Monday, January 09, 2012

Tenn. Struggles for Freedom of Religion - Bullying

Pro-family advocates and lawmakers are advancing language for Senate Bill 0760 (House Bill 1153) to ensure freedom of speech and religion regarding public school anti-bullying, but critics say that allowing Christian students to cite Bible verses is bullying and should be outlawed.

For background, read Pro-gay Teacher Bullies Christians on Anti-bullying Day and also read Outlawing Teaching of Homosexuality in Tennessee as well as Obama Signs Law to End Christian Witness - 'Hate Crimes'

-- From "Christian activist Fowler makes stand on bullying" by The Associated Press 1/5/12

[David] Fowler, a former Republican state senator, is president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee [FACT]. The group’s December newsletter says it wants “to make sure (the legislation) protects the religious liberty and free speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality.”

Fowler told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that “the purpose is to stop bullying, not create special classes of people who are more important than others.”

The Senate sponsor of changes to the bullying law, Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, is “reviewing the legislation” and will likely “narrow” the current bill, a Tracy aide said Tuesday.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Christian activist questions scope of anti-bullying law" by Andy Sher, Chattanooga Times Free Press 1/4/12

. . . leaders of the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay-rights group, charge the [religious liberty] legislation "would give students a 'license to bully' that allows them to hide their irrational biases behind an extreme religious belief."

The Fowler-backed bill says anti-bullying programs and measures can't use materials or training that "explicitly or implicitly promote a political agenda [and] make the characteristics of the victim the focus rather than the conduct of the person engaged in harassment, intimidation, or bullying."

FACT said it "is wrong to bully people because of their sexual practices. But it's wrong to bully people period. The larger lesson here is that these tragedies are often the rotten fruit of the all-about-me individualistic culture that comes when we deny the existence of God and his image in us. When life and people become cheap, tragedy becomes the result."

In the interview, Fowler said gays are "not the only people who get insulted. The thing we need to concentrate on is not whether the characteristics of the victim justify being protected but on the conduct of the person engaging in the bullying while respecting constitutional rights."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Bullying Bill May Promote Intimidation" by Stephanie Scurlock, WREG-TV3 (Memphis) 1/5/12

. . . The bill allows kids to say what they want if they're doing it for religious reasons and as long as they don't threaten bodily harm.

“Essentially what it does it allows kids to pretty much say anything to each other no matter how ugly it is as long as they claim it's part of their religion,” said [Michelle Bliss, Co-Chair Shelby Co. Chapter, TN Equality Project].

Bliss says this affects gay students and others who might be intimidated because of race or religion.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Protecting free speech condemned as ‘bullying’" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 1/7/12

“All people are entitled to equal protection under the law, which doesn’t happen when the policies enumerate who’s protected and by implication those not listed are not protected,” [Fowler] explained to WND.

“There are many in the media, and certainly there are interest groups, who want to use the government as the thought police and want to suppress any form of opposition, whether it rises to level of bullying or harassment or not. They simply want to squelch any dissent,” he said.

The Family Action Council site explained that the way the bullying prevention programs now operate, “some students receiv[e] less protection from bullying than other students” and students are not allowed to express their religiously based views.

The current plan also allows “school administrators who may desire to suppress a student’s unpopular or politically incorrect views [to] deem that student’s expression of such views to be ‘creating a hostile educational environment,’” the organization said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read 'Gay Rights' Winning, Loss of Religious Liberty Documented - Washington Post writer demonstrates it's a "zero sum" game: Winning homosexual 'rights' means Christians must lose freedom of religion.