Treating LGBQT people like humans isn’t a “political issue”

“A gay Ohio substitute teacher was fired last week after handing out Pride bracelets to high school students, the latest example of LGBTQ discussion in schools sparking controversy amid heated debates in school boards and states around the country,” CNN reported on Friday, April 1, 2022 (read story here).

The teacher also answered students’ questions about the LGBTQ advocacy group that distributes the bracelets, throwing more fuel on the fire.

     The district claims he “he violated board policies by speaking to students about political and religious topics.” The superintendent, in a letter to the community, added, “While we recognize there are diverse points of view on this matter, this policy exists for the purpose of ensuring all students feel comfortable in the classroom.”
     Predictably, the area leans “conservative,” and the fired teacher noted that the existence of gay people is “outside the comfort level of a lot of people” there.
     Maybe other things justified the teacher’s firing; that isn’t clear from news reports, and I won’t try to second-guess that here. I just want to make this point: Gays are under attack by Republicans across the country, and while that is a political issue, being gay is NOT a political issue, any more than having black skin is.
     Most conservatives believe being gay is a behavior people choose. It’s not. It’s a biological condition people are born with, selected by nature, over which they have no choice.
     The religious right sees gay as sinful. That’s a religious belief that has no place in a public school classroom. They also believe God created the earth and its creatures 6,000 years ago, but in fact our planet is over 4 billion years old and its flora and fauna evolved. Believing something, whether it’s a religious belief or not, doesn’t make it true.
     They fight against evolution being taught in schools, but evolution is scientific fact and understanding how it works is crucial to, among other things, developing vaccines to protect us against constantly mutating viruses. If we don’t teach evolution in our schools and colleges, we won’t have scientists who can do that. That affects all of us.
     The Constitution, and our American concepts of freedom, protect the right of people to think and believe as they wish. But there’s an old saying that “your freedom to swing your fist stops where my nose begins.” While believing what isn’t true is mostly ignorance that mainly disadvantages that individual, discriminating against other people because of what they are is a moral wrong and harms others. And that makes it our business.

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