By BJ Bjornson
I�m a little late getting around to this one, but the story still manages to raise my ire, and Sunday seemed like a good day to write about it.
Concerned about school bullying, and motivated by the suicide of a student, Matt Epling, who was driven to the act by prolonged bullying, the Michigan legislature tried to put together �Matt�s Safe School Law�. It has passed, but there�s nothing to be cheerful about. The Republicans and Christians turned it into a bullying protection act. First, the Republicans gutted it.
This year, Republicans only agreed to consider an anti-bullying measure that did not require school districts to report bullying incidents, did not include any provisions for enforcement or teacher training, and did not hold administrators accountable if they fail to act.
So the bill does nothing. It�s the Republican equivalent of saying, �tut, tut.�
Then the Christian element got to work and added a critical clause.
On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that �a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction� justifies their harassment.
We all know what that�s about. It�s all about giving the church kids permission to torment the gay kids. That clause is nothing but bigotry in disguise.
I was going to add a rant of my own, but Charles P. Pierce says it all far better.
In a very real way, this one passage in one piece of really bad legislation is the entire raison d'etre of American "conservatism," and of the political party that it has turned into its mindless vehicle over the past four decades. Every element of the "movement" is in there. There's religious paranoia and cultural sociopathy combining to produce a completely irrational sense of victimhood. There's the carefully chosen choice of targets, and the subsequent inflation of that target into the "real" threat from the "real" oppressors. And then, finally, there's the framing of legislation to say one thing, but mean another, while maintaining your inherent right as one of society's overdogs to do pretty much anything you want. You play the victim to reinforce your own long-established privilege.
As with everything else in what has become the conservative movements� twisted mind, the only real threat out there is those nasty liberals trying to take away their God-given right to be bigots
If I wasn�t already quite certain that he didn�t exist, that alone would be sufficient to convince me their god is one I wouldn�t want to follow.