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Laurie Higgins Endorses the Bullying of Gay Kids

Timothy Kincaid

April 17th, 2009

Illinois Family Institute is only one of 12 anti-gay groups assigned Hate Group status by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is a well deserved designation.

Laurie Higgins, the Director of the Division of School Advocacy for the Illinois Family Institute, gives voice to the attitudes and beliefs that have led to IFI being identified as a hate group. Laurie is also one of the organizers of the Day of Silence Walk Out.

She is not pleased that Dr. Warren Throckmorton is suggesting that Christian kids should treat gay kids as they wish to be treated. She is angry that he wants them to stay in school on the Day of Silence. And she is particularly irate that Throckmorton opposes the abuse of gay kids.

In her article, Dr. Throckmorton’s “Golden Rule” Misguided at Best, Higgins makes minimal lip service to “the worthy goal of ending bullying, but it’s quite clear that she does not at all wish that the bullying of gay kids should end at all.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets,” means that Christians should affirm to others God’s Word–the entirety of God’s Word–in a godly way.

Higgins declares that the Golden Rule means the exact opposite of what it says. Rather than do unto others as you’d have them do to you, she endorses the “affirming God’s Word” (ie public condemnation and ridicule) of others “in a godly way”. It is difficult to fathom a more perverse interpretation of Christ’s commandment.

[If] we allow schools to define discrimination so expansively as to prohibit all statements of moral conviction, character development is compromised and speech rights are trampled. And if administrators continue to define discrimination in such a way as to preclude only some statements of moral conviction, they violate pedagogical commitments to intellectual diversity and render the classroom a place of indoctrination.

Higgins supports discrimination, as long as it is based on “moral conviction”.

Dr. Throckmorton believes that “Christian students should be leading the way to make schools safe and build bridges to those who often equate ‘Christian’ with condemnation.” In this statement, Dr. Throckmorton glaringly omits the truth that Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct. And to those who view homosexuality as moral, this necessary Christian condemnation of homosexual behavior renders homosexual students unsafe.

Yes, Higgins actually supports making schools unsafe for gay kids.

She believes that “Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct.” In other words, Christian kids have a moral obligation to harangue and harass gay kids and publicly condemn them.

[As] moral beings living for a time in a fallen world suffused with brokenness of all kinds, we are all charged with the same moral task: We all must determine which of our myriad messy feelings are morally legitimate to act upon. Adults are supposed to help children navigate those murky waters.

Higgins believes that adults – teachers and administrators – should also condemn gay kids.

Let’s be clear. Higgins does not oppose the Day of Silence because it is the wrong way to go about ending the bullying of gay kids. Rather, Higgins opposes the Day of Silence because she believes it is a Christian kid’s duty to bully his gay classmates.

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HappyCat
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 teenage suicided are LGBT children. Most teenage suicides are a reaction to bullying. (I don’t have the web link at this time, it is on my other computer that crashed yesterday) So I guess, if using logic, the 4 of the 5 teenage sucides are just fine and dandy with her because one of them is gay.

These people are really sick.

Kristie
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

I love how all of these “Christian” gay haters talk about this duty they have to judge others. I remember Jesus saying “Judge not” but apparently that part got left out of their Bibles. The truth of the matter is that Jesus hung out with people that most of his community wouldn’t have pissed on if they were on fire. He didn’t judge those people, he accepted them for who they were and loved them. Too many so-called “Christians” today have forgotten about that. I think if Jesus were alive you’d find him at the Pride Parade before you’d find him at any of the religious right’s hate rallies.

William
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

What is it with Laurie Higgins? Is it muddle-headednes or intellectual dishonesty? Or is it a combination of the two?

The Day of Silence isn’t about sexual behaviour at all – at least not about any overt sexual behaviour. Kids are invariably picked on and bullied for “being gay”, whether or not they actually are, but seldom because they have been observed or are known to have engaged in any particular sexual behaviour, and Ms Higgins must know this perfectly well.

Furthermore, Ms Higgins must know or guess – unless she’s incredibly naive – that in any secondary school there will be students who have engaged in other sexual behaviour that she, with her very traditional moral code, would surely not approve of, viz. heterosexual sex before marriage. If we can find out who they are, should they be picked on and bullied too? Or would it, at any rate, be better to let them be bullied than to give the impression of condoning pre-marital sex?

David
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

Higgins also probably didn’t think about the possibility of kids lashing back at their bullies. In Higgins’s mind it is ok if kids perceived to be gay or lesbian kill themselves over being persistently ‘condemned’, but I doubt she thought about the possibility of these kids becoming so frustrated with their harassers and lack of administrative support that they decide to kill their persecutors.

I’m sure Higgins wouldn’t want the blood of another school shooting on her conscience.

Brady
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

Over the last year or so, I’ve come to really respect Dr. Throckmorton. Some of his past aside, I feel that these days he’s exactly the type of ex-gay advocate I’ve been asking for.

On a side note–I wrote a post on my blog about the Exodus sponsored Day of Truth isn’t only a slap in the face of gay kids that are getting bullied, but also could potentially provide they fodder bullies need with their misleading claim of “change.”

AJD
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

I know the intent of the Day of Silence, and I know it’s well-meaning, but I always thought it was a stupid, navel-gazing way to get our point across. It only makes sense to the people participating. How do you expect people to listen if you’re not saying anything?

If anything, it should be the Day of Loudness. Talking back to these thugs would teach them to mess with us. But walking around with duct tape over your mouth, even as an expression of “solidarity,” is almost an endorsement of anti-gay bullying.

Eddie89
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

Talking back to these thugs may not work too well. Since some of them are not shy of escalating it to physical violence, I.E. guns

Remember Lawrence “Larry” King?

“An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind”
Mahatma Gandhi

“An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.”
Greek philosopher Socrates

GLSEN’s Day of Silence* at Lesbian Dad
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

[...] “Laurie Higgins Endorses the Bullying of Gay Kids,” at Box Turtle Bulletin [...]

mike/
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

i have long said that if Jesus were alive today, the last thing he would be is a christian.

Dieter
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

What excuse will she give God when one day she stands in front of him and has to give an account of herself? God made man in his image. That means all people not a select few.

David C.
April 17th, 2009 | LINK

The loons are all self-destructing. It’s the only thing that explains this kind of reasoning.

Regan DuCasse
April 19th, 2009 | LINK

There are times that I’ve reminded an avowed Christian of that duty to Christ’s second commandment and the variations on it in most cultures.

Empathy creates a bond. It is a valuable emotion from which the most ethical decisions and actions flow.

Empathy is an almost exclusively human quality and by all intents and purposes, separates us from the indecent and uncivilized.

I’ve said as much to people who I would have thought, with all their claims of moral goals and accomplishments, wouldn’t have to be told that. They won’t even acknowledge that it’s true. Nor that they have failed in their duty to it, even if only to see how gay people would react to equal accommodation and compassion rather than derision and threat.

There is really nothing worse than treating a human being as if they are already dead and being good to a gay person in the most meaningful way is a waste of effort.

But a great deal of effort IS put into complicating gay lives beyond anyone’s imagining even so.

Such a terrible and strangely backward way of going about things, wouldn’t you think?

AJD
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

Eddie89, I’m not advocating hostility or vengeance. I’m just saying that we’d get a lot further by challenging their homophobia than by putting duct tape over our mouths.

I think the Day of Silence really sums up what’s wrong with gay-rights activism today and why we keep getting defeated while only making baby steps. When I lived in Indiana and the state legislature voted in favor of a gay-marriage bill, the response of a group of gay people gathered on the balcony above was to chant “Shame!” repeatedly and then stand outside with mass-produced cardboard coffins. I also read on Queerty that one group in Sacramento had a silent protest — no chanting, no signs — that then broke into “Have a Merry Little Christmas.” This isn’t activism or advocacy. It’s performance art, and bad performance art.

By contrast, the religious right airs inflammatory commercials and has its foot soldiers go out to tell the “truth” about homosexuality.

So my question is: Whose message is more likely to reach voters?

I really think that the reason why gay rights have advanced so slowly in this country is not just because of pervasive homophobia, but because our enemies have a much more effective message than we do.

Jason D
April 20th, 2009 | LINK

AJD, To be fair, the DoS is a school event, and there is very little that any group can do during school hours that would be approved. I think it’s rather clever: GLSEN found the most peaceful and least academically disruptive way to protest for LGBT Youth and allies. Speeches, assemblies, demonstrations, can all be prohibited based on how it takes away from class-time. I have to give credit to GLSEN for finding a way to do a protest in-school that’s almost immune to scrutiny.
On it’s face, the claims by anti-gay groups that the DOS is “disruptive” are ludicrous. How exactly are students NOT talking somehow disruptive? My God, teachers pray for days when half their class STFU. I’m sure some teachers wish more of their students participated ;)

RU486
April 21st, 2009 | LINK

Laurie Higgins has got a huge bee in her bonnet over this post. She wrote a long, angry column on the IFI site denouncing it. These are tough times for homo-bigots like Laurie. First the SPLC labels the IFI a hate group. Then NOM releases an anti-gay marriage TV ad that becomes an unintended (and much-parodied) Internet laugh riot. And, of course, marriage equality has been created in Iowa and Vermont and, possibly soon, NY. Laurie must surely be aware that she is part of an increasingly desperate, isolated and shrill minority of religious extremists. Speaking of funny anti-gay ads, the IFI has got a gem of their own on their site that is even funnier and dumber than NOMs. And is that Laurie, herself, appearing as the teacher putting tape on the little kiddies’ mouths? You go, girl!

Hemant Mehta under attack by Christian hate group « The Defiant Skeptic
August 20th, 2009 | LINK

[...] Box Turtle Bulletin » Laurie Higgins Endorses the Bullying of Gay Kids Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct. And to those who view homosexuality as moral, this necessary Christian condemnation of homosexual behavior renders homosexual students unsafe. [...]

Friendly Atheist under attack by Christian hate group « Big Bear Observation Post
August 20th, 2009 | LINK

[...] is on record as favoring the bullying and harassment of gay children by Christian children. She is engaged in an effort to prevent any legislation which [...]

Friendly
August 20th, 2009 | LINK

Wow, she sounds like a lovely Christian woman. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” -Mohandas Gandhi

Martin
August 21st, 2009 | LINK

The Southern Poverty Law Center appears to have removed the IFI from its list of anti-gay hate groups. The link shows only 11 groups. The IFI is also absent from their list of hate groups active in Illinois.

Anyone know why?

Timothy Kincaid
August 21st, 2009 | LINK

Martin,

The IFI was removed from the list when they disavowed any reliance on the claims of Paul Cameron.

Truth Wins Out - Correction: Illinois Family Institute Is NOT Back on the SPLC Hate Group List
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

[...] put back on the SPLC anti-gay hate group list.  It made sense, as Laurie has spent the last year encouraging Christian children to bully gay kids and making scurrilous Nazi comparisons.  But then in researching a piece a couple of days later, I [...]

Bob
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

I am not sure I get this article. What is the evidence that she actually endorses bullying?

Priya Lynn
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

Her own words Bog. She said “Christians must condemn volitional homosexual conduct.”. She wants schoolchildren to do that – that’s bullying.

Bob
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks. If she means forcing unwanted vebal condemnations on gay youth minding their own business that would be bullying.

Truth Wins Out - In Mississippi, a High School Hates Gay People So Much That They Cancel the Prom
March 10th, 2010 | LINK

[...] believe that the Wingnut Right really cares about bullying of LGBT students? No, as Timothy Kincaid pointed out last year, some of their leading “pro-family” voices indeed view bullying LGBT students as a [...]

In Mississippi, a High School That Hates Gay People So Much That They Cancel the Prom « Hindgrindr
March 11th, 2010 | LINK

[...] believe that the Wingnut Right really cares about bullying of LGBT students? No, as Timothy Kincaid pointed out last year, some of their leading “pro-family” voices indeed view bullying LGBT students as a Christian [...]

Truth Wins Out - Laurie Higgins Losing It Over College Students Acting Like College Students
October 14th, 2010 | LINK

[...] a gay student tells his friend that he’s gay, and the friend does not bully him, which is what Laurie supports; and then, a group of students with silly names talk about how abstinence is good, but if you [...]

The Friendly Atheist Under Attack « Thoughts from a Godless Heathen
May 8th, 2011 | LINK

[...] about reality here. She’s about dogma and rhetoric. We’re talking about a woman who endorsed the bullying of gay students on the basis that homosexuality is wrong and immoral and shouldn’t be coddled, so no insult [...]

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