The Family Action Council of Tennessee is pushing to get this bill passed through the state legislature. The bill will amend the required schools' "anti-bullying" policies to purportedly protect the rights of those whose religious beliefs render them opposed to, say, homosexuality.
What the proposed law says is that anti-bullying policies "may not prohibit their 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."
So what "rights" are being defended here? Students already have the right to practice any religion they want to. They are free to attend churches that believe homosexuality is immoral. Schools' anti-bullying policies are in place to protect the vulnerable — small kids, gays, those who are somehow perceived as "different" — from verbal and physical intimidation. Will the new law allow those who attend churches such as the Westboro Baptist Church, of "God Hates Fags" fame, to practice their homophobic and hateful religion in schools? Apparently so. Will the new law allow those who are white supremacists to express their "political beliefs" concerning Jews and African Americans? And how about extremist Muslims? Will they be allowed to practice verbal jihad in school? It's their philosophical view, after all.
Yep, the way I read this, going around saying "God hates fags" will be cool in Tennessee schools as long as, you know, you don't hit anybody.
I'm sure Jesus will be pleased.
And you know who else will be pleased? Nobody. The Tennessee legislature is already a national punchline. If, as GOP legislators constantly claim, jobs are the top priority, this is absolutely the worst kind of publicity the state can get. How many Fortune 500 companies or large international manufacturers are going to want to locate in a state where the public schools are legally required to allow bigotry and homophobia?
It's wrong, and beyond stupid.