KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bigotry Disguised as Religion

Why can't more adults be like their own teenagers, accepting people for who they are?

Today is the Day of Silence, "a project of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in collaboration with the United States Student Association (USSA), . . . a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment—in effect, the silencing—experienced by LGBT students and their allies." Wonderful!

Then along comes a conservative Christian legal group called the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF; "Defending Our First Liberty"), spearheading an event for tomorrow called Day of Truth, in which student participants will pass out T-shirts and cards saying that they don't condone "detrimental personal and social behavior." ADF calls this an opportunity to "counter the promotion of the homosexual agenda" and express "an opposing viewpoint from a Christian perspective."

"Agenda"? I guess you could call wanting the same basic human rights as everyone else an agenda. But I'd call it a fight for justice.

The Day of Silence kids have it right.


Anonymous said...

I have three children, two of them teens. I have been consistently impressed at the level of acceptance I see in them, and their friends, towards alternative folk.

However, I think it's generalizing generously, or at least naive, to say that teens are good at "accepting people for who they are". Teens, in my experience, and in that of my children, consistently judge others by what they wear, the music they listen to, the books they read (or don't read), the movies they see. If you don't fit into a certain small and rigid niche, they avoid, or worse, harrass mock, and deride you.

In urban centres, and among the better educated, it is increasingly acceptable to be LGBT - Dan Savage would say bisexualism is trendy amongst college-level young adults. But if the differences are less "trendy", there is little acceptance.

However, if Savage is right, the fact that the LGBT is entering trendy territory is certainly a good thing!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

My oldest is 22, so a few years ago, I saw her face the snobbery of her teenage comtemporaries. I saw the hurtful exclusiveness of cliques. I experienced the same thing eons ago during my adolescence.

But it's been my experience that many teens do get past surface details—even before they leave adolescence—to accept the basic features of people: race, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical features. They use the surface details to sort out their own identity and their relationships to others. I think it's exactly because teens are exploring their own identities that they aren't as phobic about basic human differences as some adults can be.

Grumpymann said...

The problem with this Day of truth is that teens that are involved with it are like their parents. They seem to think that because they are in the Majority they can do whatever they like to the minority because they have the numbers and there for are right.

By the same logic I see among the Christian Talaban of “We are right and they are wrong so it's ok to do what ever we want to them” you will not get polite T-shirts and hand bills that say I disagree with the homosexual life style. What you got is what happened today in one school. Placards announcing that “God Hates Fags”. From there there is a slippery slope to “Gay bashing”.

I think kids (and most of the Chimpy McBush Show in fact) in many cases do not have the ability to separate rhetoric from action. And in some cases see rhetoric as a call TO action. These are the same kids that roam the halls for anyone who dose not fit their idea of what a “Cool Kid” is and at best give them a wedgie or even shove them in a locker. And at worst beat, humiliate and torment them. Think it doesn't happen think again. The kids that committed the school shooting at Columbine were routinely spat on, beat on, had their possessions vandalized and put down and here is the kicker IN FRONT of the staff. This kind of mistreatment is allowed by students against students that were different in dress think of how it will devolve in the face if homosexuality?

This is something that the U.S. Was built to defend against the Tyranny of the Majority against the Minority. And now it seems to be institutionalized, condoned and backed by Christians. This is sad. The world seems to have been turned on it's head right in front of my eyes. No longer is it Christian to defend the weak oppressed, the name of Christ is used as a tool to mistreat, weaken and oppress. How did we come to this? Was it the politicians who lead false profits? Or the false profits that lead the polictos? And where does it end? And here is the kicker the people that believe that the kind of action is not only ok but warranted is so small. Most of the people I know if they believe that the homosexual life style wrong could care less if their neighbor is gay or not. And they sure are not out to exterminate them! (This was the view of one of these RightWingNuts and I believe it was even in “Rolling Stone”.) EditorMom you and the other Christians need to rage against this kind of insanity in the streets, from the roof tops and in (And sometimes AT) the pulpit. Your country, your neighbors, your world and also your faith NEED you to speak out.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Hey, Grumpymann . . . glad to hear you weigh in.

Yes, I know all about straight teens beating up on and harrassing gay teens. My younger brother Wally, one of the nicest people I know, was miserable in high school. Before he ever came out to anyone, other kids guessed that he was gay. He had nowhere to turn because we were living in southeast Texas, one of the more homophobic areas of the country at the time. He couldn't even think about getting support from our parents, two very homophobic members of a homophobic mainstream Christian denomination. No principal ever stood up for him. One or two teachers did. If I can get Wally's permission, I'll tell some of his story of those years here.

I've learned that raging against prejudice and other injustices doesn't often open closed minds, though. But quietly showing and doing sometimes does. You can read about some showing and doing that I helped organize here. Be sure to scroll down to here to read about Wally.

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