Freedom of expression can be a dangerous thing.
I often get in trouble myself, I tend to be critical of everything. I like pulling apart ideas, and while many people often gleefully do this, when it comes to what the other guy(
girlgal:) believes, it’s often less appreciated when you’re on the receiving end. See, the thing is, when people are personally(emotionally) invested in something, they tend to see any criticism as an attack. So they defend, rather than discuss. I do this too of course, its a very human thing.
I got invited to join a demonstration promoting Gay-Straight high-school groups, it’s happening in Toronto this weekend. And I support this, largely because although I’m not gay and not in high-school, having spent a few years in a public, and fairly secular, high-school, I know that even when religion is not on the table, ‘gay’ is a pretty powerful word. It’s the kind of word young men get into physical confrontations over.
And when I say it is powerful, I mean, in two distinct ways. When I was in school, ‘gay’ was the worst thing they could call you. It was a hate-filled word and in many contexts,(online gaming comes to mind) it still very much is, powerful in that sense. Homosexuals have also embraced the word, much like I’m happy to accept labels like atheist, accommodationalist, and postmodernist, in open defiance of the negative ways these words get used.
I’m not saying they are equivalent… Gay is the more dangerous word, although atheist in certain contexts can also be quite dangerous.
But this is also why I walk the accommodationalist line(Its not easy). Because I think it is often very easy to go from criticism to mocking to bullying. It is not always a slippery slope, but it can be. I don’t think religious people who criticize homosexuality are necessarily hateful, or homophobic. It’s just really easy for them to be homophobic, and for that fear to turn into hate, given how intolerant their scriptures tend to be on the subject.
Similarly, given how fantastical those scriptures tend to be, its really easy for those like myself who are critical of religion to slide into mockery and outright contempt.
I don’t often agree with Michael Coren, he’s a bit of a pompous windbag, or with much of this, but I do listen to him, because sometimes he makes a good point or two.
If someone calls me a homophobe because I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, then I would rejoice in that. But frankly, with gay friends, I try to avoid the subject. They know I am opposed to gay marriage and they also know I’m fond of them as people and would defend them against personal attack. But let me be clear, anyone who hates gay people is a moral criminal.
Personally, I couldn’t care less about marriage, I think it is an archaic institution that the state should have no part in, other than on the level of enforcing contract law. One man, one woman, pfffst, whatever. But that last sentence makes me think he’s not a total loss. It’s not much, but it is why GSAs are important, and why catholic schools especially, NEED them.
A frustrated Indiana mom is fighting her son’s expulsion after she gave her gay son a stun gun to take to school to deter bullies.
On April 16, six students threatened to beat up Young at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, so Young grabbed the stun gun from his backpack and set it off in the air to scare them off.
He didn’t use it on anyone.
If you really believe what you said, Michael, then you should support alliances against bullying, regardless of what they are called, because bullying is about hate, it exists, it is real, and it’s not just a word you don’t like. You may think there are those who will use GSAs to promote the ‘gay/secular agenda’, but the bottom line is, that is no excuse for you to take the side of the ‘moral criminals’. Jesus would be on the side of the kid getting bullied, even if, he’s a sinner. We are all sinners, after all, right?
Now, is it fair to say that because Hitler was a Catholic, or because there are pedophiles who are catholics, that Christians are bad? No. And yes, Coren is right, Jesus generally seemed like a pretty nice guy. But, his dad, Yahweh was a mass-murder who commanded genocide of his followers, well, a lot. That is what the bible tells us. So while I’m certainly willing to concede the Bible is no worse, than a mirror held up to amoral nature, claiming the high ground for religion, and the bible as your source for morality, is something quite absurd and terrifying, even if you think Yahweh’s son is less vicious. God is still God. And if God is going to hold me responsible for Adam, I’m holding Jesus responsible for Yahweh.
That said, just like we should stand up against people bullying gays, I also think freedom of expression applies to Christians. Funny though, how sometimes people only want expression for themselves.
The young Swinimer said he wore the T-shirt day after day because he felt his rights to freedom of religion and expression were being violated.
On the school grounds Monday, student council vice-president Katelyn Hiltz told the CBC the kerfuffle is about much more than a shirt.
“It started with him preaching his religion to kids and then telling them to go to hell,” she said. “A lot of kids don’t want to deal with this anymore.”
[And then the boy's father said this:]
“He will not attend this school unless they are having reading, writing and arithmetic — good old-fashioned academics,” he told reporters as he stood in front of the school. “When they’re having forums, when they’re having other extracurricular activities, he will not attend that school.”
Mr. Swinimer, you have a right to speak your mind, but plugging your fists in your ears and shouting bible verses, means you’re probably going to get ignored and mocked. Not because you’re a christian, but because you’re a jerk.