Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shame

We should never be anti-people.

Rolling Stone has an article about a school district in Michelle Bachmann's congressional district that has a rampant problem with teen suicide, much of it centered around LGBT bullying. Nine teens killed themselves in about two years; two-thirds were gay or had been teased about being gay. Often this happened in full view of teachers or administrators; others went to them repeatedly with complaints. Nothing was ever done.

*Caveat: I am not saying bullying was the sole cause of suicide. That choice is usually the reaction to a mix of issues, the most common of which is mental illness. Also, the choice to suicide ultimately rests with an individual.

However. Kids are jerks. The name-calling, physical assaults and suggestions that kids should go kill themselves should not be minimized. Nine students died. Dozens more are still living with the affects of abuse. And that's just in one school district.

And the worst part is, that's not even the worst part. What's most appalling is the role of adults in this most tragic of soap operas. Teachers and administrators knew this was happening, but, handcuffed by the district's "No Homo Promo" policy (in a nutshell, they could in no way appear to be advocating homosexuality) they were afraid to step in, afraid that even telling a bully to back off would somehow backfire on them.

It did, unfortunately, backfire — not just on individual teachers but on a school, two counties, a countless number of lives.

As despicable as that is, there's even more. The policy was put in place in 1995 by a Bachmann wannabe. It was kept there by this same woman and her cohorts and used as a tool against kids they saw as predatory.

The very, very worst part of it all — they call themselves Christians. This group paraded their hate around and destroyed people's lives, and they did it while piously waving their Bibles and praying for these poor lost souls. And people wonder why there's a backlash against organized religion? There it is, right there — it's because some of the most offensive voices in the world use Jesus Christ as their front man. That makes me ill.

There were lost souls in that area of Minnesota: those who had been run off the trail by hostility and hate. But others are far more lost: those who are hellbent on chasing the sinners away.

If you don't think homosexuality is OK, fine. That's your right. Be against whatever issue you want. But don't be against people. The crusade isn't against gay people, immigrants, liberals, conservatives or Muslims. We need to help each other.

Also, have you read this week's column?

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