auntbijou: (Dancing Snape)
Ahem... to quote an article on Yahoo News today..."In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California."

Thank you, Supreme Court. You screwed us over with denying us our right to remain silent as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, and you did it again by invalidating a key part of the Voting Rights Act. But... you did the right thing by granting equal marriage rights to everyone. And I totally appreciate that.

So... equal parts horror and joy, right?

And hey, Wendy Davis, YOU GO, GIRL!!! Thank you for donning those pink Nikes and standing up to the Good Ol' Boys for my rights! I am so damn tired of the Good Ol' Boys in Texas running things. Thank you for giving them a well deserved poke in the eye!

And now, you may return to your regularly scheduled lives...
auntbijou: (Blessed Bee)
Okay, I have to address this.

"This," of course, is the story about the cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas who want to display biblically themed banners at pep rallies and football games.

*sighs*

They're claiming it is "free speech" and they should be allowed to do it. And, of course, it is free speech... but they cannot be allowed to do this.

"But why, Auntie?" you ask.

I will tell you why. If these cheerleaders were acting as private citizens, or as regular students, holding up their banners from the stands like the legendary "John 3:16" Guy, there would be no problem. I, personally, would have no problem with this. It would be great, they could do it all they wanted. They might offend some people, but as they say, it's free speech, and they're allowed.

However... they're not acting as private citizens. They're cheerleaders, and they are acting at a school sanctioned event, as representatives of the school. A PUBLIC school. That's when those banners stop being free speech. If the school allows them to use those banners, the school is then allowing these cheerleaders to "proselytize" to every person in the audience, including their fellow students.

What's wrong with this?

Nothing, if you assume that every person in that audience is a Christian, and goes to their church, or follows their particular brand of Christianity.

The problem is, and it seems to be a concept that a lot of Christians can't grasp, not everyone is Christian. Not everyone sitting in those bleachers at the pep rally, or in the stands at the football game, are Christians. Or belong to the same church, or denomination, as those cheerleaders. Let's face it, some denominations are very particular about how they worship and express their religion.

Now, as you know, the Constitution of the United States has a Bill of Rights, allowing us all equal protections under the law. However, another concept that most Christians seem to be unable to grasp is... the Bill of Rights does not protect the rights of the majority.

Let me state that again.

THE BILL OF RIGHTS DOES NOT PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE MAJORITY.

It protects everyone. That means non-Christians as well as Christians.

That means non-Christians, be they Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Viking, you name it, have the right to attend a public event and not be proselytized within an inch of their lives.

It also means that if those Christian cheerleaders get to use biblically inspired banners at the football games, then Wiccan students can bring out Wiccan themed banners to the game. So can Buddhists. And Muslims. Yes, if they want to paint a banner that says, "Allah Hu Akbar! Go Team!!" then they can. And the Texas State Attorney General can't say diddly squat, because HE SUPPORTED THOSE CHEERLEADERS.

If you're going to allow it for one group, then you have to allow it for ALL OF THEM.

Because public schools are government funded entities, and therefore cannot support one religion over another. And a football game/pep rally are events sponsored by that publicly funded entity, and those cheerleaders are representatives of that publicly funded entity.

Do you understand now?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

If you're going to allow one to pass out religious materials in a school, or have meetings, or have religiously inspired banners, or to pray at meetings, games, etc... then you have to allow them ALL to do it. ALL OF THEM.

Get that through your heads. This is not a Christian nation. It is a nation made up of people from many countries, and of many different religions (or lack of them). It always has been.

And that, my friends, is the way it is.

Yeah, no

Thursday, September 13th, 2012 12:25 pm
auntbijou: (Default)
I shop at Hobby Lobby a lot for my crafting needs. Not because I think it's the best or anything. I do it because it's the closest variety crafting store to my small town, being only twenty minutes away in San Marcos.

I don't enjoy it, though. I like their beads, but sometimes, the selection is a little too... similar, and I can't find things I need, certain gauges of wire, or the right size hammer, or yarns. And then there's the relentless piping in of "inspirational" Christian music, which seems to be played on the same tinny piano. Constantly. Don't get me wrong, for those who enjoy it, it's probably blissful and serene. But for me, not so much. When I'm shopping alone, I tend to pop my earbuds in and listen to my iPod. Most of the time that I go there, though, I have the rest of the family with me and need to listen for them. So I end up cranky and short-tempered.

Well, I won't be shopping at Hobby Lobby any more. I'll shop online or drive my ass into Austin if I need stuff now, because after reading this, I'm not so keen on them any more:

Hobby Lobby Lawsuit Against Affordable Healthcare

Yes, you have freedom of religion, bully for you. However, I also have the freedom to take my pocketbook elsewhere. And I will. When you find a clump of cells more important than the person carrying them, you lose my sympathy. And my money, if you're a business.

It may be inconvenient for me, but... no thank you, Hobby Lobby. I'll find somewhere else to spend my crafting dollars.
auntbijou: (Angry Chibi Auntie!!)
Dear Principals, Teachers, and other concerned adults,

You wanna prevent bullying in schools? Really? Want me to tell you how? Okay, stop with all the "Oh, let's build up self-esteem and tell the bulliessocially awkward and overly enthusiastic children that bullying is wrong and hurts people!!" crap, because y'all have been doing that for about, what, ten years now? Is it working?

NO. It's NOT.

Let me elucidate for you. The BULLIES already know that bullying is wrong. They already know it hurts people. That's why they do it.

They don't do it because they have low self esteem.

They don't do it because they're unaware of their own strength.

They have a sense of entitlement, and they know their own strength and have no trouble at all using it.

Why?

Well, maybe they're being abused at home, and they're acting out. Maybe one or the other of their parents is a bully at work, and has given their child the impression that the best way to get what they want, to get things done, is to bully people. Because if you think bullying stops when the bullies graduate, you are living in a dream world.

But the main reason bullies do it? Because... they can get away with it. They know that you, the principals, teachers, administrators, counselors, etc, will only do so much when one of their victims is brave enough, or desperate enough, to report them to you. They know you will take them into your office, sit them down in chair, and talk gravely to them about bullying. You'll ask them if they understand what they've done, and they'll say and do whatever they need to in order to get you to leave them alone. They know you will nod, and frown, and speak firmly to them, that you'll say something about calling their parents, and then let them go back to class. You'll send them to the counselor for a few weeks, who will also talk gravely to them, maybe make them watch a video or two full of those "happy, happy, cheerful, cheerful, don't be a naughty bully!" crap that does nothing at all whatsoever, maybe have them draw a few pictures, and then release them back into the population of the school. A few weeks will pass where the bully will do nothing. Then, when everyone's breathed a sigh of relief that the bully has been magically cured...

... it will start all over again

You might go a little farther if the victim's parents throw a hissy fit and mention the words, "lawyer," "lawsuit," and "police involvement" when they call you or storm into your nice, quiet, clean offices. You might give the bully an "in-school suspension."

Or you might send the bully home for a few days with a mild suggestion to his/her parents to see a therapist, or even to just "communicate effectively to your child that bullying is wrong!"

All you've done is give that kid a three day vacation from school work.

Wanna know how to stop it? Really, really stop it?

For one thing, tell your teachers when they're on playground duty to stop gathering in little clumps and getting so involved in conversations with each other that they only notice bullying when it's reached the point that someone is either bleeding or has a broken bone. If they're on playground duty, they need to separate and walk around the playground. They need to pay attention when they see a group of girls around one single girl, and need to notice the expression on her face. If she's crying, looks angry, or terrified, she's being bullied, you nitwits, not playing a game!! If a boy is being pushed down to the ground and two other boys are kicking him, it's bullying!!

Shit, people, this isn't rocket science!!!

And so help me, if you come back at me with, "What, you mean I'm supposed to actually watch the kids like they're in jail??" I am going to kick you so hard, your grandchildren will feel it! Yes. You are supposed to watch the children. You are supposed to walk around, keeping your ears and your eyes open. You're supposed to intervene before fists fly, before words that are worse than sticks and stones hit, before that one kid who stutters, who is smaller than the others, who wears weird, hand-me-down clothes, who has unusually colored hair, who wears glasses, who has braces, or whatever other fucking stupid reason bullies use to justify why they torment their victims is hurt again. That's your job.

That means at junior high level, you not only patrol the halls, you walk into the restrooms. What, you don't want to intimidate the kids? Why the hell not??? Isn't that your job, too?? What the hell else do you think is going to work?? Don't you remember junior high? Where did most of the worst bullying happen? IN THE RESTROOM!!!

And high school, same thing. PAY ATTENTION!! It isn't that hard. You did it every time you took your own kids out to play at a park, or at a family gathering, or any place where there were other kids, some of them older and bigger. You watched your kids like a hawk, and swooped in like a fury when they were threatened, and gods, if you didn't, I feel so sorry for your kids.

Well, you know what? For eight hours a day, my kids are your kids. And you better damn sure watch them like a hawk, because if you aren't, then you shouldn't be teaching. Or a principal. Or a counselor. Or anything to do with kids.

Seriously, people. You want bullying to stop, you don't try to make them feel good about themselves. You don't show them flowery, happy videos, and you don't treat them like victims who are mislabeled, or misunderstood. You stop them. You make them know, in a way they cannot ignore, that they are being watched. You get in their faces and confront them. You tell them it won't be tolerated, and then you don't tolerate it. You call the police and file charges on the behalf of the school and the victim. You fine the parents. You do whatever you have to do to make it damn hard for them to get away with it. You give the damn bullies consequences. Remember those? You stopped teaching about those a few years back, right about when you stopped teaching logic and critical thinking.

Until you do this, it won't stop. It will keep going. You can't wish it away. You can't close your eyes and pretend.

You're just as responsible as they are for what they do, what they get away with, and the damage they leave behind.

Well? I'm waiting...

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