Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Day The Bullies Get Yanked Out Of School: This Friday's Day Of Silence May Have Unexpected Results

A holiday for bullies is a holiday from bullies! Thank you FRC!

Look, bullying should not be taking place in our schools, every child in America should be able to go to school—public school, private school, wherever—without the fear of threat or being intimidated, regardless of what the cause is, whether they’re overweight, whether their religious viewpoints, no child should be bullied because they are effeminate or because of their sexual orientation or whatever, it shouldn’t happen, but we cannot allow these programs like the Day of Silence to come into our schools as a cover for the promotion of homosexuality.

"You're going to hell!" has always been a favorite slogan of bullies, especially ones with a Christian Right upbringing. Places like Tennessee have addressed the problem of bullying by actually passing "pro-bullying" legislation designed to allow kids to be bullied, if the bully states it's on religious grounds and he or she is simply expressing their religious beliefs.

Each year, to counteract bullying in schools, GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) encourages students in schools to have a Day of Silence in solidarity with those students who have been bullied because they are gay (or have been perceived to be gay). And each year, proponents of the Christian Right scream that it is simply a tool of indoctrination into the "gay lifestyle."

Each year, more and more students have been participating in the Day Of Silence, much to the consternation of people like Tony Perkins (Family Research Council - FRC), Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association and Linda Harvey of Mission America. Two years ago, Tony Perkins was prompted to counteract the DofS with a "Day Of Dialogue."

It fell flat.

Probably because the "dialogue" Perkins insisted on was rather one-sided: just tell your teacher that you think you might be gay and go to the counselor who will hopefully pray the gay away. End of "dialogue."

This year, the strategy has taken a page from National Organization for Marriage's playbook: boycott. Hell, that "liberal" school is just as bad as Starbucks, so don't patronize it: this is, after all, a shameful indoctrination on the part of the school, so, just yank your kid out for the day in protest! The problem with this strategy is that it is bolstered with lies and misconceptions:

Pastor Looomer of a Connecticut school board talking to Tony Perkins:
At past events, GLSEN was caught distributing pamphlets that promote everything from child sex to pornography. “If parents [knew] the inappropriateness of the materials, they’d be enraged,”
Uh, there's a problem here: GLSEN has never distributed any such pamphlets. Total fabrication.

Another anti-gay, anti-GLSEN piece of reasoning comes from Mission America's Linda Harvey:
-The Day of Silence encourages students to nurture prejudiced, hostile and bigoted attitudes against Christians and others with traditional moral beliefs, and to spread inaccurate and harmful information.
Hmm... the "inaccurate and harmful information" being that homophobia (and bullying) is fueled by demonizers? The disingenuous ramblings of Tony Perkins in his above statement are hollow because neither Mr. Perkins nor the Christian Right have ever been that inclusive in anything. Perkins, in fact, only takes a back seat to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association when it comes to demonizing and singling out gays for special ostracism:
On this day, thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day... to promote GLSEN's socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality.
Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. Pleasejoin the national effort to restore to public education a proper understanding of the role of government-subsidized schools. You can help de-politicize the learning environment by calling your child out of school if your child's school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence.
So the bullies are to get their own special holiday. But what if the schools and communities are so relieved by the lull in bullying that they plead with Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer to keep them home?