Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In Re "Having a Gay Old Time"

What's wrong with Richard Simmons?  Nothing.
Harrison had a ridiculously awesome article today at Capitol Commentary about a kid who was suspended from school because he said in class "I think homosexuality is morally wrong."  Apparently, that's how the kid worded it.  He didn't haul off and say "I think faggots are going to hell," or anything like that.  Apparently, the kid was directing it towards someone he considered to be his friend.  His teacher heard it, started yelling, and the kid was given an in-school suspension.

Harrison gave a very good argument in support of the notion that being gay is not morally wrong.  He said here
Although I’m not gay, I’ve come to believe that being that way is not a choice. As I pointed out in my comment on Matt’s article, I’m left handed. It would go against my Nature to try and become right handed. I’ve experimented with being right handed but it was too difficult and my heart wasn’t in it so I continue to favor my left hand when I reach for a writing instrument.
That's probably one of the best arguments I've heard for the morality of homosexuality, and I couldn't have said it more succinctly myself.  Where I diverge with Harrison is on his conclusion that it was the right thing to do to suspend the kid.  Harrison posits that what the kid said amounts to bullying.  I disagree with this on a few levels.

First, the idea that this is bullying I think is a bit much.  There's plenty of things about human nature that we can say are morally wrong.  How about pre-marital sex?  Sexual intercourse is a natural part of being a human (or any animal for that matter), and marriage is a completely made-up social construct.  Some people think pre-marital sex is immoral, and would we think them bullies if they expressed that sentiment? 

The next level I disagree with this on is, of course, the freedom of speech thing.  We allow some horrifying things to be said, far worse than what this kid said.  How can we honestly persecute a kid for expressing a moral conviction that he holds based on his religious beliefs, especially if that conviction is about the morality of something?  It's not like he said "I think killing babies in the name of God is a good thing."

This whole ordeal represents a breakdown in communication, and it's a huge failure on the part of the teacher and the school.  Do we honestly think that this kid is going to suddenly start thinking that homosexuality is okay just because he was punished for thinking it's wrong?  This kid won't change, and if there was ever a chance for him to change his mind it's gone now.

This was a moment where the teacher should have engaged the student in reasoned dialogue.  Teenagers are impressionable, so it's likely that at least a calm discussion could have at least got the kid to start actually thinking for once in his life and maybe change his mind.  Now, the kid and his parents likely think that he's just doing God's work, that he's being persecuted for his Christian beliefs.  They'll go on thinking that he stood his moral ground for the Lord.

Suspending this kid was entirely counter-productive and contrary to everything we believe in.  We can consider ourselves Enlightened individuals if we believe that school is not a place to discuss such major philosophical and moral issues.  Shouldn't the purpose of American education be to expand the world-view of young minds?  I certainly don't think the purpose is to get people to shut their mouths for fear of punishment.


Harrison said...

What he actually said was:

"I’m a Christian. I think being a homosexual is wrong."

That's saying God says being gay is wrong.

While I suppose it could have (and perhaps should have) been a "teaching" moment, the article didn't expand upon what the teacher's first reaction was.

Maybe the kid told the teacher that was his belief and he could stuff it or maybe the teacher just got angry and sent him out of class.

Either way, a good Christian should remember "Judge not lest ye be judged" but I guess his parents didn't teach him that lesson from the Bible... only the one that being gay is morally wrong.

Anonymous said...

Right in line with the bar owner in England arrested for racial crimes after a chinese passerby offended by the strains of Carl Carlton's "Kung Fu Fighting" wemt to the local costabulary and lodged a complaint. Anyone who feels this student was treated fairly should be locked in a cell and be made to listen, over and over and over to "Midnight At The Oasis" and "Muskrat Love" while trying to extract his head out of his own asshole.

Anonymous said...

The only thing we need to forbid is punishing people for what they think or for expressing beliefs contrary to the popular whim.

"I may not agree with what you write, but I will defend to the death your right to publish it."

~ Voltaire

"If men are precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter."

~ George Washington (1732-1799)

What occurred in this regrettable incident amounts to suspension or suppression of freedom of religion.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

The one thing we can not tolerate is intolerance.

~ FT

Jack Camwell said...

Excellent quotage, FT.