Wednesday, April 13, 2011

People for the American Way busts religious right's bully protection initiatives

In quite a long article here, People for the American Way exposes, point by point, the tactics used by the right wing to kill anti-bullying programs in schools and elsewhere. Excerpts:

The Indoctrination Myth

The crux of right-wing opposition to comprehensive bullying prevention programs is that by addressing bullying directed towards gay and gay-perceived students, schools may engage in “homosexual indoctrination.” While modern scientific research and reports from the American Psychological Association confirm that sexual orientation is not a choice, anti-gay activists have a long record of arguing that people, especially youth, become gay as a result of “recruitment.”

The “Special Rights” Smear

Just as dangerous as the indoctrination myth is the false claim that anti-bullying programs are schemes to give LGBT youth “special rights” over their peers. Religious Right groups falsely describe measures from workplace protections to health insurance benefits for gays and lesbians as “special rights,” even though they simply attempt to end discriminatory policies. Now, the right-wing is deploying the same illogical argument against bullying prevention efforts.

Playing the Victim

The Religious Right’s campaign against bullying utilizes an upside-down version of reality where the bullied are the bullies. Just as right-wing activists falsely predicted that hate crimes laws would lead to the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of people of faith and the criminalization of religion, now they say that anti-bullying programs will force religious students out of schools.

Blaming the Victims

In one of the crudest aspects of the Religious Right’s desperate efforts to block schools from putting anti-bullying programs in place, many right-wing activists are suggesting that the LGBT community should be blamed for bullying. Their stigmatizing and demonizing rhetoric only exacerbates problems by making bullies feel justified when they torment their gay peers while pushing gay youth on a path of shame, depression, and self-hatred.

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