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ACLU says it's OK to be anti-gay

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The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday said it has joined a lawsuit against Indian Prairie School District 204 on behalf of students who are suing the school district after one student was prohibited from wearing a T-shirt that read, "Be Happy, Not Gay."

It's no surprise that the ACLU would take a position in favor of free speech. The group is no stranger to taking unpopular positions, after all (remember when it sided with Neo-Nazis and their right to demonstrate?) But isn't it ironic that the group most often associated with far left-leaning liberals should in this case take a stand on behalf of what some paint as a conservative Christian cause?

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35 Comments

Everyone is entitled to free speech. It's a shame that political correctness makes people afraid to say what they believe in America. Sometimes standing up for your beliefs is going to ruffle a few feathers. But you have every right to say what you believe.

Remember, this is the USA not the USSR!

If I could place a bet on this case I would go "all in" that SD204 will not win this case.

Teachers tend to demand a certain level of respect from their students. From what has been reported, at least the administrator who was directly involved in this incident showed vary little respect toward these students.

I would have been fine with sending the student home. The administrator crossed the line when they physically made changes to the wording on a child's clothing. What could they possibly have been thinking at this point? Even to make a suggestion regarding the wording is manipulative at best and coercion at worst.

I have three questions. How much is this going to cost the taxpayers of SD204 once all the dust is settled and was this the best use of our financial resources? What is the school board going to do to prevent a similar incident? And if SD204 looses this case, how do they intend to discipline this administrator for causing this mess?

It is entertaining to read all of these comments. All I have is a simple question. Where were the parents judgement the morning this student was going to school so as to say "you are not wearing that shirt to school" (knowing it would be controversial)?

Problem solved.

I believe this thread was about the ACLU. Not about sexuality. Do the actions of the ACLU surprise me? Nope.

As for the rest of the posts…
I am all for free speech. Do I think this particular instance was hurtful? Yes. It was directed at kids not at adults. These are kids who have not fully developed a sense of self. Having been one of these kids I can say I would have been deeply hurt. This situation absolutely sickens me.

JTW, in my opinon that would have been much more acceptable.

joe,

You posted "As for the 'discourse'. It's a school. They should be concentrating on 'their course', not discourse".

I understand you might not be aware of socratic methods, etc., as today's teaching methods are subpar.

However, the act of using intelligence, civil discourse, trying to make a difference, speaking up for others, etc., are ALL things we once coveted in the learning process.

We can all stand to take a step back and let youngsters "roam" a little on their own. As adults, we MAY find that they don't have the same concerns as we do (ie WV vs NV, etc).

I wonder what the school would have said if they wore T-shirts that said something like, "Happily Heterosexual" ? There is no "anti-gay" message on such a shirt. It is celebration of their sexuality.

SYPH,

My initial opinion was that I was reading bigoted statements from a hate filled person using a cloak of religion as justification.
If you want to not clarify that, I'll keep my opinion where it is, thanks.

WOW Joe, You try to twist things more than the pretzel guy at The Last Fling..Take it like you read it.

SYPH,

You only have a problem with homosexuals if you know they are homosexual? Do you feel compelled to 'set them on the proper path' or just harass them when you do find out? If they are practicing Buddhists is that OK since they don't believe in your Bible and therefore the whole point of sin and immorality of homosexuality does not apply in that religion? I'm simply curious where you make your distinctions.

Yes Joe, Jesus said to love one another..He never said to turn a blind eye to grossly immoral behavior. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah teaches that choices have consequences. During the Old Testament period YOU paid the price for your choices. New Testament teaches us Jesus paid the price for your choices as long as you believe he died for your sin. This does not give you a green light to do as you please without consequence though. Go back and re-read the bible in it's entirety and don't pick out the "feel good" passages that you like to misquote. My whole point is.. If you get in my face to say it's ok to be gay, then don't get your panties in a bunch when I tell you it's not. Good luck to you Joe.

You can love someone and still tell them that they are wrong. I believe Jeffrey Dahmers parents loved him and any other murderer.

Satan supports most of your thinking and ways. Let everyone be gay in this world and see where it leads us. Nowhere. But we love'em.

"Be Happy not Black. Be Happy not Jewish. Be Happy not Disabled. Where does it end? I understand the ACLU's position. It is their mission to defend people's rights. The sentiment of the shirt is wrong. Its sole purpose is to put done a group of people. The school is right to exclude it. It's too bad the kids and their parents can't see why it is wrong to wear the shirt to school."


Posted by: exnun | February 19, 2008 10:55 PM

I absolutely agree with exnun. The fact that these people actually sued over this is absolutely amazing!!!They could have used that money to send their kid to a college where they teach common sense, tolerance and respect for people who are different than themselves. Good message folks! EMBARRASSING BEYOND BELIEF!!

SYPH,

I notice you don't have any Gospels quotes or other references from Jesus. Why is that? His teachings were to love one another, not to ridicule and judge each other.

Let he who is without sin... you should know the rest.

Many people who peddle hate like to quote the old testament made mostly of scripts and stories meant to frighten a population into 'behaving, OR ELSE!'

I'm surprised you didn't throw in some good salacious Ezekiel 23:19-20 or Samuel 18:25-27.

Maybe I'm backwards about this whole thing. Does the back of the keychain mention Westboro Baptist Church?

Lighten up Joe...But since you think you know what Jesus would do perhapse you would take the time to do a little reading on the subject..If you own a Bible look up a couple of passages that would shed light on your statement. Read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18 and 19. Another good passage, Leviticus 18:22 and 10:13. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. I could keep going but those should answer your question.

Hi Guy. I didn't write the comment about procreation - anonymous at 10:05 did. The writers name appears below the comment; not above.

A church that gives out key chains with derogatory statements? Now that's exactly what Jesus would do.

As for the 'discourse'. It's a school. They should be concentrating on 'their course', not discourse.

Eli.. It's on the key chain I got from church.

It is a simple matter of free speech.

Those who add simplistic phrases like "Be Happy, not Jewish/Black/etc". etc, are missing the point that the students created a fairly intelligent play on words here. They are participating in a form of civil disobedience, and I commend them for it.

This does NOT mean I am anti-gay or anti anything....just that I see them as having the right to speak out in a case where others are also soeaking out.

We used to call this discourse!

"Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" Wow, that's probably the wittiest thing I've read on the internet in quite some time. Did you come up with that yourself?

Mark,
Don't get me wrong..I don't want to know about ANYONES sexual preferences. The difference between most heteros and gays is that straight people don't seem to need parades,colorful t-shirts, numerous television programs or any other announcements to let us know about their sex lives. There are allot of gay people who feel the need to let me know they are gay.Why is that? If you don't want people getting upset with your preference in life then DON'T announce it. You are here on this earth because of Adam and Eve...NOT Adam and Steve.

For the record, I didn't set my name to "shut your pie hole", I post ed as "Guy" both times. Don't know why it isn't that in both posts.

@An Educator: I'm sorry, I don't understand your question. Perhaps a message was removed and you are not responding to the post currently marked as "shut your pie hole"?

@cb: What does procreation have to do with this? And why would gays be any different?

@ anonymous: They were thinking that their archaic religion justifies psychologically damaging their child.

What were the parents of this student thinking. The rules regarding attire are straightforward & concise. The administration was correct in their action and I commend them. My son was asked to change a t-shirt at the high school and he did. I looked at what he was wearing and agreed that offense could be taken and informed him not to wear it to school--case closed.

Don't ever compare blacks, jews or anything of the such to gay peoples rights. It is insulting.

See, we can have procreate. This is just one difference.

1+1=0

I completely agree with ex-nun. If we allow this, do we have to allow any vulgar and offensive thing a teen wants to wear on his/her t-shirt? Would we allow, "F... the teachers"? I don't think so; nor should we. We don't allow the children to wear gang symbols. Is this any less inflammatory?

The schools are an excellent place to begin learning tolerance, and respect for one another. If it (the phrase on the T-Shirt) wouldn't be allowed in the workplace, it shouldn't be allowed in schools.

I'd like to ask "shut your pie hole" (nice name, by the way) what it is about homosexuality that scares him or her so much. He or she wrote, "If you want to push your lifestyle on me then be prepared to get it back. Don't ask Don't tell is the best way to handle this. Keep your sex life to yourself." I would almost agree with him/her if (a) he/she would say the same about a hetero couple necking near their lockers, or (b) gay kids could hold hands walking down the hall without getting taunted/abused/beaten up by ignorant, hateful people.

What is our goal as educators? What do we want these young people to learn so they may improve society and live with more peace? What will happen when they become professionals with these beliefs? At colleges you can be asked to leave a classroom with offensive attire. It is treated as a business setting. The opposite can happen, you can be slapped with a lawsuit of sexual harrassment or discrimination etc for a variety of "offenses". Heck, even my mall has a dress code. Perhaps the Gay organizations should now counter sue. Then again, in public places people do have the right to be ignorant and cruel. It is just a decision one has to make & then live with the consequences. Do you want love in your heart or hate? And you can't be upset then when someone else judges you then!

Be Happy not Black. Be Happy not Jewish. Be Happy not Disabled. Where does it end? I understand the ACLU's position. It is their mission to defend people's rights. The sentiment of the shirt is wrong. Its sole purpose is to put done a group of people. The school is right to exclude it. It's too bad the kids and their parents can't see why it is wrong to wear the shirt to school.

@ Anne Smith: Why do christians need to tell me they are christians? Your view is shortsighted.

Why do gay people need to tell me they are gay. I don't want to hear it or know of it. If you want to push your lifestyle on me then be prepared to get it back. Don't ask Don't tell is the best way to handle this. Keep your sex life to yourself.

What affect would if have had to allow the students to wear their t-shirts? THe school board claims if would be disruptive. And all of this isn't...this will disrupt the flow of funds available for educating as the funds are diverted to legal costs. I anticipate the school biard will say they hav einsurance that covers this. What about the time spent by administrators and staff - time that is taken away from the students. Can the school board put a price on that?

Free speech isn't always the stuff you want to hear. The ACLU is consistent in its support of first amendment rights.

I am curious what would be going on if the shirt said "Be happy, not a christian homeophobe". Allow the one and you need to allow the other. Perhaps both are disruptive and not conducive to a learning environment?

For ONCE, the ACLU makes a decision I agree with.

I don't think this is a surprise that the ACLU would file a friend of the court brief in this case.

What I find surprising is that nobody at 204 seemed to think that endorsing tolerance for one segment of the student body but showing no tolerance towards these kids' beliefs was discriminatory.

T.B.

No surprise really, this is what the ACLU is all about. Naperville tax payers sure seem to be footing the bill on an awful lot of frivolous lawsuits lately. I wonder if the school's defense fund will cut in to the referendum money.

The ACLU stands on the side of people's RIGHTS, regardless of their OPINION being expressed.

The ACLU is on the proper side, however, the families pushing the issue really need to take a long look in the mirror to see the true source of their 'problem' with someone else's life choices.

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on February 19, 2008 7:39 AM.

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