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Anti-Gay Christian Athlete Teacher Of The Year

Jim Burroway

August 17th, 2011

Jerry Buell, a longtime Lake County, Florida American History and Government teacher, has been suspended from classroom teaching after posting on his Facebook account:

I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up.

Buell, who was voted Jerry Buell, voted Teacher of the Year last year at Mount Dora High School and serves as advisor to that school’s Fellowhip of Christian Athletes (PDF), also called same-sex marriages a “cesspool” and a sin. But don’t hold that against him because, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, he loves gay people.

It wasn’t out of hatred,” he said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “It was about the way I interpret things.”

…I’ve had kids that I’ve known that have been homosexuals,” he said. “They know that I don’t hate them. I love them.”

Okay then. Say you’re a gay kid, your “sin” makes your teacher puke and he’s tight with the jocks and some sort of God. How confident would you be walking into his classroom?

Update: Just to get a flavor of Buell’s influence among the high school jocks, this cached web page says he had to move his morning meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from his classroom because it couldn’t accommodate everyone. “We have had to move to the cafeteria because our numbers are growing like crazy!” Feel any better?

Comments

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Charles
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

What a great guy. He must read Mike S. Adams’ column everyday.

Soren456
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

Statements like Buell’s grant tacit permission to students who admire and respect him to bully and otherwise harass their gay classmates.

“Love” is part of the message only after he is caught posting it.

Rob in San Diego
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

I wonder if he’s had dinner with any families that have gay kids…?

Mark Cross
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

I live in Lake County FL, and have taught for the Lake County School Board. There are many teachers in the district, gay and straight, that promote respect and tolerance of those with differing sexual orientations and gender identities. Sadly, many, many more teachers in the district feel the way Mr. Buell does.

Pomo
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

This teacher, or any teacher, should not be fired/suspended/disciplined for posting on their personal facebook page. Regardless of if this guy is an ass or not, if I don’t want the government regulating my love life, I also don’t want it regulating my social life!

Michael DeSelms
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

Well, seems the cached web page has been removed!! I do have a sick feeling in my stomach for any gay child in that school. Hope there’s a teacher there that can and will protect them. I am wondering why a school {PUBLIC at that} allows a teacher to have bible studies in the classroom?

Richard Rush
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

Fundo-Christian Love is merely a performance, and a poor one at that. Their script tells them to love us, so they simply say that they do. Part of the Born Again Lifestyle is the rejection of authentic human emotions and following the script.

Shofixti
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

While he should be made accountable for what he says directly to students in his athletics club I am against people’s facebook posts being used against them in the workplace.

Facebook is fragmented and decontextualised and often maliciously authored by others. For instance, the next sentence could be: “Did I mention I had some bad shellfish with lunch?” or “From excitement!” or “Mum, get off my Facebook.” Not likely, but possible.

fred5
August 17th, 2011 | LINK

While he should be made accountable for what he says directly to students in his athletics club I am against people’s facebook posts being used against them in the workplace.

Unless what he says in his facebook postings is transmitted to his students because he is stupid enough to “friend” his students. This is what the article implied with this quote:

“If he is willing to say this on Facebook to students because the man is friends with multiple students, just as big of a deal as saying it in the classrooms,” said Winters.

That is a violation of the Lake County Schools Social Media Guidelines which he probably agreed to when signing his employment contract.

TomTallis
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

The link to the cached page has an ‘x’ in it which is preventing browsers from opening. Right now it is “xhttp.” If you remove the ‘x’ I think it will work.

Shofixti
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

Yup, he should pay closer attention to the guidelines then. Cheers.

Jim Burroway
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

I’ve edited the link, so hopefully it will work now.

Matt
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

I hope the school district is disciplining him because he was friends with his students on Facebook in violation of the district’s rules about social media connections with students.

The government cannot (or anyway should not) penalize its employees (including public school teachers) for expressing their views outside of the classroom and working hours, even if those views are nasty and vile.

@Michael —
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes group is an extracurricular, not a curricular, club. And students and faculty members have as much right to be a member as they do to be members of gay-straight alliances. Indeed, all the ACLU-led legal suits that have successfully brought gay-straight alliances to schools where superintendents or boards have been resistant have been premised on the equal access act which was originally intended to give extracurricular Christian student groups the right to form.

Timothy Kincaid
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

Richard,

Why on earth would you think that Born Again Christians reject “authentic human emotions”? Do they also eat babies and have horns?

Yes, some of them – the more vocal political type – have a unique definition of “love”, one that seems to have all of the attributes of hate. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t experience authentic human emotions, including love.

This wacky “love” they use to justify their truly evil actions is a word game. But that is not the kind of love they feel for their spouses or their children or even for chocolate cake.

In order to win over those who seek to persecute us, let’s fight our real enemies, not cartoon versions.

Charles Pitts
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

i love how you write this article as if Mr Buell is rallying up his FCA students to attack all the gays in his class..this is absurd. Mr Buell won teacher of the year for a reason, he is an amazing person and the best teacher many have ever had. You quote an FCA page of his stating “our numbers have grown” as if they have grown over this incident. Well if youd actually read instead of just spreading venom youd realize that statement was made over 2 years ago. its sad that none of you know this man yet youre so quickly to judge him. I gladly welcome emails of your hate and disgust charliep327@yahoo.com

Charles Pitts
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

also, while you think he is such a horrible man, why dont you read how his students feel about him, even gay ones..

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Jerry-Buell-Mount-Dora-High-School-Teacher-of-the-Year-suspended/263369567009043

http://www.facebook.com/pages/MDHS-Students-for-Mr-Buell/134444199982271

Priya Lynn
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy, I suspect at least part of the reason why Richard said “Part of the Born Again Lifestyle is the rejection of authentic human emotions” is because of the way they’ve bastardized the meaning of love – at least some of their emotional claims aren’t genuine and that is part of their dogma.

Priya Lynn
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

Charles, Buell is certainly spreading some of the attitudes that lead to attacks on gays and which allow such people to justify those attacks. Buell is not a nice person.

Richard Rush
August 18th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy, isn’t the whole ex-gay industry built upon rejection of authentic human emotions/feelings/traits in favor of living according to a prescribed script that passes Godly muster?

I also think it is much more than “a word game.”

And if I thought that people trapped in the bondage of the Born Again Lifestyle “eat babies and have horns,” I would have said so.

You won’t have me to kick around much during the next four to six months because I’ve begun an intense project involving lots and lots of time and physical work. And, yes, my husband is already apprehensive because he knows that if I successfully complete the project I will easily reclaim my rightful status as “the big butch one.”

cd
August 20th, 2011 | LINK

http://www.stuffchristianculturelikes.com/

The blog owner defines the running and center problem with Christian Culture as as its choices of “Doing Things and Avoiding Relationship”.

The earlier blog entries are more fun (and amazingly sad and hilarious). The real blog action takes place on the Facebook page.

Timothy Kincaid
August 21st, 2011 | LINK

Richard,

I don’t agree that the ex-gay industry tries to reject authentic human emotion/feelings/traits in favor of a prescribed script. If so, their program would be astonishingly easy. The world is full of people who have managed to push down feelings in favor of rules. Exodus’ problem is that they WANT genuine feelings/emotions that, for them, are not naturally directed.

But even if I agreed with your assessment of Exodus, they are but an insignificantly tiny portion of Born Again Christians that they don’t validate the larger statement.

Here’s the thing, Richard. I have no desire to “kick you around”. Nor do I find your comments or our interaction about them to be a waste of my time. Much of what you contribute adds to the readers and to me. And it is important – for my own perspective – to have those who are not receptive of religious assumptions around to challenge them.

So I see it as the loss of an asset when I think that you get caught up in a way of thinking that distracts you from the issue at hand. And, in my opinion, the necessity to see Christians (or some subset thereof) as inherently evil or stupid or in some other way different from you is both distracting and dangerous.

It’s distracting because it takes away from the situation (a teacher making homophobic comments) and focuses instead on Born Again Christians as a whole. So instead of measuring the appropriateness of this instance, it becomes Christian v. atheist.

But it’s also dangerous. When people are though of as different in integral core-deep ways, it’s easy to see them as foreign and bizarre. And then the Golden Rule that all ethical people (of faith or not) follow can disappear. They aren’t like us so we feel no empathy and have no need to do unto them as we would have done to us.

And this is the one essential necessity for decent people to accept horrific atrocity.

Many conservatives for many years though of gay people as bizarre and different in core-deep ways. It not only justified some pretty nasty treatment, but diminished their own potential to see outside the paradigm of “us and them”. It destroyed their families, their relationships with others, and their own sense of decency. (We sometimes forget that those who engage in animus and hostility are victims of it as well.)

I appreciate your contributions, Richard, and don’t want to see them diluted by falling into this trap.

Timothy Kincaid
August 21st, 2011 | LINK

Richard,

Yes, it’s more than a word game.

I’m way outside my field with this, but I suspect that terms like “trapped in the bondage” work in a sort of pavlovian way to trigger mental responses which allow some religious people to avoid thoughts they don’t want to address. Sort of “I don’t want to think about that right now” taken much farther.

They allow them to never question whether their actions are in reality cruel and evil by replacing the question with a default thought that not only avoids the question but defines the questioner as being deluded.

Far more than a word game, it’s more of a worldview-way-of-thinking game.

Timothy Kincaid
August 21st, 2011 | LINK

oh.. and good luck on the project. Please do participate as much as you can if you get a chance.

Timothy Kincaid
August 23rd, 2011 | LINK

Priya Lynn,

I agree that they have bastardized the meaning of love. (And really is there anything more tragic than confusing cruelty and love?)

And, indeed, in that way they are following a script which rejects our genuine human emotions.

But I don’t want us to fall into the trap of seeing our opponents as lockstep automatons or thinking them void of genuine emotion. They are not; and if we portray them as such, then we lose the argument.

F Young
August 27th, 2011 | LINK

@Matt
“I hope the school district is disciplining him because he was friends with his students on Facebook in violation of the district’s rules about social media connections with students.”

“The government cannot (or anyway should not) penalize its employees (including public school teachers) for expressing their views outside of the classroom and working hours, even if those views are nasty and vile.”

Your two paragraphs seem contradictory to me. The district’s rule forbidding teachers from allowing the students to read a teacher’s Facebook page is a limit on the teachers’ right to express their views to students outside of the classroom and working hours.

By the way, while this is probably not true in the USA, the case law in Canada says that teachers are role models 24/7 with respect to anything they do or say publicly. They may not express any view publicly outside of the classroom and working hours that is inconsistent with that.

For example, they cannot make anti-LGBT, anti-women, anti-Black or anti-Christian/muslim public statements because all these groups are legally entitled to an inclusive and respectful learning environment.

Priya Lynn
August 27th, 2011 | LINK

Yay Canada!

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