Thursday, November 01, 2012

"Bullying": The new codeword in attacks on speech

Bullying has been defined by opportunistic politicians to include a broad range of speech, including core political speech. The latest example is anti-abortion advocacy:

Ontario’s Education Minister has apparently declared that Catholic schools can no longer teach that abortion is wrong.

Laurel Broten, who serves under Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, said Wednesday that Catholic schools are barred from teaching this core moral belief because Bill 13, the government’s controversial “anti-bullying” law, prohibits “misogyny.”

“Taking away a woman’s right to choose could arguably be considered one of the most misogynistic actions that one could take,” she told the Canadian Press. “I don’t think there is a conflict between choosing Catholic education for your children and supporting a woman’s right to choose.”

After people raised objections to this assault on free speech, the Education Minister doubled down on her support for censorship:

“We do not allow and we’re very clear with the passage of Bill 13 that Catholic teachings cannot be taught in our schools that violates human rights and which brings a lack of acceptance to participation in schools,” she said. …"

Earlier, a U.S. school district superintendent labeled a column in a school newspaper that criticized homosexuality as “bullying,” which is an offense punishable by penalties up to expulsion in that school district.

The Shawano High School newspaper had run dueling student opinion pieces on whether same-sex couples should be able to adopt children; the student article that was labeled as “bullying” answered the question “no.”

It is strange to claim that a viewpoint in a student newspaper is “bullying.” If a school doesn’t want that kind of debate in its own newspaper, it shouldn’t ask for it; it has no right to open the subject for debate, and then punish a hapless person for participating in it.

Opposition to homosexuality is protected by the First Amendment. A conservative Christian who thought that homosexuality was immoral successfully challenged a school “harassment” code that punished students with such viewpoints in Saxe v. State College Area School District (2001), a case in which a federal appeals court ruled that there is no “harassment” exception to the First Amendment for speech which offends members of minority groups."

The Obama administration claims bullying is an “epidemic” and a “pandemic.” But in reality, bullying and violence have steadily gone down in the nation’s schools, as even studies funded by the Justice Department have shown. The administration’s anti-bullying website defines exercises of free speech and association such as “spreading rumors” or “excluding someone from a group” as being “bullying,” and it says that “examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.”



Anonymous said...

Ontario, being in Canada, does not have the First Admendment protection.

Anonymous said...

Amendment, sorry about the sp.

Anonymous said...

Any nation that condones the killing of its own children, born or unborn, is destined to fail. And we are seeing this happen globally before our eyes.

Bird of Paradise said...

Canada slowly going to hell in a hand basket. We want no part of the NORTH AMERICAN(SOVIET)UNION

Anonymous said...

Since you can't apply the criticism of "racism" to all situations (although they try) liberals had to come up with another all catch-all phrase to attack those they can't win the debate with.

Anonymous said...

If Catholic schools want financial and other support from the government of any country, it must accept their conditions (the one who pays the piper calls the tune) - or else they should go it alone: and god-knows (no pun intended) the Catholic church has enough financial resources to fund all its schools quite independently; and in a way it's a bit of a cheek to expect taxpayers of all beliefs and opinions to contribute anything to Catholic propaganda such as obviously goes on it Catholic schools.

Anonymous said...

The pussification of America continues!

Under obama's "rules" EVERYTHING anyone can say is "bullying" to SOMEONE!

Political Correctness is killing our society. How can we learn and grow as a society if we are not allowed to even discuss topics for fear of hurting someone’s feelings?

Funny how we cannot say anything about homosexuals, Muslims, blacks, Hispanics, women or liberals but it seems fine to disparage Christians, whites, heterosexuals, men, conservatives...

Dean said...

Do Catholic schools in Ontario receive government funds? If so, they are stuck. But it sounds as if Ontario law prohibits teaching that abortion is wrong whether government funds are received or not. If so it's frightening to see government determining that churches may not teach their core beliefs.

Sometimes, as in the Shwano High School, it isn't government that objects. It is school staff that feels it is their imperative to indoctrinate students.

It seems the only way to convince teachers at all levels of education that there job is to teach students how to think, not what to think is through the courts.

Anonymous said...

bomb bomb bomb canada land that freedom forgot...

Anonymous said...

“excluding someone from a group”.. So the government will tell you when, who, and how you may associate with individuals.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Anon 3:56 and Dean both seem to think that Government can act in a totalitarian manner.
So, by the same token Government school must tout the government approved propaganda?
Is there any limit to that? Must government schools teach their children to vote for a particular party if that party happens to hold government? Must they teach their children that [insert minority] are inferior if the government says that? Must they teach that being white is shameful if the government wants that?
I think your bigotry of the Catholic Church has made you blinkered.

Go Away Bird said...

Canada taking the shinning path to socialism,communism and poverty

Anonymous said...

6:16 PM - your comments about government interference may be true if that government is a dictatorship, or there is little effective democracy in the said country, or if the "democracy" does in fact want what the government wants.
As for the earlier comments about the Catholic Church being bigotry - that's ironic to say the least!

Dean said...

616. What? I'm not sure what you mean by bigotry of the Catholic Church.

. If schools take state money then they are required to follow state rules. If they do not want to follow those rules then they should not take state money.

. Laws that can be construed to prohibit religious institutions from teaching their core concepts are a concern. if that is, indeed, what Ontario's law says then her citizens need to step up and tell the legislature it is out of line.

TheOldMan said...

It is not pro-life vs pro-choice, it is pro-choice vs pro-adding_the_abortion_option_to_the_list_of_choices. I don't think that you will find 47% of the pop against condoms, IUDs, diaphrams, vasectomites, tubal ligation, abstinance, or rhythm (aka parenthood). It is the abortion choice that is the issue.

Anonymous said...

Once again, we're addressing the wrong thing.

Abortion serves one and only one purpose: To terminate a pregnancy. And a pregnancy is the direct result or consequence of one and only only one thing: having sex. And the act happens under one of only two conditions: either consensual or non-consensual.

If sex is consensual, then the partners should be held accountable for their actions and they should take the responsibility required to ensure that the result of their actions (ie a pregnancy) is allowed to continue to birth. The problem today is that no one is willing to take personal responsibility.

If it is non-consensual, then it is the responsibility and obligation of the party who was not consenting to press charges against the party who was performing the non-consensual sex. And in many cases, the parents of those having sex are at fault because they failed to teach morality and respect.

And yes, "accidents" do happen with birth control, timing, etc. That is a fact. But EVERY such accident is preventable with abstinence and self-control.

As a Christian, I am staunchly anti-abortion. But I am also very staunchly "pro-choice" when it comes to the act of having sex, because that is something that EVERYONE who engages in it ultimately has a choice to make.

(Yes, there are exceptions with infertility, etc. but let's be real here...most abortions are performed out of convenience rather than for correcting exceptional cases.)

Stand out from the rest by standing as a man of integrity.

Anonymous said...


. If schools take state money then they are required to follow state rules. If they do not want to follow those rules then they should not take state money.

Governments are instituted to protect the rights of people. All people. Even people with whom those in the legislature may disagree.

Your premise and thought is that freedoms and rights are bought and paid for. They are not.

Dean said...

6:48 AM

After thirty five years teaching it became plain that when federal dollars fund a program, federal rules run it.

Because my state takes a small percentage of its special education funding from Washington we are required to follow Washington's rules as to how students are identified, what percentage of the student body could be served, how programs are written, meetings conducted and reports made back to the state and then Washington detailing how closely their rules are followed.

The freedom to run programs in our state would certainly be bought -by refusing federal money and paying 100% of our educational system.

Or, to look at the obverse, Washington has purchased our right and freedom to run schools as we wish.

Take federal money, play by federal rules.

Anonymous said...

Or indeed as I said much earlier in this thread - "the one who pays the piper calls the tune"!