Michigan: What Are You Thinking?
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," resuming in a less structured way our push-back against the ultra-fringe Dominionists who would like to insert God into our government. Thomas Jefferson would order these people deported back to the countries from which their ancestors fled (escaping religious persecution).
I lived in Michigan for four years, and while I was there I was treated extremely kindly on more than one occasion by Christian people. I found, as a white Detroiter, that I was occasionally in a situation where I got bullied for being white. One of those times was when I went to hear Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak at the Ford Arena. While waiting outside, I was told to leave by a group of men who thought I shouldn't be there. A lovely bunch of church ladies, dressed in their best hats, took me in and invited me to sit with them. I have never forgotten that. They even took the trouble to scold the guys who were trying to keep the white woman from hearing Desmond Tutu! And trust me, I still remember Tutu's speech. What an awesome man!
Now, I was going to begin and end with this happy story. But the peerless Jason Pitzl-Waters (see link in my blog, The Wild Hunt) has alerted us to "anti-bullying" legislation in Michigan that would exempt bullying of a religious or moral nature.
For the love of fruit flies! Those guys at Ford Arena would have had the right to bully me right out of seeing Desmond Tutu! They proudly told me that they had marched in Selma, and this was their moment. That certainly is moral grounds for me not to be there.
This is more serious than my own little story, though.
How easy would it be for a dedicated bully to find moral or religious grounds to whomp a kid?
Well, I dunno ... Let's ask Hitler.
I would submit that a good bit of bullying occurs over religious issues, or at least it already gives bullies a pulpit for their actions. Michigan, your law has a big hole in it that you had better patch. Pagan, Arabic, and Jewish Michiganders had better get on this one, or it will be their kids who get jumped, harassed, intimidated, and hazed.
New Jersey has one of the strictest anti-bullying laws around, and as a teacher it makes my job way harder. I have to be alert to every kind of bullying, not exempting trash talk to the kid who comes to school wearing a pentagram. Come on, Michigan. Get real. Go get your trowel and a good batch of cement, and plug that hole.
Okay, got to run. Teacher meeting on bullying!