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Monday, August 06, 2007

Ohio's New Anti-Bullying Law: Christian Right Says It Opens Schools To Gay Activists

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Nothing is much meaner than schoolyard bullies, the apprentice thugs who pick on kids because they are bigger or older. But some Christian right zealots -- the same people who consider the Harry Potter books a form of witchcraft -- have launched a campaign this month aimed at Ohio's public school districts. The goal: Portay anti-bullying efforts as anti-Christian brainwashing because religious people disapprove of homosexuality.

Throughout the coming school year, local boards of eduction across Ohio will begin enacting anti-bullying policies compelled by HB 276, enacted during the last legislative session. The measure was designed to reduce the numbers of schoolyard meanies, including those who pick on kids by using hateful words . Indeed, sticks and stones can break bones. But names can also cause trauma.

Linda Harvey of Columbus, who runs an Ohio organization called MissionAmerica, is urging Christians to stop school boards from putting measures in effect that include gays and lesbians as students who should not be slurred or preyed upon by bullies. She says the "homosexual activists" will be out in force.

"They want to insert language in local districts that was kept out at the state level, adding specific categories about incidents of bullying, including ones for 'sexual orientation' and for 'gender identity.' Why? By adding such categories, any bullying incident over homosexuality becomes a rationale for advocates to stigmatize all disapproval of homosexual behavior as the cause of such bullying."

She adds:

"Next come the social engineering programs recommended to solve this supposed attitude problems, ranging from establishing 'gay' clubs for students, to peer 'watchdog' programs training kids even as young as middle school to report so-called 'homophobe slurs' on the part of their classmates. I am not kidding."

So, is it okay to use a slur? Shouldn't a kid who calls another a f-ggot be counseled that such language is not fit for home, hearth or a public school playground in Ohio. Harvey contends the"f" word and its ilk are not improper because she knows of no evidence "that people are born homosexual.' She says that counseling students who use anti-gay slurs would be unfair and harmful.

"It's a type of discrimination, and it further normalizes the immoral and high-risk homosexual lifestyle."

Her commentary appears in this month's CitizenUSA, a newspaper that is distributed in evangelical churches across Southern Ohio. And there is information of MissionAmerica's other goals on its Internet portal, including some interesting reading about Harry Potter as a helpmate of Satan.

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