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Gay? That Ain’t OK

1997_039007_counts.jpgI live about three blocks away from the main Cornell University campus here in central NY. It’s a bastion of hippy-dippy liberalness around here and, since I rarely trek outside of the three-mile radius beyond campus except to go to Boston or NYC, I tend to forget that the rest of the largely rural area surrounding Ithaca is a cultural cousin to Pennsyltucky — Yankee versions of Southern rednecks.

Well this week I was reminded of it when I picked up the local paper and read about a controversy taking shape in the small, adjacent town of Spencer, NY, where a petition signed by the local high-school alumni had to be brought to the school board asking that the school be safe for gay students. Seriously. In 2007. In the Northeast.

It started about a month ago, when Heathyre Farnham (note the spelling — she must be an Ithacan transplant) wore a T-shirt to school that said: “Gay? Fine By Me,” a t-shirt that got her sent home because the principal felt it was disruptive. After the school attorney noted that the principal made a mistake, a lot of locals and even the ACLU asked that the principal apologize.

Naturally, the principal has yet to apologize, but it wasn’t until this week that Heathyre was allowed to wear the T-Shirt again, by which time her and her mother had raised enough money to buy 130 of them to hand them out at school. And, of course, members of the football team snagged a few and added “Gay? Fine By Me … But Keep It Outta School.”

Lovely. At any rate, a few locals are trying to ban T-Shirts all together, for fear of the violence they might provoke (a fear based, in part, on the racial tensions here at Ithaca High school, where a rumored “hit list” has been taken out on some minority students).

And then a local pastor in Spencer just sort of summed it up for me, saying that “he thinks homosexuality is immoral according to the Bible. ‘I don’t hate homosexuals any more than I hate murderers and adulterers.’” Great — homosexuals and murderers are on the same level, huh?

Weird — I grew up a few miles from Little Rock Central, where 50 years ago, the National Guard had to be called in so that a black students could enter the school. And now, five decades later, the intolerance in the freaking state of New York is not much better. It’s all very embarrassing.

| Comments (13)


so, for the record, i think the shirts are great. we had a bunch like them at my high school (all-girls episcopalian). the behavior of the principal is atrocious, the behavior of the jocks is poorly reasoned out. yes. however.

when did it become okay for people to hold biases against people for their religious beliefs, Dustin? implying that someone is a backward, cow-tipping, toothpick-chewing, chest-bumping moron for Believing makes you just as wrong as they would be for saying all homosexuals are voraciously sexual flamers or angry man-haters - something which no one said or even implied. a person of true faith could no more erase one of their beliefs from their heart than a person could change their sexuality.

so how's about, rather than blasting people for a doctrinal belief that is not going to just up and go away (and for the record, a sin is always a blot, no matter how small a sin, was the pastor's point. as long as the doctrine exists there will be people who think it's a sin), why not accept these people, as you would have them accept others? by all means, try to convince them of your point of view. but when it doesn't work, don't resort to name calling. it just makes you look like an intolerant, God-hating, pinko-Commie Liberal :-)

But, I am a God-hating, pinkio-Commie Liberall. -- DR

This is the biggest bunch of liberal hippie douchebaggery that I have ever read.

GET OVER YOURSELF. Go back to bashing Dick Cheney's secret plan to attack Iran and eliminate their leader who proudly proclaims that there are no homosexuals in Iran and choke on the fucking dissonance.

I think I come down firmly in Dustin's side on this one. In other words, these lowlife, redneck assholes have been in charge long enough. I hope they get festering boils.

Dustin, I think you're brilliant and talented, but I'm going to agree with RC here. As an recently lapsed Catholic and a liberal, I understand the viewpoint of both atheists and devoutly religious types. What do I find most disappointing about both of them? Their unwillingness to respect those on the other side of the debate.Being a bigot to religious people only makes you into an intolerant jerk, and I thought better of you than that.

By the way, being aware of your intolerance and prejudice makes you more, not less, guilty of those offenses.

Umm...Christians aren't supposed to hate. At least, that's what I learned after 9 years in Catholic school. The irony of telling "gays" to keep it out of school, but not telling lazy or fat people to take their sloth and gluttony somewhere where mortal sins are accepted always intrigues me.

annie, here we run up against the difference between church doctrine and Bible text. Now you know and I know that sloth and gluttony are as bad if not worse than lust, but try finding them in a reference Bible. it's a lot harder than finding things on them specifically than on homosexuality. You'd think gluttony - clearly a commandment breaker (covetousness) - would be a bigger problem. but for the text-based rather than doctrine-based forms...hard to say. and as for hate... I do tend to believe that at least some of these people don't hate gay people. they really don't. it's a matter of hate the sin, love the sinner.
And Bill, the reason they are in charge, is that there are more of them. you want that to change, you may just have to go all evangelical on them yourself, convince them of the power and joy of the Left. I wish you luck with that.

PS Dustin - but are you ok with being an INTOLERANT God-hating pinko commie liberal? Because then you're just a hypocrite.

But, he didn't blast anyone. He isn't allowed to disagree with the belief that homosexuality is as bad as being a murderer without being accused of bashing religion? When did he say religion was bad? When did he say or even imply that the minister was a "backward, cow-tipping, toothpick-chewing, chest-bumping moron"?

Was it his use of the phrase southern redneck- which he didn't apply to the minister? Because if that is where your reasoning came from I am very offended your description of a southerner as someone who is a "backward, cow-tipping, toothpick-chewing, chest-bumping moron" redneck or not.

Maybe, just maybe you should be practicing a little of that openmindedness that you seem hell bent on preaching to Dustin.

It's OK to be gay is a message of tolerance. It's OK to be gay-but not in school is not. I don't care what religion you are, being hateful to fellow classmates who might be gay is wrong and makes you a redneck.
a toothpick-chewing, cow-tipping inbred redneck.

Team Dustin!

Ah, Spencer...

I'm amazed that none of the news articles brings up the cafe that was there for a short time, owned by an Ithacan gay couple. They had to put up with spitting, graffiti, and bricks before they shut down.

Where did all the comment wierdness come from? I didn't realize hating gays was a religion. And to RC, I suggest learning Greek for a clearer idea of the Bible's stance on homosexuality.

Way to twist what the pastor said, Dustin. He didn't put gays and murderers on the same moral level (although, as RC rightly points out, sin is sin*). He simply said he doesn't hate gays any more than he hates murderers, i.e., he loves both as children of God. Which, you know, is kinda what that Jesus guy told him to do.

You weaken your argument when you deliberately misconstrue your "opponent's" words.

*(And which, as a natural consequence, puts me on the same level as a murderer or a gay person, i.e, in need of a Savior.)

Are you implying there is something wrong with being a backward, cow-tipping, toothpick-chewing, chest-bumping moron? People are soooo touchy these days.

You know, I was at the school board meeting a few nights ago when this issue as discussed and that infamous pastor (who misspelled "pastor" in an editorial he wrote, just as an aside) spoke during the public comment session.

Let me say this: he is nuts. Most of the time he was speaking he was spouting propaganda about the ACLU and it's evil ways. It bordered on nonsensical.

He also hates Harry Potter.

In short: no redeeming qualities.