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← Protest Michigan’s green light on religious bullying

Protest Michigan’s green light on religious bullying - Comments

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 1 by Ivan The Not So Bad

Much more detailed and comprehensive coverage on this here in Time Magazine and also in the Washington Post.

The bill is called “Matt’s Safe School Law,” after Matt Epling, a Michigan student who committed suicide in 2002 after enduring prolonged bullying. Matt’s father, Kevin Epling, has denounced it and expressed his complete dismay at what has been done in his dead son's name.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 19:12:47 UTC | #887651

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 2 by Jos Gibbons

This policy is a symptom of a more general phenomenon whereby religious groups are exempted from responsibilities. I've never understood this. On the one hand, we're told we have to give religions whatever they need to flourish because they make us better. On the other hand, we're told following them reduces what should be expected of you. Well, which is it? Ironically, this "reduce the responsibilities demanded of them" policy is considered by this mindset to be an example of one of the provisions granted to religions so they can flourish. Essentially we let religions make us worse so they can make us better.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 19:55:20 UTC | #887664

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 3 by mordacious1

This is what happens when both state houses are Republican along with a Republican Governor.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 20:07:20 UTC | #887667

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 4 by Sjoerd Westenborg

I can't wait to see the first case of a parent or teacher whose 'sincerely held moral conviction' is that religion corrupts the young minds of the pupils, or that telling a kid that his parents are going to hell is emotionally damaging. Imagine it getting rejected, ooh the legal repercussions they could take..

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 20:20:55 UTC | #887671

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 5 by Cartomancer

I find it utterly sickening how small-minded and flat-out immoral some religious people can be.

We are talking here about a law designed to help crack down on bullying in schools. Bullying of the kind which leads vulnerable young people to suicide. We're talking about a law designed to save people's lives.

And apparently, according to them, that concern is trumped by their imagined right to express whatever hateful, bigoted, bullying sentiments they like in the name of their disgusting religion. People's lives are less important to these monsters than their own right to be vicious and intolerant bullies.

Well no more. Religion is not special. It does not deserve protection. If it mandates hatred and bullying and driving people to suicide it is a pernicious and evil force in the world and deserves to be eradicated utterly.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 20:47:40 UTC | #887677

SheilaC's Avatar Comment 6 by SheilaC

Presumably this includes the "deeply held religious belief" that homosexuality is evil.

Reason help gay teens in Michigan! (God won't)

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 21:23:42 UTC | #887682

JamesR's Avatar Comment 7 by JamesR

Sjoerd @4 Or how about the deeply held moral belief that religion is poison.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 21:54:27 UTC | #887689

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 8 by QuestioningKat

Comment 7 by JamesR :

Sjoerd @4 Or how about the deeply held moral belief that religion is poison.

This is a state issue in which there should already be a separation of religion. Can you see the difference between telling someone their beliefs are poison and telling someone that they themselves are poison?

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 22:31:12 UTC | #887701

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 9 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Comment 8 by QuestioningKat :

This is a state issue in which there should already be a separation of religion. Can you see the difference between telling someone their beliefs are poison and telling someone that they themselves are poison?

One could argue that you have to start reversing the process of desecularistation somewhere, starting with the most recent developments, because those are usually easier to fight. A downside to this is that it indeed may appear that your concern is only with that development, and that you've agreed with the earlier changes up to that one.

Which tactic would you prefer? Don't give previous desecularisations credit by immediately going for re-enforcement of all secular rights on national level, or targeting these 'small things' and be more likely to change the situation on a short(er) term? I'm assuming here that state legislation is easier to fight/reverse than legislation on a national level.

I hope this makes sense..

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 23:45:58 UTC | #887717

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 10 by Marc Country

This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction...

My moral conviction tells me that religious people are cocksuckers. That's a metaphor.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 01:26:30 UTC | #887739

A. R's Avatar Comment 11 by A. R

As a Michigan resident, I can assure you that there are may of us who are outraged at this and are looking into defeating this heinous excuse for a law.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:17:20 UTC | #887769

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 12 by aquilacane

It's funny, you know. Here they are saying "without god, people will believe they can do anything." It looks to me as if it's them who believe they can do anything with god.

And, I'm fucked to know how they can't see it.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:44:18 UTC | #887774

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 13 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 7 by JamesR :

Sjoerd @4 Or how about the deeply held moral belief that religion is poison.

Ah, but "deeply held" is a synonym for "held for religious reasons", so this belief is ruled out of court.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:02:13 UTC | #887836

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 14 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 12 by aquilacane :

It's funny, you know. Here they are saying "without god, people will believe they can do anything." It looks to me as if it's them who believe they can do anything with god.

And, I'm fucked to know how they can't see it.

You seem to have found something those "with god" can't do.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:03:56 UTC | #887837

keith54's Avatar Comment 15 by keith54

The First Amendment requires not that religionists be given a free pass on bullying, but that our public schools be free from religion

First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Has that statement that the first amendment requires public schools be "free from religion" (whatever that actually means) been established by legal precedent? Also, is this a matter solely for the Michigan State Legislature rather than Congress? - as possibly indicated by comment 8. This is a general question about the division of authority between Congress and State Legislatures. The actual clause seems to be unnecessary given the normal right to freedom of speech.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 15:39:50 UTC | #887887

Rich Wilson's Avatar Comment 16 by Rich Wilson

There's some good commentary over at The Friendly Atheist http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2011/11/05/michigan-senate-says-its-ok-to-bully-if-its-in-the-name-of-jesus/

including video of a GREAT response from the minority leader, and comments from people involved.

My own comment (Thanks Hitch) "With a sincerely held religious belief clause, anything is permissible."

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 16:08:55 UTC | #887900

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 17 by aquilacane

Even though I think I am far closer to being on the right path toward being exposed to the truth of reality, I would never want to bully someone into following me or following any particular direction. I'm not that kind of person. What is really sick, isn't so much that they think they are right and; therefore, allowed to behave a certain way. It's the way they want to behave that is disturbing. They want to be bullies. It is legalized assault at a government level. Self defense is in order.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 21:08:36 UTC | #887977

PERSON's Avatar Comment 18 by PERSON

Comment 9 by Sjoerd Westenborg

I think you make a good point.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 08:06:56 UTC | #888058

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 19 by Vorlund

A prime example of what we have been saying all along. People can do evil in the name of religion and excuse their actions.

"I'll kick your ass in the name of the Celestial Teapot". Sounds like a perfectly good defence under the new rules.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 09:04:16 UTC | #888068

wiz220's Avatar Comment 20 by wiz220

Anybody wonder what will happen when, or if, a Muslim pupil or teacher tells all of the "infidels" they are going to hell? This could be fun to watch.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 23:35:19 UTC | #888419

nazani14's Avatar Comment 21 by nazani14

I think the students should organize a day of bullying, in which they berate and throw crumpled paper at each other for eating shrimp, having their hair uncovered, failing to pray to the Goddess, and of course, dissing the Great Juju.

Sun, 13 Nov 2011 22:33:33 UTC | #889900

Mercy's Avatar Comment 22 by Mercy

It isn't really the absurdity of this that upsets me the most, but the fact that there are more and more people quite literally being bullied to death because of a tolerance for (sometimes) religiously-based bullying. The suicide rate is on the rise, and as it is, the bullying issue is rarely handled properly in schools. There needs to be harsher punishment for students being cruel to others. Cruelty should not be put up with, for any reason. I don't understand how anybody could possibly disagree.

Mon, 19 Dec 2011 06:26:47 UTC | #900865