June 1, 2006

Question of the day

Posted in Civil rights, Education, GLBT issues, Religion at 7:48 pm by The Lizard Queen

Should a shirt that reads “I Will Not Accept What God Has Condemned” on the front and “Homosexuality is Shameful” and “Romans 1:27” on the back be considered protected speech and/or religious expression insofar as a student should be allowed to wear it in a public school?

Read more over at Shakespeare’s Sister.

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4 Comments »

  1. Caracierge said,

    As I understand the right to free speech, you’re free to speak so long as your speech doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others (in this case not to hear discrimintatory, offensive, or harrassing statements). So I’d think that the shirt, with the “Homosexuality is Shameful” part on it would/should not be allowed, but without it, or with it covered up, would be okay. I mean, for example, if said student were wearing a shirt that said something horrific like, “Bring back Slavery – Niggers are Shameful” it would not be allowed (one hopes!!), and this shirt should be treated the same way (one hopes!). Now I suppose I should go read the article. 🙂

  2. Caracierge said,

    I forgot to add that students’ rights, whether they like it or not, are legally limited once they walk through school doors. I’d think that the school has the discretion to restrict the shirt as distracting to the learning environment, inapporpriate for school (not saying he can’t put it on when he leaves), and/or against their whatever-they-call-it tolerance policy. Were I the principal, that’s how I’d treat it (and brace myself to stand firm).

  3. pavlov112 said,

    Sigh. Whatever happened to “The only acceptable answer to offensive speech is more speech…”? I’m sympathetic to arguments that such a shirt is distracting to the learning environment. At the same time, if that argument holds water, doesn’t the converse argument hold true as well? Can’t the student who’s wearing the shirt now complain that being surrounded by all of those shameful gay people is disruptive to his learning environment? Doesn’t that turn into an infinte spiral?

    Bah. Let him wear the shirt. Let somebody who’s offended by THAT shirt wear one that says “Bigotry is Shameful, Especially Coming from God”. Students who are old enough to wear shirts bearing slogans about such topics are old enough to endure the controversy and discussion that will arise as a result.

    There’s no such thing as a right not to be offended. There is, however, an absolute right to be ignorantly bigoted because of words written thousands of years ago by men attempting to justify their existing customs and prejudices. We do the former group no favors by silencing the latter.

  4. pavlov112 said,

    And just so you know I’m being logically consistent, I don’t think we should be banning racially-charged clothing or anything else like it in schools. Racism, sexism, homophobia… these are all real problems in the world. We don’t do students any favors by sheltering them from such problems.

    At the same time, I’d damn sure expel anybody who raises a finger against anybody wearing one of these ghastly shirts.–>


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