May 27, 2005

Sports and Politics

As I was reading about the goings on in the House, Senate and Administration with their strategies, actions and counteractions the thought occurred to me that sometimes the enjoyment I take in following politics is a lot like a sports enthusiast's pleasure in following sports. All the arcana of obscure rules and the study of strategy and tactics... and how fun it is when my side scores... how much it hurts when my side fumbles...the exhiliration of victory and the agony of defeat.

I'm also keenly aware that politics has real consequences in the real world for real people. If politics is a sport, it is truly a blood sport.

May 26, 2005

Anti Anti-bullying Programs in Schools?

The Houston Voice Online reports that the Southern Baptist Convention will be considering a resolution proposed by Rev. Voddie Baucham, Jr. and Bruce Shortt to encourage churches to investigate whether local public schools in their cities are promoting homosexuality by means of "diversity training, multicultural education, anti-bullying and safe schools".

Anti-bullying? Safe schools?

I'm having trouble understanding the paranoia of Christian extremists. I understand and sympathize with their struggle to raise their children according to their values in a wholesome and healthy environment . This is a universal dilemma in my estimation. Parents may draw their lines in different places but they all have to deal with limited support in their communities and the wider world. So how do some people conclude that anti-bullying programs in public schools undermine their efforts to raise their children according their values? I don't think that they would say that they want their kids to be bullies but here they are taking a stand against the programs that schools use to prevent bullying.

Well, it seems that anti-bullying programs, and their close cousins diversity training and multicultural education, are just a front for the conspiracy to get Christian kids to accept the gay agenda. Who woulda thought? I'd have thought that teaching elementary kids to find non-violent ways to resolve conflict and discouraging them from bullying would be pretty harmless. I'd have thought that teaching kids about other cultures would be a good thing. Given that they are pretty likely to encounter people from other cultures countless times in their lives it might be a good idea for them to have some sensitivity to differences and the ability to interact skillfully. I'd have thought that safe schools is a worthy and reasonable goal.

There will always be the risk that kids will grow up to think differently than their parents, about gays and lots of other things both important and trivial. Even so parents do have a great deal of influence on their kids so there will surely be future generations of right-wing extremist Christians.

And that's what makes my paranoia kick in.