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Thomas More Law Center – a rare glimpse at evil

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

The Thomas More Law Center is the Catholic version of the Alliance Defense Fund. Created by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan as part of his billion dollar campaign to promote Catholicism (of the more fanatical Mel Gibson variety), it exists to defend the “religious freedom” of Catholics, a notion which seems to be based on the presumption that Catholics have the God-given freedom to dictate all matters of social or civil policy. Among the sparks of brilliance that have graced its board have been presidential candidates Alan Keyes and Rick Santorum.

Thomas More Law Center is perhaps best known for losing a lawsuit seeking to force Planned Parenthood to warn about (unproven) links to breast cancer, losing the defense of a website which encouraged the murder of abortion doctors, losing a case against Ann Arbor Public School District to stop it from providing insurance benefits to same-sex partners, seeking to interfere in Judge Roy Moore’s failed attempt to thwart the courts and erect a huge “Ten Commandments monument” at the Alabama Supreme Court, shopping school districts until it found one willing to go to court to defend “intelligent design” and then losing the case, unsuccessfully suing Los Angeles County when it removed a small cross from the county seal, and authoring an amendment to repeal non-discrimination protection in Gainsville, FL, which the voters soundly rejected.

Though they have won some cases, the term that comes to mind isn’t “winners”.

While they rely primarily on the pro-bono contributions of devout Catholic lawyers, Richard Thompson is the Law Center’s President and Chief Counsel and the current mental giant directing the organization’s path. Thompson did pass the bar exam in Michigan so he can’t literally be dumber than a box of rocks. But when it comes to matters where his faith and reality conflict, he and the other Thomas More lawyers seem to contain the ability to believe and argue the absurd. In fact, their irrationality is only outpaced by their smug contempt and their shocking nastiness.

Take, for example, his latest denunciation of a gay teacher in Howell, Michigan. First let me give you the back story

  • On October 20, 2010, teacher Jay McDowell wore a purple shirt to class to express solidarity with students who are bullied for being (or being perceived as) gay or lesbian. Specifically, McDowell was responding to the suicide of Tyler Clementi two weeks earlier.
  • This led to a discussion about bullying and why it should be opposed.
  • One student, who had come to class with a Confederate Flag belt buckle was asked by McDowell to remove the item (she did).
  • In response, student Daniel Glowacki declared that he opposes rainbow flags because, “I don’t accept Gays. It is against my religion. I am Catholic.”
  • McDowell attempted to explain how “I don’t accept” followed by any group was disruptive and when the student refused to back down, suspended him and another student from the class for the day.
  • The school board responded by accusing McDowell of bullying the students, of denying their right to “not accept” their fellow students and in response to his defense of gay students from being bullied (or “not accepted”), they order him to “cease from engaging in the promotion of your personal social issues.”

But that just wasn’t good enough for the budding gay-not-accepter or his mother. No, he has been “blasted” as being a bigot and accused of hate. So on behalf of him and his mother, Thomas More is suing the school district. They want the school’s harassment speech policy to be declared unconstitutional, and that the district’s “training, supervision, policies, practices, customs, and/or procedures that promote a school environment that favors homosexuality and disfavors religious viewpoints that oppose homosexuality violate [bullys'] fundamental constitutional
rights to freedom of speech and the equal protection of the law.” Oh, and money.

The Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit yesterday afternoon against the Howell Public School District located in Howell, Michigan, and teacher, Johnson (“Jay”) McDowell, for punishment and humiliation heaped on a student after he expressed his religious belief opposing homosexuality when asked by the teacher during class.

By taking a look at this lawsuit, we can see not only why they fail so very often but also a glimpse into mindset that is so shockingly based in hatred and contempt that it distorts reality and leaves its victims incapable of rational thought.

Let me pause for a moment here to remind you that the Thomas More Law Center is a law firm, and thus is supposed to base its argument in fact and law. It is also a Catholic advocacy group and is supposed to base its ideology in the teachings of Christ and the traditions of the Church.

It is not the KKK.

I remind you of this because as we delve into the lawsuit presented in federal court, you may find yourself wondering about the degree of depravity and viciousness necessary to file this piece of filth. You may find yourself breathless and confused at the contrast between the Catholic Church declaring this to be a time of peace on Earth in which we reflect on a God who loves us, and the unvarnished hatred spewed in this document.

To introduce you to the mindset, let me present the words of Richard Thompson on this matter, (WorldNetDaily)

“It defies common sense for schools to ban all sorts of unhealthy foods while at the same time promoting the homosexual lifestyle, which hard statistics show increases drug abuse, suicides and reduces the life expectancies by several years. Schools that promote such lifestyles are engaging in a form of child abuse,” he said.

In this direct comparison, Thompson asserts that just like eating certain foods, “the homosexual lifestyle” (we’ll get to his definition later) directly causes increased drug abuse, suicides and reduced life expectancies. Cause and effect. Just like avoiding bad foods, avoiding “the homosexual lifestyle” can keep one from these risks of increased drug abuse, suicides and reduced life expectancies.

I don’t know what “hard statistics” he is referring to for his drug abuse claim. And I’ll discuss suicide in a moment. But those who read here know full well that his claim that “the homosexual lifestyle… reduces the life expectancies by several years” is a pernicious lie based on fraudulent “research” by Paul Cameron which has not only been proven to be false (in no small part by Box Turtle Bulletin) but has been denounced by all reputable scientists and scholars, including a number of conservative Christians. It is not fathomable that Thompson is unaware of this lie, and so I can only conclude that lying is intrinsic to his nature and a reflection of his moral condition.

But that is just the polished up portion presented for public consumption. In the brief – which is assumed not to be of interest to the average person – true evil arises.

The Catholic Encyclopedia defines evil thusly: “Evil – In a large sense, described as the sum of the opposition, which experience shows to exist in the universe, to the desires and needs of individuals; whence arises, among humans beings at least, the sufferings in which life abounds.” It is a term that is fraught with religious overtones. For our secular readers, it can seem gothic or irrelevant to modern discourse. Comical, even.

But as a Christian I take the concept seriously, and I don’t use the word “evil” lightly. Though it sounds like a phrase from a bad 70′s horror flick, evil exists. And I believe that as we progress you will understand why I see this intentional abandonment of decency, love, compassion, and all that is good, when placed in a religious context, as nothing other than evil.

I’ll only offer three passages from the brief. You can read the rest if you can stomach it. First is how Muise set up the scenario.

34. On or before October 20, 2010, the School District permitted teachers at Howell High School to sell purple t-shirts with the slogan “Tyler’s Army” to other students and teachers to promote the 2010 Spirit Day at the high school.

35. “Tyler’s Army” is a reference to Tyler Clementi. While a freshman at Rutgers University, Tyler had sex with another male student in his dorm room. Tyler’s homosexual acts were captured on video and posted on the Internet. Embarrassed and ashamed, Tyler committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge.

For clarity, let’s recall that when TMLC says Tyler “had sex” and discuss his “homosexual acts”, they were limited to kissing and hugging. Further, there is no evidence – strike that – there is no suggestion of any possible hint at a likelihood that Tyler was “ashamed”. Ashamed means that Clementi felt remorse for actions that he took, that his conscience convicted him of his behavior that was dishonorable. Clementi wasn’t ashamed – he had no reason to be.

Tyler committed suicide because a cruel person, his roommate Dharun Ravi, video taped him in a private moment and intentionally subjected him to public humiliation.

But the Thomas More Law Center exonerates Ravi. It sees the villain in the situation clearly: to TMCL the real person who is “to blame” is Tyler Clementi, for his “destructive lifestyle”. Bullying isn’t the problem, it is to be commended. Bullying is to be protected. Bullying is godly.

40. The purpose of the “anti-bullying” day, the “Tyler’s Army” t-shirts, and the movie was to indoctrinate students into believing that homosexuality is normal and to shift the blame for the destructive lifestyle of homosexuals to those who believe it is wrong and immoral.

Only those who hate homosexual persons – not “the sin”, not “intrinsic disorder”, but the actual gay people – could find virtue in bullying. Only truly those consumed by hatred would find excuses for the behavior of Ravi or suppose that Clementi experienced “shame”. Only those who presume as a matter of course, contrary to all evidence given by gay people, that homosexuality inherently produces shame would make such a claim.

But the real revelation of the mindset of Daniel Glowacki, his mother Sandra Glowacki, their TMLC attorney Robert Muise, TMLC head Richard Thompson, and those who support, celebrate, and promote the Thomas More Law Center can be found in paragraph 39 under “Statements of Fact”.

Here on the Glowackis’ behalf, Muise is discussing the situation in public schools in which young gay kids – and kids who didn’t identify as gay but were tormented with homophobia – have been bullied to the point where they can’t take it any more. These kids include:

Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover – Springfield, MA. In April 2009, eleven year old Carl tied an electrical cord around his neck and hung himself. He had been subjected to a constant barrage of harassment at school where he was taunted and threatened by classmates for weeks, calling him gay and making fun of his clothes, before he killed himself.

Eric Mohat – Mentor, OH. April 2009. The seventeen year old was a quiet but likable boy, who was involved in theater and music> He was called “gay,” “fag,” “queer” and “homo”, often in front of his teachers, who did nothing. When one bully said publicly in class, “Why don’t you go home and shoot yourself, no one will miss you,” he did.

Billy Lucas – Greensburg, IN. September 2010

The 15-year-old never told anyone he was gay but students at Greensburg High School thought he was and so they picked on him.

“People would call him ‘fag’ and stuff like that, just make fun of him because he’s different basically,” said student Dillen Swango.

Students told Fox59 News it was common knowledge that children bullied Billy and from what they said, it was getting worse. Last Thursday, Billy’s mother found him dead inside their barn. He had hung himself.

Asher Brown – Cyprus, TX. September 2010. Asher was thirteen when the straight-A student put the barrel of a gun to his head. He couldn’t take any more of the gay taunts, of kids performing mock sex acts on him in his physical education class. Unlike most others listed here, Asher actually identified as gay and was working with his family to come to terms with his orientation. On the last week of his life he was kicked down a flight of stairs. When he tried to retrieve his book bag, other students kicked his books away. The school “turned up no witnesses.”

Tehachapi teen Seth Walsh, who committed suicide following anti-gay bullyingSeth Walsh – Tehachapi, CA. September 2010. Seth had been picked on for years because he was gay. School administrators said they have an anti-bullying program in place, but schoolmates said staff at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi offered Seth no protection or guidance. After years of abuse, Seth then thirteen, tied a rope around a tree branch.

Tyler Clementi – Rutgers University. September 2010. Tyler had a date and asked his roommate if he could have the room to himself. His roommate agreed, secretly turning on a camera connected to his computer and rushing to another student’s room where they broadcast Tyler’s encounter on the internet. After having his private life exposed – and tweeted about – Tyler, eighteen, leaped to his death in the Hudson River. He is the only one whose “homosexual acts” got as far as a kiss.

Lance Lundsten – Alexandria, Minnesota. January 2011. After Lance took his life by means of a drug overdose, the local newspaper began a campaign of disinformation and lies – with the Lundsten family’s consent – seeking to claim that Lance died of a heart condition. It went so far as to scold his classmates and “anti-bullying groups” for reflecting badly on the city and the school by revealing that Lance had been bullied and tormented.

Jamey Rodemeyer – Williamsville, NY. September 2011. Jamie was always under pressure because of struggles with his sexuality. Jamey’s mother Tracy Rodemeyer said, “So he hung around with the girls a lot, so then the teasing started happening like ‘Oh you’re such a girl or you’re gay or whatever and that bothered him for many years.” After Jamey, at fourteen, killed himself, “those who believe it is wrong and immoral” turned on his sister.

At a homecoming dance she attended shortly after her brother’s death, a potentially poignant moment turned ugly after a song by Lady Gaga, Jamey’s favorite artist, who recently dedicated a song at a concert in his memory.

“She was having a great time, and all of a sudden a Lady Gaga song came on, and they all started chanting for Jamey, all of his friends,’’ Jamey’s mother, Tracy, told Curry. “Then the bullies that put him into this situation started chanting, ‘You’re better off dead!’ and ‘We’re glad you’re dead!’ and things like that.

“My daughter came home all upset. It was supposed to be a time for her to grieve and have fun with her friends, and it turned into bullying even after he’s gone.’’

“I can’t grasp it in my mind,’’ said Tim Rodemeyer, Jamey’s father. “ I don’t know why anyone would do that. They have no heart, that’s basically what it comes down to.’’

Jamie Hubley – Ottawa, Ontario. October 2011. Jamie was the only openly gay student at his school, a sensitive kid who was struggling with being out in high school and often felt the sting of verbal bullying.

Jacob Rogers – Ashland City, Tennessee. December 2011. Jacob was bullied for the past four years, but in the past few months it had become so bad he dropped out of school. This month, Jacob ended his life. Eighteen years old. This month.

“He started coming home his senior year saying ‘I don’t want to go back. Everyone is so mean. They call me a faggot, they call me gay, a queer,’” friend Kaelynn Mooningham said.

But the Thomas More Law Center has a unique perspective about Carl and Eric and Billy and Asher and Seth and Tyler and Lance and Jamie and Jamey and Jacob and Roger.

In the minds on these people, it was not cruelty that is to blame. It isn’t being pushed down stairs. It isn’t being shoved into lockers. It isn’t being laughed at or condemned or being beaten bloody. It isn’t being tormented daily while the teachers looked on and did nothing. It isn’t having your private moments broadcast for the world to see.

No, Glowacki and Muise and Thompson are Catholics. And though none of the kids who committed suicide did anything which any rational person could condemn, nothing that could even be dismissed as a “homosexual lifestyle”, dangerous or otherwise, they aren’t the victims here. No, it’s the bullies that be defended.

Because Daniel Glowacki, Sandra Glowacki, Robert Muise, and Richard Thompson “are Catholics”. And “as Catholics, they are morally bound to follow the universal, consistent moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church” which “reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world.” And it is their Catholicism which leads them to describe the deaths of Carl and Eric and Billy and Asher and Seth and Tyler and Lance and Jamie and Jamey and Jacob and Roger in this way:

In each of his classes, Defendant McDowell explained to his students that October 20th was nationally recognized as “anti-bullying” day, and he showed his students a movie about teenagers who committed suicide because they were homosexual.

Comments

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Theo
December 19th, 2011 | LINK

The best thing we have going for us is the incompetence of the anti-gay orgs lawyers. With the exception of the ACLJ, they are generally really bad lawyers. This is no exception. That complaint is a mess. They don’t even identify the policy that they are demanding be enjoined.

Also, all pleadings fall under a rule – Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 – which requires the signing attorney attest that he undertook a reasonable investigation of the facts and the law prior to filing. Paragraph 35 shows that the Center did not investigate the facts as to Clementi. Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man was not “posted on the internet.” It did not happen. Approximately 2 seconds of kissing was scene by Ravi and Molly Wei on Wei’s computer. Another several seconds of making out was later viewed on that same computer by Wei and several of her friends on the dorm floor. They saw no sex and no nudity and Ravi’s plan to video a second encounter never came to fruition.

There is absolutely no evidence that Clementi ever felt ashamed about his encounter. On the contrary, he was irritated over the invasion of privacy and the indifference of the other people on the dorm floor to the intrusion. He was unsure about the right level of response to this violation. But in all of his internet postings, emails and IMs he never once expressed any shame or embarrassment over being gay or over having been intimate with a man.

The TLC simply made all this up in violation of Rule 11.
It is a contemptible filing, but I doubt that the school district will defend this as aggressively as it should.

Erin
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

Thank you for pointing out one major point a lot of other people fail to bring up for some reason. We commonly point out how the religious right loves to spin these suicides as if these kids are ashamed of something they’ve done instead of blaming the torment others are subjecting them to based on ignorance and prejudice. But the point a lot of people fail to express when defending these kids is that the religious right loves to rush to the aid of the “poor oppressed Christian student who was silenced when he tried to say the homosexual lifestyle is wrong,” while conveniently ignoring the fact that 1) some of these kids may not have even been gay, just perceived as such. Indeed some on your list weren’t out, so the public won’t know for sure. And 2) These kids are all in their teens. While most of them identify as gay, knowing their age and the simple fact that it is rare for LGBT kids to come out while still in school because of the anti-gay hostility, the odds are very good that most of these kids have never had a homosexual experience. Most of them have probably never held another boy’s hand in a romantic way.

I know I was called a dyke plenty of times in Middle School even though I was still in denial, and therefore not even out to myself. I came to terms with my sexuality by my sophomore year because I had a strong enough attraction to a woman I knew who was slightly older, that I just couldn’t pretend I was straight anymore. I was immediately ok with it, because I knew I never chose to feel that way, and that some people just must not be wired to like the opposite sex, but I didn’t dare tell anyone until senior year, when I told only two close friends, one of whom was another gay student who already came out to me. I knew the abuse that had subsided a bit since middle school would only come back ten-fold. Despite keeping my secret as an underclassmen, and not even ever so much as kissing another girl yet, a boy still felt the need to call me a dyke and tell me I looked like a boy out of the window of his classroom when I walked through the parking lot to a different building. Everyone likes to feel attractive and it hurts very badly when someone says you’re ugly or masculine when you’re trying to fit in in high school. I held it together at my class for ten minutes before I began sobbing uncontrollably and had to be excused to go to the lavatory, where I sat on the floor and continued to bawl my eyes out for most of the class. I walked home that day, and laid in my bed and willed myself to go to sleep. When a child wants to fall asleep alone in her bed in broad daylight after school, that is the height of depression.

It took another 5 years after that before I shared my first kiss with a woman and dated my first girlfriend. It took another 5 years to finally have a functional relationship that my insecurities didn’t sabotage. My school experience destroyed my self-esteem and scarred me for a long time.

My story and the stories of these boys raise another point I don’t often see argued as much as I would like: They claim we’re just making a lifestyle choice or that we’re suffering from mental illness. Yet my story and many of these other stories illustrate that sometimes the gay stereotypes are true. There is a significant number of gay boys who are obvious because of PHYSICAL effeminate features, like a lispy voice, or a slender frame. I have even seen gay men with soft, feminine facial features. There are lesbians who have masculine features. I have a nice shape to my body, but I don’t have a very feminine voice. I also really think I have a square, almost masculine jawline. I have the voice of a 14 year-old boy instead of a nice, feminine voice. I was also athletic and clumsy instead of having feminine mannerisms. Kids picked on these boys and girls like me because they could spot us a mile away. We could even be Christians who are actually ashamed like they want us to be and have full intentions to stay celibate for the rest of our lives or fake it in a heterosexual relationship, like so many on the far right expect us to. But they don’t actually ask those questions, because that’s not what they’re concerned with. They’re not calling us “sinners who need to repent,” they’re calling us “faggots,” “dykes,” and “queers.” The kids in my school who passed for straight and I’ve since learned have come out as gay weren’t subjected to that kind of bullying. They could have very well been sexually-active too. And before I digressed, I wanted to point out that the fact that many of us have physical characteristics that resemble the opposite gender’s and that they themselves use that to target us, is strong evidence against their bull about this purely being a choice or a mental pathology rather than a born trait influenced by genes and/ or prenatal hormones, and therefore something that exists naturally in the human race and not something we can change or should change.

Anyway the severe bullying of the teens you referenced and others was what this teacher was speaking out against, and that’s a noble cause. Even some misguided person who really believes in his heart homosexuality is a sin knows it is immoral and disgusting to sling hurtful insults and physically assault people for their faults. But the students, deliberately made their distaste, in a deliberate disruption of class discussion, known for those bullied students. And this pathetic excuse for a law firm is doing the same now. The whole “I was just expressing my religious beliefs” argument was crap from start to finish and it is completely psychotic and/ or psychopathic. Psychotic because they may actually be deluded into thinking they have the moral high ground. Psychopathic because of the level of deceit and disgusting spin.

I’m sorry for the long, post but this is something I feel strongly about and I wanted to also share my story because it helps me illustrate the true intent of the treatment of these kids.

Oh, and the Clementi case is pending and there is a grand jury report or some other kind of court record. Can this law firm be charged with anything for blatantly slandering Tyler Clementi by characterizing his encounter as having sex when it is a known fact that he only made out with his date?

Erin
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

Sorry for the length of my last post or any typos or redundancy. I typed it fast, and didn’t always read through as I went.

Rob in San Diego
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

OMG, that article was so scary seeing all those faces at once. We’ve gotten to know all of them individually over the last couple of years. It really hit me just how many we’ve lost by seeing them all at once.

Jay Jonson
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

The Thomas More (misspelled as Moore here) is indeed an evil place. I am somewhat surprised, however, given the knock you gave Lady GaGa for dedicated a song to one of the suicides that you are rehearsing the names of these kids here. Your theory was that focusing on the individuals would have the effect of making heroes out of the victims and that that would encourage copycats. I don’t know whether that is true or not, but I think that the Trevor Project and other suicide-prevention groups have also made that point. In any case, I think you should be consistent. These incidents are so painful. I don’t think we should, even inadvertently, contribute to the problem. But thanks for bringing attention to the Thomas More idiots.

Timothy Kincaid
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

Erin,

No that was NOT too long. It was beautiful.

Jay,

Thanks for the spelling correction.

I did think about Trevor’s concern, but as the piece focuses primarily on TMLC, and presents the kids cumulatively, I think it avoids creating ‘heroes’ and – I hope – does not contribute to a copycat effect.

Priya Lynn
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

Timothy said “[evil] is a term that is fraught with religious overtones. For our secular readers, it can seem gothic or irrelevant to modern discourse. Comical, even.

Not to me. I don’t know where you get that from. There is evil and I do what I can to end it.

Erin, thanks for sharing your story with us. I’m sorry it took you so long (as it did many of us) for you to accept yourself.

Lynn David
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

McDowell should launch an affirmative defense, the kid didn’t know his own religion. The Roman Catholic catechism specifically says about gays: “they must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Priya Lynn
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

“Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

I love that, Lynn. In other words there’s all manner of just discrimination against gays, in fact one can discriminate against gays anyway one wants as long as one defines that discrimination as just.

StraightGrandmother
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

Despicable, they are simply despicable! This latest twist of many (not all) Christians as portraying themselves as victims is truly revolting. “My religious beliefs trump your civil rights, and common decency” makes me apoplectic. Religion is a choice! You have to be taught to hate.

Regan DuCasse
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

Erin: your post was wonderful. I think I can speak for everyone that the length of a post is never a problem. I loved that you could and did share your story.

I think we’ve all noted in all the NOISE about religious conviction driving such attitudes, NOWHERE in any of it are they as strenuous and committed in this simple teaching: To treat others as they’d want to be treated.

That is from where the most moral and ethical of decisions and actions flow. THAT is why is such a profound directive of Christ himself.
We might forgive the occasional failure of being able to think through that directive first, and with full consciousness.

But in this particular subject there is ample and profound opportunity to wonder, to question, to engage that directive when someone gay is crying out in PAIN over the actions such Christians have taken.

But all we get are excuses, blaming their target, denials and obfuscation in which to hide or shield their motives and their result.

I don’t think I’ve seen MORE moral cowardice and intellectual and outright dishonesty than that which comes from people using their religious belief to commit injustice. And all without LISTENING, not EVER, to those they hurt. Nor to ASK after the needs of their gay brother and to see if being TRUE to the test of the pebble in the shoe, might actually do more good than harm.

They don’t like being called bigots.
Well, cowards, liars, control freaks, victim card players bearing false compassion are good names too.

Erin
December 20th, 2011 | LINK

I wish I could make these kids see that if they’d just stick it out for a little while, they can be ushered off into the adult world where they’re free to meet people like them and not everyone is so uber about every part of their appearance and identity. If the kid I was could grow up to have decent self esteem and find happiness with a beautiful, kind, and intelligent partner, then it can happen for them too. I think these IGB videos are helpful, but it’s clear for some kids, they’re not helpful. That is frustrating and heartbreaking.

Amicus
December 21st, 2011 | LINK

There are Catholic madrasses a plenty in the USA. If you are “devout”, use ‘em.

Can’t support a “Tyler’s Army” t-shirt. A plain purple t-shirt (or dress shirt) is fine.

Publicizing the events ex post facto (Facebook) was a poor choice, probably, if only because no one can agree what exactly happened that day in the classroom.

Teachers taking a day off to show non-curriculum videos is a bad idea.

People designing programs of this kind might do well to understand that religious kids need a kind of help, too. For instance, rather than a ‘suspension’, it might have been better to send them to a classroom with other ‘religious exception’ kids and let them talk out their feelings, with someone who is trained to lead that kind of discussion. (Most of these kids learn the hate from their parents, and a summary approach to disabusing them of it is not helpful.)

People of goodwill solve these problems. Most of these first amendment cases are colossal wastes of time and money.

Blake
December 22nd, 2011 | LINK

No matter how stunningly ignorant, not well thought out, and poorly reasoned their arguments are; and even as offensive as they are to my concept of human dignity and life; I refuse to call these folks evil.

Because, for starters, evil is complex. For example, the definition you cited in the article is the first half of the first paragraph of a 6000+ word article discussing evil in the Catholic Context. And, in my opinion, the definition does not make sense as provided (truncated & out of context).

Evil is an exceptionally complex thing. Take evil actions for example. Evil Actions are seemingly easy to define. One working definition could be an Evil Action is one undertaken with the knowledge that the action will bring direct harm to another individual. Murder is an evil action. The Pinto scandal was an evil action. But even Evil Actions are more complex than first glance would lead one to assume. Take the old train shoving ethical puzzle for example: http://news.yahoo.com/kill-one-person-save-five-research-classic-debate-090500884.html

Further, how do you define harm? What is the threshold of harm that must be crossed in order for an action to become evil?

Evil People are even harder to pin down. For the life of me I cannot come up with a good working definition. Even if we limit the class of “Evil People” to “the people who commit evil acts”, which actors can be considered Evil People? Is the accountant who made the terrible (but to him, abstract) cost-benefit analysis an evil person? Is the executive who signed off on the analysis an evil person? Does it make a difference if he’s just incompetent and signs everything that’s placed before him? Or is he an Evil Person, regardless?

In the case of the above I think the Thomas More folks are not well informed and the institutions which should keep them well informed consistently fail them by placing greater emphasis on conforming to their beliefs then on telling them the truth: http://wthrockmorton.com/2011/12/07/the-evangelical-blackout-of-research-on-sexual-orientation/

The hazards of yellow journalism in the internet age, I suppose. But not evidence of willful lying.

Finally their very actions in filing the complaint indicate the problems which arise when you start defining people as evil. I have to imagine they conceive of themselves as well meaning folks who think of “Gay People” as Evil People. In viewing gay people as evil people the opposition shuts down any hope of empathy. Why? Because they view us as evil: so why learn about us or try to see things from our perspective? If they abandon the news-sources that conform to their worldview in seeking other objective opinions then haven’t they abetted evil? Aren’t mainstream news organizations evil for not telling the “truth” about homosexuality? World Net Daily does, why can’t the New York Times? Oh, because the Times is “Evil”; or has been betrayed by “Evil” or is co-opted by “Evil”. So it makes perfect sense to an echo-chambered-evangelical(Catholic) that gay people are inherently ashamed of existing because they are inherently Evil. The calculation goes: they know in their subconscious soul that they are evil pawns of Satan so they… fill in the offensive blanks yourself.

So lets not stoop to their level and shut out any meaningful attempts to understand their actions. If we just label them as Evil; then we think we understand their motivation. They’re motivated by Evil or hatred or pure rank animus. But they’re not. They’re motivated by fear (I’m going to expand on this underlying motivation on my blog; to launch shortly) and derivatives of the same.

Which brings me to the: Why? as in Why Write & Post this article? There is no way these clowns are going to convince any court to take their side. As Theo rightly points out, their legal strategies boarder on incompetence. Why bring this up at this juncture(other than to try to convince people to your ideological position that “evil exists” and is easily identifiable)? If these folks are evil who else is? Who isn’t? And Why Does It Matter?

If you convince us that we’re dealing with evil people; what good does that do for our cause?

And why is it important to point out people in the opposition that you believe to be evil?

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