Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gay is the Word

I was in the gym tonight when Toronto Archbishop Tom Collins came on the television.  The Ontario government is currently fine tuning proposed anti-bullying legislation, which of course affects catholic schools.  The legislation would allow students to form anti-bullying, anti-homophobic groups, sometimes known as Gay-Straight Alliances.  The issue right now seems to be the use of the word gay in the groups name.  I had a hard time understanding this at first, but that's it. (Well, that and the existence of the groups themselves.) The government wants to head off the obvious tactic of the local catholic boards disallowing students to use the word gay in their group name. Ironically, such a rule would in itself be a form of bullying.

Collins struck me as glib and narcissistic. He claims these groups and their name amounts to religious persecution. Perhaps he should read some of Amnesty International's reports to put his suffering in better context. The Cardinal thinks the word gay is a distraction in the process of stopping the bullying of gay teens. I don't think they're even trying any more to sound logical.

Collins was followed by a female trustee with a spacey smile who informed us that we can't very well accept the title Gay Straight Alliance because it is a political movement which seeks to inject politics in a political way. We know how much Catholics hate that kind of thing.  Out Heroding Herod, she added that it was an American political thing.

At that point I had had enough and walked away from the television.  I spent the rest of the night thinking thoughts that would most certainly constitute persecution of the Cardinal's religious liberty.  I couldn't help it.

Collins, many trustees, and some Conservative MPPs maintain that the local boards should be able to deal with this on their own.  I think this legislation would be an obvious sign that this has not, or will not happen.  It would have been nice if the Southern American States had desegregated themselves without the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and  fairly aggressive enforcement by federal law agencies.  In retrospect that collision was inevitable.  It's not an entirely unfair comparison.

As far as Alberta goes, i'm pretty sure this controversy is coming our way.  And in the past the PC Party Government has sided with religious groups against those who are being discriminated against.

Please recommend this post


Skinny Dipper said...

There goes my idea for a "Gay Caballeros glee club."

Joke aside, I think one problem that a Gay-Straight Alliance club will have in a Catholic school is trying to get a teacher to volunteer to attend all meetings and events. In any school, an adult is required to be present at all student extra-curricular activities. I don't think that a teacher would have a problem volunteering with a GSA. However, that teacher may face contractual problem with the school board over morality clauses. Therefore, no teacher will volunteer to support a GSA.

Could an adult outside the teaching field volunteer to work with a GSA? That adult would likely not get approval from the board or school.

In essence, GSA's will be allowed at Catholic schools. However, they won't be able to function without teacher supervision. They won't get a page in their schools' yearbooks.

Robert McBean said...

i think there are any number of ways they can undermine it, and probably will. it will be interesting to watch. (or frustrating)