Who Would Oppose an Anti-Bullying Event?

I can understand how topics like abortion and gay marriage and gun rights are controversial.

But surely, everyone would be on board to support something called No Name-Calling Week for young children, right?

The event is just what it sounds like:

No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.

Who would be opposed to that…?

Apparently, Conservative Christians.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), says this of the anti-bullying program:

… it is a way of indoctrinating children so that they will support the homosexual agenda after they become adults…

“They’re promoting, all the way down to the first-grade level, children to read and be exposed to books and material that is pro-homosexual — and it’s all under the guise of opposing name-calling,” he contends.

“The alleged homosexual kids are not the only ones being bullied,” the attorney points out. “There’s [sic] kids of faith being called ‘homophobic’ and ‘homophobe,’ and yet those words and that name-calling is not under attack and is not being addressed by this alleged week of tolerance that’s being pushed.”

Dacus urges parents to be aware of what happens in their children’s schools and to opt out their children out if necessary.

Wow.

This guy is actually urging parents to exempt their children from No Name-Calling Week.Does he realize that Christian name-calling falls under the same umbrella as anti-gay slurs — and the event is trying to stop all forms of nasty comments? They’re on his side and he doesn’t even know it.

I’ve been to several educational meetings in my district (which is in a fairly conservative suburb). At no point has the adminstration ever said, “Let us now get to work on the homosexual agenda.” The only thing they (and all other districts I’m aware of) want to create is a comfortable environment for children so they can achieve their full potential.

What sort of Christians would support a man who thinks name-calling should be condoned just so Christians can keep up their anti-gay rhetoric?

(via OneNewsNow)

  • Skeptimal

    Apparently this is not something that we, as the unenlightened, are capable of understanding. Only when you surrender to faith-based reasoning does this sort of thing make sense.

  • Desert Son

    This just in:

    “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

    Film at 11.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • http://www.bernerbits.com/ Derek

    Ah, yeah. If your kids have to relinquish your God-given mandate to call people fags! for one week, your first-amendment rights are being impinged. Because you can’t be a Christian and not insult gays. It makes sense. Really.

    On a similar note, the parents of the kids who bullied me in grade school all agreed that I probably deserved it and that it would make me a stronger person. There’s more to it than the gay thing. It’s just the most legitimate front they can come up with.

  • http://blueollie.wordpress.com ollie

    I wouldn’t support the no-name calling week either.

    Why shouldn’t I be able to call creationists, fundies and other woos “morons”??? :)

  • cassiek

    I agree with Ollie.

  • SarahH

    I don’t see why they’re only aiming for a week. Seems like no name-calling should be a rule, not a special event.

    The real question becomes: Where do you draw the line? Calling a kid “gay” or saying they’re an “atheist” is labeling them, and many kids might use those labels disparagingly or falsely, but they’re technically not name-calling.

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com/ Iason Ouabache

    I get the feeling that they are just opposing things like this out of spite now. There isn’t a rational reason to be against it, but a “damned liberal” thinks it’s a good idea so they have to be against it!

  • Siamang

    I don’t see why they’re only aiming for a week. Seems like no name-calling should be a rule, not a special event.

    It’s an awareness-raising event. It’s not saying “don’t call anyone a name just for this week”. It’s using a week’s worth of activities to bring light to the problem of bullying.

    And wow, the religious right, the bullies of American society, don’t like anti-bullying week? Whodathunkit?

  • http://skeptigator.com skeptigator

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate and provide more context than Hemant either didn’t research beyond the soundbit or isn’t providing, this fundie didn’t just invent some grand homo-conspiracy, this is actually right on the About No Name Calling Week page for the website (note the absence of racism/religious bigotry/economic status but note what is very explicity included, highlight is mine)

    No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled “The Misfits” by popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the “Gang of Five” (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. Though they lose the election, they win the support of the school’s principal for their cause and their idea for a “No Name-Calling Day” at school.

    Also, they do provide educational materials for K-4th grade and “promoting homosexuality” would be wrong at this level just like “promoting sexuality of any kind” would be wrong. But unfortunately for the Fundie, if you read the lesson plans there is no mention whatsoever of any kind of sexuality or even any specific group, racial, religious or economic, period. This guy is clearly misrepresenting what is actually going on.

    He is right that this program does open the doors for teaching to K-4th graders that homosexuality is not wrong when they get older. They aren’t actually say that in so many words, but they are laying the groundwork for later in life when sexuality and those differences can become additional topics for bigotry.

    So this “Look at the Fundie, he supports bullies” finger-pointing is a bit disingenuous, sorry but i have to call shenanigans on that.

    This is a worthwhile program and should be applauded for what it does. Hell at 3rd and 5th grade, I’ve already had to have the conversation with my boys that “Gay does not equal Stupid”.

  • http://bligbi.com Karen

    Unsurprising. Bullies do not like it when their victims get any support from authority figures.

    Their idea of “neutral” is authority figures ignoring their thuggish, hateful and sometimes physically threatening behaviour.

    Their idea of “fair” is having authority figures pretend that the victims are just as bad as them for merely defending themselves.

  • SarahH

    The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression.

    Well, remembering my own experiences from elementary school, those are the major categories that name-calling fell into. A large girl in our class was called “dumptruck” by mean boys; another boy was accused of being a “girly boy” for playing jump rope; a girl who cut her hair very short was called a “lesbo” (I didn’t know what the word meant at the time and was very confused); I was called “Sarah plain and tall” when I hit a growth spurt and stood about a head taller than everyone else in my grade; short boys were ridiculed; displaying too much intelligence got you labelled a “nerd” or a show-off, and having too little got you called a “retard” or “dummy.”

    I can’t really think of any mean name-calling that didn’t fall into those categories at my school. To be fair, the school I attended was rural and very WASP-populated, so there weren’t opportunities for racial slurs and I didn’t hear any until high school.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean Sean

    Skeptigator, I think your highlight is a little disingenuous. The passage you point out refers to the description of the book that inspired the week. It isn’t No Name-Calling Week’s mantra or founding principal. One needs to read further into the site and read their FAQ:

    1. What is No Name-Calling Week?
    No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.

    If someone doesn’t like James Howe or his book, so be it. But I don’t see how anyone could glean a pro gay slant from this event or it’s website.

  • Siamang

    Skeptigator,

    I was called “fag” “queer” “gay” “homo” etc all through elementary school and junior high, despite the fact that I was and am straight, merely because I was not good in sports. I got beat up a couple of times for “being a fag.”

    Bullying and name-calling can sometimes have little to do with reality.

    He is right that this program does open the doors for teaching to K-4th graders that homosexuality is not wrong when they get older.

    What I want to ask is “where are these doors?” I mean, surely there are already older kids than k-4. Are they currently being taught that homosexuality is not wrong? If these fundies want to fight that, then they should fight that. It seems to me that they’re always fighting these “stealth campaigns” that only exist in their imaginations, like the one where Barney the Dinosaur and SpongeBob were supposedly pushing homosexuality because they were on a video meant to promote societal unity in the wake of September 11th.

    If promoting not calling kids “fag” is “laying the groundwork” then instructing them not to beat up kids must really be laying some groundwork, eh?

    Showing kids pictures of cute animals might also be “laying the groundwork” for vegetarianism. Teaching them about global warming might be laying the groundwork for a future career in ecoterrorism.

    If things can be attacked not for what they do or do not accomplish, but by their mere ability to “lay the groundwork” for something more objectionable, isn’t that an admission that the current controversy at issue *actually isn’t objectionable enough* to warrant the outrage and national coverage?

  • «bønez_brigade»

    “What sort of Christians would support a man who thinks name-calling should be condoned just so Christians can keep up their anti-gay rhetoric?”

    Westboro Christians, of course!

  • Miko

    As an educator, I might oppose it based on a cost/benefit analysis.

    I know people here were earlier rejoicing about ending a minute or two of “silent reflection,” so we should be pretty much in agreement that public schools are not a place for reformers to waste our time by trying to force everyone into their mold if there isn’t a strong educational benefit to their programs. Surely multiple events over the course of a week would have a higher cost than a minute now and then (daily?). And with academic performance in public schools continually declining towards zero, we do have to be very aware of the costs of any such new program.

    On the other hand, I expect the benefits to be about the same as those of a moment of silence: namely, near zero. I wouldn’t object to a small pilot program to test the educational benefits of such a program (e.g., if it reduces bullying which in turn increases academic performance, it’d probably be worthwhile). But this is the kind of program that exists in large part because of its name: if it turns out that it doesn’t have much of an effect, many people will nonetheless continue to support it because it “sounds like a good idea.”

    Now, I haven’t studied this particular program in enough detail to know whether it’s good or not (and I’m not going to, since it’d take more of my time than it’d be worth since I’d be unable to effect the policy anyway), but I’d just like to point out that, theoretically, there may be good reasons to oppose such a program, and I hope that those actually involved in the decisions regarding this event don’t have a knee-jerk reaction about it, either in support or in opposition.

  • http://newref.blogspot.com/ James

    It is amazing to watch history repeat itself. Pretty much all the discrimination by Christians again gays is just a regurgitation of the days of segregation. It comes from their lust for power. Christian leaders hold power by promoting fear among their followers. “Our way of life is under attack! We are being persecuted! You must do as we say, vote as we say, and send us your money or else!”

    After they lost the war of segregation they had to search for a new target for their hate. Atheists, Muslims, immigrants, but especially gays were their new targets.

    “Protect the sanctity of marriage – no interracial marriage,” became “Protect the sanctity of marriage – no gay marriage.”

    Segregating black children in school turned into segregating LGBT children.

    Somebody once jokingly said that “Most Christians are about one bad Sunday away from setting up concentration camps,” but the amount of truth in that statement is terrifying.

  • http://www.noonespecial.ca/cacophony Tao Jones

    (e.g., if it reduces bullying which in turn increases academic performance, it’d probably be worthwhile).

    Simply reducing bullying isn’t worthwhile enough for you? Don’t get me wrong, I understand what you’re saying… but not everything in school has to correlate to test scores.

  • 5ive

    It is actually none-too-surprising. When Prop 8 was on the ballot, I went to a high school where the yes on 8 group set up a booth. I did not it was appropriate to set up anything political on the campus even if it was a polling place. So a couple of my friends and I went there to cause enough of a stink that they will change the rules on that one. Well, I was talking with a woman who was a the yes on 8 booth and she outright said that she does not want her (fictional) kids (she doesn’t have any kids, she is just planning waaay ahead) to learn diversity training. I asked her what was so scary about people learning about other lifestyles and other choices and she literally said, “It is the diversity training!” She does not want children exposed to anything outside of her comfort bubble of Christian teachings she gets from her church.
    IT is perhaps because the belief that homosexuality is bad is based purely in emotion that it is so tenuous that one cannot let their children hear anything outside of the church’s teachings. All reality points away from harming people based on “weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression.” ( I would add skin color) so the whole of reality is against the belief that homosexuality is bad. That is a tough world to live in. You always have to on your toes, lest your child hear a possibility outside your own.

  • Siamang

    Miko said:

    I know people here were earlier rejoicing about ending a minute or two of “silent reflection,” so we should be pretty much in agreement that public schools are not a place for reformers to waste our time by trying to force everyone into their mold if there isn’t a strong educational benefit to their programs.

    I didn’t oppose the moment of silence mainly because it was forcing people into a mold. I opposed it because it was religious and the First Amendment is supposed to protect people from religious promotion or religious discouragement under color of government authority.

    Non-religious mold-forcing is not the same thing. Which is why I don’t object on legal grounds to the tub-thumping patriotism indoctrination that begins in public-school kindergarten.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    It’s a shame really. I don’t particularly want to call them (religious people) names but they give me so many opportunities and now they are actually saying I should be allowed to. The world’s gone mad.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    Sad, sad, sad. It makes the baby Jesus cry. (And the big grown-up Jesus, too.)

    This kind of thing is exactly what leads to people like Ted Haggard living pitiful lives in the closet.

  • Joanna

    The intentions of the “Anti-bullying Event” are good ones. But it’s hard to know if this sort of thing works. What works better is teaching kids how to spot bullies and to not become victimized by bullies.

    Teaching kids to stand up for themselves is important. I would be soooo proud if my daughter responded: Yeah, “Well you’re a homophobe” and walked away. Bullies love attention almost as much as they love “drawing blood” by getting a reaction.
    Hitting bullies with your backpack will only result in detention…what’s a nerdy kid to do but have come sort of comic retort?

  • llewelly

    Like Siamang, I was called “fag”, “queer”, “gay”, “homo”, and even “lesbo” (despite being straight and male … funny how confused childish bullies can be) because I was absolutely dreadful at any team sport. I got beat up ‘for being gay’ any number of times. Insults about one’s sexuality were the commonest insults heard at the schools I was at as a child. Much worse to be called a “fag” tnan a Nazi.

    The conservative Christians want to defend that sort of behavior because they still engage it. They know repeated insults damage people – and that’s what they seek to do. They’re defending their ability to do harm.

  • Maria

    apparently this guy is a nutjob

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    The RRRWers oppose anything that dares to suggest they can’t hate on LGBT people.

  • think a bit

    KINDNESS COUNTS would be a much better theme instead of labeling little children BULLYS. Unfortunately Brad Dacus is correct when he labels the anti bullying programs as the product of gay initiatives. As a flawed humanity we are not going to eliminate name calling. It seems to be a substitute for serious expression of thought. In middle school, sex orientation should be discussed and the value of postponing the sex act as the wisest decision.


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