The really scary thing for Adkins is this:
We are not done yet! The bill’s proponents want to require private schools to follow the mandates of the law as well. If a Catholic school refuses to comply, its students could lose their pupil aid, such as textbooks, school nurses, and transportation.
Really, Jason, it would be the school, not the pupils who lose the aid; the students can always attend public school. I cannot see why I should contribute a single dime to a sectarian education to begin with, much less one that thinks it is okay to condemn a child with antediluvian precepts based on entirely disputable theology.
MinnPost has a lengthy article about the bill and the activities of the church.
The Wonkette has a rather more, um, snarky take on the matter. But it does include the bill’s definition of bullying:
“Bullying” means use of one or a series of words, images, or actions, directly or indirectly between individuals or through technology, that a reasonable person knows or should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of materially interfering with the ability of an individual, including a student who observes the conduct, to participate in a safe and supportive learning environment. Examples of bullying may include, but are not limited to, conduct that…relates to the actual or perceived race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, sex, age, marital status, familial status, socioeconomic status, physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, academic status, disability, or status with regard to public assistance, age, or any additional characteristic defined in chapter 363A of a person or of a person with whom that person associates, but the conduct does not rise to the level of harassment. [emphasis added]
Which is funny, because I used to bully Catholic kids because I hated greasy fish sticks and thin tomato soup.
There are districts in the state that already have comprehensive anti-bullying policies; one of them, Anoka – Hennepin, has one called a “federal consent order.”
Update: If you’d like to show your support for federal efforts to prevent bullying, you can sign this ACLU petition and read about Bayli Silberstein, the teen behind it here.
Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.