But what’s even worse is that the students at St. Charles North High School in Illinois—not too far from my own neck of the woods—wore these shirts to school, uncontested by school officials, and had the audacity to add the biblical quotation to the back, “If a man lay with a male as those who lay with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and shall surely be put to DEATH.” The school allowed this to occur, and only had the students cover up the backs of their shirts near the end of the school day.
Can you imagine how this must have felt to the gay students in this school? How would the female students have felt, for example, if biblical passages about selling your daughter, or giving her to be raped—both which are in the bible as well, of course—were displayed? How about punishing your neighbors by stoning them, or other violent acts? We seem to constantly be forgetting that the bible is just as prejudice, just as violent, and just as archaic as the views of the Taliban, or Muslim extremists, or anyone else we fear. What we’re really fearing, it seems, is ourselves—and we allow people to pick and choose their favorite violent passages to highlight from this old man-made book and declare it suitable for law, not to mention discrimination—and all of this following a national outcry against bullying against gay teens.
And the dim-witted school official who declared this instance of grotesque intimidation a teachable moment—that everyone in the school had a right to express their views (which really isn’t true, is it, or those coed naked t-shirts that my classmates so desperately wanted to wear in the late ‘90s wouldn’t have been banned from school) and that “you have to be respectful of people who hold the opposite [point of view]” but didn’t seem to think that this view applied to the school’s gay students—unknowingly just declared his school district a place where bigotry is welcome, and a climate for bullying is warm and fertile, perfect for violent minds to flourish, grow, and oppress.