1/18/2006

The Fundie's War on our Young People

Let me preface this with saying that if you look at the track record of the Heterosexist Dominionist Theocratic Fundamentalists you'll see a steady attack on young people. From their attempts to rid schools of gay teachers and Gay-Straight Alliances to now moving to the college setting where institutional policy on respect and tolerance for "all people" is an affront to their free speech rights.

The story below links to the American Family Association's Agape Press, which outlines their displeasure.

Radical right angry that colleges are promoting "respect [for] the dignity of all persons"

Some of the examples of college academic rules that the religious right is outraged over:
* A ban on "insults, taunts, or challenges directed toward another person" (Appalachian State University).
* A practice of outlawing "statements of intolerance" (North Carolina Central University).
* A requirement that all students "respect the dignity of all persons" and "strive for the openness to learn from differences in people" (UNC Asheville).
* A policy outlawing "disrespect for persons" (UNC Greensboro).


John Aravosis of Americablog asks a great question on this: What exactly are conservative Christian activists promoting that they're afraid of these kind of campus policies?

Yes, what are they afraid of? If there is a respectful debate and discussion in the classroom on hot topics of the day (as there should be on a college campus), what exactly are these folks wanting to say on campus that they are worried will be misconstrued as disrespectful?

Personally, I don't think this has anything to do with free speech as being the only one with the right to speak. Being aware of the college environment, I've seen and heard of conservative students taking offense and even suing professors for not siding with their views. There is even a website for students to report such "violations": Students for Academic Freedom.

USA Today covered this trend and this group:

On about 90 campuses, meanwhile, students have joined Students for Academic Freedom, created four months ago by leftist turned conservative activist David Horowitz. They argue that campuses are overwhelmingly liberal and demand that administrations seek a more balanced point of view among faculty and in programs such as lecture series.
...
Some professors stress that part of their job is to challenge students to question their beliefs. "We're in the business of helping people become critical thinkers," says Shippensburg sociology professor Debra Cornelius. Though she acknowledges her own liberal politics, she says, "We on a daily basis struggle with ... making sure people behave in a tolerant way (without) chilling speech."
...
Conservative students aren't the only ones feeling pinched. In May, Wesleyan University President Douglas Bennet banned a long-standing tradition, particularly popular among gay rights groups, of writing messages in chalk on sidewalks. Some faculty were targeted by name, and increasingly vulgar obscenities, sexual and racial slurs had spurred complaints.

But the most well-oiled attack is driven by conservative and Christian students, "who basically feel they're targets for getting their minds dry-cleaned to think the right way," says Jordan Lorence, a litigator for the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona Christian organization involved in several lawsuits.


Is the question about being able to say anything you want as offensively as you want or about civil discourse? If a person wants civil discourse, no problem. Don't worry about the school policies. If you want to harass and offend others, I can see where these folks would want to change policy. When there is no line to distinguish constructive discussion from hate speech, everything is open game.

22 Comments:

At 08:16, Blogger lovin' it said...

The problem is that too often simply taking a conservative viewpoint on issues such as gay marriage rights is labeled harrassment and hate speech.

It's one thing if a campus comes up with a policy like, for example, banning the term "fag" as a description of homosexuality. But what is a ban on "statements of intolerance"? Is saying that gay sex is sinful in the eyes of God intolerant? I know that many people would say it is. So by putting in place speech codes banning "statements of intolerance" you effectively block any dissenting point of view from being expressed.

If college campuses are truly going to be places where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged, speech codes have to go. If they are publically funded institutions, speech codes are unconstitutional.

 
At 09:13, Blogger RedStateExile said...

I had a feeling I'd turned over a rock.

Fine let's get rid of speech codes across the board so I can write "Die Fundie Die" anywhere I want or yell at and harass anyone with a fishie or WWJD? sticker on their car.

There is thought and there is action. You can have manners when talking face-to-face with someone like your momma taught you and still think what you wish or you can act and behave hateful to someone's face.

I don't give a crap what you think and it's possible to talk respectfully, but I don't want nor deserve to be insulted, harassed, or bullied under the guise of free speech.

 
At 11:20, Blogger lovin' it said...

Vandalism and harrassment are already illegal. If this is all that speech codes forbid, there would be no need for them.

Having said that, "die fundie, die!" is impolite and probably a poor way of persuading anyone, but should not be illegal speech. You don't have the right to scratch it into my car's paint job, but you do have the right to say it.

More to the point, you have the right to freedom of speech to tell a Christian that his religious beliefs are wrong when it comes to homosexuality. Many christians, including me, find such speech offensive, especially in the abrasive way you express it on this blog. But you have the right to free speech, and that free speech should not be banned just because certain groups of people find it offensive. And you certainly don't lose that right just because you're a college student.

Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, as the saying goes. You have the right to insult christians, call them illiterate buffoons, hate mongers, or whatever. It's free speech, whether anyone likes it or not. But just as much as you have that right, I have the right to say that homosexuality is a sin, and gays are bad for america.

Freedom of speech means that you don't have to worry that your speech will get you in legal trouble. But it has to apply equally to both sides. Otherwise it's not truly free.

 
At 07:24, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Pushing aside all the BS you're throwing here. Let me ask a VERY simple question:

In a classroom setting, would the comment "All homos need to die of AIDS and go away" be constructive discussion and debate or is it really just a negative attitude about a group?

If I was a student and I was to say in a class, "All Christians are hateful bigots" is that constructive to a debate or is it negative generalization of a whole group?

I don't see anything constructive per se about the comment. Certainly, students can have and can express these beliefs. (BTW, I've actually heard these comments expressed by students. They're real.).

Could they learn to express their beliefs in a more constructive manner? Yes, I think so. Should they learn how to support and debate their views? Certainly, they should.

Hopefully, this is what a college education (actually, it should be learned long before college) can do for a student. Make them think about what they believe and why they believe it. If they can look at both sides of an issue and can still come away with their beliefs intact, then they've learned even more about their opposition. If their beliefs evolve and change, then maybe they weren't that strong to begin with.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I don't care what people think or believe about me. I wish they didn't, but hate never disappears. Decorum, respect for others, and decency towards others are actions that can and should be taught, instilled, and managed. Education can and should do that too.

 
At 06:14, Blogger lovin' it said...

Callie -

A teacher has the right and responsibility to restrict classroom discussion to the subject at hand. So, if the subject is calculus, either of those comments would be out of line. But if, for instance, we were studying the effect of Roman Catholic dominance of medival government in Europe, a hypothetical comment like yours, while rude, should not be punishable.

More importantly, many college speech codes restrict all speech, not just in class. Students have been disciplined for distributing fliers defending heterosexual only marraige, holding bake sales against affirmative action, printing anti-abortion articles in their own newspaper publications, etc. It wasn't the actions of these students that got them in trouble. It was the content of their speech that was deemed "offensive" and unnacceptable on campus.

The inherent problem with speech codes is that it requires someone to make a subjective judgement about what is and isn't offensive and out of bounds. Instead of shutting people up through the censorship power of government, the proper response in a free society is to reply with speech of your own.

Win the argument, don't shut it down.

 
At 14:09, Blogger Greg AKA Rhymes With Right said...

Since your post has a slur in its title, i think you are the last person who should be talking about the value of tolerance -- you have already shown yourself to be an intolerant bigot.

You would be facing sanctions if you attended Appalachian State, North Carolina Cental, UNC-Asheville or UNC-Greensboro.

After all, you are insultin persons of a certain religious background, committing an offense against them and their dignity, and indicating a lack of openness to learning from them.

And all you did was use one little word that indicates your unwillingness to engage in respectful debate -- you clearly want to have the right to say what you want rather than engage in civil discourse, based upon you hate speech in this post. After all, we have to draw the line somewhere.

 
At 23:45, Blogger dorsano said...

I call them the "righteous right" myself Mr. or Mrs. chair because they they don't seem to understand that people of faith can come to different conclusions than they do

They seem to think that they have first hand knowledge on what is right and wrong in God's eye.

 
At 06:16, Blogger lovin' it said...

It bothers you that some people read the bible and then believe what it says, huh?

 
At 20:58, Blogger dorsano said...

I'm not sure whom you're responding to lovin'it - but many people have read the Bible and have come to different conclusions on a whole lot of things -

you might count the number of different branches of Christianity for starters.

And if you care to, you might count the number of Christians we killed in the name of God

In fact - it wasn't too long ago that we hunted witches and burned women in the name of God.

 
At 07:00, Blogger lovin' it said...

[I'm not sure whom you're responding to lovin'it - but many people have read the Bible and have come to different conclusions on a whole lot of things -

you might count the number of different branches of Christianity for starters.]

Not sure what you're talking about here. Every church in the world that teaches that scripture, not any one man or any one man's opinion, is the final authority has come to exactly the same understanding of God's will on all the important issues. I can and do worship freely in churches from many denominations. It is only the churches that elevate some man's interpretation as the final authority that have such wide divergence in belief.

So, a Baptist, a Methodist, and a Mennonite, who all believe that each person has the responsibility to study and understand scripture for himself, agree on all the essential doctrines and can worship together. While a JW or a Mormon, who teach that believers must gain understanding through special divine revelation given to their founder, are radically opposed to each other.

In the same way, "liberal" churches who reject scripture as the final authority, always set up some fallible human's opinion as the final word.

[And if you care to, you might count the number of Christians we killed in the name of God]

Not my church.

[In fact - it wasn't too long ago that we hunted witches and burned women in the name of God.]

Again, not my church.

 
At 11:34, Blogger ariadne said...

IS your church based on the OT teachings--or on Jesus' actual teachings.....because if you believe in following Jesus and have studied his message, you'd know that Jesus never said one word about condemning homosexual activity.

Not. One. Word.

So it's hard, if not impossible, to define bigotry against gays as "Christian." "Paulinist," "Jewish," or "bin Ladenist," perhaps, but not "Christian."

Don't even get me started on the formation of the bible and the revision of certain books.......

 
At 12:06, Blogger lovin' it said...

[IS your church based on the OT teachings--or on Jesus' actual teachings.....because if you believe in following Jesus and have studied his message, you'd know that Jesus never said one word about condemning homosexual activity.

Not. One. Word.]

My church teaches that the whole bible is true.

And your argument is vacuous at best. Jesus never spoke directly against bestiality, pedophilia, or slavery either. Should we ignore those biblical commands just because Jesus didn't speak them himself?

[So it's hard, if not impossible, to define bigotry against gays as "Christian." "Paulinist," "Jewish," or "bin Ladenist," perhaps, but not "Christian."]

So, your position is that people who believe the bible are the ones who are not Christian? Just so we're clear.

[Don't even get me started on the formation of the bible and the revision of certain books.......]

You have the right to be an unbeliever if you wish.

 
At 14:18, Blogger ariadne said...

I think that the Golden rule applies to all bestiality, pedophilia, and slavery, so we're covered there.

It's impossible to believe in the entire bible. Case in point: Leviticus.

I suppose if you're going to exercise your decidedly un-Christianlike judgment about my beliefs, you have the right to do so.

Mind, you have this log in your eye. Just thought I'd help you out.

 
At 14:50, Blogger RedStateExile said...

Well, I think it's ironic that gays get called all kinds of disrespectful and downright nasty names and no one, esp. the uber-religious types, bat an eye.

Yet, I say "fundie" in my title and it's like {{{gasp}}} "you can't say that!!!! You religious bigot!"

Whatever! I calls it as I sees it. When you have an uber-fundie organization that attacks and attacks and attacks ANYTHING remotely "gay," they get put out there for a little bit of it back.

I know some decent Christian folks and they've never said a cross word to me and I haven't said one to them. But, then again...they're also not members of the AFA and they don't support the beliefs of the AFA.

If you lay with dogs, you get fleas, honey.

 
At 15:47, Blogger ariadne said...

Yea--

You would think that those Christians who claim that the Bible is the fundamental basis for good living wouldn't shy at the term "fundamental" or any version of it.

 
At 19:39, Blogger dorsano said...

In the same way, "liberal" churches who reject scripture as the final authority, always set up some fallible human's opinion as the final word.

I guess Catholics aren't Christians in your interpretation of things.

Though anyone who thinks this Pope is liberal hasn't been paying attention.

 
At 09:02, Blogger lovin' it said...

ariadne said...
[I think that the Golden rule applies to all bestiality, pedophilia, and slavery, so we're covered there.]

By whose standard? Don't get me wrong, I agree. But if you throw out the rest of scripture, you have a pretty weak case to make.

[It's impossible to believe in the entire bible. Case in point: Leviticus.]

I believe Leviticus. Why is that impossible to believe?

[I suppose if you're going to exercise your decidedly un-Christianlike judgment about my beliefs, you have the right to do so.

Mind, you have this log in your eye. Just thought I'd help you out.]

What log would that be, exactly? Jesus said that every word of the scripture would be fulfilled. I believe him. You apparently don't.

Again, you have the right to whatever beliefs you want. But that does not make them right.

Callie and ariadne - I am a fundamentalist. What made you think I was offended by the term?

dorsano - The Catholic church teaches that scripture is inerrent. Why would I think they are liberal?

 
At 12:40, Blogger ariadne said...

So, LI--you're not wearing any poly-blend are you? Do you prepare your flour correctly?

If you knew your scripture, you'd know what the log reference was for. You seem to have this weird power to know exactly what I believe even if I've never expressed it. Or perhaps you're just judging without even bothering to find out what I believe--which totally makes it not worth my time to discuss it with you.

 
At 13:41, Blogger lovin' it said...

I do recognize the log reference. I'm just trying to figure out how you are applying it to me.

As for what you believe, the only things I've commented on are what you've expressed here.

As for your questions about the Levitical law, if you read and understand the New Testament, you already know the answer to that question.

 
At 22:13, Blogger dorsano said...

dorsano - The Catholic church teaches that scripture is inerrent. Why would I think they are liberal

The Pope is infallible in matters of doctrine and in interpreting scripture

which is your definition of "liberal" -

"liberal" churches who reject scripture as the final authority, always set up some fallible human's opinion as the final word.

The Catholic church doesn't "reject" scripture - but it replaces your fallible human who interprets scripture for himself with one falliable human who interprets it for everyone.

Like I said - Christians can come to different conclusions

Only the self-righteousness believe that they know better than anyone else how God will judge their neighbors.

 
At 12:14, Blogger lovin' it said...

Dorsano - Yes, and I have a serious problem with the concept of an infallible pope. But there is still one huge distinction that allows me to call them brothers in the faith.

The pope is considered infallible in matters of doctrine, but the catholic church does NOT teach that it is impossible to understand scripture apart from the interpretation of the pope. They teach that a common christian can understand and obey the gospel just from reading the bible. The pope is considered a safeguard against error, but not a necessity to understanding.

That is not the same as the JW's or Mormons and whatnot who teach that a person trying to read and understand scripture apart from the guidance of their church is guarranteed to get confused and misunderstand the truth. That is a major distinction.

And you seem to be misunderstanding what I mean by liberal churches. A liberal church is one that teaches that the bible is unreliable and place their own opinions on what they would like doctrine to be above what the bible clearly teaches.

So, for instance, some churches interpret scripture to mean that Christians should be pacifists, and others come to the conclusion that Christians can serve in the military. But both recognize the bible as the final authority, and can call each other brothers. But churches who say, for example "the bible's teaching on homosexuality being a sin is just a reflection of ancient prejudice and can be disregarded since Jesus didn't say it himself" are not brothers in the faith. They have replaced God's word with their own opinions. The proper term for that is heresy.

Again, everyone has the right to whatever religion you wish. But that does not mean that you are a christian just because you call yourself one.

 
At 21:12, Blogger dorsano said...

the catholic church does NOT teach that it is impossible to understand scripture apart from the interpretation of the pope.

That's not quite true - the Pope always trumps.

But what the Catholic church does teach is that I am accountable before God for my actions - not the Pope - there is a component of personal responsiblity in the Catholic faith.

That's a weak description - it's more a paradox of sorts - the Pope is infallible - but you're paying the bill.

 

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