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Arizona House Passes Bigot Protection Act

Timothy Kincaid

March 18th, 2008

tshirt.jpgIt infuriates anti-gays that students are not allowed to wear slogans to class that attack their classmates.

Anti-gays are not always staggeringly stupid. For example, they are capable of understanding that “Proud to Be Irish” is not really comparable to “The Irish are Scum”. They can get that a T-Shirt bearing a Star of David and the phrase “Shalom” is not offensive to anyone while “Jews are Jesus-Killers” really has no place in public schools.

But for some reason, they just can’t understand the difference between a T-Shirt with a supportive gay theme and one that condemns and attacks gays. For some reason they confuse pro-Christianity with anti-gay and think that it is appropriate to wear T-Shirts with the language “Homosexuality Is Shameful, Romans 1:27″ and “Be Ashamed” and “Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned.”

Well now the legislature in Arizona has lept to their defense.

The House approved legislation Monday designed to ensure students expressing their religious beliefs are treated the same as those taking more secular positions.

Now those unfamiliar with the efforts of anti-gays to instill formal homophobia into the classroom may not recognize the reasons for this effort. They may think this is about the Bible Club or about anti-religious bigotry.

If I were ignorant, they might have my sympathies. As someone who was once mocked by a fifth grade teacher in front of class for closing my eyes and saying a silent prayer over my lunch, I know that schools can sometimes be tough on religious kids. And if you doubt that, try being the only boy in gym class in knee-length shorts.

But that’s not what this is about. And in case we have any uncertainty, the bill’s author, Rep. Doug Clark, R-Anthem, clarified.

Similarly, Clark said if students are allowed to wear T-shirts about their sexual orientation, then other students should be permitted to have their own shirts which express a religious viewpoint about such activities.

Yup. This bill is designed specifically to promote “a religious viewpoint” about “such activities”. I wasn’t the only one to notice this.

Rep. David Schapira, D-Tempe, said he fears the bill would give license to some students to bully or harass others, such as those who might wear T-shirts demeaning homosexual students, which he described as “harassing.”

Clark said schools would remain free to enact and enforce anti-discrimination policies.

“Most in the religious community are going to be level-headed and not be abusive of the rights that are established in the Constitution,” Clark said.

Well now, Rep. Clark, that just isn’t true. If there were no efforts to harass gay students, you wouldn’t need a bill that allows just such action. But somehow I think you already know that.

However, Rep. Clark – and those who are proclaiming a mighty victory in God’s name – let me give you a little warning. You’ve done this before and it didn’t quite work out the way you planned.

Remember?

You passed a federal law, the Equal Access Act, that was intended to protect students who wanted to have Bible Study on campus. And now that is the law that protects Gay-Straight Alliances. To your surprise, shock, and dismay, you found that teen-agers didn’t much want to spend lunch time discussing the lamentations of Jeremiah but that gay kids did want to get together and work towards defending themselves from abuse.

In your rush to impose your faith on others, you forget that those who disagree with you will also get the same right to impose their faith right back.

So rush out and print your anti-gay T-Shirts just in time for the Day of Silence. You can use “Jesus Can Make You Happy, Not Gay” or even “God Condemns Homosexuality” if you like, knowing that their “religious” message is protected.

But if you stop and think you’ll realize that at this moment there’s some enterprising kid trying to decide whether “I Reject Your Fascist Religion” or “Real Christians Don’t Hate” will sell more T-Shirts before class. For every kid that is so devout that he wants to wear a message of hostility and condemnation of gays, there are many more who will mock you and your faith. When you open up the schools to “religious viewpoints” about “activities”, you aren’t going to like the results.

I figure gay boys could just wear the religious T-Shirt above and watch you and the other anti-gays work yourselves into a tizzy.

Comments

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quo III
March 18th, 2008 | LINK

‘They can get that a T-Shirt bearing a Star of David and the phrase “Shalom” is not offensive to anyone while “Jews are Jesus-Killers” really has no place in public schools.’

I’m pretty sure that some people would indeed find a t-Shirt with a Star of David offensive. There is a thing in this world called anti-semitism.

Jarred
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

A few more slogans they might not realize they’re letting into the classroom:

“Born right the first time.”

“Instead of being born again, why not just grow up?”

I know that both of these slogans already appear on bumper stickers, so they may be available on tee shirts as well.

Timothy Kincaid
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

quo III

Good point. Homophobes are also often anti-semetic.

Haters are haters.

Emily K
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

timothy: except for the folks at JONAH. But they might as well be.

Priya Lynn
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

What does the small lettering on the t-shirt say? I can’t read it and when I click on the “view larger” link in the link it just redisplays it the same size.

Timothy Kincaid
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

Sorry, I don’t know how to fix that. It says:

SOME DAY MY PRINCE WILL COME
Jesus said, He will come again and receive us unto himself
John 14:3

Larry
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

I doubt that a judge would uphold this new law, because it allows students to attack other students in school, using speech or t-shirts. If the religious viewpoint was positive, it would probably be allowed. But any verbal/written attacks on other students are viewed very dimly by the courts.

Stefano
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

I’m still pondering the ramifications of this little tid bid of info

The preliminary vote came after Clark removed a provision to allow parents to sue the schools if they believe a youngster has been the victim of discrimination.

Jason D
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

I never understand this war of words on t-shirts.

It seems plain as day to me.

Most of the gay shirts have a statement that is the equivalent of the following:

“I am proud to be myself.”
“It’s good to be who you are.”

And the opposing side has shirts that basically say.

“You should be ashamed of yourself.”
“You’re not good at all.”

One is a positive message of self-respect, self-acceptance, self-reliance, self-esteem.
The other is generally a dig at the person, or an attempt to undermine all that positive energy.

I’ve never understood the notion…”If it’s okay for a gay kid to wear a shirt saying how happy they are, I should be allowed to wear a shirt telling them how awful they are.”

How is that equal, exactly?

notreligiousbutmw
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

I side with the religious pupils who want to wear religious T-shirts. OK, they violated Federal law of separation of church & state, when they wear shirts such as Sodomy is a sin, but I don’t care.

If homosexual groups didn’t push their views in the schools, then I doubt that such T-shirts would be worn. To be secular, the students should instead wear the shirt which says “homosexual behaviors are medically harmful, just as tobacco use is”. It wouldn’t be derogatory to homosexuals because it would be attacking the behavior & not people. When homosexual groups stop pushing their views on others which is what it really is, then I’ll care about religous discussions being raised.

I do have something that I want to address to Timothy Kincaid & his thoughts are welcome, though it’s incidental to what he wrote. Timothy said that the T-shirt “Jews are Jesus killers” has no place in the public schools. What I’m going to write is controversial & will be offensive to some, but what do you think Timothy & I am being serious as it relates to schools when discussing the Holocaust also giving the accounts of those who were in the Einsatzgruppen-those who pulled the trigger-if any are still alive to know why they did it? The reason I ask this is as you may know in the U.K. there has been controversy with teaching this topic to Arab students esp. Muslims who don’t care what the teachers say about the Holocaust. Since Arabs, Latvians, Estonians & others have animosity towards the Jews, do you believe that the Arab youths & others should also hear accounts of those who committed the Holocaust against the Jews & why they shouldn’t pass judgment on it? Others such as the Ukrainians, Latvians, Estonians & others lost relatives during Stalin’s biggest Holocaust. Quite a few of Stalin’s henchmen such as Lazar Kaganovitch were Jewish & it has been my observation that quite a few Urainians, Latvians, etc. don’t empathize with Jewish Holocaust victims with the thinking of-Stalin’s Jewish henchmen killed their family in the bigger Holocaust, so why should they care about Jewish men, Jewess women & kids killed during the Holocaust. This maybe an angering ?, but do you think that considering the fact that the Arabs & the Jews hate eachother, should Arab youths care about Jewish Holocaust victims? Do you expect Arab youths to feel sorry about the bad things that happened to who they’ve been @ war with for so long?

notreligiousbutmw
March 19th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy Kincaid, to clarify my last post-what if Arab pupils or Ukrainians, Latvians, etc. want to wear a T-shirt which asks “why should they empathize with Jewish Holocaust victims?”

TJ McFisty
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

Notreligious: Sure wish there was a way for you to walk in our shoes for a day.

Martin Lanigan
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

Please do not feed the troll.

notreligiousbutmw
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

TJ McFisty, 4 ur information, I did face hostility in my youth because of my ethnicity-for many years. As I told Jim Burroway & Timothy Kincaid-it has been my observation that when you, Timothy Kincaid & Jim Burroway reply to my posts & others who you differ with, you 3 write (@least to me), as if we were born in 1999 & have never heard what you’ve said before.

Since this is about T-shirts, I would appreciate if Timothy Kincaid would give his view on my 2 prior posts of what if Arabs, Latvians, Estonians, & Ukrainians wore those T-shirts asking why they should empathize with Jewish Holocaust victims for reasons already given. I addressed the 2 posts directly to him, because I want to raise something he may not have seriously considered.

Emily K
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

“To be secular, the students should instead wear the shirt which says ‘homosexual behaviors are medically harmful, just as tobacco use is’.”

Actually, lesbian sexual practices are the “safest” and least likely of transmitting disease – even less so than heterosexual practices.

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/women/resources/factsheets/wsw.htm

zrainswva
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

Notreligious: I concur with TJ McFisty: Sure wish there was a way for you to walk in our shoes for a day.

We don’t face discrimination just for ‘many years'; rather, we face discrimination ALL the time. I can be fired or not hired based on my actual or perceived sexual orientation. I can be declined a loan, or housing or access to facilities based on my actual or perceived sexual orientation. In my state, further, “A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable.”

My partner and I have been together 21 years, and we fully intend to enjoy the rest of our life together. Do we want to be married? No. However, we would appreciate state and federal recognition of our relationship. And to not do so is, simply put, discrimination.

I endured name calling and harrasment throughout my childhood. Not just ‘many years’, but 12 years. My parents were Christian wackos who would be perfectly okay with my sexuality so long as I didn’t practice it, i.e., join the clergy or stay celibate. All of the above are harassment, discriminatory and unacceptable.

I also find offensive your suggestion that “homosexual behaviors are medically harmful, just as tobacco use is.” I beg your pardon, sir, but what is harmful is the emotional and spiritual grief that is imposed on the gay person because of his or her orientation or perceived orientation.

Timothy Kincaid
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

As I mentioned above, homophobes are also often anti-Semites. Thank you nonreligiousbutmw for illustrating my point so clearly.

Beyond that I will not be addressing your irrelevant, rambling, hateful questions.

Stefano
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

Fighting for the principles of human rights and civil liberties is not working for any group over another. What should be focused on is what is being done to uphold the principles, universally accepted principles, of peace and human rights.

notreligiousbutmw
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

Comment removed due to violation of our comments policy, specifically persistent disruptive off-topic comments.

Jason D
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

stop feeding the trolls!

notreligiousbutmw
March 20th, 2008 | LINK

Once again, I don’t have anything new 2 add, as ur simply rerunning what I’ve heard b4. I expect u 2 find what I write 2 offend u. But keep in mind that it was u who pushed ur views in the schools. I side with the students who r willing 2 wear t-shirts such as homosexual behaviors r bad, if 4 no other reason, 2 give their side. U’ll find it offensive, but ur going 2 have 2 learn 2 putup with views of those who c something wrong with ur sexual behaviors, even if u don’t like it. They didn’t raise it, u did. The T-shirts were worn in reaction 2 what u did.

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