CNN: A Christian’s response to anti-gay bullying

Dan Gilgoff’s CNN Belief Blog published my article on anti-gay bias involved in recent bullying related suicides. I am allowed to print a little bit and then link to the rest. I hope you’ll read, recommend, and discuss it at both places…

This week marks the beginning of the 5th annual National Bullying Prevention Month. Tragically, this comes just at the time when the nation is mourning the recent suicides of three young teens, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown and Seth Walsh. Although each situation was a little different, a common denominator was that a central feature of the harassment the boys experienced was anti-gay name-calling.

 

Sadly, these boys join a string of other suicide victims who’d been subjected to anti-gay bias.

These tragedies have heightened the attention of the public on an already contentious debate about how to prevent anti-gay harassment. While everyone agrees that such bullying is harmful and must be addressed, not all agree about the means to that end.

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My view is that evangelicals need to put ideological worries aside and become part of the solution.

I go on to describe how churches and schools in Grove City are working together to combat bullying and recommend that adults put the culture war aside for the good of children.

By the way, I am not ignoring Tyler Clementi. I wanted to focus in this article on young teens in public schools.

Previous related articles:

Ugandan paper goes on outing campaign

A relatively new tabloid in Uganda has taken a bad situation and made it worse. The Rolling Stone (no relation to the US music magazine) has a cover story with pictures. Here is the cover supplied by a reader:

It is hard to see but the subcaption says: Hang Them.

GayUganda and Boxturtlebulletin has more…

Statement about recent bullying related suicides: Education Sec. Arne Duncan

The link for the statement is here…

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office

400 Maryland Ave., S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20202

FOR RELEASE

Oct. 1, 2010

Contact: Press Office

(202) 401-1576 or press@ed.gov

STATEMENT BY U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION ARNE DUNCAN

On the Recent Deaths of Two Young Men

       U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today released the following statement:

       “This week, we sadly lost two young men who took their own lives for one unacceptable reason: they were being bullied and harassed because they were openly gay or believed to be gay. These unnecessary tragedies come on the heels of at least three other young people taking their own lives because the trauma of being bullied and harassed for their actual or perceived sexual orientation was too much to bear.

       “This is a moment where every one of us – parents, teachers,

students, elected officials, and all people of conscience – needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms. Whether it’s students harassing other students because of ethnicity, disability or religion; or an adult, public official harassing the President of the University of Michigan student body because he is gay, it is time we as a country said enough. No more. This must stop.”

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month

A group called Parents Advocacy Committee for Educational Rights (PACER) has hosted a National Bullying Prevention week for the past four years. This year they are observing this week as usual but have also expanded the event through the month of October. 

At the link above, many activities and ideas are provided for classroom teachers and youth leaders. I signed the pledge and encourage you to do so and pass the link along.

CNN is focusing on bullying this week, starting with a segment on bullying featuring and appearance with Kevin Jennings  and Kirk Smalley this morning. The page for all of their coverage is here.

The New York Times had an article yesterday on the topic of GLB suicides related to bullying.

I plan to post frequently this week on the topic and hope we can continue to work through issues which divide to get a societal consensus on how to address the problems.