‘Anti-bullying’ as a pro-gay wedge

ROD DREHER

For many years now, the gay movement has been using school bullying as a wedge to work pro-gay teaching into curricula and into the life of public schools, and to marginalize religious students and others who hold a traditional view of the morality of homosexuality.

It goes under the mantra of making schools "safe." If you don't affirm homosexuality explicitly, the argument goes, then you are making your schools unsafe for gay kids. You can well imagine how lawsuit-fearing school administrators hate to hear that.

It's nonsense, of course. There is no reason at all why pro-gay instruction, either in classrooms or extracurricular, has to happen for bullying to be opposed effectively. What's wrong with a school administration saying that bullying will not be tolerated, and making good on that policy by coming down like a ton of bricks on bullies, no matter their target? That would be the most value-neutral way to handle it.

Not a single gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender sparrow can fall to the ground without The New York Times knowing it, and bullied gay kids in suburbia are no exception. Today's paper contained a story about a suburban Minneapolis school system in the crosshairs of activists demanding that the school system abandon its policy of neutrality on homosexuality, and instead teach affirmatively about it. Excerpt:

[I]n July, six students brought a lawsuit contending that school officials have failed to stop relentless antigay bullying and that a district policy requiring teachers to remain "neutral" on issues of sexual orientation has fostered oppressive silence and a corrosive stigma.

There have been eight student suicides in the school system of late, four of which might – might – be tied to the students' purported homosexuality. Even if this is true, surely the answer to the problem is simple: adopt a zero tolerance policy toward bullying, and enforce it strongly. There is no reason whatever to call the school's neutrality on the subject of homosexuality "oppressive" and stigmatizing. Does the school's silence on the truth or falsity of, say, Lutheranism, create an oppressive silence and a corrosive stigma toward Lutheran kids? Please. A school does not have to affirm particular aspects of the identities of any of its students in order to affirm and defend their dignity as human beings, which entails their right to be left alone to get an education without fear of harassment and abuse. My old readers will recall that I am murder on the issue of school bullying, having suffered from it myself. But there is a right way and a wrong way to combat it.

So let me get this right: if the public schools are seen as endorsing any particular form of religion, they're being unconstitutional and oppressive. But if they refuse to endorse a particular and controversial view of homosexuality, they are being unconstitutional and oppressive. Got it. If these plaintiffs prevail, how sympathetic do you think the courts will be to the argument that the school system's affirmatively gay policies stigmatize traditional Christian, Jewish, and Muslim kids as bigots, not because they have mistreated gay students, but because they are guilty of the thoughtcrime of believing in their religion?

Remember this when liberals accuse conservatives of provoking a culture war. The school system is trying to stay neutral on this issue, but it's the cultural left that's taking them to court to force them to take sides, when taking sides is not necessary to do what the left claims it wants them to do. This is not about protecting gay kids, but about propagandizing all the others, and using the false flag of suicide to wage culture war.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Rod Dreher. "'Anti-bullying' as a pro-gay wedge." The American Conservative (September 13, 2011).

Reprinted with permission of The American Conservative. Politics, culture, and foreign policy from the perspective of traditional conservatism.

Photo: Kwan Choo, ARPS

THE AUTHOR

Rod Dreher is a writer and journalist who lives in Philadelphia. He is an Orthodox Christian and the author of Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plant to save America (or at least the Republican Party).

Copyright © 2011 The American Conservative




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