Friday, April 17, 2009

A twisted definition of duty

The Illinois Family Institute people are in a snit over their designation as a hate group. The Southern Poverty Law Center says that in addition to not wanting to give gays any rights, the IFI takes the extra step of vilifying gays. Then Laurie Higgins, Director of the IFI's Division on School Advocacy proves that the SPLC made the right call.

The trigger for Higgins' comments comes from today's Day of Silence, in which gay kids and their allies maintain a day of not talking to bring attention to how much bullying is directed at kids who are or are thought to be gay. The Fundies countered with a Day of Truth in which teens try to get across the point that gays can change. Warren Throckmorton countered that with a Golden Rule Day in which Christian kids try to step between the two groups by saying gay kids at least deserve the respect straight kids show for each other. Follow that? Sigh.

Gay kids deserve respect? Higgins wants none of that. Her response sounds -- sorry, my friend -- rather Jewish, invoking the Law and the Prophets to describe what Christians should do. Already, I've got a problem with her. A Christian, according to Higgins, is to affirm God's Word (in a godly way, of course) and action is to be based on moral conviction. If schools allow only some statements of moral conviction (meaning if they don't allow hers) then the classroom is a place of indoctrination. So, it is necessary for students to take on her task. It is their responsibility to condemn homosexual conduct and condemnation includes making gay kids unsafe. Translation: It is a Christian kid's duty to bully gay classmates and it is the job of the school staff to make sure (allow) that to happen. Vilify gay people? Ohhh yes.

That completely misses the point of Christianity and twists it into a frightening shape. My faith is not about following the Jewish Law, but in putting my trust in the love of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And my understanding of that love includes the phrase "Judge not." Nothing Higgins says has anything to do with love.

In the comment section one person points out that most teenage suicides are in response to bullying. Only 1 of every 5 teens who commits suicide is gay. That means Higgins finds it acceptable to bully 4 straight kids to the point of suicide for the chance to get rid of one gay kid. Another points out there is also the chance the bullied gay kid will lash out at his/her tormenters. We don't need more school shootings.

I wonder what Higgens hopes to accomplish with all that bullying. Force gay kids to become straight? How's that working out? Assert your personal moral conviction? I see no morality worth asserting. Claim you're more holy than me? That's not a claim for you to make. Punish gay kids for being gay? That it will. Disasterously.

To my friend and debate partner: Please forgive me if I have incorrectly portrayed Jewish people and undeservedly tarnished their reputation through unfair comparisons.

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