Not Terrorism, Not Appropriate Either

Not Terrorism, Not Appropriate Either August 4, 2015

Eddie Kouya drew attention to an article in the Daily Telegraph, about plans to use anti-terrorism legislation against teachers who use the classroom to tell students that same-sex marriage is wrong.

I think we need to be careful about over-using the terminology of terrorism, cheapening it in precisely the way some conservative Christians have cheapened the term “persecution,” using it for cases in which someone merely disagrees with them, or even for cases in which all that happened was the loss of their ability to persecute others.

But clearly, even if the application of this specific legislation to these specific cases is questionable, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is inappropriate for teachers in schools to say that same-sex marriage is wrong.

Jesus taught us how to evaluate such cases. Put yourself in the other person’s situation and see how you would feel. If someone were to teach in a class that Christianity is wrong, how would you find that?

If the teacher who says this sort of thing is a Christian, they ought to already know not to say such things.

But even if they are not Christians, they should be able to understand why, in a pluralistic society, it is inappropriate for children to have their own identity, or that of their family, denigrated by someone whom they most likely respect and view as an authority figure.


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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    Unfortunately, this just fuels the fundamentalist fears (alliteration not intended). They keep saying the government will outlaw dissenting views, and things like this play right into that narrative.

    • Chris Crawford

      I don’t blame conservatives for being wary of that; we all should be. Of course, the problem is that many of them want to regulate the opposite view.

  • Chris Crawford

    Agree completely. The online map identifying sexual predators was released a decade or so ago, and I was alarmed to see that one lived just one street over. I quickly learned from a neighbor that the “predator” was an 18-year-old who was discovered being intimate with his 16-year-old girlfriend and reported by her parents. I wanted to look at the map as a way to identify potential threats; but the reality was, it couldn’t be trusted. That man was no more a threat to my young sons than I was, and his punishment was unfair.

    Terrorism legislation is there to protect us against those likely to be a threat, not those who “might” be. When you take it too far, it becomes a witch hunt to push our personal agendas against those who disagree with us.

  • Um … let’s not get carried away here. First, we’re talking about proposed UK legislation. Some of the people who oppose this legislation haven’t even seen it yet. See, for example, here.

    Second, there are no “plans” to use this legislation (even if adopted) against teachers who say that same-sex marriage is wrong. What we have here is based on the statement of a single member of Parliament, Mark Spencer, who was responding to an email from a constituent. In reply, Spencer reportedly stated that under the new law, “everybody in society has a right to free speech and to express their views without fear of persecution”, and that teachers would be able to express their own views towards marriage, but that they could not specifically teach that same-sex marriage is a sin. See here.

    This email exchange has led to a predictable storm of outrage. The post you’ve cited from Eddie Kouya wrongly states that Spencer wants to prosecute teachers who say that same-sex marriage is wrong, which happens to be exactly contrary to what Spencer said.

    From all I’ve read, the legislation is intended for the persecution of Islam, not Christianity. Much of what I’ve seen on this issue boils down to Christians outraged that they might be treated like Muslims. As a result, there seems to be widespread Christian opposition to this proposed legislation, which is a good thing, because the law is a terrible idea. “Do unto others” turns out to be a pretty good rule after all.