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News NetworkMichigan Legalises Teenage Hate Crimes

Michigan Legalises Teenage Hate Crimes

By Billy Moffat (05/11/2011)719 words
Tagged: america, atheis, crime, current affairs, editorial, homosexuality, politics, religion

I'm honestly getting sick of writing about people in America doing stupid things, but this has got to be one of the worst. Michigan's Republican Party (Bush, not Obama) have modified anti-bullying bill SB137 (also known as "Matt's Safe School Law") to include a clause that allows bullying based on "moral convictions". It (quote) "does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil's parent or guardian."

This may as well serve as the poster child for religious zealots holding back human rights and morality in general.

There have been so many LGBTI children and teens committing suicide as a result of bullying (particularly at school) in the last couple of years that Dan Savage started the It Gets Better project. The aim of the project is to broadcast the public message through celebrities and successful LGBTI people that their lives will improve when they get older and it'll be easier to cope.

Acording to The Detroit News, Senate Democrats (opposing political party to Republicans) tried to add language to the bill that would specifically prohibit bullying on the basis of "race, gender, sexual preference etc" - but were unsuccessful.

Kevin Eppling, co-director of Bullypolice USA and the father of the boy that the bill was named after said "I am ashamed that this could be Michigan's bill on anti-bullying when in fact it is a 'bullying is OK in Michigan law,'". He lost his 14-year old son Matt to suicide in 2002 after he was bullied in school. Since that time he has lobbied and educated state legislators in the hopes of one day seeing Matt's Safe School Law passed. He then said "For years the line [from Republicans] has been 'no protected classes,' and the first thing they throw in ... was a very protected class, and limited them from repercussions of their own actions."

President of the American Family Associatin of Michigan, Gary Glenn, referred to anti-bullying measures as "a Trojan horse for the homosexual agenda". During this time, at least ten Michigan students who were victims of bullying have committed suicide.

Contributing writer at TIME magazine, Amy Sullivan noted,

This year, Republicans only agreed to consider an anti-bullying measure that did not require school districts to report bullying incidents, did not include any provisions for enforcement or teacher training, and did not hold administrators accountable if they fail to act.

Social conservatives consider themselves the real victims. At the federal level, they unsuccessfully fought for the inclusion of a provision protecting religious freedom when Congress expanded the definition of a hate crime to include crimes motivated by a victim's sexual orientation. They also strongly oppose legislation that would prevent discrimination against gay individuals in the workplace, charging that such a law would endanger religious freedom.

This legislation apparently means that as a student, or even teacher, canteen lady, or parent - you would be legally allowed to preach about how immoral, unnatural and wrong it is to be homosexual - to the affected students directly. If a student walked up to the canteen looking particularly flamboyant, the canteen lady would be allowed to tell him how sinful he is without a single repercussion - because it's her freedom of speech to bully a gay student into suicide as long as she's only pointing out her opinions. The only requirement is that she's sincere in that belief. If she's joking, then she'd be in all sorts of trouble.


Michigan, coming to a school near you

But the problem isn't just the increased acceptance of LGBTI bullying. Anybody who is outside the scope of mainstream religious ideology is also a legitimate target under state-endorsed bullying. Atheist? You better not let anybody find out you're a Godless, sinful, immoral, sodomite. Outspoken woman? Men are superior by default, shut up. Rape victim who wasn't loud enough? It's your fault and you should die. Science class? I'm not letting that sinful heathen tell me the Earth is older than 6000 years.

I sincerely hold the belief that any Christian in favour of this legislation should be publicly humiliated and bullied for their filth on grounds of my moral conviction. I'll be sure to tell them repeatedly to their faces if I ever decide to travel there.

Author - Billy Moffat (thumbnail)
Author - Billy Moffat
Owner and sole developer of Meercat9.com, he attends university full time but has a passionate addiction to the internet, particularly programming. Due to the lack of other developers for the site, he is often forced to write about himself in the third person.