To those of you who are unaware, the Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty has put forward legislation against bullying in Ontario. Now I did not vote for the guy and I oppose the Liberal Party. But I can get behind legislation that tackles bullying 100%. In fact, its practically the only thing I support him on. Bullying in schools is a tremendous problem, a problem that has caused several high profile suicides. Many of these suicides were homosexual youth. Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgendered youth have always had a higher suicide rate than straight youth. So who could possibly be opposed to stopping bullying when it comes to sexual orientation?
Well, the religious community and the Toronto Sun, that’s who.
The religious institutions I expected would have a problem with such legislation. After all, they feel it is their “God given” right to preach that homosexuality is wrong. They made the argument that was expected. They say this is the state interfering with the church. Particularly loud on this point was the Catholic School Boards. However it should be noted that those school boards receive public money. So either they should stop accepting state funds, or do what they have been ordered to.
It becomes more difficult when dealing with private schools. They, after all, should be exempt from the law by the virtue of being private property. Again this goes into the separation of church and state. This is where the problem with freedoms comes into play. The reality is that freedoms are ultimately contradictory. The right to preach that being homosexual is wrong, contradicts the freedom not to be persecuted or discriminated against because of your sexual orientation. This is why we figure out what is right and what is wrong. The state and the church have come into conflict, so let us live up to the separation of church and state that the religious are asking for. Let these religions have no more say in the state.
The religious institutions standing up to support anti-Gay prejudice is to be expected. The Toronto Sun however, I did not expect. Previously they gave full support in several past editions of their newspaper. I applauded them, I didn’t think they would be so anti-Gay. I see I was wrong. The December 13th edition of the Toronto Sun contained an article by Christina Blizzard entitled “Talk About Bullies”, certainly doesn’t do a very good job of covering up its anti-McGuinty bias. She actually tries to take a simple anti-bullying legislation, which everyone would support, and turn it into an anti-McGuinty issue. This is disgusting, actually promoting support for anti-Gay speech all because the conservative candidate Tim Hudak didn’t win the provincial election.
I will now tackle everyone of the ridiculous arguments made in favour of anti-Gay speech by Blizzard. For brevity’s sake I’ll skip all the moments when she attacks McGuinty rather than the issue at hand. Let us begin:
“The government is stupidly and unnecessarily dragging the bill into the area of gay rights.”
This sentiment by Blizzard is completely wrong. Gay rights have a great deal to do with bullying. It is also the rash of suicides that has brought about this overdue legislation. Despite what Blizzard my think, Gays are a major target of bullying. As I have already mentioned, suicide among LGBT youth is well above heterosexual youth. This is proven to be directly caused by bullying and societal attitudes that treat them just as badly. So as “stupid” as Blizzard thinks it is, bullying has a great deal to do with Gay rights, particularly among youth, whom this legislation is intended for.
“It’s truly insidious intrusion into the rights of religious groups to educate their children according to their own faith.”
It is interesting to note that these people supposedly need an educational institution in which to conduct their religious indoctrination. The function of an educational institution is to teach scientific matters, not world views based on superstition. Besides, plenty of children are educated in the Public school system and still manage to learn their religion. They learn it at home among friends, family and the religious community they are a part of. Besides, if your faith was strong, you wouldn’t need a 6 hour daily indoctrination session for it. Religious schools are the anti-thesis of education. Religion does not educate, it indoctrinates. Teaching your child Creationism and that the world was created in 7 days is intellectually harmful. No one is stopping you from sitting your child down at the kitchen table and telling them they’ll be bad if their Gay.
“There’s a reason why hundreds of thousands of parents put their kids in Catholic schools or private religious schools: They don’t like the kind of social engineering they get from overbearing politicians and administrators in the public system, who want to impose their own moral values on our children.”
Here the argument is quite obvious: not saying gays are bad, is big evil totalitarian government controlling you. It’s also her “Glenn Beck” moment, trying to use the term “social engineering” to scare people. Its simply ridiculous, everything around is “social engineering”. Advertisements on television telling you to buy things is “social engineering”, the entire education system is “social engineering”. Media telling us to be scared of the Muslim man in our neighbourhood, constantly pushing fear on us is “social engineering”. Every newspaper, including yours Blizzard, is fulfilling the function of “social engineering”. Every single country and every single society that has ever existed has done it. Canada is no different in any respect. Besides, religion is basically one big “social engineering” project. Its sets down a code of conduct, sets a means by which to organize society and threatens punishment if one doesn’t follow it. In actuality, a secular society is much better than a religious one. This argument is tremendously flawed.
“Just because a handful of MPPs [members of provincial parliament] and Liberal staff wish to push an agenda doesn’t mean people of faith can be stripped of their constitutional rights to freedom of religion, freedom of thought and freedom of expression.”
This is just completely untrue, a lot people both in and out of parliament support this anti-bullying legislation. Including the Toronto Sun on several past occasions. (It just took them a while to find a way to turn this on McGuinty.) This is not the act of some political party trying to force its will on people, its been welcomed with open arms by everyone except the religious fundamentalist community. As well as Sun Media, with it blatantly trying to hinder the effort in the name of point scoring for Tim Hudak. No one is being stripped of their constitutional right. These people can preach all the anti-Gay speech they want in their own homes. No one is stopping them from being the religion they want. Most ridiculous of all is the claim that the government is trying to stop someone’s “freedom of thought”, as you can’t actually monitor what people think. No one is bursting into your home preventing you from spewing all the homophobic garbage you want.
“But it’s not just gay kids who are bullied. Its anyone who’s different: Kids who look different, who behave differently. Smart kids, dumb kids.”
Yes, that very well is true, no one is saying it isn’t. What Blizzard is ignoring is that there is a particular crisis among homosexual youth. A crisis that needs to be addressed because of people like Blizzard. No one is ignoring bullying for any other reason.
“…they’re saying anyone who doesn’t support this bill is anti-gay.”
Well, IF anyone was saying that it would be true. I’ll say it, anyone who doesn’t support this bill is anti-gay. How could any claim not to be? You’re not anti-gay, you just think being Gay is wrong? That is anti-Gay.