Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More to Story Involving Supposed Religious Intolerance...Shocker

Last week it emerged that a student was supposedly suspended just for saying that homosexuality runs counter to his Christian upbringings.  My initial reaction to the story was, and I quote "he probably called someone a fucking faggot."

Okay, so maybe I wasn't exactly correct, but news has emerged (shocker) that there is more to the story.  The student in question had been on watch for repeatedly (for over a year) harassing the suspending teacher (which included classroom vandalism) over the belief that the teacher was gay.  Other students in the classroom have since come forward to support this side of the story.

He reports (and has reported to his school) repeated acts of anti-gay harassment by several students that occurred this and last year, including by a group of four specific boys in this class, of whom Ary (the student) is one. Among other incidents, Mr. Franks (the teacher) maintains a “word wall” for his German IV class on which he posts articles and images from several journals, including the German magazine, Stern. One of these articles concerned gay rights in Germany, and included a photo of two men kissing. The group of four boys concerned was sitting near this image immediately before Mr. Franks found it had been ripped from the wall. The student and his lawyer are now asserting that including this photo among the others constituted his teacher’s “imposing acceptance of homosexuality” in his classroom. These students subsequently took every opportunity to denounce homosexuality in class, frequently without context; that is, with the topic having otherwise been broached.

On the particular day in which this incident occurred, Mr. Franks was opening class when the topic of Christianity in Germany was broached by one student, who asked what churches were there, another whether they read the Bible in English, etc. Franks asserts that the topic of homosexuality was not broached in any way, and that Ary‘s assertions to the contrary are entirely false. At this point, Ary declared, with a class audience, “Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong,” looking directly at Mr. Franks. Franks says he understands and affirms students’ right to free speech, and that he is perfectly prepared to lead a respectful discussion on topics such as gay rights that allows for the assertion of opinions with which he disagrees. He has led such discussion in the past in his sociology classes. But in this case, hr feels the context makes it clear that this remark was made ad hominem, aimed specifically at him to devalue him and any information he might share on the topic of religion, on the basis of his perceived sexual orientation.

I for one and shocked and appalled that the religious right has broken one of their own laws by telling a very incomplete story that was essentially a lie of omission.  Or...you know...not at all surprised and a little disappointed that they didn't do a better job.

It's just another volley in the continued efforts of the right to spread misinformation about homosexuals and their supposed "agenda" (why they don't call it a manifesto, a much scarier word, is beyond me).  In this case the right is promoting the lie that the homosexual community is hell bent on stamping out religion in all forms, something that couldn't be further from the truth.  Even a survey that religious groups are attempting to use to paint homosexuals as heathens has found that 60% of homosexuals consider their faith to be very important to them.

George Barna, who heads The Barna Group, said the survey results show that homosexual adults are not the “godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers” that some portray them to be.

It's pathetic that some Americans have such a deep bigotry that they feel the need to go against values they supposedly hold above all else to spread such lies.  What's even worse though are all the Christians that don't know any better but to believe them.

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