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Views & Voices

LGBTs, Christians and Jews to be persecuted in Tennessee?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In its upcoming session, the Tennessee Legislature may consider a bill which would allow bullying if such bullying is based upon a bully’s “expression of religious, philosophical, or political views as long as such expression does not include a threat of physical harm to a student or of damage to a student’s property.”

The legislation, as proposed, is supposed to correct the “harm” that anti-bullying policies may place upon students who believe that being gay is “against God.”

The bill, heavily lobbied by the Family Action Council of Tennessee, is supposed to “make sure [the law] protects the religious liberty and free speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality.”

Not only does this bill establish a special right for religious individuals to persecute, harass, and demean LGBT people, but it also can be turned on its head, and harm the people that is is supposedly crafted to protect.

As the legislation says, bullying is acceptable as long as it is based upon a students “religious, philosophical, or political beliefs.”

Thus, if a Christian was bullying a Jewish person, calling them a “Christ killer” and a “worthless heathen who is going to hell,” that is completely acceptable, because it is based in religion.

Conversely, Christians can also be bullied by their peers for believing in the “fairy tails” of Christianity, such as the virgin birth and the resurrection. Even African-Americans can be bullied, for the bully could claim that their distaste for African-Americans is based upon the curse of Ham contained in the book of Genesis.

This is why this bill failed in Michigan, because instead of giving the bully special protection for their bullying, the bully was open to persecution himself.

The failure of this bill in Michigan give an inkling for the real reason for such legislation (give Christians special rights to make others feel worthless), yet when the unintended consequences of the legislation are made apparent, lawmakers want to distance themselves from the “religious persecution” bill.

After a lot of media criticism, the Senate sponsor of the bill, Republican Senator Jim Tracy of Shelbyville, has decided to “narrow” the bills scope.

I wonder what such “narrowing” entails, and if that narrowing will give specific license to bully LGBT Tennesseans.

© Kyle Luebke.
For more by Kyle Luebke, click here to visit his blog.
Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

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59 more reader comments:

  1. What the hell?
    That can’t even be done, can it?
    Allowing bully?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:38pm
  2. fuck sake move away people

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:38pm
  3. Really. What part of “allow bullying” is a good idea?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:39pm
  4. I AGREE WITH AIDAN WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:39pm
  5. so the rest of the world can bully Tennessee for having a family tree with no branches…

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:40pm
  6. Sick!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:41pm
  7. Ahhhhh yes the great state of denial….er….I mean Tennessee…bring on the restraining orders and law suits for psychological pain and suffering because as we all know you can get away with anything so long as you affiliate yourself with religion. IDIOTS.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:42pm
  8. Wait… I must have read this wrong… That seriously doesn’t say “allowed” does it?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:43pm
  9. Ahh! Michigan had the same issue

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:45pm
  10. I live in TN and it is a disgusting idea. Christian or not, when you grant kids permission to torture other children that are probably already scared and confused, something is terribly wrong. Hopefully we can stop this.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:46pm
  11. We need to remember, when one of us looses our rights, we all loose our rights. People of Tennessee, DON’T GIVE IN TO THE HYPE!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:46pm
  12. do they know that an assault the US Justice System is defined as a verbal threat? comical.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:48pm
  13. in*

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:48pm
  14. Time to start having churches pay their fair share of taxes on their lavish campuses if they choose to regulate public schools!!!! What has happened to the separation of church and state????

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:48pm
  15. Oy yah… -_-

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:50pm
  16. WHAT THE LIVING HELL IS THIS?! This is saying “Screw all men are created equal, we want you to go out there and discriminate as much as you can, okay?”

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:51pm
  17. “offending students who think being gay is against God”… It’s against God to harm another person. Does “love thy neighbor” even register anymore?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:52pm
  18. i traveled through Tennessee, there’s already a serious lack of dental care…not a good idea!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:53pm
  19. So does that mean as a Pagan I could legally bully a Christian?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:57pm
  20. There’s a huge difference between being able to calmly state one’s perspective and being a bully.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:57pm
  21. It’s high time that the Courts i Tennessee told the local school boards to get rid of the theocrats or all federal funding will be pulled. Let the schools live on the scraps of state assistance they can muster. Since TN has no state tax, the entire burden will fall on the haters.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:58pm
  22. i wonder how musch we could get for the State of Tennesse if we put it up on Craigslist??

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:58pm
  23. Hit them in the pocketbooks where it hurts.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:58pm
  24. Well, I’m just going to start killing people, but not because I hate them, but my religion gives me the right to. Really this is total bull

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:59pm
  25. That is just adding to the fire. Ugh. As a christian and gay rights activist, I dont see whats being solved here

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:59pm
  26. Write to the State’s Attorney General and send hiim the letter from US Department of Education stating that allowing harassment of any kind goes against Title IX and that if they cannot find a way, STATEWIDE, to put a halt to the harassment, their federal funding can be pulled.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:59pm
  27. This is madness!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:00pm
  28. Wht the bloody Shit is this has the world gon mad

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:00pm
  29. Then set up a site where all kids can report their harassment, naming names, places, times, dates and what transacted. Keep the log and continuously send updates to the State’s Attorney General and to the DoE. If people want to get serious about this issue, they need to take serious action and step up to the plate.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:03pm
  30. A teacher in New York was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take out a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up, not to rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty it was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bullies another child, they may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:17pm
  31. that is stupid…its basically saying bullying is ok as long as their is a reason for it and using “expression of religious, philosophical, or political views” as a band-aide. they obviously didnt remember that mental/emotional effects of bullying are real too! Its almost like saying fuck you cuz your different. I have no idea what idiot(s) pulled this idea out of their ass…but maybe they should be bullied because they are a dumbass

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:18pm
  32. Im not usually one to pull the Redneck card, obviously, but seriously. How Backward can ya get. May as well come out and say it, We Support Gay Bashing!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:23pm
  33. this is such bullshit. Prejudice is just ignorance. I like how all the religious bigots are so high and mighty against gays because the bible tells them to, but then go to lunch and eat lobster. The bible also says my father can sell me, and i can have my mother killed for wearing clothes made of different thread. Honestly, if you think being gay is an abomination, made clear by the bible, fine. I don’t think you can pick and choose which rules you’d like to follow though. You either completely follow EVERYTHING the bible says, or you don’t. I don’t think it’s fair for you to persecute children for their feelings and half-ass follow the book you’re using for your reasoning. *steps off soap box.*

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:31pm
  34. (what i mean by “or you dont” i meant you dont follow the bible at all. My bad.)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:32pm
  35. This is most asinine thing I have heard!!! The Tennessee Legislature can shove this bill up their ass! Wait till one of your kids gets bullied in school or even killed. Woops! It will be too late then jackasses. You passed the bill and your kid got his head bashed in. Way to go!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:33pm
  36. This is the worst idea I’ve ever heard.. what is it going to take some more kids killing themselves because they cannot handle the bullying and this state is allowing this stupidity to occur. It’s really sad to know and kids have to suffer due to the states poor ass judgement.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:34pm
  37. What?!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:45pm
  38. When will people learn..?? that RELIGION IS THE GREATEST PLAGUE TO SWEEP ACROSS AMERICA!!!!! Stop letting these fucking idiots shout everyone else down. Freddom of religion in the constitution INCLUDES freedom FROM religious persecution as well as the right to practive your religious beliefs. Your beliefes stop at your front door!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:58pm
  39. Sounds like the Simpsons are running Tennesee…what distant past century do these people inhabit?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 11:04pm
  40. What a fucking back-wards country this can be.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 11:14pm
  41. What the fuck, ima kill them all anyone want to help?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 11:26pm
  42. PCness at its bloody finest how utterly stupid are some ppl going to be!?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 11:46pm
  43. I think that it is about time that separation of church and state was enforced.. Wait hold on?? Wasn’t that in Constitution, written hundreds of years ago.. The very document that formed this country? And last time i checked the Bible played no role in forming this country so I think we should stop using it as though it should.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 12:19am
  44. One more reason to never move there.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 12:41am
  45. Bullying is abuse plain and simple to condone it seems like Government would be just as guilty as the abuser . Verbal abuse hurts just as much as physical abuse . Ignorance is bliss . ” Here’s your sign ” Jeff Foxworthy

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:10am
  46. apparently Tennessee (and some others) have forgotten that there’s a huge difference between freedom of expression and bullying.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 4:39am
  47. So long as it doesn’t threaten them physically. But if it verbally threatens them to the verge of tears and/or suicide, then that’s fine.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 5:15am
  48. come on, its tennessee, are any of you really surprised? that place is a hell hole second only to missisippi…

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 5:28am
  49. Wow ! I would love to visit the place when the bill passes. I’m an Atheist ;) and I would enjoy bullying the crap out of everyone. I support LGBT tho, so those guys are safe.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 6:15am
  50. Way to throw away your reputation Tennessee.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 8:44am
  51. Not that we pagans would bully, but certainly a good point!! This law is wrong on moral, religious and just about every other level I can think of!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 9:18am
  52. so bullying is a christian trait now? I would have to go with the what would jesus do on this one. and i dont think bullying would be one of his choices.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 9:40am
  53. Thanks to my friend Jasdev Arya,who kindly sent me these precious links on the true teachings of Hinduism about lgbts,hidden from us from mainstream ,highly edited hinduism to suit homophobic views.

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 10:12am
  54. So… wtf is this? Can’t they see it’s still gonna emotionally hurt a person? Tennessee in your future i see a lot of suicide coming your way if you pass that messed up bill!

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 10:58am
  55. Wail, awlls ah kin say is there gonna be a lotta daid Tennesseans up thar in them hills and cuntry sangers as well, not to mention them preechurs et al.!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 11:45am
  56. What the flying fuck is wrong with the deliberately unintelligent neanderthals who actually believe this bill is a good idea?

    I am very literally scratching my head trying to understand how in the name of heaven this blatantly offensive horseshit is ever going to see the light of day without the greater portion of this country crying foul.

    This bill has absolutely no business even being considered. If it passes, that entire fucking state should be boycotted!

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 7:53pm
  57. Careful, Kathy Huff it wasn’t all that long ago they were burning us at the stake for our convictions. And they were doing it on the senate floor.

    I would guess the main part of the problem, aside from the fascist flavor of these Christnicks, is the rest of us figure we’ve won a fight and go back to wrestling. They lick their wounds, get a clue, and start all over again. Gays, alternate cultures of faith, alternate color of skin, it’s all the same to them.

    And before they think they are safe, it is always the same. First the fags, then the Jew/Black/Messenian or other helot, and don’t forget the ‘idiots’ the ‘handicapped’ (from the way they treat injured vets it’s already happening) and other undesirables. This is, according to Ezekiel 16.48, the reason Sodom was destroyed.

    Posted on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 8:03am
  58. No they will turn it around on you because you are Pagan. They will arrest you if you go against their christian beliefs. I am on your side with that!

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 7:41pm
  59. I hate it when stupid Christians are in power. I’m a Christian and don’t support this bill in any way.

    Posted on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 8:18am