I remember being told once that “the Bible is the only history book you need.” Of course, the Bible isn’t a history book. It has history in it, certainly, but it also has a lot of fantasy and a good dose of what Bill Maher calls “intellectually, embarrassing myths from the Bronze Age.”
North Carolina parents are being just as foolish in their response to students forming a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Club. Their hysterical response has forced the Lake Lure charter school to punish all students by suppressing all clubs. An objection by one grandmother epitomized the rush to stupid by saying she didn’t want to have to explain the word “gay” or “lesbian” to her grandchild.
The Daily Courier noted that,
“Another citizen told the board since it is a public school it has the ability to do away with the club. He said he did not have a child at Lake Lure, but if he did he would take them out immediately. He said the only diversity the school needs is the Bible.”
First problem is, he doesn’t even have a child at that school. But the bigger problem is that the Bible is not diversity. In fact, by forcing orthodoxy, the Bible is the very opposite of diversity. The Old Testament’s Ten Commandments, and its presentation of the Law of Moses (in several forms) is not a list of freedoms but a list of “must do’s” and “must not do’s.”
The result is conformity, not diversity.
A further problem is that the school receives taxpayer funding. Freedom of Religion, anyone?
No, of course not. Even though it’s the only public school in Lake Lure, ironically, the place Dirty Dancing was filmed.
And leave it to the Baptists to act like the witch hunters in this sordid scenario, with Lake Lure Baptist Church Pastor Anton Roos, perhaps inspired by Richard Land, proclaiming,
“This [LGBT] club was put together by a teacher and I would like to know what action was taken against her,” Roos said. “We are in a time in which you as a board need to take a stand. We have entrusted [School Director Jessica Boland] with our children and you have failed them.”
What, no turning the other cheek? You know, that thing Jesus said to do? Rather cast the first stone instead, the thing Jesus said not to do?
The teacher in question, Layne Long, said,
“This is not a religious club. This is a human rights club. My father is a Christian and I’ve been brought up to understand that God is love. Jesus wants to help people.”
I submit to you that Jesus hadn’t met the Religious Right and its bevy of hateful fake Christians.
“I had researched GLSEN over the summer and ordered some stuff. I gave one poster to our guidance counselor who hung it in her office. Then when the student told me she wanted to start a club, I gave her the poster and she hung it up. I’m extremely proud of my students. If there was no need for this club to exist in this school, it would not exist.”
Of course, these religion bigots are not interested in what children or students need, but in what they think the Bible dictates, which they think means hate and repression.
And despite all the various prohibitions contained in the Bible against this and that, attacks on lesbianism in particular are not among them. The Law of Moses doesn’t condemn polygamy (Indeed, it enshrines it as part of the law), nor does it outlaw “homosexuality,” which in any case is an invented 19th century pathology.
Public schools need to be inclusive, not exclusive, and if they accept taxpayer funding, they have no excuse for teaching repressive, exclusionist ideologies in the guise of religion. However, here the problem is less with the school and more with the parents using crosses as pitchforks.
NC Policy Watch informs us that,
Lake Lure Classical Academy board chair Chris Braund, who is also Lake Lure’s town manager, said the suspension of all school clubs came in order to let the board look at their legal obligations under state and federal rules before finalizing a policy on clubs at their December board meeting.
Braund did say he was disappointed that students who may identify as LGBT had to listen to adults speaking out at the school board meeting against those who are gay.
“It’s not coming from within the [school] community, but it’s coming from the adult community around them,” he said.
It was George Carlin who said, and he seems to have been right, that “There’s also way too much religion in the South to be consistent with good mental health. Still, I love traveling down there, especially when I’m in the mood for a quick trip to the thirteenth century.”
Those kids deserve better than the thirteenth century. I hope they get it.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.