Anti-bullying vote blocked by Christian Conservatives
May 1, 2001 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Anti-bullying vote blocked by Christian Conservatives The Washington State bill would have required school districts to set up policies against harassment, bullying and intimidation. Christian conservatives that blocked the vote claim "it amounted to censorship of their right to condemn homosexuality." There is no mention of homosexuality in the bill at all. So this leads me to the conclusion that these Christians condone "harassment, bullying and intimidation." How far from the Golden Rule can you stray and keep a straight face?
posted by kokogiak (26 comments total)
Makes me remember that our state (WA) was the only state in the nation to give our vote in the presidential primaries to Pat Robertson back in 1988 or whenever it was he ran for Pres. Seattle is an island of liberalism in a sea of conservative rural folks.
posted by kokogiak at 10:22 AM on May 1, 2001

I think that even behind the codes for homosexual is the code for sissy. That is, maybe many of these legislators still don't want to be on the side of the sissies. They must have preserved that old feeling that the weaklings and weirdos get what they deserve.
posted by argybarg at 10:28 AM on May 1, 2001

Just shows that the right will oppose even their own stated values. (Love thy neighbor) when it meets their political purpsoe.

They are going to find that they are on the wrong side. I ran for school board in New Jersey, I can tell you the anti-bullying bandwagon is growing. Even the last school shooter, Andy Williams did not get as much hate as the Columbine killers because he was more viewed as a victim of bullies. ( That doesn't mean he's not responsible for his crime.) But people are starting to see these issues in a larger context.

kokogiak, isn't that island (Seattle) big enough to vote down the rest of the state?
posted by brucec at 10:28 AM on May 1, 2001

Brucec, it depends on the issue - the closer you get to conservative sacred cows, the harder it is to make any progress (as it is anywhere I imagine). Who would have thought that bullying was a conservative sacred cow.
posted by kokogiak at 10:33 AM on May 1, 2001

Not quite big enough, brucec. Rural Washington is pretty sparse, but don't forget Spokane (a.k.a. Iowa), Tacoma, Yakima, etc. We lefties are outnumbered which, of course, is the only way we feel comfortable.
posted by argybarg at 10:34 AM on May 1, 2001

How far from the Golden Rule can you stray and keep a straight face?

Pretty far, if past examples are anything to go by...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 10:53 AM on May 1, 2001

let me get this straight. If you wear a Marilyn Manson shirt to school, you get kicked out, cause it offended some christian and made him wet his pants....but it's okay to tell some gay kid they are going to smoke a big ol' charred wolf turd with the Devil if they don't get their shit straight.
Is it just me, or is this crazy.....
Sorry if I offend. I am just doing my part to piss off the religious right.
posted by bradth27 at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2001

Hrm. Are school administrators actually calling in the law when bullies commit assault?

If so, then why aren't they keeping them in jail?

If not, why would passing a new law change things, since laws neither apply to nor protect students?
posted by swell at 12:21 PM on May 1, 2001

The law isn't meant to be applied directly to students, the law is meant to force schools to create their own harassment policies and spell out a "model policy as a guide." What those guidelines are and how they are enforced appears to be up to the school.
posted by kokogiak at 12:28 PM on May 1, 2001

Schools don't already have harrassment policies? According to this bill, what constitutes harrassment and/or bullying? I, too, am confused as to what this legislation supposedly adds to the currently existing code of conduct. It's already illegal to hit someone or threaten them, and when I was in school you could get in some kind of trouble, though it might not do any good, just for "name calling." Getting kids to report this sort of thing when it happens to them is going to be difficult no matter what is and is not allowed, so what's this bill supposed to do to help?
posted by techgnollogic at 12:59 PM on May 1, 2001

Just shows that the right will oppose even their own stated values.

Like with the abortion debate. Are we really to believe all these right wing meme kitchens who serve up the readi-made ideology for the christian church going public really give a damn about the girl who's having an abortion now, as I write this? Using language with words like "holocaust", that invoke fear and apprehension in all the good little submissive housewives and their content husbands, the right has built itself a rallying point.

Simultaneously they have all the "good people" believing that a powerful, invulnerable, murder machine is necessary because of the other "threats" they've concocted in Asia, South America and the Middle East. The right finds the attrition of healthy Iraqi's okay, their starving diseased children, a consequence that they can live with, just as long as the little people back home believe their packs and packs of lies and have that domestic rallying point know as being a "Pro Lifer".

"Can't you see," They say, "It's murder!"

Just another example of the right's phoniness.
posted by crasspastor at 1:04 PM on May 1, 2001

I'm not sure what the law is supposed to help specifically, except to strenghten common sense activity. Can't say whether I'm thrilled with it or not, but found the vehement opposition to it intriguing - and definitely telling.
posted by kokogiak at 1:09 PM on May 1, 2001

Here's the summary page for the bill, including PDF's.
posted by Twang at 2:25 PM on May 1, 2001

Whatever happened to just good, old fashioned detention? Whatever happened to letting the parents do the parenting?

This kind of crap just makes me ill. Let the state raise your children, so you can watch more Jerry Springer uninterrupted!
posted by Spanktacular at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2001

Spanktacular: Hmm, as one who was on the receiving end of plenty of bullying as a teenager, your post comes off as wildly offensive as the actions of the legislators here. How are the people who are affected by bullies supposed to be protected under your lil' concept? If a student gets the crap beaten out of him, just to that student and say, "Just look what parenting has come to in this country!"

What on Earth are you raving about? I had a student's father refuse to believe, when I was 15, that his son had done any sort of harm to me even though he did more than enough to get into here -- and he was a star football player (friend of the family, I'd been best of friends with him just a few short years before) so don't give me crap about how I should've been taught to protect myself. The school did little for the longest time, except blame me. Why would some specific policies not hurt?

The strangest thing is, defending myself in any physical fashion would not have been following the rules of school or society. In many states, any action taken in self-defense (outside of defense against attempted murder) will only earn you an assault charge. The only thing that protected me was eventually falling in with a crowd that wouldn't stand for others to pull that crap on anyone in the group. Sorta like a high school NATO (but with no trench coats or anything, just typically horrid '80s crap). I remember this all too well, and I'm freakin' 34. It shouldn't happen to anyone.
posted by raysmj at 4:24 PM on May 1, 2001

Wanna do something about it? The person who blocked the House Education Committee from voting on the bill was Gigi Talcott according to the article. She blocked it because she doesn't like mandates that suck up precious school time.

You can find Gigi on her campaign pages. Or at the Washington State Leg pages.

If you're interested in encouraging the supporters of the bill (which apparently isn't completely dead yet), you might try Christine Gregoire, Attorney General of Wa State. Or try Dave Quall who is the co-chairperson of the House Education Committee and gave the bill a hearing.

Of course, this is probably of interest to Wa state residents more than others, but hey... couldn't hurt to let your voice be heard...
posted by daver at 5:03 PM on May 1, 2001

"We lefties are outnumbered which, of course, is the only way we feel comfortable."

LOL. That's so true. It's also why I'm moving back from the NW to the South.

What's the use preaching to the converted? I say let the martyrdom begin.
posted by estopped at 8:38 PM on May 1, 2001

Ok, that's fine-- one group of conservative Christians takes a certain stand on an issue and then all Christians seem to get tarred with the same brush. Yeah, I am a Christian, and I'm tired of being spoken about this way. I believe homosexuality is a sin, but I also think it's just a big a sin (as if sins could be ranked) to beat up homosexuals. I believe that abortion is a sin, but I also think it's a sin to kill abortionists. I do care about "the girl who's having an abortion now", because, if for no other reason, Jesus cares about her and I think it's sinful the way that some don't regard the lives of "our enemies" as highly as they do those of Americans. But "conservative Christian" is simply too easy a target-- why treat them as individuals when it's just as easy to group them all together? Too many people seem too eager to accept statements made by some "Christian leader" as speaking for all Christians, without even checking whether there are Christians who disagree with that speaker or not, or even if what he (or, though rarer, she) is in accordance with the Bible. Well, I would go on with some examples, but it's late and I'm probably rambling, so until next time-

posted by theapalog at 1:51 AM on May 2, 2001


one group of conservative Christians takes a certain stand on an issue and then all Christians seem to get tarred with the same brush.

If you as a christian feel this sort of "lumping together" is in error, you should run for office and set the non-believing straight about what constitutes a christian who doesn't want to be "tarred with the same brush" as other christians.

Yet, even after stating that, you begin proselytizing (and on your first post to MeFi even). I submit you're parroting the same language and ideas taken exception to in this thread. We know, that you as a christian feel homosexuality is a sin. Abortion is a sin. And we also already knew that you believe Jesus loves us. Moreover, we are well aware that people who think like you behave similarly when they reach political office; berating everyone else with what they believe and affecting political cause only in interest of what is in "accordance with the Bible".
posted by crasspastor at 3:32 AM on May 2, 2001

Crass, and lefties are all individuals, right?
posted by Spanktacular at 3:54 AM on May 2, 2001

posted by crasspastor at 4:01 AM on May 2, 2001

As a Christian, I also resent being stereotyped, and therefore being denied my own voice. I resent it in the same way I resent any individual's being stereotyped because of something someone else in their (supposed) group has said. I stand, regularly, against stereotyping, bullying, and discrimination. Telling this, or any other community, that you know how every Christian (or any other person) thinks, simply because of the words of someone else is a clear form of bullying ... It's called stereotyping. It's using an inaccurate notion of universality to try to to deny me my right to my own thoughts.
posted by DanJr at 4:27 AM on May 2, 2001

DanJr: Conservative Christians did something very wrong in this case. I certainly don't even tar all of them with the same brush, but they're certainly causing enough trouble in cases like this. I know there are often painful reasons for their hostility in cases such as the bully debate. In some cases they're just reacting to having been marginalized themselves.

It's similar to how bullies are usually not quite as secure as they seem on the surface. Maybe they're abused at home, maybe they have parents who've pushed them too hard to succeed, whatever. It's not a coincidence that in our success-oriented, highly extroverted society the kids who are bullied are so often the more withdrawn and reserved sorts. It's not a coincidence that the fear of homosexuality reared its head in the discussion here. (In my case, the main bullying instigator had a then-closeted homosexual brother -- the family has since dealt with the "issue," as it were, remarkably well, however.) Some bullies will end up doing OK, but others will end dysfunctional in the extreme, if not in prison.

In any case, making the issue here the stereotyping of conservative Christians here seems ways out of line here when it was a prominent and politically powerful group of them doing the damage here. You can have compassion for such misguided types, just as you can for students who harass and physically harm others without just cause, but you can also be believe they were horribly wrong and a hindrance to creating or maintaining a decent society.
posted by raysmj at 7:18 AM on May 2, 2001

For all you fundys out there: check out my name.
Here's you something to think about:
1) I'm a Christian.
2) I don't think homosexuality is a big issue with God.
3) I'm not opposed to women being treated as real people (and this includes the right to choose.)
4) The only problem I have with Christianity are all these "Christians."
Thank you for your time. Would like fries with that?
posted by nofundy at 7:34 AM on May 2, 2001

Please note DanJr, in my original posting I was careful to say "these" christians, as opposed to Christians in general. I'm with you as far as opposing overgeneralization. I'm as non-christian as you can get, but most of my good friends are christians. So what, I love 'em because of who they are, not how they worship (or don't). I'm only opposed to willful ignorance, and this action really smacks of it. Plus, how do you expect people to react when someone comes forth and objects on "behalf of christians everywhere"?

I could easily take offense (and do) when people outside the US point to morons like the MN legislator who called Buddhism a cult, and say "stupid, small-minded americans". I'm not an Ugly American (I hope), but he makes me look that way. Best way to fight that is to be the best person I can. If others look at me and say "wow, maybe all people like him aren't so bad", then groovy, I've done my part.
posted by kokogiak at 10:15 AM on May 2, 2001

Here is the original local Seattle Post-Intelligencer coverage of this story.
posted by SenshiNeko at 1:46 PM on May 2, 2001

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