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Homophobes Say The Darndest Things: Where Hate Speech Meets Free Speech

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The homophobes seem to be getting particularly mouthy of late. Here’s three news items from across North America:

*After paramedic Kevin Kennedy posted Web messages calling homosexuality a perversion and saying that two gay co-workers should “crawl back into the closet,” the Nashville Fire Department suspended him for two months.

*Fourteen-year-old Fort Worth student Dakota Ary told a friend in German class he thought homosexuality was wrong. The school suspended him for two days.

*During a weekly Mass service, Canadian priest Rev. Donat Gionet compared “evil” gay Pride parades to abortion and 9/11 and has been barred from performing future sermons.

Was the National Organization for Marriage right when they said that we’d start seeing people ousted from their jobs just for their anti-gay opinions?

  NEXT: A Firefighter feels the backdraft from his homophobic post

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By:           Dan Avery and Daniel Villarreal
On:           Sep 22, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 95 Comments
    • steve
      steve

      The paramedic is the only one I think is justified.

      In his case, he singled out individuals in an obvious attempt to embarrass them. That’s considered bullying in the work force. The other two are just mouthing off, it’s up to their audience to decide if that’s what they want to listen to or not.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 12:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      what if the words had been specifically racist? Anti-Semitic? there’d be no question. we’re still allowing anti-LGBT bigotry to be “an opinion” rather than an unequivocal statement of bigotry and hateful falsehoods.

      what if the LDS started to actively promote the scriptures in their nutbag book about beheading people who engage in race-mixing? i mean, it’s in the book of mormon. sleep with a dark skinned person? you should be beheaded.

      if they start promoting that again, will it be ok?

      Their speech wasn’t stifled. They spoke. They paid for the specifics of what they said. It’s not because “some people dont’ like it, or don’t agree” , but the specificities of what was said, and the larger cultural impact that those words carry.

      i’m aware that some aren’t able to discern like this, however. some can’t understand the specifics of WHY it’s wrong, or harmful. they say “you can’t handle a different opinion!”. no, actually. it’s not that at all. it’s the specifics of those baseless, bigoted and indeed culturally harmful “opinions” (read: falsehoods) that people are objecting to.

      learn to discern.

      Canada has had very explicit and specific hate speech laws for two decades. In those two decades we’ve seen a drop into anti-gay violence. We’ve had LGBT (as in not just GAY, but also transgendered) people serving openly in our military. we had our first legalized gay marriage in 2001. LGBT people are protected from workplace and housing discrimination.

      it’s like how you’re not allowed to market cigarettes and alcohol to children.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      A bit of a correction about countries in Europe where making anti-gay remarks is illegal; that is not exactly true. Those laws regarding freedom of speech apply to all minority groups and prohibit making threatening comments. In these countries which hold a different standard than we do for freedom of speech, it is encouraging that many include anti-gay remarks too. By the American standard enshrined in the First Amendment, it is certainly debatable whether their standard or our standard is the better standard.

      Regarding the EMT bigot, the standard holds the same for racial and religious comments too. That this EMT posted his comment on the Fire Department’s site makes this a public matter irrespective of whether he has the right to make such comments on a personal page. There is growing debate whether comments by civil servants posted on personal pages are subject to employer restrictions. This needs further debate to gain a more common public view. I see both sides of this one. To this particular case though, I think the suspension is warranted considering the posting on the employer’s page.

      For the teenager, yeah, I agree this goes too far. No one, including the teacher, judged the kid’s remarks as bullying nor even nasty. The First Amendment applies to kids too.

      As for the priest, it simply is not open to debate. The Church is entitled to self-governance and, as such, is a private matter for them. Perhaps members of the parish have standing for comment but this is not open for public debate. Glad to hear this church made these decisions though; perhaps there are some Christians who follow Christ’s words and not the words added by the ancient and later revised churchmen. If Jesus showed up toady, more churches than not would lynch him again for his liberal views toward loving his flock.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Does the “First Amendment” apply to a student in a classroom that is an unrepentant racist?

      This isn’t a Canadian Liberal being a prick, this is a Canadian Liberal asking a legit question.

      The kid would not be reprimanded for making a blatantly racist or anti-Semitic statement?

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      Why is it we are weak when we stand up to crap like this and go to the source to let them know whats going on? Yet the bigots stand up for their beliefs and they are applauded half the time in this country? We must be living in an alternate universe.

      I respect other peoples beliefs even if they are not my own.But the moment you use those beliefs to condemn someone else demonize them or try to infringe upon another human beings rights by using your beliefs against them… thats when I have a problem.

      No I do not respect homophobia no matter what the excuse or justification never will.

      But unfortunately in this country freedom of speech applies to everyone.The difference is half these people justify free speech when in all actuality they are using HATE speech.

      If someone can direct me to an area in the Constitution of the United States where it states that hate speech is acceptable in this country I would really love to see it.I’ve never noticed that in the Constitution people nowadays seem to assume that hate speech is a form of free speech.I beg to differ though I think hate speech is the point where it officially crosses the line and boundaries of what free speech entails.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/for-anti-gay-speech-student-gets-detention-and-liberty-counsel-lawyer/discrimination/2011/09/22/27342

      Could one, then, get up and give a speech about why Jews are wrong? Why black people are cursed with dark skin for being a fallen race of Cain? That mixed-race people are filthy in the eyes of God?

      Here’s what gets me – just because one believes one has “the right” to do something doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do. How can this guy say that what he did “harms no one” when it is in fact a reinforcement of cultural bigotry?

      Je suis confuse.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Katt
      Katt

      Yeah I don’t think that kid should have been suspended. If he was just voicing his opinion, he has the right. But at the same time I don’t think its appropriate to have such opinions in the classroom. If he had said “I don’t think black people have souls.” which was a “Biblical” belief. Or said that “women shouldn’t speak in the presence of men”. Something like this would disrupt the classroom and merits some kind of rebuke. Just think now as gay history is included in schools, what will you think when a kid says “I don’t care, Harvey Milk is still burning in hell!”? What message does that send to the gay kid sitting next to him? Something should have been done, but not to that extreme.

      Everyone else had it coming! The PM and the priest.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      These people also need sensitivity training to even go to a place like the Trevor Project or these shelters that shelter homeless teens who have been kicked out by their parents who refused to love them because they told them they were gay.For them to see first hand what their hate continues to cause in this country especially the alarming and rampant rate of teen suicides we’ve all seen since this past year.

      I bet if these people could see the lifeless bodies of these innocent people who have either been taken by the hands of hate or who have taken their own lives due to hate and bullying.Then maybe that would open their eyes and possibly even their hearts.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      What if it had been a Muslim kid in an American classroom sharing his particular religious beliefs about, let’s say, non-Muslims?

      I just can’t help but think that this kid is being defended because he’s a White Christian and he “only” denigrated “gays” – and far too many gay people seem to think that’s acceptable.

      I don’t think a two-day suspension is extreme. I think expulsion is extreme. Two-day suspension? Two days to think about the negative impact and hurt that words inflict on others.

      No doubt a young gay person or two (or three, or four) in his classroom, still Closeted, heard those words and were hurt by them. Do the rest of you remember what it was like to hear anti-gay beliefs spouted in your presence when you were an adolescent or pre-adolescent?

      yeah. exactly.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlueBird
      BlueBird

      @Katt Yeah…no. Sorry, but if I’m voicing my opinion that being black was wrong at school, I’d be probably be expelled.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Danielle
      Danielle

      @steve: I think that the right thing was done about the police officer and as much as i hate to say it, in the case of the Priest that is how the catholics believe, but i think that instead of a punishment for saying bad things, they should have gotten sensitivity training like the fireman. Learning why your wrong minght help more than punishment.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Danielle:

      Exactly there has to be a way to actually reach these people to see where their issues with homosexuality originate and come from in the first place.That way we can better understand them and hopefully find a way to reach them to possibly see things from a better tolerant more kinder perspective.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Reed Braden
      Reed Braden

      “Was the National Organization for Marriage right when they said that we’d start seeing people ousted from their jobs just for their anti-gay opinions?”

      Oh god I hope so!

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      The teenager wouldn’t have been sent to the office, and suspended if his comment was as benign as he’s making it out to be. For the teacher to start yelling, and giving out a three day suspension, the kid must have said something pretty nasty.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      …….um…does anyone *really* not understand where anti-gay beliefs and ideologies ‘originate’?

      this isn’t a big mystery. it’s taught. it’s TAUGHT. being anti-gay is not innate. it’s a learned thing.

      from religions, from cultures, from family members. that’s where it comes from. finding out why people are anti-gay is not a mystery.

      what you get, when you discuss it with these people, is the ego battle. they’re often too proud to admit that they’re wrong – they don’t understand the difference between Facts and Opinions.

      The good news is that many people do change, and they change best when they’re forced to realize that their bigotry COMES AT A PRICE – not only are they discriminating against people that they know, love and (in pretty much all cases) are related to, they’re forced to rethink their bigotry.

      minds don’t change unless you give them a reason to change.

      i have to say, though, it’s really indicative of how browbeaten so many LGBT people are that they so willingly accept outright anti-gay bigotry as “free speech” – that’s galling to me.

      it’s as ugly as racism and anti-Semitism in that it works to denigrate your personhood and worth as a human being.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      Do you ever shutup? I keep telling you to stfu and stop referring to me period yet here you are AGAIN in a not even subtle way of doing so.You need to grow up already period egomaniac.

      You are the epitomy of a hypocrite going around telling people to go hang themselves then stupidly claiming you are against bullying.If my father was alive even he would call you a hypocrite.

      People like you are the root of the problem in this community and until you grow the hell up lose the ego and get your parents to teach you the meaning of actual respect for others that is never gonna change.

      No shit its taught brainiac these kids are taught by their parents thats a given DUH.

      Its a parents responsibility to raise their kids the RIGHT WAY no one elses. Keep demeaning and devaluing what other people say you continue to talk down to people and more and more people are noticing it.If you left this site would be better off period you are a bully and you are too dumb to see that and a hypocrite as well.

      they’re often too proud to admit that they’re wrong.

      ^^^^You just described yourself simpleton sad that you do not even see the irony of your own words.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      oh my goodness what are you talking about?

      it’s not about “respecting opinions” but being discerning enough to understand when something that’s being passed off as an “opinion” is in fact an incorrect falsehood.

      i’m not sure why you’re getting so angry.

      you spent hours yesterday calling me names and saying that I “can’t handle other people’s opinions” because I didn’t “respect” that you insisted that President Barack Obama is Muslim.

      You insisted Barack Obama was Muslim, and called me names for not “respecting your opinion” – it’s not an “opinion” though, nor was it a “disagreement” – you were stating a falsehood and spent hours throwing insults at me rather than, you know, educating yourself and learning and accepting the reality that President Obama is NOT Muslim.

      I have no idea at all why you’re being angry all over again today. The root of anti-gay bigotry is clear as day – it’s a learned behavior. Children are taught to hate and fear LGBT people just as for far too long children have been taught to hate and fear those of different ethnicities, or those from different religions.

      it’s a learned behavior. i literally have no idea where your off-the-charts anger today is coming from. this is very odd.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      I love you continue to lie about me being angry when you continue to insult peoples intelligence here on a daily basis.

      But to be honest my annoyance with you is your actions yesterday an arrogant moron like you though is never capable of admitting when they are wrong though.It is ALWAYS someone elses fault lather rinse repeat.

      But I find it disgusting how you were on that post about Jamey when you have told people here specifically to hang themselves.Why have you STILL not addressed that hypocrisy ?Apparently bullying is okay… as long as you are the one doing it.Disgusting.

      I will agree however that these kids learn this from their parents as ive always heard it always starts at home.These kids are indoctrinated brainwashed and forcefed lies and hate from the moment they are born into this world .

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      @BlueBird: (and others)… it’s not a matter of which is *right,* but of how settled opinion is on the matter. You know and I know that sexual orientation is an innate quality, but many remain ignorant, some even to the point of denying there even IS such a thing. Many, hard as it is to believe, who do not hate us (even if their actions lead to the same results.) It can (and, in all likelihood will) be treated as race is eventually, but frustrating as it is we’re just not there yet.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      No. 7 · Katt wrote, “Yeah I don’t think that kid should have been suspended. If he was just voicing his opinion, he has the right. But at the same time I don’t think its appropriate to have such opinions in the classroom.”

      QUEERTY’s statement of what happened said the kid was talking to a friend, as opposed to participating in a classroom discussion, so the teacher probably just overheard him. If so, and if he merely said he thought it was wrong, perhaps reflecting what he picked up in some fundamentalist church, he shouldn’t have been suspended. It’s possible, though, that he was really suspended for talking in class in spite of repeatedly being told not to, in which case the issue would have been incessant chatter, not what he was chattering about – it’s hard to tell given how many people try to spin events to fit a particular agenda.

      While there is a temptation to think that he must have said something far worse given the suspension, it is worth noting that some schools suspend students over trivia due to ‘zero tolerance’ policies, where the teachers feel they have no choice but to blindly follow rules they know are stupid.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • steve
      steve

      Could Kiwi and the other guy take your fight to twitter or facebook or… anywhere else BUT here.

      Thank you and goodnight..

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      ““Someone in the back of the classroom asked, ‘What are the views on gays in Germany and Europe?,’” Ary explained. “And I said to my friend behind me that, ‘I’m a Christian, I believe gays are wrong.’”

      The comment landed the high school freshmen in a vice-principal’s office with a disciplinary note.”

      poor kid. doesn’t even know how to answer a question, either.

      ;-)

      great. he believes gays are “wrong” – that doesn’t mean that it’s an acceptable belief, however, as the specificity of his beliefs do indeed come at the expense of a safe cultural environment for LGBT people.

      imagine, if you will, a Muslim student in a classroom saying “I’m a Muslim, I believe Christians are wrong”

      there’d be a massive outcry. there isn’t about this, however. why? Good White Chirstian boy only made a comment about “the gays”

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      You really are pathetic always talking down to people YOU are the one who needs to grow up.Once again like the coward you are you avoided what I said typical of you. How can you claim to be against bullying when you are one yourself? Why is it so hard to answer my questions?Must you insist on lying as usual about me and turning it around on someone else because you do not have the guts to ever answer the questions?

      You tell people to go hang themselves a decent human being would not say crap like that then claim they are against bullying.That is not being a drama queen thats being a miserable human being to even say something like that to begin with.

      Oh for gods sakes just admit you think you are ALWAYS right anytime someone disagrees with you you act like a pompous prick and talk down to people.YOU are the one who continues to be too stupid to comprehend what arrogance is much less what humility is.No surprise you do not have any makes sense.

      Nice try as usual you try to throw it back to me like the coward you are my comments were of annoyance yours however were something you actually felt something you actually wished on another human being.That IS hypocrisy you dont tell someone to go hang themselves then claim you are against bullying.Talk about dumb.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      I’m not talking down to you. You said that yesterday I “couldn’t admit when I’m wrong” – you were the one insisting that not only was President Obama a Muslim, but that I should ‘respect your difference of opinion”

      it’s not an opinion. it’s a falsehood. President Obama is not Muslim. You were wrong, I wasn’t, and you’re still mad at me for your being wrong. That makes no sense.

      you can’t say you’re against violence then threaten me with physical violence. that’s hypocrisy.

      i don’t think i’m always right and the best way to prove me wrong is to back up your belief with citations. facts. evidence. i can’t argue against evidence or facts.
      we’re all entitled to our own opinions, we’re *not* all entitled to our own facts. I understand this.

      once again today you have started a fight for no intelligent reason. you even claim to agree with what i posted, and yet you still are choosing to fight. why?

      anyway, back to the sane commenters who are talking about this story:

      How is it that this boy can make an anti-gay comment and it’s not seen as an attack on LGBT people, nor a harmful statement to the LGBT classmates of his who are no doubt present (and yes, likely still in The Closet) and yet should any of us dare to say “Happy Holidays” during December we’re suddenly accused of “attacking Christians” and perpetrating a “War on Christmas”?

      “There are no gays in Christianity” – “I believe gays are wrong” – those are two of his quotes.

      That’s fine…but saying “Happy Holidays” means “you’re launching a war on Christmas”

      the mind boggles.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      You continue to act like an ass no surprise and Im as stable as it gets just call out bullshit when I see it.You are extremely pitiful there you go again you NEVER accept responsibility for your actions or what you say I do however.You cant claim to be against bullying when you yourself are one I will always look at you that way because that is exactly what you are dumbass.This has nothing to do with yesterday either simpleton I just cant believe you had the utter nerve to post on that page about Jamey when you have told people here to go hang themselves.I dont go around telling people to kill themselves thats your deal not mine.You might as well advocate violence YOURSELF with comments like that.

      Anyone that calls you out for your actions has issues thats how people like you always respond and act for that matter.Its predictable trite and pathetic at that. No matter what you say it can easily be turned back around on you as you are stupidly continuing to attempt with me.

      So me acknowledging that I threatened you in the heat of the moment is worse then you telling people to go kill themselves? You are the epitomy of a hypocrite yet you lie wimp out and cowardly claim I am when you are the perfect example of a hypocrite if there were ever a better example. :)

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      I no longer have any idea what you’re talking about. You’re apparently mad at me for the fact that you’ve been going around talking about President Obama being a Muslim when he in fact is NOT.

      I am confused beyond words. You threaten me with physical violence, numerous times, you insist that Barack Obama is Muslim, when he in fact is not, and then get mad at me and say i can’t “admit when I’m wrong” when I was never wrong about that.

      I understand the difference between facts and opinions.

      Then today I post on here, and you claim to agree with what I’ve said, and yet you’re still flying off the handle having a big old hissy fit for no intelligent or discernible reason.

      Please get help, or at the very least go back to school.
      ————————————————

      back to the topic at hand – what steps need to be taken in order to bring our culture to a place where anti-gay statements are treated the same way as racist and anti-Semitic ones?

      what if this boy had said “I’m a Christian, I think Jews are wrong”?

      seriously. does this two-day suspension not actually send home the message that in a school there is no room for hateful speech and “opinions” that do indeed come at the expense of another student’s welfare and sense of safety?

      I’m genuinely curious to hear what others have to say about that.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      Go to hell already dude.You are a pathetic representation of this community and your elitist kind severely make this community continue to look bad.As I said though thankfully pompous blowhards like you do not fully represent this community as a whole.There are actually DECENT ones somewhere within this community and people like you are definitely not in that category.No I will not get help arrogant one and do not ever attempt to use psychology on me either you are the one with the issues your utter lack of humility continues to astound me and disgust me all at the same time.

      Look at you lying AGAIN gee you’ve done that a LOT here lately.This has nothing to do with Obama please learn how to read just because you think your I.Q. gives you entitlement to treat others as commoners does not make you special or your opinion anymore important then someone elses either. You have told people here to go hang themselves and as usual you are a wimp who cant even admit you said that.You are a bully kid just too full of yourself and never willing to admit it.I know why 2 because if you admitted you were wrong or admitted you did or said something wrong you would be admitting an actual FAULT. Can’t have that though so you just lie your way out of it turning it around on me as usual.Total hypocrite next kid that takes their lives their blood is on YOUR hands making comments about people telling them to kill themselves is no different then how kids like Jamey are treated.You’re a disgrace.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      You said you were mad because I “couldn’t admit that i was wrong yesterday”

      i wasn’t wrong. YOU were. You’re the one who kept insisting that President Obama is Muslim and then called me an elitist and disrespectful because I was informing you that you were flatly incorrect.

      I’m neither pompous nor a blowhard for understanding that President Obama is not a Muslim. You screamed for hours that he was, and that you should be respected for having that opinion. Even though it’s not an opinion, it’s an incorrect falsehood. Talk about needing humility and getting over one’s ego, eh?

      I literally have no idea what bug has crawled up your ass but I suggest you get it removed before you go even more insane.

      You came on again today and started a fight even though you also claimed to “AGREE” with what I’ve said. I’m very puzzled.

      try to stick to the topic, kid.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      Please continue im already flagging you nonstop until Queerty finally takes your shit stirring ass off of here once and for all.You are disgusting here you are AGAIN blaming someone else too fucking dense to comprehend ANYTHING yet you act like you know it all constantly.

      Read this closely slow one YOU TOLD PEOPLE TO GO HANG THEMSELVES WHICH IS THE SAME THING AS SUICIDE.SORRY CAPS SEEM TO BE ALL HYPOCRITES LIKE YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY COMPREHEND.

      LMFAO@ you claiming I HAVE NO HUMILITY.You are pathetic apparently your parents didnt teach YOU how to be honest much less be capable enough to have actual integrity and be able to admit when YOU are wrong.Little boy your comments are appalling so kindly shutup already before you look anymore hypocritical then you already are.You dont claim to be against bullying pulling a martyr act like you did on Jameys vid yesterday after telling people to go kill themselves.Moron.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Flagging me for what? You got your ego bruised and now have a personal vendetta about it. Congrats.

      I don’t “know it all” because I’m aware that President Obama is not Muslim. You’re angry because you got proven wrong. By all means, enjoy your crusade, and enjoy the anti-gay people who are joining you in it. Careful which bedfellows you choose, your anger at me for proving you wrong is only going to lead with you siding with the actual bullies because you’re ego is clouding your vision.

      get help.

      __________________________________________

      BACK TO THE TOPIC:
      Americans! What are the ramifications for racist and anti-Semitic speech in classrooms? Exactly how much, or WHAT, is defended by ‘religious beliefs’?

      Is anti-Semitism protected?

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      Nope dipshit you’re the one with the ego your parents definitely DID fail you you do not have even integrity.Otherwise you would have already admitted you were wrong to tell people to go hang themselves then claim you are against bullying.You get help you are such a loser to claim people have mental problems because they disagree with you… much less can not stand you.

      As I said you make gays look bad your kind always has though no surprise.

      Ego bruised? You are a complete chickenshit throwing YOUR character flaws on other people.No my ego wasnt bruised you as usual acting like a pompous ass yesterday determined to get your way determined to be right.You ALWAYS insult people when they disagree with you ive seen you do it here multiple times.A coward always avoids the truth and you CONSTANTLY avoid it.Just look how no matter how many times I mention you telling people to kill themselves…. you avoid the subject completely and do not even address it.You are a coward period no way of getting around that one.Get help you are the one who desperately needs it.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      I’m not the one who spent hours (and in the grand scheme of things, likely the last few YEARS) insisting that President Obama is Muslim and that that’s an “opinion” that should be respected. That was all you.

      It doesn’t make me “pompous” to be educated and a stickler for facts over chosen opinions.

      __________________________________________
      BACK TO THE TOPIC:
      Americans! What are the ramifications for racist and anti-Semitic speech in classrooms? Exactly how much, or WHAT, is defended by ‘religious beliefs’?
      Is anti-Semitism protected?

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @Little Kiwi: “Does the “First Amendment” apply to a student in a classroom that is an unrepentant racist?

      This isn’t a Canadian Liberal being a prick, this is a Canadian Liberal asking a legit question.

      The kid would not be reprimanded for making a blatantly racist or anti-Semitic statement?”

      Umm, yes the first amendment protects racism, anti-antisemitism, and all forms of ‘hate speech’; even in classrooms. With the massive caveat that the school can limit a students First Amendment rights when doing so can be justified in the name of maintaining a safe, productive learning environment.

      It would seem very, very difficult to show that the school was doing that when, in the course of a discussion about religion a student says that under a specific religion homosexuals are ‘immoral’. The school better work fast to make this right and settle the issue, or they could be looking at a very, very expensive ACLU lawsuit…

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Little Kiwi:

      It doesnt make you educated when you look down on people dumbass.It only makes you a petty little snob no surprise.

      Amazing how even now you continue to think you are 100% right about everything you say.Obama being a Muslim was a mistake that was it you were the one yesterday gnawing away at me pestering the shit out of me to answer the way YOU wanted me to and you know it moron.One only needs to go back to that post and see that YOU were the one who initiated everything I did not even want you to say anything to me you are shit to me I didnt care for your asinine opinions but as usual you tried to force feed them to me.You’re never satisfied with anything anyone says here get as grip already on that your egos bad enough your hypocrisy is even worse.

      Thankfully I know gays like you do not make up the majority in this community.I have friends who also cant stand your type of gay thankfully I have better taste then to associate with someone like you in the first place.Petty little boy.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Thanks Davy! Appreciated.

      Still, what a terribly backward policy. One’s ‘right’ to say something negative against an historically-targeted group, a comment that will indeed make for an uncomfortable and unsafe atmosphere for students in that minority group, takes top priority?
      Galling.

      he didn’t really say, Immoral, apparently. the question was about how gays are treated/seen in Europe and the kind answered with “I think gays are wrong”

      I understand the concept of Freedom of Speech – I suppose my Canuck ass just thinks there’s actually a discerning, explicit and intellectually valid way to differentiate between Free Speech and Harmful hate Speech. Canada’s had Hate Speech laws for more than 20 years.

      That said, we also have limits on what can be passed off as “News” in Canada. The US used to unless Reagan got rid of the Fairness Doctrine in the late 80s.

      this is the big issue – people not being able to distinguish between FACTS and OPINIONS, and people treating opinions as if they’re facts and expecting them to be weighed as such. It just makes no sense.

      Is there a precedent (perhaps in another county/city/state) where a similar comment toward ANOTHER minority group resulted in a similar, or worse, reprimand?

      Sep 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev
      Chitown Kev

      Folks can say what they want.

      However folks are not exempt from the consequences of their speech be it criticism, publicity, or (in certain job situations) getting fired.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • comus
      comus

      Please. No hand wringing over chilled expression when the offending speech is perpetuating the dehumanization of gays and lesbians. For too long our humanity has been framed falsely as a “choice,” a “style,” a “behavior,” when in fact it’s a much more deeply fixed trait. Sexual identity isn’t open for debate, as if it were a zoning law or budget policy. Claiming “opposition” to gays is like claiming “opposition” to red heads or left-handed people. It’s obnoxious. Do it, and we’ll come after you.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      @steve:

      SECONDED.

      It is exceedingly bad etiquette to shit all over every goddam thread with the same boring rehashing of same boring argument. If you cannot behave like big boys online, go get some email accounts and take your stupid fucking slapfight offline, ferchrissakes.

      Ugh.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chad
      Chad

      I agree with the disciplinary action taken against all three. And the Westboro church should be#4. The negative positions on homosexuality are the cornerstone of all of the antigay bigotry that has smothered humanity for centuries!!  False religion’s misrepresentation of scripture on this matter has  been at the root of it all.  The weight of such religious lies are heavy.  And finally those lies are being judged by the same society they discriminated against. Justice is coming full circle. These beliefs need to be held accountable for the damage they inflict.  And if anyone should participate in perpetuating such hatred by aligning themselves with these beliefs then they need to be absolutely sure of their biblical and historical accuracy first before siding with them willy-nilly!  There is NO QUESTION that the false antigay positions take their pages from lies and prejudice; not scripture and definitely not God. Take the Sodom story for example.  Religion requires the belief that homosexuality was the problem.  Yet history and scripture itself evoke no such conclusion.  
      So if these three characters are going to accept their antigay beliefs and the pain inflicted on others that comes with them, then they better make sure their religion is telling the truth ( which it isn’t ) or be prepared to accept the consequences their actions bring.   Cause at its core it’s not about religious beliefs, its about personal prejudice.  And no longer can religion be an excuse to hide behind.   Maybe now they’ll learn not to ignore the other three fingers pointing right back at them.  Internally, they can hate on gays, blacks, Jews, women etc. all they want. But the moment that poison enters the fabrics of our society then at that point they’re at the mercy of the law. 

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh in OR
      Josh in OR

      As the kid has made clear, here, “I’m a Christian” can be easily substituted with, “I’m an ignorant person.” if the kid had said that he thinks whites who marry outside their race should be beheaded because his holy book said so, should we call him a racist (a term I take to mean someone who has made a conscious decision to hate anyone not of his own race)? Or should we say that he has clearly had a deficient upbringing and question his PARENTS humanity for teaching such values to a child? In the cases of teenage bullying and bigotry, by punishing the child, we teach nothing other than that their persecution complex is justified. We need to start going after the parents who TEACH this filth and lies to children who trust them.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • codyj
      codyj

      Easy to see the problem with the 85 yr old priest…senile,senile, and MORE senile

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @the crustybastard:

      Why dont you stfu already you act like you are above people just because you dont say what you actually feel?Stfu im sick and goddamn tired of people like you who the hell do you think you are to claim bullshit about people to begin with?Its people like YOU that continue to be the problem with this community you arrogant assholes who love to respond like smartasses and treat people as if they are beneath you.I was raised to stand up for myself against all types of assholes including YOUR kind of asshole.You’re no better either considering what you just wrote you idiot you were complaining about the complainers complaining against the complainers incredibly stupid.Hypocrite you could also just not read the thread simple solution if it bothers you that I call out arrogant pricks who treat others like shit.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @Little Kiwi: Few of these cases actually make it to court (because the school district almost always backs down when the ACLU gets involved) so there is generally nothing more heard of the story after the initial report.

      However there are some notable cases which have made it to the SCUS, and set precedents which are generally looked at in cases like this.

      Most notably Tinker vs De Moines (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15235797139493194004) which revolved around students protesting the Vietnam war, and which spawned the often quoted line “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

      Beyond that there are several cases where the courts found for the school district wherein they decided the school was acting in the interest of promoting a safe, productive learning environment. (http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=225428161324034725 and http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=10117776825257150184 and http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2391207692241045857) but in these cases the courts always note that the school must present a very clear and pressing reason why the student’s expression amounts to a disruption. Simply presenting an opinion which others may find offensive does not at all qualify (as is clearly outlined here in a ruling based on wearing confederate flags to school: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6869058190468200841)

      In the end, it seems clear from the write up, the schools response to the student cased substantially more disturbance that the student’s comments; and I’m sure any civil rights lawyer worth his salt would tell the district to settle, quietly and quickly.

      The First Amendment exists precisely to protect speech that most people find offensive. After all, no one wants to punish people for saying agreeable things, there is no need to protect that speech. The speech which requires protection is the expression of ideas which are unpopular, and yes, in some cases hateful. There are of course limits on these protections; you cannot for instance claim a First Amendment right to threaten violence on others, or ‘Shout FIRE in a crowded theater’, and in a school setting these restrictions are even greater, however this case clearly falls within the protections of the First Amendment…

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SammySeattle
      SammySeattle

      @steve: How is the case of the priest not justified? His punishment was issued by the Bishop. Does the Bishop not oversee the priests in his diocese?

      Sep 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @the crustybastard:

      SECONDED.

      It is exceedingly bad etiquette to shit all over every goddam thread with the same boring rehashing of same boring argument. If you cannot behave like big boys online, go get some email accounts and take your stupid fucking slapfight offline, ferchrissakes.

      Ugh.

      Nope fucker that would be you you’re a pathetic man also let me guess one of those pathetic macho gays who mocks other gay dudes? LOL too funny.Now fuck off already you hypocrite takes a real fucking idiot to use the words etiquette at YOUR age btw along with words like shit goddamn fucking etc… in the same sentence.You’re a boorish idiot.

      Oh and you would never talk to me like that in real life either you weakling talking shit behind your precious keyboards thats a goddamn fact. :)

      Sep 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @the crustybastard:

      Flagged your bullshit I thought older people were supposed to set a better example.Pathetic. Must feel nice hiding behind your computer acting all big and bad bullying people .Another example of someone who wasnt raised right by their parents.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ogre Magi
      Ogre Magi

      @steve: Agreed!

      Sep 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • chuck
      chuck

      I think comments on this site need a little more edit control. Usually comments are requested for opinions on the the news pieces being reported, rather than allowing vicious attacks on each other.
      As to the stories reported…I totally agree as to the ‘punishments’ given to the parties involved. Our society has finally evolved to the point where nasty statements about someone’s race is finally not acceptable. Try using the ‘N’ word out in public and even many teabaggers will look at you as if your head was on backward.
      I hope that, more quickly…denigrating someone’s sexual orientation will also be considered gauche. I had a co-worker tell a fag joke a couple of months ago (no one laughed), and he was quickly called into the HR office and told that it was to be his jokes or his job. A few years ago, his co-workers would have laughed along with him and patted him on his back.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mav
      Mav

      “The paramedic is the only one I think is justified.”

      ^ This. Otherwise…what the hell? Thought police much?

      I went through high school listening to people tell me that homosexuality was wrong, and it didn’t really traumatize me – it’s just an opinion, after all, and usually from someone I don’t respect anyway. I thought bigots were as stupid ten years ago as I think they are now.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sideliner
      sideliner

      I think people are forgetting a couple things regarding the case of The Student. First, truancy laws require American children to attend school. So when a state allows a student to say “Homosexuality is immoral”, and other students are required by law to sit there and listen to it, this constitutes an establishment of religion. The xtian’s free speech rights do not end at the schoolyard gate. But other students are not free to leave, either. And since other students’ parents are paying property taxes (even if they’re renting, they’re paying) for their children to have to sit there and listen to what amounts to a sermon, the school portion of property taxes become automatically a state-mandated religious collection plate.

      The second thing is, at what point does saying “Homosexuality is immoral” create a hostile environment? The 200th time? The 500th time? The 3000th time? If you hear one person say something like that 6 times per schoolday, 5 days a week, 39 school weeks a year, that’s 1170 messages of hate per year. From one student! But oh, he only said it one time. Well, where do you draw the line? I’ll tell you where. The very first time. Because if it’s hate speech to say it 10,000 times, then it’s hate speech to say it once.

      How many messages of hate did you bring home from school with you over the years? And don’t tell me you left them in the schoolyard. If you can remember them at all, you kept them; maybe you even hung them up on the fridge for awhile.

      So many people here are so ready to pat themselves on the back, magnanimous in their assertion of The Student’s right to free speech. But the freedom of religion is also a freedom from religion.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Camsean
      Camsean

      Number 1, the paramedic, is the only who deserves sanction.

      Sep 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @sideliner: “So when a state allows a student to say “Homosexuality is immoral”, and other students are required by law to sit there and listen to it, this constitutes an establishment of religion” No, it doesn’t. Not so long as another student has the right to voice their own opinion that “Homosexuality is not immoral.”

      And your second point is entirely off the mark. Voicing an opinion that something is immoral is not ‘Hostile’; no matter how many times that opinion is voiced. And those who hold that opinion have the right to express it. This is the very essence of freedom of expression. Just as this student has the right to say Homosexuality is immoral, another has the right to say it isn’t. If you silence one, you must silence both. If the student was threatening violence, that would be another matter, but that is not the case.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 12:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sideliner
      sideliner

      @DavyJones: Being able to voice an opposing opinion does not negate the effect of a captive audience. We’re so used to the old argument about how, if we don’t like what’s on TV, to just change the channel. But a student in a classroom is not allowed to get up and leave to avoid hearing the message. I see no difference between a truant officer forcing you to sit in class and listen to someone expound their religious beliefs, and a police officer marching you into church at gunpoint and making you sit down and listen to a sermon. In both cases, the state is requiring attendance.
      Now if the student had made the statement in a bible study group, after school hours, but even on school property and even with the basic supervision of a staff or faculty member to keep the kids from getting too rambunctious, I have no problem with that…as long as GSA’s are also allowed after school hours and on school property as well. But the difference is that in a classroom, you have to be there. After-school activities are voluntary.
      And voicing an opposing opinion only compounds the problem, since that could be considered another sermon as well, with the same state-mandated attendance. I don’t have an issue with a person voicing their opinion, but I do have issues with people being forced to listen to it. Either get rid of both the truancy laws and the tax support for captive audience religious pontification, or limit the speech in a captive audience situation; given how uneducated this country is, we really need to go with the latter.
      I grew up the son of a minister, and I had to listen to the rants about gay immorality, not on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but every single day. I finally ran away from home at 16 just to get out of that, and I can tell you that it is indeed hostile. I seriously doubt I will ever be free of those memories.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 1:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BobBrown
      BobBrown

      @Michael
      @Kiwi

      It is easy to get sucked into these arguments. I do want to say as an outside disinterested party that it does seem like Michael is the one getting mad.

      I wish that I could find the “go hang yourself” reference, but that sounds like a rhetorical device similar to “go jump in the lake.”

      I also wish I could find the reference to Obama being a Muslim, but I have to say that anyone making a comment like that pretty much deserves to be looked down upon. Religion is an expression of faith and therefore when Obama says that he is a Christian, it is by definition his expression of faith.

      Michael I am sorry if you have felt bullied. I have seen some awful comments by people here, but I have not seen anyone talking down to you on here, but I do understand that it may have happened on another story. Unfortunately on this story you come off as screaming with very little reasoned argument.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 1:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 50 · sideliner · Member · 6 comments wrote, “@DavyJones: Being able to voice an opposing opinion does not negate the effect of a captive audience.”

      Let’s keep in mind that his “captive audience” was subjected to an “opinion” that would fit
      within Twitter’s 140 character message length, and the “opinion” was more of an off the cuff remark to a classmate, although it seems others overheard it.

      A reasonable response to his opinion might be something as succinct as “So are you.” Maybe it’s “So are you, dude” to fit the lingo he’s probably accustomed to.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 2:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BobBrown
      BobBrown

      @Michael

      I went back and read a lot of your comments on previous stories. I understand that you are commenting on how you feel. It can be hard to answer the question of why you feel the way you do. I think others have tried to get to the heart of why you feel the way you do simply because they feel differently. This really isn’t an attack against you, it is just a way to continue the discussion. If you want to comment on your opinions and then not discuss them, then simply don’t reply to comments. I couldn’t find anywhere that you were being disrespected or talked down to.

      Let me whisper something to you: I am a very liberal Democrat and would never vote for anything like the Republican candidates we have running for President but (and here is the whisper) I don’t like Obama either. I voted for him and will easily vote for him again.

      You question his true support for gays. I will simply say that it really isn’t relevant what his true feelings are as long as he continues to support us.

      I tend to think that he like Bill Clinton are truly very supportive personally of gay rights. I also think that like Clinton he has to be pragmatic, he has to support the whole country and unhappily many who will go along with gay rights have to be eased into it. I would love a President who would just be 100% out and forceful of his support for gay rights, but I understand that the practical reality of getting reelected can require something less than this. All in all he has been very supportive.

      To bring this back to the “Homophobes Say The Darndest Things” I take great pleasure that we are on the winning side of all of these arguments. It isn’t over yet but I like the way it is going. We have free speech in this country but you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater. I tend to think with all of the gay suicides and anti gay violence homophobic comments are starting to look like shouting “fire.”

      Sep 23, 2011 at 2:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @BobBrown:

      First of all ty for your compassion and understanding.Not to mention your kind and civil response.I assure you also I have been bullied here MANY times this is not my original account name just one I use because I dealt with bullies here under my original name.

      I just think its horrible when people mock and put people down for their opinions that is infantile childish and does not put our community in a good light.

      For example and no offense but your comment claiming anyone who believes Obama is a Muslim deserves to be looked down on? No that is incorrect not only is that hateful that is also unfair and you are maligning the other person for simply having a different opinion then you do.

      I will continue to say this because whether you have noticed it or not people here get off on talking down to people insulting them and treating them as if they are beneath them.

      We can’t even begin to expect equality much less fight for it if we are not even capable of treating each OTHER with equal respect.Sorry but that is my opinion on the matter.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 10:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @sideliner: In a discussion about religions, a student should be able to express their own religious view points. This is what constitutional scholars call ‘pure speech’ and it is wholly protected by the First Amendment.

      ‘Freedom of Religion’ (or ‘Freedom From Religion’ as you named it) prevents the government from declaring a national religion, or showing favor to any particular religious view. It does not, in any stretch of the imagination, allow you to isolate yourself from the opinions of others in a public place. Nor does it require that the government silence others’ expression of said opinions because you disagree with them. That’s just not how it works. You get to say what you want, and they get to say what they want.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 11:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Davy, thanks for your input. I’m very puzzled by how the US treats “freedom of speech.”

      I’m a big fan of that Dixie Chicks documentary “Shut Up & Sing” – which (to me) illustrated a very interesting back-and-forth war over “freedom of speech” in the USA.

      One thing stuck out, however – “The First Amendment exists precisely to protect speech that most people find offensive. After all, no one wants to punish people for saying agreeable things, there is no need to protect that speech.”

      I hear that> but, as a Canadian whose country has had hate-speech laws for twenty years, I cannot help but say that there is indeed an intellectually discernible difference between “speech that people find offensive” and speech that specifically targets, demeans, and contributes to a culture of prejudiced and harm toward an already-historically-targeted minority group.

      it’s not “you can’t say that because i don’t like it or it offends me” but “what you are saying contributes to the culture of bigotry and prejudice that has put targets on the backs of members of this specific group”

      Not about “disagreeing” or “not liking what someone says” but addressing the honesty of INTENT and MOTIVATION that inspires one to say what they say.

      a bigot spouting bigotry has more of a right to say what they want, even though it comes at the expense of someone else’s well-being in culture?
      what does the bigot lose by not being allowed to spew specific bigotry against an historically-targeted group? i can tell you flat-out what the targeted person “loses” by that speech being allowed.

      I don’t know how else to say it. Hate Speech laws in Canada aren’t “oppressing” sane and rational human beings.

      One’s “right” to say something should never come before the “rights” of the person or group who will be harmed and targeted by the speaker’s words. At least, that’s how it is in Canadialand. So far, so good.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex
      Alex

      I live in Europe and I have to admit I support such a law.
      I do not know the American legislation, but I think it is forbidden to make disparaging remarks about blacks, for example.
      So I conclude it is a consequence of a politic, which says: Do not hustle against people, who are different from you, if it is not their fault.

      And this includes skin colour, sexual orientation and handicaps like being a paraplegic.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      The thing with hate-speech legislation, which I think many Americans are not hearing, is that’s not just about “saying things people don’t like” or “saying controversial or offensive things”

      Canada’s hate-speech laws are EXPLICIT. SPECIFIC. intellectually discernible.

      There’s a reason someone can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre.
      There’s a reason tobacco companies aren’t allowed to market to children.
      There’s a reason alcohol companies don’t run commercials during daytime hours on children’s television programming blocks.

      I’ve heard people say “well, who decides what’s hate and what isn’t”? Simple – you apply logic, reason, empirical evidence, facts and REALITY free from personal bias to a dissection of hate speech, intent, freedom and the consequences of words that incite toward targeted groups.

      Like i’ve said, it’s worked in Canada for 20+ years.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @Little Kiwi: The problem, from a judicial sand point, with outlawing speech deemed to ‘specifically target, demean, and contribute to a culture of prejudiced and harm toward an already-historically-targeted minority group.’ Is that it sets a precedence for further restrictions on speech as well.

      For instance; say we start with a hate crimes legislation which prevents the KKK from declaring all non-white, non-heterosexual, non-protestant people are of a lesser race, and the Pure White race should be maintained at all costs. Clearly this would fall under ‘hate speech’, so lets say that under that basis the SCUS allowed an injunction within Washington D.C. which prevented the Klan from holding a rally and marching on the capitol. The clear basis for allowing this injunction would be that, it is in the best interest of ‘society’ that these members’ rights be restricted; not because their actions cause ‘actual harm’ (in the physical sense), but because they inspire harm. Few ‘people on the street’ would disagree with that (unless they’re civil law lawyers).

      However, that ruling sets a precedent; that freedoms of expression and assembly can be abridged, not only in the event that they cause actual harm, but also if they can be shown to inspire harm. Another lawyer could then take that precedence and use it to argue that PETA should also not be allowed to hold rallies nor march within the district, because PETA often rails against corporations which use animal testing; and their campaigns have been linked to other groups (such as the ALF) which have carried out firebombings and other activities which cause harm, and PETA’s protests inspire such activities.

      Another point, more abstract yet non-the-less chilling; is to consider that what is deemed ‘offensive to society’ is often left in the hands of those who hold power. From the first (real) Tea Party to Gay Pride rallies; many expressions of civil protest have brought up issues which others in power would like silenced. If they could use the precedence that Speech can be abridged in the name of ‘the greater good’, it is not hard to imagine ourselves slipping into an Orwellian world where any decent is silenced.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      I hear that, but then i visit my family back in Canada and it sure aint Orwellian.

      LGBT people actually have Equality in Canada.
      across the country.

      I disagree, though, with your statement that what is deemed “offensive” is in the eye of the beholder.

      we’re all entitled to our own opinions, we’re not all entitled to our own facts.
      unless one can factually, rationally, intellectually and with evidence BACK UP their claim that something is harmful, it should not be given credence.

      like we just saw with Prop 8 – whose entire argument and defense seemed to be “But they’re GAY!” as if that’s an automatically accepted answer.

      Like I said, I hear what you Americans are saying – I don’t know why you’re not hearing what we Canadians are saying. You’re saying “it won’t work” and we’re saying “it’s worked for more than twenty years”

      You have to just look at facts, and not opinions. Where we DO agree, however, is that the US is currently incapable of doing that.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      The thing about facts is, they have a way of changing over time. 100 years ago it was a scientific fact that Black people had developed into a provably lesser species. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_racism#Racial_theories_in_physical_anthropology.2C_1850-1918) Even Darwin spoke of ‘Civilized races’ and ‘Savage Races’. It wasn’t a fringe theory, it was ‘provable, verifiable science’ which of course was debunked by later science.

      Just imagine what ‘provable, verifiable facts’ we know today will be look on as hogwash in 100 years.

      It is worth noting that even the Hate crimes legislation you point to in Canada has exemptions for those expressing “opinions on religious subjects and opinions based on religious texts.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Canada#Religious_speech)

      Sep 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Yes, it does. And yet it still works. This is what we canucks don’t understand about the US. You can have very specific and explicit hate-speech laws and still have religious freedoms.

      for example – churches and whatnot can still be anti-gay.

      know who’s NOT allowed into Canada? The Westboro Baptist Church with their nutbag signs. Because those signs are not religious. At all. They’re “right” to say those specific things that they choose to say is not worth as much, to Canadians, as the lives and well-being of the people they’re specifically choosing to target.

      I’m not disagreeing with YOU on this, I’m just telling you how things are up North. Thank you, btw, for your clarity and well-researched information, it’s incredibly interesting and useful for me as a Canadian in the US.

      :D cheers!

      Sep 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      No problem, running to google scholar not only refreshes my memory of legal cases; it also serves as a great way to procrastinate other work that I should be doing, yet really don’t want to do :p

      Sep 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ambrose
      Ambrose

      @Mike in Asheville: I’m afraid that is just incorrect, with respect to the Fort Worth teacher and student. Be wary: The district and teacher are not allowed to speak out publically or address the media, so the script for all the media coverage of this incident is being written entirely by the right-wing Liberty Institute lawyer who is representing the student. This allows him to exert enormous public pressure on the district via the public brouhaha he is stirring up. In short, a witch hunt.

      I work in the district, and outside of work am part of an LGBTQ advocacy group fighting discrimination against educators and students based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I am somewhat privy to the teacher’s reports of what occurred.

      He states that the student was one of a group of four boys in that class who repeatedly engaged in harrassing behaviors against him based on their perception (correct, as it happens) that he is gay. He also states that he had not raised the topic of homosexuality in that day’s lesson, but was simply responding to another student’s question about churches in Germany when the student blurted out–with a class audience–”Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong.” If that is so, nothing would have provoked the comment other than the student’s perception that the teacher is gay, and the student’s desire to devalue the teacher and any opinions he might make about Christianity, based on that perception. If this account is accurate, then the context would suggest strongly that this was not simply an abstract statement of opinion, but an ad hominem statement specifically aimed at the teacher to devalue him based on this and several other students’ perception of him as gay.

      The teacher has been receiving numerous threatening and demeaning phone calls, is being investigated now by the district office responsible for investigating ethical violations, and there is some concern the district may try to fire him. Maybe the Liberty Institute lawyer’s accont is fair and true. But, MAYBE NOT! Let’s stop rushing to judgment before all the facts are known, and before this teacher is giving a chance to share his side of the story.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      @Ambrose: “He also states that he had not raised the topic of homosexuality in that day’s lesson, but was simply responding to another student’s question about churches in Germany when the student blurted out–with a class audience–”Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong.” If that is so, nothing would have provoked the comment other than the student’s perception that the teacher is gay, and the student’s desire to devalue the teacher and any opinions he might make about Christianity, based on that perception. If this account is accurate, then the context would suggest strongly that this was not simply an abstract statement of opinion, but an ad hominem statement specifically aimed at the teacher to devalue him based on this and several other students’ perception of him as gay.”

      It would seem the appropriate response on the teachers part then would have been something along the lines of ‘Throughout the world there are many different views on what it means to be Christian. Indeed, in some Christian churches homosexuality is not allowed, while in others it is accepted as a natural expression of Love.’ Yelling at the student, and suspending him would not seem to be an appropriate response.

      If there are other factors in the case; previous remarks, or continuous incidents which could be shown to be a pattern, that might have bearing on the case. But suspending a student for expressing the opinion that homosexuality is wrong is a vast over-reaction…

      Sep 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tammi
      tammi

      the paramedic’s punishment was justified however this is america we should be able to give our opinion on whatever we want wither or not people agree with it. i should be able to say that hating or disliking someone for their sexuality is wrong which im sure in some circles i would be disliked for. no one should be punished for what they think.if they point out specific people that they work or go to school with or threaten someone thats punishable.
      free speech that doesnt hurt or threaten should not be punished.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HAL
      HAL

      I’m just going to go ahead and get this out here. But I’m going to assume that this wasn’t the first incident with the student. Regardless of the type of speech, he still interrupted a lecture, and the fact that it was hate speech just made it worse.

      Sep 23, 2011 at 10:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KC
      KC

      The student is the one that troubles me. He was in a classroom, and this feels like a blown opportunity. If he wasn’t just being a tool, if he was parroting what he’s heard others say, I think a few questions would have given him something to think about while neutralizing for others the impact of his comments.

      Of course, it’s easy to armchair quarterback, and it’s possible that the teacher had no leeway in how to handle these kinds of comments. But this is what I love about free speech – it allows people to discuss their differing views, and perhaps adjust their thinking. My concern about this situation is that it may have reinforced the kid’s negative perception of the LGBTQ community when there was a chance for it to go a different way.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 11:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      more details are coming out (no pun intended)

      he wasn’t suspended. he got two days in detention, and it was reduced to one.

      a kid gets detention and the parents bring in an attorney. because apparently it wouldn’t make sense to contact an the educator, a guidance counselor or the school principal.

      what if the kid had said “Hitler was right” during this German class, eh?

      what about the rights of a safe classroom environment for students? are there not standards for classroom behavior? what if they kid got detention for simply “talking out of line in class”? when he appears to be loudly giving an unsolicited opinion that doesnt’ actually answer the question that appears to be asked?

      i dunno. something about how the kid and his lawyers (*massive eye-roll*) are spinning this story just doesn’t sound correct.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      and we love when cowards like you, “Amused” come to prove us right – that you bigots have no balls. Can’t even post a link to your own profile or page.

      newsflash – we’re not going anywhere and we’re not afraid of you. you being anti-gay is only going to mean you spend your life being miserable, because we’re not going to shy away from being as gay as we wanna be in your face. you’re just gonna have to take it. like the bitch that you are. ;-)

      seriously, though. be anti-gay. won’t stop us from being gay. won’t scare us into hiding. it just means we’ll be out having fun and you’ll be sitting there hating it.

      so we win. thanks! :D

      Sep 24, 2011 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @Amused: “GO TEAM HOMO!!!!”

      Indeed. Woo-woooo!!!!!

      Sep 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HAL
      HAL

      @KC: Yeah, I get what you’re going at there. But again honestly I don’t think it’s a matter of the teacher not having any leeway, but more likely either that he didn’t feel comfortable having that argument with the student, or perhaps an issue of the student repeatedly interrupting lectures in the past.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      thing is, it turns out the kid wasn’t suspended. the kid got detention. detention. and then his mom called a lawyer.

      something is not right about this story, we’re not being told everything.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amused
      Amused

      @Little Kiwi –

      You fit the profile and prove my point by accusing me of bigotry and being anti-gay:

      Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others.

      It’s one thing to demand peaceful tolerance of the deviance of a few by the society at large, but it’s quite another to attempt to control, legislate or punish the larger society’s thoughts or a member of that society with fascism (see sociopathic).

      Why don’t you take Dakota Ary out to Oklahoma, or anyone else that thinks like him, tie them to a fence and give them a good beating? It’s the sociopathic fascist thing to do.

      Deviant hypocrits, GO TEAM HOMO!!!

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Do you support LGBT Equality, “Amused”?

      fascism – you mean like anti-gay people telling LGBT people what the limits of their freedoms are?
      you mean how LGBT couples can’t marry because anti-gay people “don’t like the idea of it”?

      and yeah, you can’t even post a link to a page of your own, to give a face and name to who you are.

      because you’re a coward. :D

      i was more man at 16 than you’ll likely ever be :D again, thanks for proving us all right. you can continue be anti-gay: it’ll only mean you spend you life miserable at the homos holding hands and kissing in front of you. we’re not going anywhere ;-)

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amused
      Amused

      I see the only ‘hate speech’ you tolerate is your own. You prove my point by calling me a bigot and anti-gay. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others.

      It’s one thing to seek the peaceful toleration of a society at large, but it’s quite another to seek to control and legislate their thoughts.

      Why don’t take Dakota Ary or anyone else who thinks like him out to Oklahoma, tie them to a fence and give them a good beating until they approve of your deviance?

      Sociopathic, fascist hypocrites. GO TEAM HOMO!!

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Concerned
      Concerned

      @Little Kiwi –

      I see the only ‘hate speech’ you tolerate is your own. You prove my point by calling me a bigot and anti-gay. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others.

      It’s one thing to seek the peaceful toleration of a society at large, but it’s quite another to seek to control and legislate their thoughts.

      Why don’t take Dakota Ary or anyone else who thinks like him out to Oklahoma, tie them to a fence and give them a good beating until they approve of your deviance?

      Sociopathic, fascist hypocrites. GO TEAM HOMO!!

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      @Concerned: “Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others.”

      BZZT!

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Little Kiwi
      Little Kiwi

      Concerned/Amused reminds me of Andrew Shirvell.

      remember him?

      here’s a refresher. like i’ve said before, i dont’ know any straight people that spend as much time and effort thinking about gay people as guys like you do.

      ;-)

      http://littlekiwilovesbauhaus.blogspot.com/2010/09/crazy-closeted-andrew-shirvell.html

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Amused:

      You can’t generalize an entire group nor can you fit us all into one nice neat little box.

      I do not understand what your problem is but there is never has been never will be a homosexual agenda gay agenda etc…..

      No one here is controlling your actions thoughts or words either that is up to the individual that is YOUR choice you CHOOSE to write what you write.You CHOOSE to say what you say and you CHOOSE to believe what you believe.No one made that decision or forced you to feel that way you did it all of your own accord without anyone elses help period.

      If you think fighting for our rights as human beings or fighting to be treated AS human beings to be treated with civility respect and love is an AGENDA? Well then all I can say to that is LOVE IS LOVE.2 gay dudes 2 gay women A straight man and a straight woman people of different races marrying one another etc…

      Love has never been something that was set in stone nor is marriage for that matter.Marriage has ALWAYS been about love and commitment not a persons gender and not a persons sex for that matter.

      I will respect your right as a human being to believe what you believe but that does not mean I have to agree with it nor think its right though.

      No one is controlling your thoughts none of us can read your mind or get into your mind for that matter.

      We can’t control what you think or say but you can control how you say it and the way you treat others. Let go of the gay straight thing for one second and find a way to treat someone who is gay exactly as you would anyone else: like a living breathing human being.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Amused:

      I beg to differ I’m afraid a psychopath would be people like the National Organization for Marriage or Focus on the Family just 2 examples. People who wish harm on other human beings just because they are gay preach hate against them just for being gay and are also responsible for continuing to make LGBT teens feel unwanted and unloved due to their hateful vile words about gay americans. These people would also constitute as sociopaths as well.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DavyJones
      DavyJones

      Feeding trolls is bad

      Sep 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amused
      Amused

      @Michael:

      Michael,

      Clearly you are confused. Anyone who rejoices in the punishing of a 14 year old honor student for expressing his opinion regarding homosexuality and continues to bully him in their comments expressed here are hypocritical, fascist, disordered sociopaths. Please refer to the pathology listed in my previous posts or the links below:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociopath

      Sep 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Amused:

      I havent rejoiced at all so once again please don’t generalize with all due respect.

      In all honesty I do not think the child should have been punished I think some sensitivity training to help him better understand why what he said came off as hateful and bigoted would have been better.But that’s just me. I’ve learned better also then to disagree with ANYONE here trust me it never ends well and they will eat you alive and laugh about it.Thats how people here are sadly.

      You have the same right however to express your opinion just as these others do not saying thats a good thing.But everyone on this sites entitled to their opinion whether we agree or not whether its right or wrong its still an opinion.It would be biased to only hear one side anyways its much more fair whether we agree with them or not to hear the other side of the story.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 8:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      @Amused:

      I meant to hear BOTH sides of the stories my bad.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ambrose
      Ambrose

      LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., a group that protects students & educators in Tarrant County against harassment, met yesterday with Franks. He says this boy is one of four in that class who have repeatedly harassed him for being gay, though he has not discussed his orientation. The news photo of men kissing–one of many on subjects pertinent to the sociology class he teaches–was torn down during a session of this class. He also found venomous anti-gay messages addressed to him & left in class. During this lesson, says Franks, the topic of German Christianity had been raised, but not homosexuality, when Ari looked at him & said loudly, “Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong.” Franks says he supports respectful dialogue including divergent views, but this comment was clearly ad hominem. Christianists fought hard against the district’s recent policies against anti-LGBT harassment. The Liberty Institute’s use of media to whip outcry against Franks shows the fight has turned dirty.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ambrose
      Ambrose

      LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., a group formed a year ago to help protect K-12 students and educators in Tarrant County against anti-LGBTQ harassment, met yesterday with Mr. Franks to get his side of the story. His account, which we found entirely credible and which several students in his class have now substantiated, contradicts that of this student on many essential points. He says this boy is one of four in that class that have repeatedly harassed him this year for being gay (he is out, but has had no cause to reveal his orientation to students in this or other classes). The photo of two men kissing was from one of many news articles on different subjects relevant to the sociolgy class he teaches, though it had been ripped from the wall during this specific class. At other times, he found demeaning, anti-gay name calling specifically addressed to him and left in class for him to find. During the lesson on the day in question, the subject of Christianity in Germany had been broached but, insists Franks, the topic of homosexuality not at all at the time when the boy looked him square in the face and declared loudly, “Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong.” This was the last in a series of such comments, most made without Mr. Franks having brought up the topic. Mr. Franks expressed devotion to the principles of free speech and a readiness to entertain comments by those with whom he disagrees. But, he asserts the context makes it clear that the comments were made ad hominem, aimed directly at him. We believe this is plausible. FWISD has just recently extended anti-bullying policies specifically to cover anti-LGBT harassment, much to the dismay of right-wing Christianist opponents. Anyone who thinks this is not directly related to the Liberty Institute’s involvement and their lawyer’s successful use of the media to whip up public outcry against Mr. Franks and apply pressure on the school district, is beyond naive.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Peter
      Peter

      @steve: I sort of agree with you, the high school student should not have been yelled at by his teacher OR suspended. He was stating his beliefs, so he says, and not spouting the same type of hate speech as the other two. In this case we, the gay community and our allies, should respond with intelligence and compassion instead of aggression. This is a perfect opportunity to educate someone who’s world view differs from our own, and possibly help them grow as an individual. And even if you don’t agree with me on that, this is a grown-ass man getting bitchy with a teenager. Honestly, act like an adult and an educator.
      However, the pastor was definitely justified in being removed. He was not removed by someone in the secular community, the response came from within the local religious community. It is the equivalent of being suspended by your boss for spouting real caustic hate speech. This is an example of good Christians taking action against the kind of bigots who drag them all through the mud. Unlike the teenage student, this man is spouting a rhetoric of violence and hatred that is unacceptable. People are allowed to say they don’t like us, but they have to respect our right to exist, that’s where the two cases differ.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Peter
      Peter [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @steve: @steve: I sort of agree with you, the high school student should not have been yelled at by his teacher OR suspended. He was stating his beliefs, so he says, and not spouting the same type of hate speech as the other two. In this case we, the gay community and our allies, should respond with intelligence and compassion instead of aggression. This is a perfect opportunity to educate someone who’s world view differs from our own, and possibly help them grow as an individual. And even if you don’t agree with me on that, this is a grown-ass man getting bitchy with a teenager. Honestly, act like an adult and an educator.
      However, the pastor was definitely justified in being removed. He was not removed by someone in the secular community, the response came from within the local religious community. It is the equivalent of being suspended by your boss for spouting real caustic hate speech. This is an example of good Christians taking action against the kind of bigots who drag them all through the mud. Unlike the teenage student, this man is spouting a rhetoric of violence and hatred that is unacceptable. People are allowed to say they don’t like us, but they have to respect our right to exist, that’s where the two cases differ.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Addie
      Addie

      @steve: I sort of agree with you, the high school student should not have been yelled at by his teacher OR suspended. He was stating his beliefs, so he says, and not spouting the same type of hate speech as the other two. In this case we, the gay community and our allies, should respond with intelligence and compassion instead of aggression. This is a perfect opportunity to educate someone who’s world view differs from our own, and possibly help them grow as an individual. And even if you don’t agree with me on that, this is a grown-ass man getting bitchy with a teenager. Honestly, act like an adult and an educator.
      However, the pastor was definitely justified in being removed. He was not removed by someone in the secular community, the response came from within the local religious community. It is the equivalent of being suspended by your boss for spouting real caustic hate speech. This is an example of good Christians taking action against the kind of bigots who drag them all through the mud. Unlike the teenage student, this man is spouting a rhetoric of violence and hatred that is unacceptable. People are allowed to say they don’t like us, but they have to respect our right to exist, that’s where the two cases differ.

      Sep 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MattGMD
      MattGMD

      Kinda feel bad for the homophobe student because the more he bullies others the harder it will be if/when he decides to come out later in life.

      Sep 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kylew
      kylew

      @MattGMD: @MattGMD: That’s such a dumb thing to say. Not everyone – not even the majority of critics of homosexuality are gay, much as people might want to project that onto them to feel smug about he situation.

      The kid’s mom and church have clearly indoctrinated him and he’s too you young and stupid to think for himself yet, and too tactless to keep his dumb opinions between himself and people he trusts to share them with.

      Penalising him in any way is a ridiculous over-reaction that will just re-enforce the world’s opinions of a gay, anti-straight agenda.

      Oct 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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