Michigan Endorses Bullying: LGBT Youth Targeted by Religious Groups

7 Nov

Shame on Michigan

Thanks to my dear friend and fierce LGBT ally, Jen Lockett, for inspiring this post.  Michigan has managed to completely turn my stomach in disgust.  The Republican-controlled Senate in Michigan managed to pass a bill that now legalizes bullying of LGBT youth if you claim to be bullying for Jesus.  Yes, it is now okay to torment and torture LGBT kids in the name of religion.  I should take this time to point the audience to a Message From God.

What is worse is that the new law protects both teachers and students to bully LGBT youth.  The mortifying irony is that they have co-opted language and called this the Matt’s Safe School Law. In 2002, Matt Epling committed suicide due to being bullied. Thank goodness for Senator Gretchen Whitmer for calling out this atrocious and bigoted behavior:

You may be able to pat yourselves on the back today and say that you did something…But in actuality you are explicitly outlining how to get away with bullying.

While I’m grateful for the efforts of Senator Whitmer, the sad truth is that now those who truly believe homosexuality is wrong are free to torment classmates consequence-free. Shame on Republican Sen. Rick Jones for sponsoring this bill!

8 Responses to “Michigan Endorses Bullying: LGBT Youth Targeted by Religious Groups”

  1. Jennifer Lockett November 7, 2011 at 5:36 am #

    Here is the explicit language the bill uses to protect bullying: “This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.”
    I wonder what will happen the first time a student uses this clause to bully a Christian child/teacher, or a straight one, or a Black one… Also, how does one determine if it is a ‘sincerely held religious belief’? How many teenagers or pre-teens did you know with true spiritual awareness?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 7, 2011 at 5:41 am #

      Great point, Jennifer. I do wonder if I can use the same theory and protection to bully people who are religious or belong to a religion not widely approved of.

      • James Queale November 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

        One word: Crazy!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

        Crazy and pathetic. We have a long way to go in this new civil rights movement.

  2. Jay November 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    The president of the American Family Association of Michigan explained that the bill had to include the “religious motivations” loophole to prevent it from becoming “a Trojan Horse for the homosexual agenda.” As you are doubtless aware, the AFA is an SPLC-designated hate group.

    The original bill was fine; it was the poison-pill amendment that Republicans inserted at the instigation of the American Family Association that makes the bill worse than no anti-bullying law at all.

    Moreover, the amendment’s pretense of protecting freedom of speech, or freedom of religious expression, is bogus.. As multiple Supreme Court rulings attest, there are compelling reasons for certain limitations on students’ First Amendment rights: Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986); Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier 484 U.S. 260 (1988); Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. 393 (2007).

  3. Dennis November 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    This bill isn’t just about gays. “body is the temple of the holy spirit” could be used against obese, “god’s curse” could be used against physically and cognitively disabled, and “curse of Canaan, son of Ham” could be used against Blacks. And, what’s even worse is you have to demonstrate “substantial” effects, which is not defined in the bill, to call it bullying.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 11, 2011 at 7:08 am #

      Yes, it certainly includes other populations, but it is certainly targeting the LGBT youth population.

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