The culprit is obvious

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the school district in Minnesota where the religious right has been working hard to keep LGBT students/teachers under thumb and the teen suicides that have come as a result.

At the close of the seven-month-long sex-ed review, Anderson and her colleagues wrote a memo to the Anoka-Hennepin school board, concluding, “The majority of parents do not wish to have there [sic] children taught that the gay lifestyle is a normal acceptable alternative.” Surprisingly, the six-member board voted to adopt the measure by a four-to-two majority, even borrowing the memo’s language to fashion the resulting districtwide policy, which pronounced that within the health curriculum, “homosexuality not be taught/addressed as a normal, valid lifestyle.”

It’s rather curious, isn’t it?  Anytime you hear of somebody with no background in the field thinking they know better than the experts, you can almost always detect the conspicuous and fetid odor of people contaminated by religion.  Often it’s thinking they know more than biologists or cosmologists.  Not quite as frequently comes the thinking that they know more than the battery of the best psychologists in the world.  In this case, the conflict comes with thinking homosexuality is somehow sinister even though the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association say otherwise.  It’s ok, the believers have the scribblings of some ancient goat herders, and that’s plenty good enough by them.

For a religion that praises humility, Christianity seems unchallenged in its ability to produce arrogance that would make Kanye West blush.

In April, Justin came home from school and found his mother at the top of the stairs, tending to the saltwater fish tank. “Mom,” he said tentatively, “a kid told me at school today I’m gonna go to hell because I’m gay.”

“That’s not true. God loves everybody,” his mom replied. “That kid needs to go home and read his Bible.”


Upon reading his bible the student will have discovered a definition of love so twisted it becomes indistinguishable from hate and he will have read commands from god ordering gays killed.  The bible is not the antidote, it’s the poison.  Combined with an uncritical mind it is a manual to madness.

“The lawyers said, ‘You’d have a hard time defending it,’” remembers Scott Wenzel, a board member who for years had pushed colleagues to abolish the policy. “It was clear that it might risk a lawsuit.” But while board members agreed that such an overtly anti-gay policy needed to be scrapped, they also agreed that some guideline was needed to not only help teachers navigate a topic as inflammatory as homosexuality but to appease the area’s evangelical activists.


God dammit, these enablers are part of the problem.  It’s bad enough that people claiming to know the will of god place biblical nonsense above compassion in terms of importance.  It’s worse when people fear angering them.  I even hear it from atheists how we must appease the believers, how we must make nice to keep them on our side.

We have played nice with the deeply religious for centuries.  We have tried the tactic of being nice and hoping they come around to some semblance of reason on their own.  It doesn’t work.  We need not treat these people like they are allies of humanity who must be placated.  It doesn’t matter if they claim to be hearing god’s voice, if their policies conflict with the well-being of other human beings then they should be told to go straight to hell.  Nothing else.  No amount of displeased noise from these people trumps the equality of even one other person.

If what they believe is true, we are ferrying people to hell.  We are throwing people into a pit of suffering every time we help someone escape faith in Jesus, and we are giggling the whole time.  You cannot expect a group of people who believe in hell to ever treat us as anything other than villains, let alone allies.  If what they believe is true, we are the bad guys.  We should not make the maintenance of their beliefs comfortable – we should make it so that they are constantly reminded why they are wrong about heaven and hell lest the thought not occur to them otherwise.

Anti-gay backlash was instant. Minnesota Family Council president Tom Prichard blogged that Justin’s suicide could only be blamed upon one thing: his gayness. “Youth who embrace homosexuality are at greater risk [of suicide], because they’ve embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle,” Prichard wrote. Anoka-Hennepin conservatives formally organized into the Parents Action League, declaring opposition to the “radical homosexual” agenda in schools. Its stated goals, advertised on its website, included promoting Day of Truth, providing resources for students “seeking to leave the homosexual lifestyle,” supporting the neutrality policy and targeting “pro-gay activist teachers who fail to abide by district policies.”

He notes that gay teens are at greater risk for suicide but concludes it must be the gayness.  It couldn’t be the atmosphere of antagonism and deprivation of protection in Prichard’s eyes.  No, no, people like Prichard are orchestrating the hellish misery of teens in an effort to help them escape misery.  How could the suicides in any way be their fault when they’re trying to help?

It’s the demonizing them and protecting the bullies at fault you fucking monster!

Asked on a radio program whether the anti-gay agenda of her ilk bore any responsibility for the bullying and suicides, Barb Anderson, co-author of the original “No Homo Promo,” held fast to her principles, blaming pro-gay groups for the tragedies. She explained that such “child corruption” agencies allow “quote-unquote gay kids” to wrongly feel legitimized. “And then these kids are locked into a lifestyle with their choices limited, and many times this can be disastrous to them as they get into the behavior which leads to disease and death,” Anderson said. She added that if LGBT kids weren’t encouraged to come out of the closet in the first place, they wouldn’t be in a position to be bullied.

Corruption?  Corruption?!

You want to talk about obvious corruption?  This article says nothing about Barb Anderson’s religion.  It talks about her hair color, her age, and a few other superfluities.  But just from her hateful, anti-human comments alone, is there any question that virtually anybody in America would find it fantastically easy to ascertain her religion?

This is how fully Christianity is married to hate.  They are so interlocked that whenever you see groups of people treating gay people as less than human the stench of faith is so thick you could choke on it.

Many will say that these people aren’t true representatives of the faith, to which I say horseshit.  The problem isn’t that these people get Christianity wrong, the problem is that they get reason wrong – a crime of which liberal Christians are equally guilty.

As an attempt to save the reputation of Christianity, others will say that the maniacs of faith are a very small number, merely a caricature of something greater.  Yet here they are in power either lording their numbers over the liberal Christians or getting their way while the majority of liberal Christians provide endorsement through their silence.  In neither case is Christianity rescued.

I just…fuck.  Those kids didn’t have to die.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.