The Republicans have taken Orwellian irony over the top. The Michigan Senate has pushed through an “anti-bullying” bill for the public school system. The thing is, it actually allows more bullying and provides an exception for bullies who are doing it in the name of Jesus.
The actual language reads: “This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.” In other words, the bill says that anyone can bully a Michigan school child as long as he can think of a religious reason for doing so.
Just to be sure we understand: The Michigan Senate has passed a bill that would allow anyone from a student to a principal to abuse children in the name of religion.
“Shockingly, Senate Bill 137 will do more harm than good. Senate Republicans left our students behind in favor of partisan politics and passed a bill that actually allows more bullying. Students and parents expect lawmakers to lead the charge against bullying, but instead Republicans made ideology more important than school safety,” said Emily Dievendorf, policy director of Equality Michigan.
This bill is a special slap in the face to the parents of gay teenagers who have committed suicide over school bullying. Since Christianity is a uniquely virulent facilitator of anti-gay rhetoric in America, this bill essentially puts a bullseye on any boys who do not live up to a particular masculine standard.
It’s also a sure-fire way to encourage non-Christian students to keep their non-belief to themselves. Anti-atheist bullying may not be as well publicized as anti-gay, but it is a real concern nonetheless. Internet atheist groups for teens have been growing exponentially in recent years, and one of the most common themes, especially from children in rural areas, is the fear of saying anything at school.
It would be nice if this was a new low for the Christian Republican right, but it’s just more of the same old. If they’re not turning women into state mandated baby machines, they’re trying to give doctors an excuse to let women die. If they get bored of that, they encourage bullies at school. If that doesn’t do it for them, they take away every book except the Bible for prison inmates. And let’s not forget about how they stage million dollar prayer meetings while school children go without vaccinations.