Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Religious rights

Okay, my panties are in a knot again. Seriously, I really, really dislike a huge bunch of religious people. I am religious. I am a Christian. I believe with all my heart that two things Christ has said is what needs to be followed. You've heard me rant about it. One is loving God. Der! Of course. The second is loving others. This is something a whole bunch Christians seem to have problems understanding. For me, it's pretty simple, love others as I would myself. It doesn't mean I have to AGREE with their choices, the life, their fashion sense, their values, the fact that they love cilantro and I think it's vile, but it does mean that I have to give them the same amount of love as I would myself. Now lets be realistic, love for myself means that I'm going to buy myself Coach, I'm not about to do that for a stranger, so lets call it respect.

So, I'm straight. I don't care who anyone else loves so long as its consensual. So if a 90 year old man falls in love with an 18 year old gal, I might raise an eyebrow, but we all agree 18 is old enough for consent and if she's in love with someone old enough to be her great grandfather, well go for it. It wouldn't be MY choice, I might not even agree with it. I might have to be exposed to them kissing, their wedding, the fact that the rights we agreed to as a nation says that they are protected to fall in love and build a life together. I might have to learn that in school, their rights are protected and just because I might not think it's cool, does not make it icky, or gross, or unnatural or immoral and that I don't have the right to treat anyone that way according to those rights afforded them. guess what? All of that, does NOT violate my religious rights. I still have a right to go to church, I have a right to take my kids to church, to indoctrinate and program them as I please. I can teach them nothing but religious stuff from the time they come home til bedtime and so on and so forth. It does not prevent me from thinking that May/September romances are icky. What it does prevent me from doing is violating their rights, but guess what? If loving thy neighbour is demoted to respecting thy neighbour, the Bible itself prevents me from violating their rights.

So what has caused all this ranting? Well for those in my great province of Ontario, there has been some new anti-bullying law which of course affects Ontario's PUBLIC schools. In such it's not okay to be mean to people because of various things, but lets be frank, the hot button issue for religious people is LGBT rights. So of course, in reaction to this law, a bunch of religiously conservative parents have their panties in a knot and are forming groups and writing letters asking that they have the right to be notified and so choose to withdraw their kids from classes if the teachings conflict with their religious views. Here's an article if you want to verify my nutshell.

Some of it includes, sexuality classes, placing environmentalism above religion (ummm, I'm pretty sure in the Bible that we're commanded to take care of the Earth properly-piss poor job we're doing at it, I think environmentalism and religion, much like social justice and religion go hand in hand, but completely different, wait, I really need to know, how does one put environmentalism above religion? Is there something in the Bible that I'm not aware that says, let's allow Enbridge to destroy Canada? Recycling is unholy? Don't buy a hybrid? ). I can understand about sex ed classes to a degree, many parents want to give it a more personal touch and add a good hit of values along with the raw data around sex ed, fair enough.

But the thing that is really pissing me off about in their standard form letter one of the requests is to be notified if the school plans on discussions or portrayals of homosexual/bisexual conduct and relationships and/or transgenderism as natural, healthy or acceptable.

Acceptable...You know what? You're damn right it acceptable! Because YOU don't happen to agree with it does not make it unhealthy, unnatural or unacceptable. BTW, you cannot bitch about the school teaching evolution and then go on to deem what is natural or unnatural. You don't like homosexuality, I get that, you don't think it's right, fine. But if you are to operate in public society in Canada, and Ontario, you get to operate within the code that we as a democracy decided that these groups have rights, and one of those rights is to not be treated differently or bullied by people who simply disagree with the way they live life. If you are attending a PUBLIC school, you get the privilege of education without the private school rates, but you also have the responsibility of treating people with respect. Thinking that someone is unhealthy, unnatural or unacceptable is not very respectful. If I were to say that about any of these groups railing about their rights, they'd be the first hopping up and down.

That said though, back to the Bible, if loving thy neighbour is simply about respect, you're getting a one giant fail. You might have been able to escape the bulk of my wrath if you just stopped about teaching the kids about homosexuality period. But to label it as something unnatural/unhealthy/unacceptable, you have shown your colours and your values, and while I cannot impede upon your rights, and I won't, I can say that I don't like your values, they're disrespectful and if you're Christian (not purposely excluding other religions, just speaking to what I know) to me, you're totally missing the mark of loving others as you would yourself.

As someone with children in PUBLIC school, I'm putting you on notice, I will be fighting to protect the rights of mine and other children. If you try to impede on them with bullying, lack of respect or whathaveyou in my vicinity, you're on notice, I'm going to be there. I'm sending my kids to a PUBLIC school so they can learn about diversity, respect, other points of view and learn to disagree without disvaluing (new word) them as a person for how they are WIRED (in caps in case anyone still thinks sexuality is a choice). My job in the home is to teach them values, which usually falls in line with my religion. My job as a parent is to instill good values in them that can withstand the mere introduction of another way or life or point of view. If I have to shield my kids from the fact that some people think treating LGBT people different is okay, I'm not doing my job. Because chances are, they are going to come across people who thinks its okay to treat others differently, meanly even based on their race, sex, gender, class, ability, language, nationality, sexuality and even religion, and I have to do my job in instilling values that it's not okay to do that. Exposing my kids to values other than my own based on my religion is NOT a violation of my religious rights, it's life as we know it in a very diverse community. Do not fall into the simplistic thinking that you have a right to be shielded in public from other people, that is not a right and it sure as hell isn't a right that supercedes the rights of others to simply exist and be treated the same as you or any other human in school, work, city, province, country.

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