Opinion: Believers against bullying (of gay kids, that is)
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The media are full of lamentations about anti-gay bullying in schools, a welcome focus on a subject I have written about on this blog. Traditionally some evangelical Christians have been skeptical about, if not hostile to, efforts to combat such behavior, such as the ‘Day of Silence’ sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Their fear is that such efforts mask an attempt to insinuate the ‘homosexual agenda’ into schools. (They are right if the ‘homosexual agenda’ is to convince students that their gay classmates are worthy of respect and, yes, not candidates for ‘conversion’).
At least some evangelicals, however, are boarding the anti-bullying bandwagon. Warren Throckmorton, a professor at the conservative Grove City College in Pennsylvania, who is associated with the view that sexual orientation is sometimes fluid, has written an interesting piece defending gay-specific efforts against bullying. Let me quote:
‘Gay groups want to enact legislation which specifically includes prohibitions on bullying based on bias toward gays or those perceived to be gay. Some Christian conservatives believe such laws communicate approval of homosexuality and thus disapproval of traditional Christian teaching on sexuality. My view is that evangelicals need to put ideological worries aside and become part of the solution. Addressing anti-gay bias doesn’t require anyone to change religious beliefs about sexuality.’ The full article is here.
I suspect some gay rights activists will be suspicious of Throckmorton’s peace offering. But it’s certainly progress when evangelical Christians recognize that anti-gay bullying is a discrete and despicable phenomenon.
-- Michael McGough