Islam Is of the Devil, Say Christian Students

A few kids in Gainesville, Florida (including a 10-year-old fifth-grader) were kicked out of their public schools for wearing the following shirt:

It seems obvious why this type of shirt would not be allowed in schools — It’s offensive speech and it would disrupt classes. (I wonder how many Muslim students go to these schools…)

That doesn’t seem to bother Wayne Sapp, senior pastor at Dove World Outreach Center. He got the shirts printed up:

Wayne Sapp said he believed the school district’s dress code allowed too much room for subjectivity when principals and school administrators determine what is offensive or distracting clothing.

He added that his children decided it was time to “stand up for what they believe instead of saying the rules might not let me do it” and said that society has grown “so tolerant of being tolerant” that free speech is eroding.

Jones said that, to him, spreading the church’s message was “even more important than education itself.”

Leave it to a pastor to knock down real education in favor of superstition.

You have to wonder, though: What would Dove members be saying if other students wore shirts saying, “Christianity is of the devil”?

Turns out someone asked them that very question:

All of the Dove members interviewed said that, while they would not like a student wearing a shirt with an anti-Christian message on it to school, they believed students have the right to do it.

I’m sure they would support and defend those students wholeheartedly…

Or, more likely, they’d act hypocritical and start whining about the anti-Christian hate speech. I’d bet on this option.

The school made the right decision in sending the offending students home.

(Thanks to mudwasp for the link!)

  • Nick Wallin

    I think those kids should have the right to wear those shirts, just as anybody should have the right to wear “Christianity is of the Devil” or “Religion sucks” or “Atheism is stupid”.

    Don’t give me this “offensive speech” crap. Freedom of speech should apply to offensive speech too, IMHO.

    But I understand this is a public school and kids don’t have full rights.

  • Siamang

    Also, that while we DO have free speech rights, kids also have the right to an education. And if this disrupts too much, they can’t get that.

    Let those kids put together their money and buy a billboard.

  • Siamang

    Oh, and I think they’re bullying and picking on the weak here.

    If I was in school with these kids, I’d make sure I was between them and the muslim kids.

  • Bethany

    This is actually a continuation of an ongoing argument between that church (actually, it sounds more like a cult than a mainstream church) and the local community. It started with a sign saying the same thing. It spawned protests in the neighborhood, the church put up more signs, and the Gainesville Sun started looking into the church and exposed a lot of shady business dealings by the pastor. It’s an ongoing and very interesting saga.

  • flatlander100

    Well, HM, you’re on thin ice on this one. The church group involved, when asked, said exactly the right thing: they’d have no objection to students wearing “Christianity is of the devil” tee shirts. You can speculate about what you suspect they might do if actually confronted with such students, but they’re on the record saying the right thing: they support the same right being extended to those of other faiths, or none, that they want extended to their own children.

    Second, banning the shirts as disruptive comes close, seems to me, to granting the dangerous “heckler’s veto” — restricting someone’s free speech because someone else may object by creating a disturbance. I agree that school children do not have, should not have, cannot have the same extensive free speech rights that adults may exercise outside of schools. And I recognize that maintaining order is a legitimate and important goal for a school administration to pursue. But still, it does indulge, even if slightly, the heckler’s veto.

    Would the administration have been correct in banning the shirts had this been a high school instead of a middle school or elementary school? If the student had been 16 instead of 10?

    I’m not sure the call on this is as clear as you think it is.

  • TJ

    He added that his children decided it was time to “stand up for what they believe instead of saying the rules might not let me do it” and said that society has grown “so tolerant of being tolerant” that free speech is eroding.

    I actually agree with this statement.

    But I understand this is a public school and kids don’t have full rights.

    That reminds me of this blog entry:

    http://thewaronbullshit.com/2009/04/12/human_rights/

  • Aj

    If you support political and moral expression in school, like Hemant does, and free speech for all, then you’d be a hypocrit to then turn around and ban others expression because you don’t like it. This is another area where religion is given special status. There wouldn’t be an issue with numerous other slogans on T-shirts that sensible people would disagree with. As Stephen Fry says: “So you’re offended. So fucking what?”, stop whining and ignore it. I’m guessing the solution to those that would disrupt classes because of the t-shirts isn’t a banning? People should learn from an early age to deal, they don’t have a right to not be offended. Banning “offensive speech” only encourages people to be offended to silence others.

  • http://seangill-insidemyhead.blogspot.com/ SeanG

    Flatlander, I think it is clear cut. The group may be right in saying they would support a shirt that opposed Christianity. But we are talking schools. I may not like it any more than you but the level of allowable controversial rhetoric in a school is very low. When I was in high school there were a few incidents where students were removed for wearing anti-gay shirts. A public school is a place where we have such a variety of people that we have to go to the lowest common denominator so that everyone can get things done. A heckler’s veto doesn’t exist in the school system. There are non-public and semi-public squares where this sort of thing only serves to enrage people. Would it be ok to wear that shirt to work? Not at my job.

    It would be utterly different if it were the case of wearing it on a college campus or just out and about in public.

    On another note, the “Dove World Outreach Center”. Really? Way to reach out there folks. Maybe Fred Phelps should rename his group “The happy puppies funtime gang.”

  • cathy

    I think a public school has a duty to make a safe environment for all students, I also tend to feel strongly about free speech. However these things sometimes come into conflict. I have seen t-shirts used as part of an escualting harassment of certain students (LGBT students then). I think Hemant’s point “I wonder how many Muslim students go to these schools…” is a key issue here. While I would like to think that these expressions of free speech are used in civil debate, too often they are an excuse for harassment. How are the Muslims and other non-christian students treated at this school? On one hand, we need to respect the right for muslim students to feel safe in public schools and on the other, we need to respect free speech. I don’t think this is an issue that can be put in absolutes, but an issue that needs to be carefully evalauted on a case by case basis.

  • TXatheist

    political and religious shirts are disruptive in public schools…imo

  • Joshua

    I’m a little concerned about the criteria here for whether this speech should be protected, both the “offensive” part and the “disruptive” part. Obviously we don’t accord public schools students the full measure of protected speech (because of the many reasons already listed) but it does seem draconian to ban any speech that anyone finds offensive. Purely political statements that should have maximal protection like “Bush/Obama is a bad president” or “I oppose the war in…” should have the ultimate protection even in a less-free environment, but people can claim with various degrees of reasonableness that they find such statements offensive.

    As to the “disruptive” part of the test, flatlander makes a good point about the “heckler’s veto”. That test seems tailor-made for allowing the particular religious, religious, or ethnic composition of the school to determine what can be said, which makes me really nervous. A student shouldn’t have their speech restricted depending on which public school they attend.

    Does anyone know what the relevant legal rules are? Is it the infamous “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case that went to the Supreme Court, or something else?

  • Beth B.

    In a public school setting there’s a difference between controversial messages in general and messages that are aimed at a particular group, especially an unempowered minority. While I don’t think a good case could be made for banning statements of conviction that aren’t aimed negatively at some demographic (Christian cross t-shirts and anti-war armbands come to mind), the t-shirts in question specifically demonize a particular religion. While this should be legal in larger society, in school this is likely to simply intimidate cultural outsiders (edit: who, in echoing Siamang below, are compelled by law to be there). A controversial t-shirt can spark classroom discussion, especially in social studies classes. For this t-shirt in particular, a public school is a tricky place to have a discussion on the merits of any given religion and/or whether it is “of the devil”.

    We ran into a similar situation in my public high school when clothing bearing the confederate flag was banned (yes, I’m from the rural South); “Southern heritage” was invoked in the shirts’ defense, but it didn’t stand up in light of the hateful anti-African American history associated with the flag.

  • Siamang

    I also want to point out that there is one detail about public school that makes it a different environment than your streetcorner.

    Children are legally compelled by the state to attend.

    Sure, they can choose to go to a private school or home school. But there is still that compelled factor to consider when talking about public school.

    It’s not EXACTLY the same as carrying a sign on a streetcorner.

  • Gabriel

    I am really impressed with a 10 year old who could 1) care enough about the subject to think of this. 2) Get the shirt made. 3) Talk their parents into letting them wear the shirt to school.

    The 10 year old didn’t do this, their parents and their church did this. The children were just pawns being used by adults.

  • Gabriel

    This is just another reason that school uniforms are a good idea. School should be a place where you can learn. You can spend all the time hating that you want and argueing about bullshit in your own time. In the same way that I have to adhere to a dress code at work the kids have to adhere to a dress code at school. School is the work of children.

  • silver

    I know that they did a good job when they asked those children to change shirts and sent them home when they didn’t.

    What people seem to have a hard time understanding is the difference between free speech and hate speech. The front of their shirts should be, and was allowed, worn as the children wish, but the back is hate speech. The first is encouraged but the second is illegal.

    The children would have received the same consequences if they hard worn ‘Negros belong to the devil’ or ‘Atheists = Devil Worshipers.’

    I can only hope that those poor children learn the difference before they go to college, or even High school, where they will get more than a slap on the wrist and being sent home for the day.

  • Siamang

    Silver,

    What country do you live in?

    In America, hate speech is not illegal. (Nor should it be, IMO.)

  • Neon Genesis

    This is just another reason that school uniforms are a good idea.

    Not to mention that Japanese school uniforms are also really cool. Wasn’t a story like this used by Dawkins in The God Delusion where he brought up a similar story where a kid wore an anti-Islam t-shirt to school and defended his actions under freedom of religion but he could have defended his actions on the basis of freedom of speech? Typically I would agree that even if I find the speech offensive and hateful, as long as it’s not encouraging people to commit violence, free speech is still free speech. But isn’t bullying against school rules too and isn’t this shirt basically a form of bullying? Should students be allowed to bully other students through verbal abuse and name calling if they can justify name calling through freedom of speech? How is this shirt any different from name calling? If this shirt should be allowed, how can they then turn around and make name calling against school rules?

  • Shannon

    Wow, I don’t know. Siamang has some very good points. On the one hand I think that people should be able to say hateful, ignorant things. I really do. But it’s hard to face that sort of thing gracefully as an adult, imagine facing it as a 10 year old, required by law to spend all day sitting in a room with that person?

    Though, if the shirts were allowed, it also might help the other kids see how petty and hateful that sort of thing is. That could be a better lesson than anything they hear in a lecture.

  • http://jawsforjesus.wordpress.com JawsForJesus

    Ah, yes. Free speech has no more fervent defender than the religious.

  • Wendy

    So where does my “There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life” sweater stand?

  • selfification

    As much as I hated dull school uniforms when I was younger, I must say that I side with the school uniform idea too. It is a simple secular solution to class disruptions. Students can have all the opportunity to exercise their free speech after school or during school activities like debates, elocutions and seminars.

  • Indigo

    @ Wendy: that depends. Whereabouts are you wearing it?
    I’m all for people expressing themselves as they wish, but to echo Siamang, children *have* to go to school. An equal part of free speech is free listening. (And no, I don’t think a child of atheist parents should be allowed to wear a shirt saying “Christianity is Stupid” or similar.)

  • J. Allen

    Young Bobby Boucher: Mama, When Did Ben Franklin Invent Electricity?

    Mama Boucher: That’s Nonsense, I Invented Electricity. Ben Franklin Is The Devil!

  • Richard P

    AH the holy wars,
    It so great to look on this and see all the love and forgiveness that religion brings.

    Doesn’t it just warm the heart and make you all want to flock to its embrace and take part. You know be part of a real family.

    Does’t it just remind you of……… Hatfields and McCoys.

  • silver

    @Siamang

    I live in Canada, were we do have Hate speech laws; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_Canada.

    Basically the law see hate speech as ‘advocating genocide or inciting hatred[1] against any ‘identifiable group”.

    With ‘An ‘identifiable group’ is defined as ‘any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.’

    It has a fine and a sentence of between 2 and 14 years. While there is no problem with the front of the shirt. the back is obviously advocating hatred towards the islamic religion and by proxy, it’s people.

    There is a fine line between hate speech and freedom of speech. You are allowed to say you dislike X group as much as you want, but once you go around insulting said group, then you have crossed the line.

    For example, I could complain all I want about creationist and how they ignore evidence to my frineds/family in home or in a private conversation, but if I were to go out in public, or a school, wearing a shirt that said ‘Creationist are IDiots’. I could be fined and depending on the severity of my actions (was I also holding posters saying that creationist should all be killed/thrown in jail/have thier children removed, etc) I could also go in jail and rightfully show.

    Freedom of speech is all well and good, but there have to be limits on what can and cannot be done.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    All of the Dove members interviewed said that, while they would not like a student wearing a shirt with an anti-Christian message on it to school, they believed students have the right to do it.

    To school? Oh sure. How about wearing such a shirt to their church?

  • Joffan

    Tricky. I’d be inclined to give a pass to a message that bashes a faith rather than (living) people. I can see how disruption might follow, though, and for the sake of order a set of guidelines for school a little further away from controversy might well be practical. The rules would have to be faith-neutral, though.

  • http://lunchboxsw.wordpress.com Aaron

    I don’t know why Christians feel that they need to attack other faiths… there is plenty of ass-kicking that needs to be done within!!

  • Jasen777

    The school district I worked at bans all words and symbols on clothes, except for those related to the school district.

  • Siamang

    Well, silver, this happened in Florida.

    But anyway, point taken, the laws in our country are different.

    Myself, I cannot imagine living in a country where you could be put in jail for saying something that wasn’t a direct threat.

    I have a feeling I’d have to really watch what I say. I wouldn’t want to go to jail for saying mean things about the republican party, or the democratic party, for that matter.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    When I read this:

    He added that his children decided it was time to “stand up for what they believe instead of saying the rules might not let me do it” and said that society has grown “so tolerant of being tolerant” that free speech is eroding.

    This is precisely what I thought, too:

    I am really impressed with a 10 year old who could 1) care enough about the subject to think of this. 2) Get the shirt made. 3) Talk their parents into letting them wear the shirt to school.

    The 10 year old didn’t do this, their parents and their church did this. The children were just pawns being used by adults.

    A 10-year-old does not think about things like that. That’s a father hiding behind the innocence of his child, and it’s pathetic.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    I want a shirt that says Christianity is of the Devil! LOL

  • justanotherjones

    Dove World Outreach Center

    Oh, the irony!

  • We Are The 801

    Last time I checked, school was where you are supposed to get an education, not a place to make religious statements.

    Oh, wait, I forgot, this is the United States we’re talking about here.

  • silver

    @Siamang

    You wouldn’t be put in jail for simply saying things that are an opinion, it’s a basic right. What the law says is that you are not allowed to spread hatred, which was what the back of the shirt was doing.

    I don’t really know much about american christianity, but I do know that when people say things like ‘X is of the Devil’, they basically mean that that thing is disgusting, all people who participate and encourage it deserve to be stoned to death, burn in Hell, etc. At least as far as I can see from my encounters with them.

    That is spreading hatred, for no other reason than then those people believe in slightly different beliefs. It isn’t much of a leap to go from hating something to doing something illegal about said group.

    While it may seem a little strict to you, I think that it’s doing a great job. As far as I can research, no one has ever been sent to jail for hate speech.

    The law is there to protect people, by catching them before they do something stupid, like killing the target of their rage, destroying property, etc.

    Like I’ve said earlier, there is a difference between free-speech and hate speech. One is an opinion everyone is entitled to and the other is telling people to hate X group because of some stupid reason.

    Those kids are allowed to where shirts promoting their religion as long as they want, so long as they are not bashing some other belief/non-belief.

  • Neon Genesis

    One is an opinion everyone is entitled to and the other is telling people to hate X group because of some stupid reason.

    How do they deal with churches that teaches homosexuality is a sin with regards to hate speech?

  • Siamang

    Thanks, Silver. Yeah, I had the same question in mind as Neon Genesis.

    Also, is Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion allowed, or called hate speech?

    In America, we have very, very strict limits and very specific rules on when the government is allowed to restrain speech.

    Is it like that in Canada? What are the specific legal tests?

  • Aj

    Hate speech laws are rather pathetic. They’re immoral, misguided, and easily abused. Hate is more than a dislike, so basically it’s saying you can’t express more than dislike at beliefs, actions, and facts when they’re associated with a group. They’re an attack on individuality and freedom of expression.

    If you don’t hate somethings then you’re immoral. I hate female genital mutilation, and I hate any religion that advocates it, I hate anyone that does it. It’s brutal and oppressive, any one who does it are those things. If someone thinks this is insulting, spreading hatred, and should be prohibited by law, “fuck ‘em and their law”.

    Banning speech doesn’t change opinions. Opinions held should be expressed so they can be known, discussed, and disagreed with, however disgusting to you. Creating insular communities where people think they have the right to not be offended isn’t going to help societies percieve and address injustice. Having people of different religions not acknowledge and struggle with beliefs like they’re friends and acquaintances are going to suffer eternal torment isn’t going to spark theodical crisis sparking critical thinking.

    Such laws can be abused to protect religion from opinions whether right or wrong. As although a shirt may say “Islam is the devil”, people want to take the law well beyond its intentions by equating a religion with the people who practice that religion. What about “God is the source of morals, God revealed homosexuality is wrong, therefore homosexuality is immoral, and will be punished”? Religious people can’t express their beliefs? Perhaps this is spreading hate:

    The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

  • http://jonathan-keith.com Jon

    I don’t know why Christians feel that they need to attack other faiths… there is plenty of ass-kicking that needs to be done within!!

    Is wearing a shirt that says Islam is of the devil attacking another faith?

    Or is it merely stating a fact?

    Kind of like wearing a t-shirt that says “Athiesm is of the devil” would be?

  • http://jonathan-keith.com Jon

    Also, is Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion allowed, or called hate speech?

    I am pretty sure that it is hate speech. But it’s ok because its hating people that its ok to hate, right? (those that disagree with athiests)

  • trixr4kids

    I don’t see these t-shirts as hate speech. Disruptive and potentially intimidating, maybe; but the target of the speech is an idea (Islam), not people.

    If we claim that hatred of an idea equals hatred of the people who believe that idea, then our reasoning is as poor as Jon’s, and we must call The God Delusion “hate speech”.

  • trixr4kids

    (OK, I know it’s bad form to feed trolls, but I just can’t resist):

    “Islam is of the devil” is “merely stating a fact.”

    ‘Cause we all know the devil is real. The bronze-age goatherders who wrote the many books later radacted and still later compiled into the “the Bible” knew the Absolute Truth about Ultimate Reality. They believed in devils, and giants, and that eating cheeseburgers infuriates teh Sky Daddie.

    Therefore, all these things are true.

    Q.E.D.
    :)

  • Dave

    I’d be happy to see them wearing that shirt at my school. That means I’d be free to wear my Christians to the lions shirt!

  • Richard P

    I am pretty sure that it is hate speech. But it’s ok because its hating people that its ok to hate, right? (those that disagree with athiests)

    I wonder can you incite hate and violence against an imaginary person.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    silver:

    You wouldn’t be put in jail for simply saying things that are an opinion, it’s a basic right. What the law says is that you are not allowed to spread hatred. . .

    This distinction doesn’t make sense to me. If I say that Jews are filthy, stingy, criminals, who should be shipped off to an island, that’s an opinion and spreading hatred. The two are not exclusive.

    . . .there is a difference between free-speech and hate speech. One is an opinion everyone is entitled to and the other is telling people to hate X group because of some stupid reason.

    You’re still not giving a distinction that makes sense to me. Hateful beliefs are opinions. Saying that they’re different because they’re not ones that “everyone is entitled to” is assuming your conclusion. I think people are entitled to believe in hateful things. I’ll grant that those opinons may be “because of some stupid reason” but people are allowed to have lots of stupid opinions.

    Neon Genesis:

    How do they deal with churches that teaches homosexuality is a sin with regards to hate speech?

    They make a somewhat incoherent distinction, and say that that is protected because it’s free speech: Can Bible Verses be Hate Speech?: Owens v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

    trix4kids:

    I don’t see these t-shirts as hate speech. Disruptive and potentially intimidating, maybe; but the target of the speech is an idea (Islam), not people.

    Yeah, targeting a religion in no way targets the people who belong to the religion. And fundamentalist Christians don’t hate homosexuals, they just hate the act that defines homosexuality. Sheesh. . .

  • Michael Kingsford Gray

    Bullshit!
    I defend the right of these students to wear these T-shirts.
    I cannot believe that you have gone soft on free speech.

  • Baconsbud

    Michael Kingsford Gray I agree this is their right to wear these shirts. It is also right of the schools to ban the wearing of clothing that will distract from the education process. I doubt very much the kids wearing these are anything more then pawns in a game of hate being run by adults that would say shirt with the words christianity is of the devil were hate speech and should be banned. I think the schools did what was right.

  • Carlie

    Free speech, however, implies that the listener is also free to listen or not. In a classroom, that’s not possible. Can you imagine being Muslim and having your assigned seat right behind one of those students, with that staring you in the face through the entire class? That’s the very definition of disruptive. If a Muslim student felt uncomfortable being around a student with that shirt on, the best they could do would be to ask to switch seats to the other side of the room. They could not entirely avoid seeing that shirt and dealing with that person. A school is a closed environment; they have to be more strict about what’s allowed than in the general public arena.

  • Darwinfisch

    I went to two of the schools mentioned in the article. Gainesville is a multicultural and typically progressive city, so this type of statement is surprising.

    I wouldn’t expect to be allowed to wear a T-shirt decrying other religions and I’m behind the school’s decision.

  • Siamang

    I fully support the right of these people to wear this shirt.

    Just not in school.

    “Free Speech” doesn’t allow little billy to talk during class either. He’s going to get sent to the principal’s office.

  • Heidi

    I fully support the right of these people to wear this shirt.

    Just not in school.

    This.

    Kids don’t get to wear whatever they feel like wearing to school. The public school system where I live disallows basically anything the principal wants to disallow. Rules against shirts advertising pot, alcohol, illegal activities, etc. are just the beginning. There are also rules that you can’t wear shorts between Thanksgiving and April vacation, and you can’t wear shirts that don’t cover your shoulders (e.g. tank tops). One gay kid was sent home for wearing “mascara tears” type makeup at the high school a couple of years ago.

    It’s not about free speech. It’s about dress code violation. What if a kid wanted to wear a clown suit to school every day? There are legitimate reasons that dress code violations are not allowed.

  • ChameleonDave

    This is hate speech likely to disrupt lessons and victimise minority students. It really is same as if it said ‘I hate niggers’, except even more irrational. There is a whole host of reasons not to allow it, remembering that these are just kids, who in most places would have to adhere to a strict dress code.

    Their parents are free to express their stupid ideas elsewhere. Making T-shirts for their kids to wear into a public school is not acceptable. It reminds me of the idea of strapping bombs onto trained dogs that then enter a location.

    Having said all that, I also kind of like the idea of holding one’s nose and accepting the unacceptable. Maybe these kids would just be laughed at by the other kids, who might respond with T-shirts bearing witty responses. Freedom of speech isn’t just a pretty ideal. It often actually works as a means of spreading truth.

    Tolerating this would probably result in the beating of brown-skinned students, but I almost want to give an extreme freedom-of-speech approach a chance here.

    BTW, I’m sure that they are lying when the say they would have no problem with T-shirts attacking Christianity.

  • Jim

    If the school is opting to dismiss these kids because of the messages on their shirts, then they need to be consistent and dismiss all the kids that wear shirts that have any representation at all of religious symbolism.

  • Colin

    I don’t necessarily agree that all religious paraphernalia be dismissed from schools — that would mean that any positive symbol would be dismissed as well. My friend has a necklace with the star of david, the ohm sign, buddha, and many other symbols. I have several items of flying spaghetti monster clothing myself. While one could argue that any positive symbolism of a religion is an argument against all other religions, I believe that the key issue here is severity of the statement. If someone came into school with a shirt that said “I’m Christian,” wouldn’t that shirt have the same meanings as “I disagree with every other religion besides Christianity”? There’s a difference between “I don’t believe that Islam is correct” and “Muslims go to Hell.” Sure, one could construed this to be viewed as subjective, but law is subjective as a whole. You could get in trouble for shouting “FIRE!” in a public area, but I’m not entirely sure you could get in trouble for saying “I’m worried that there could be a fire in here.” Likewise, insulting and yelling at someone could be viewed as assault and could get you in legal trouble, but telling someone that you dislike them is perfectly fine.

    This isn’t an issue with the schooling system nor is it an issue of free speech. It’s an issue of keeping people safe and feeling safe.

  • trixr4kids

    @Autumnal Harvest: “Yeah, targeting a religion in no way targets the people who belong to the religion. And fundamentalist Christians don’t hate homosexuals, they just hate the act that defines homosexuality. Sheesh.”

    “Targeting” is a very sloppy word here. What I said was that criticizing a religion does not equal hating the people who practice that religion.

    Do you hate everybody whose ideas you find fit to criticize? You obviously think my idea, expressed above, is stupid:

    Therefore, you must hate me.

    Why do you hate me, Autumnal Harvest? Oh, why? *sobs*

  • Autumnal Harvest

    “Targeting” is a very sloppy word here. What I said was that criticizing a religion does not equal hating the people who practice that religion.

    trixr4kids, you might want to look at your original comment. “target” was your word, not mine. And its a more appropriate word than “criticize,” a word which appears nowhere in your comment. You did, instead, refer to “hating a religion.” Helpful internet rule: before you complain that people are misquoting you, remember that your original quote is still visible by scrolling up. :)

    To address your new, changed comment, yes, criticizing a religion does not necessarily equal hating the religion. There are many ways in which one can criticize Muslim beliefs as irrational or Muslim practices as bad without being hateful. However, I think it’s pretty clear that someone who says “Islam is of the Devil” is hateful and intends a hateful message.

  • cathy

    Sorry to go a bit off topic, but I could not just sit here with this stupid school uniform advocation going on. Here’s some reasons to oppose school uniforms:

    1. Expense. School uniforms are often paid for by students/parents, leaving low income kids who can not afford to buy the uniforms (or do laundry almost every day) to be punished for violations.

    2. Sexism. School uniforms are almost universially sexist and force female students to wear a different uniform (ie skirts). This also affects trans kids who are routinely punished for wearing the ‘wrong’ gender uniform.

    3. Uniforms have not been proven to reduce gang violence or bias related violance.

    4. School uniforms increase the coercion to conformity within school systems.

    5. Uniforms often cause the exclusion of certain children due to health or religious reasons. Girls who choose to wear a hajib or boys who choose to wear a yarmulke may be expelled. Surely this does not promote religious freedom. Some of these rules go so far as to ban wigs or head coverings of any form, which may create extra stress for people on chemo or people with other disorders (this does happen, I’ve seen it happen, a girl with leukemia at my high school spent three days suspended for refusing to come to school without being aloud to cover her head).

  • AxeGrrl

    Jon wrote:

    Also, is Richard Dawkins’ God Delusion allowed, or called hate speech?

    I am pretty sure that it is hate speech. But it’s ok because its hating people that its ok to hate, right? (those that disagree with athiests)

    Uhm, what on earth are you talking about? ‘The God Delusion’ being considered hate speech in Canada? are you kidding??

    If you were attempting humour, my apologies….but if your reply was serious, you’re giving people a completely false picture of what constitutes ‘hate speech’ in Canada.

  • ME

    Oh My, They should be allowed to wear those shirts. That is what the child believes. I am a Christian and I don’t get offended that here in WI Muslims put billboard next to churches


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