Homosexuality not a valid excuse for bullying, Anoka school policy forces faculty neutrality

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The numerous headlines recently made due to the issues of how homosexuality should be discussed and handled in the school systems of Anoka, Minnesota, can hardly be turned a blind eye to anymore.
Conflicts between advocates for gay students and rights and conservative Christian groups can be ignored no longer.
This July, six students brought a lawsuit against Anoka school officials, stating that the officials have failed to stop continuous anti-gay bullying and that a district policy that forces teachers to remain “neutral” on issues of sexual orientation has resulted in nothing but oppression, silence, and a destructive stigma.
The harassment of gay students has been unchecked throughout the school district, including a large section of Michele Bachman’s Congressional district.
Conservative Christian groups are demanding that the schools avoid any positive descriptions of homosexuality as normal, warning school officials against any surrender to the “homosexual agenda” of recruiting students to an “unhealthy and abnormal lifestyle.”
The issue is made even more unnerving by the eight student suicides that have taken place in the Anoka school system in the last two years.  Whether anti-gay bullying was to blame for these suicides is disputed, but four of the eight students were experiencing issues of sexual identity and gross harassment by peers.
Many would think, why is this an issue being brought up in this paper? We are nowhere near Anoka, Minnesota; there is nothing we can do.
Yes, we are not in Anoka and may not be able to help the fight there, but the problems of anti-gay bullying go beyond the boundaries of Minnesota and delve straight into the heart of the issue of human rights.
Does not every person, regardless of sexual orientation, gender or race, deserve the same rights? I thought that in American society “all men are created equal.” Or was I mistaken?
The anti-gay harassment of homosexual students and adults, not only in Anoka, but also throughout the United States, is a sick portrayal of American citizenry at a low point.
We are all humans and as such all deserve to be treated with the same common courtesy and decency as others. Just because a person is a gay man or a lesbian does not mean that they are not normal.
If normalcy could actually be defined, we would all be in a whole heap of trouble, because no one is truly “normal.” As such, we are all worthy of the same respect and should be shown that respect regardless of the gender of our sexual partners.
Homosexuality is not an epidemic and furthermore cannot be changed or “cured” no matter how hard groups try to rid children and adults of the proposed “unhealthy and abnormal lifestyle.” So we should all aid in the attempt to stop such ridiculous and harmful actions.
Mercer has had its own battle with anti-gay groups. While Mercer’s sponsorship and allowance of homosexual clubs such as Common Ground on campus may not have been the only factor leading to the break between Mercer and the Southern Baptist Conference years ago, it still contributed.
As students at a university that made such a stand for gay student rights, we as Mercer students should feel some obligation to not overlook the instances of anti-gay harassment and bullying around us.

Every citizen has a right to basic human decency and respect. We should not make the assumption that just because a man chooses another man as a partner, or vice-versa, that the man is any less human that we are.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens are people and should not be subjected to bullying and harassment by fellow peers.
Conservative Christian groups who have taken a vendetta against homosexual students should be embarrassed of themselves.
Does it not say in the Bible something along the lines of, “Judge not, lest ye be judged?” Shame on you.

Comments, questions,
concerns or criticisms on this column can be sent to
opinions@mercercluster.com.