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Because I'm such a dork, I keep a pocket copy of the Constitution on my coffee table. I used to know the First Amendment by heart, but I've gotten rusty, so I had to crack my pocket Constitution. Here's what it says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Emphasis on the bolded part.

Here's what the bolded part of the First Amendment does not say:

The people shall make no criticism challenging the discrimination of religious institutions, and activists shall not pressure Churches to change their outdated views; and concerned citizens shall not use their free speech to confront religiously-based discrimination...
The First Amendment is pretty clear. Congress shall make no law restricting freedom of religion or of speech.

You know this already, you say. Why am I talking about it in a diary? Follow me below the fold.

A disturbing diary was posted last night by ekyprogressive. The diary talks about Lexington Catholic High School in Lexington, Kentucky, barring a lesbian couple from going to the school's prom. It's a very sad--and equally infuriating--story that, I would think, would evoke at least a little outrage from a progressive community.

And there was some outrage, don't get me wrong. And it was recced by a number of people. But mostly, the diary saw comments such as this:

No, I'm not surprised, mostly because this may well be a private, parochial Roman Catholic high school.  They get to make their own rules, whether we like it or not. If what I'm reading is correct, this is something of a non-issue; we are talking about freedom "of" as well as "from" religion here...

...apologies if I'm misreading the nature of the school...

And this:
Sometimes people at this site forget that the First Amendment also guarantees "freedom of" religion, in addition to "freedom from" religion.

Going to a religious high school is a choice.  It seems to me that it's really not valid to choose to go to a Catholic high school and then complain that they enforce Catholic beliefs.   You sign on to those beliefs when you choose that school.

And this:
The fundamental basis of the First Amendment is that a religious community has a right to their own religious beliefs within the confines of their religion.  The First Amendment was passed precisely so that a majority would not de-legitimize religious beliefs with which they disagreed.  

Should the majority feel free to de-legitimize tenets of the Jewish religion with which it disagrees?

To me, criticizing a religion for enforcing their religious beliefs within the confines of their own religion and among people who voluntarily are part of that religion is -- and I don't often use this word -- "unAmerican," in the sense that it is contrary to the basic notion of religious freedom upon which this nation was founded.  

The First Amendment means (1) the majority has no right to de-legitimize religious views with which it disagrees; and (2) one group's religious views are not to be imposed on others in the secular context.  I think it's hypocritical to support part 2 without supporting part 1.  Our country was founded on both principles. If you try to enforce part (2) without assuring religious people of their right to part (1), you will be adding to a backlash by religious people.

And this:
How should "we" be fighting it? by insisting that a religion change its religious beliefs?  By insisting that a religion not exercise its religious beliefs?  

Should "we" be insisting that all religions change beliefs "we" don't agree with?  

The way people should be fighting religious beliefs with which they disagree is by not becoming a part of, or financially supporting, that religion.  Or by not letting the religious beliefs become part of the civil law.

And this:
Honestly, it is hypocritical for you to say, "you don't have any right to tell me that I should live according to YOUR religious beliefs, but I think it's my place to for me to tell you that you should adhere to MY religious (or non-religious) beliefs."  

The whole point of the First Amendment is two-fold:  (1) the majority does not get to tell a religion that its religious views are illegitimate; and (2) in return, nobody can impose their religious views -- "legitimate" or not --  on anybody else.

And this:
I am not outraged because this is a private, Catholic high school. As I said above, people here forget that the First Amendment guarantees not only that others can't inflict their religious beliefs on you, but also that religious institutions get to be, well, religious institutions, enforcing their religion on those who choose to be a part of that religious institution.  That's as much a part of the Constitution as any other right we have.  

No one is forced to go to a Catholic high school.  Anyone who goes to a Catholic high school knows, going in, that they will enforce what the administration of that school believes are the teachings of that Church.  That's what you sign up for when you choose to go there.  Frankly, I am not outraged when someone chooses to go to a religious institution, chooses to give their money to that religious institution, chooses to become part of that religious institution, and then complains that the institution is enforcing that religion.  It's like going to a Catholic school, and then complaining that they teach "pro-life" positions, or complaining that they teach that remarriage after divorce is wrong, or complaining that they don't serve meat on Fridays in Lent.  That's what you sign up for when you choose to go there.

And this:
If you join a motorcycle gang, don't bitch about wearing their colors.
And this:
people go to proms all the time without dates. Why couldn't the two young women go to the prom without a "date" or were they trying to have the school accept them as a couple?
And this:
You aren't a victim when you volunteer.
Need I go on?

So, based on these comments, these are the words of advice some Kossacks are sending to these two girls:

1. You shouldn't have gone to a Catholic high school.
2. Catholic high school...duh.
2. You shouldn't have gone to the prom.
3. You should have stayed in the closet about your relationship and gone to the prom as "single."
4. Catholic high school...duh.
5. Did we mention that you shouldn't have gone to a Catholic high school?

Let's talk about this. I myself went to a Diocesan university. I went of my own accord. The reasons were complicated, and many. Here are some of the reasons I went to a Catholic school:

- It was one of the better schools in my area, and I didn't want to travel far away from home.
- I was offered an incredible aid package.
- The location of the campus was ideal.

I also wasn't really thinking about the school's policies toward LGBT students. I was deeply in the closet, and I didn't see myself coming out in the near future--or possibly ever. When I finally did come out, in my sophomore year, I obviously didn't want to uproot myself, leave my friends, and start over at another college. That idea seemed absurd to me.

So to judge a lesbian girl for going to a Catholic high school--without any idea of what led her to that school--is beyond ridiculous. Maybe her parents made her go to the school. Maybe she wasn't out when she started going. Or--here's a thought--maybe she's just Catholic. Gay Catholics do exist. The Church hierarchy may not like it, but that doesn't mean they don't personally identify as Catholics. The bottom line is that we don't know. And even if we did, there is something a little bizarre about blaming a victim of discrimination instead of blaming the source of that discrimination.

Here is the question we should be asking: Why is the school discriminating?

Also, where in Catholic doctrine does it say gays and lesbians can't go to the prom? My Diocesan university was a conservative institution, but gay and lesbian couples went to homecoming dances. I witnessed it with my own eyes. We shouldn't act like the Church can't reconcile letting gays and lesbians exist with its position on marriage. Clearly, it can.

If you think it's futile to pressure religious institutions and that Diocesan schools will never change, please think again. When I arrived at my school, no gay-straight alliance existed. The administration wouldn't hear of it. We LGBT students fought for two years to establish a group. Finally, after many hearts and minds were changed in the administration--partly pushed by the rash of LGBT youth suicides that happened at the same time--a gay-straight alliance was established. Today, LGBT students have a safe place to meet. All because of a little (actually, a lot of) pressure. In addition, the school implemented a "safe" network consisting of faculty and staff allies trained in LGBT issues. Yes, this happened at a Diocesan university. Today, there are rainbow triangles on the doors of allied faculty and staff. Things change, even in a Catholic school. But it does not happen on its own.

Having been down this road myself, pardon me if I don't take kindly to the idea that we should be hands-off when it comes to religious bigotry. Churches are evolving institutions. Some evolve slower than others, but we've seen some strides in some denominations. Why? Not because people kept quiet and sat on their hands in the name of respecting "religious freedom." What really matters is when the faithful speak out from within their respective churches. But it also helps when there is outside pressure and a culture in which this kind of discrimination is not socially acceptable.

Most of us can agree on constitutional rights. But please don't tell me that speaking out against religiously-based discrimination is a violation of religious freedom. Freedom runs both ways. And as long as some conservative religious institutions keep their heads in the sand and continue to discriminate, it is our job to make it less and less socially (notice I didn't say constitutionally) acceptable for them to do so. If you don't see that as your place, fine. And I can understand if you don't think this is your particular battle to fight...it's not my intention to shame people into fighting the Church on this specific incident. But this is near and dear to some of us. We have as much right to fight back against this school's policy as the school has to implement the policy in the first place.

Originally posted to Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just because they have the right... (19+ / 0-)

    doesn't make it right.

    And that's what bugs me.  There's a HUGE cleft between what is legal and what is right.

    Can you publicly burn hundred dollar bills in front of the homeless?  Yes, provided that you're following the local fire ordinances.

    Doesn't mean it's right to do so, of course, and doesn't mean we shouldn't condemn in the strongest possible terms such behavior.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon May 14, 2012 at 03:51:22 PM PDT

    •  I would add a related idea: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Just because something is bad, doesn't mean it has to be illegal.  There is way to much mingling of religion and law from both directions.  Of course law is an expression of morality, but it needs to give people breathing room too.  

      Here's an idea: how about the people run the government and the corporations can line up for whatever we leave for them.

      by J Orygun on Mon May 14, 2012 at 10:02:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But the point is that the schools themselves (6+ / 0-)

    have the right to impose their own rules with regards their faith.  We've seen the diaries here about some of the rules that Liberty University imposes on its students, and it has every right to do so.  

    And a court will find for the school in almost every instance.  

    But that doesn't mean that the students shouldn't fight for change, it just means that the struggle will have a different shape.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:01:31 PM PDT

    •  Correct, like I said in the diary, the school (16+ / 0-)

      has a right to impose its own rules. But the message of some here is that we should not pressure them to change those rules because to do so would be to violate the freedom of religion. And that the victims of the discrimination are the ones truly at fault. These are the premises I can't accept.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:05:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that call for change has to come from (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, cai, highacidity, erush1345

        the faithful within any religious institution.  It is not the government's business, nor is it mine as I am not a Catholic.

        Do I think that they are idiots for discriminating against parishioners?  Sure I do.  But do I have any right to interfere?  Nope.  My problem with these types is that more often than not they are not only applying their exclusionary and draconian rules to their flock, but also trying to do the same to me.  To which I say basically, "Fuck you" as politely as possibly, of course.

        •  Nobody said it was the government's business (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, cai, inclusiveheart, Ahianne

          And I tend to agree that calls for change from the faithful are more valuable, but so it a culture in which religiously-based discrimination is socially unacceptable and causes outrage. Such as this type of situation.

          Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

          by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:38:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  *so is...nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass, cai

            Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

            by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:39:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  But it is a fine line. (0+ / 0-)

            Affording respect for the freedom to have different customs and opinions where it comes religion rather binds us to a level of non-judgmental conduct that would likely bar us from commenting or attacking people with whom we disagree.

            I would think that you are on some level reacting to the fact that these kids are effectively "captured".  They do not have the choice to walk away for a whole host of reasons - not at this point in their lives - but one hopes that they will vote with their feet as soon as they can and that they find others who fully embrace them.

            Maybe the call to action is to ask people to focus more on making the kids feel welcome rather than condemning those who are so stupid as to make the kids feel alienated.  Does that make any sense?  

            •  I disagree with this: (0+ / 0-)
              Affording respect for the freedom to have different customs and opinions where it comes religion rather binds us to a level of non-judgmental conduct that would likely bar us from commenting or attacking people with whom we disagree.
              I do not respect homophobic customs and opinions, and I don't think that respect needs to exist in order for me to accept their right to hold homophobic views. It is not possible for me to look in a "non-judgmental" manner at that conduct.

              Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

              by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 06:52:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Personally I totally agree with you. (0+ / 0-)

                However, where it comes to government interference with their beliefs under our Constitution, I can't.  If the government is funding these people - as is more and more the case - then I think we have a right to interfere.  Did you receive government money to attend the Catholic college you went to?  Personally, I am not thrilled that as a collective we are contributing to indoctrination even if you might have been immune to some degree or another.  But no one has the guts to go after that side of the equation and even you were able to rationalize participating in a school experience that sounds like it was a pretty hostile environment for anyone who did not adhere to the system of beliefs at that institution.  I would not have made that choice precisely because I do not respect and can't abide intolerance against any group of people just because of skin color or sexual preference.  I have no attachment to the Catholic Church.  In fact, I pretty much find little to like about it other than the Medieval cathedrals which are pretty evil in their own right when you are aware of the manipulation of the masses that they represent -- but having said all that -- it isn't my church and I am not qualified to change it.  I can root for you as you attempt reform, but given the history of the church, I'd say you'd be better off moving on and taking as many people with you as possible.

      •  how'bout "no interracial couples?" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gnbhull, Pandoras Box

        If I'm not mistaken, that's sufficient for a church, or a church school, to lose its tax-exempt status.

        The LDS Church was threatened with loss of tax exemption for racist policies, until their leadership came to their senses and changed their ways.

        Presumably this means that federally-protected categories apply: race, gender, age, disability, with an exception carved out for religion for the obvious reason (meet the new Bishop, he's a Buddhist:-).

        In which case this situation can be expected to change once sexual orientation is included in the federally protected categories.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 06:12:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  so long as they don't receive federal money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, Pandoras Box

      they are in the clear.  The funny thing is you cannot discriminate if you operate a car dealership or a restaurant.  The only dodge around this is to have a private club with restricted membership, which is how these guys get around having to be fair

  •  most high school students are MINORS, for one, (15+ / 0-)

    and their parents choose to enroll them.  The students themselves don't sign on or sign up or sign anything.  Not that the bigotry can be justified, but it's not even like the youngsters are breaking a prior agreement.  They aren't.

    I'm reminded of bad customer service stories, in which the customer is being treated badly by a store, and wants to return the broken TV or whatever, and the store says no, "because it's our policy," and every argument of why they should do the right thing is countered by, "sorry, but our policy says no."  Which misses the point.

    So the school doesn't allow same-sex prom dates?  Well, that is dumb.  They should!  "Sorry, not their policy"  is what many of the featured comments are stating.  But wrongheaded, bigoted, atavistic, patriarchal bullshit policies deserve all the criticism they get.

    'Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that Government is best which is most indifferent.' -- F. D. Roosevelt

    by LandruBek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:08:09 PM PDT

    •  Yep. Good analogy. nt (6+ / 0-)

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:09:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That store has obviously never dealt with my mom. (6+ / 0-)

      The minute she gets "That's our policy" they hear "Well, let me tell you what MY policy is..."

      OT but along those lines: my friend's mother treated us to a symphony concert Saturday night, and we went out for a light supper afterwards. Andrew's mother made the mistake of saying that she'd just have a bite of what he was having (which was more substantial) because she would have her salad. "There will be a 3 dollar plate fee for splitting that, is that OK?" (This was a very upscale restaurant). "No", I said, "not at these prices". "Where are you from?" the waiter asked, apparently oblivious to my New England accent. "Boston" I said. "Well, then, you're no stranger to prices like these". "Actually, it's pretty cheap compared to Boston" I replied, "but honey (waiter is a guy), this ain't Boston".

      Now you know where I get that from: my mom. By the way, he didn't charge us the three dollars. ;) Proof positive that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it can fighting institutional policies, I don't care if it's church, university or the appliance store.

      Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

      by commonmass on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:23:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a difficult nut to crack. (12+ / 0-)

    My freshman year of HS, before I went to the public performing and visual arts magnet HS, I attended a Jesuit-run prep school. Now, this was in like 1983, but I will say the Jesuits have a bit of a reputation for being strict, but pretty liberal about a lot of things, and they were. One of my friends was a Junior, and pretty much out. This guy, my friend, really helped me come out, and I was, by my sophomore year, thanks to him. (We remain in sporadic contact, but do remain friends). So yes, it's possible to be out at Catholic school and university, but it depends upon which one and who is running it.

    If we accept that those of us fighting for LGBT civil rights are free to speak out against religious institutions that oppress LGBT folks, we must also accept that it is the right of those who oppose religious institutions that embrace and fight for LGBT rights to speak out and voice their opinions also.

    Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Raleigh, NC. Some Christians in NC would find it offensive that this parish is radically welcoming to all, including LGBT folks and that the priest announced from the pulpit this Sunday that he voted against Amendment 1 and so did the Bishops. In fact, many Christians would not and do not consider us to be "real Christians"

    People have a right to be politically active to fight for what they think is right, even if it is informed by their faith. My faith informs my steadfast and bone-deep commitment to social justice, and other people's faith informs their commitment to forcing their beliefs into the public square and legislating it for all. [Contrary to popular belief, the New England puritans, with all their "faith-based" legislation enjoyed a staggeringly high number of marriages where the bride was already pregnant.] Martin Luther King Jr.'s movement and his leadership was firmly rooted in his faith. He used it for good, and let's not forget that one of his closest advisors was gay.

    That being said, again, there is nothing wrong with calling attention to the backwardness of at Catholic school refusing to admit a lesbian couple to prom or a Catholic school baseball team who forfeits a game because they will not play against a team with female players (which happened recently). There is also nothing wrong with trying to change things from within. If, like you, a student wants to start an LGBT or Gay/Straight alliance at a Catholic school, they deserve our support, not "well, it's your fault for going to Catholic school". However, like it or not, teh haterz have as much right to their opinion as we do.

    I hope this was helpful.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:15:13 PM PDT

  •  I basically agree with both perspectives - (6+ / 0-)

    yours and the ones you're criticizing.  It feels like a false opposition to me.

    All you have to do is keep this point clear

    it is our job to make it less and less socially (notice I didn't say constitutionally) acceptable for them to do so.
    A moral argument isn't the same as a legal argument.  I don't know why keeping that distinction clear is so hard in conversations around here.  I once started to keep a log of conversations that derailed on that point.

    On the other hand, religious bodies don't change because outsiders shout them down, which leads to backlash or retrenchment.  Religious bodies change because the people who are speaking out and agitating have a deep commitment to the very community they're trying to change.

    If religion means a way of life, and life's necessities are food, clothing, and shelter, then we should not separate religion from economics. - Malcolm X

    by dirkster42 on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:24:55 PM PDT

    •  Well, if it were that easy (6+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't have written this diary. I was taken to task just for suggesting that we pressure religious institutions to change their policies internally...something completely in line with the legal argument.

      I don't know why keeping that distinction clear is so hard in conversations around here.
      Couldn't agree more. That's really the broader idea behind this diary.
      On the other hand, religious bodies don't change because outsiders shout them down, which leads to backlash or retrenchment.  Religious bodies change because the people who are speaking out and agitating have a deep commitment to the very community they're trying to change.
      This is also true, to an extent. These people deserve our support. But I also think it matters when an act of discrimination is so socially unacceptable that it causes community outrage. We apparently still need to get to that point on the lesbian prom issue.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:28:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point, Dirk. (3+ / 0-)

      There's something here that I feel doesn't get addressed: some church bodies in the US have a strong institutional structure. Even the Southern Baptist Convention has some kind of structure where change can happen. The Roman Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church have canon law which can change. Others have something similar. Change there has to come from within.

      Independent churches like Rick Warrens or others lack that kind of structure, where pressure from other congregations or a nationwide denominational convention of elected members can influence teachings. I hate to say it, but this alone is a good argument for religion to be organized if you're going to have it at all.

      Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

      by commonmass on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:35:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Most conservatives (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge

      can't ever make that distinction.

      And in the cases where they do manage to see a difference, they want to erase it.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Mon May 14, 2012 at 05:59:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You made me think. Ouch! ;^) (9+ / 0-)

    Shortly into your diary, I completely got the point. Just because Congress can't, and isn't, making laws about religion does not me we can't criticize something we see as wrong. Hell, "we"(whoever we are) are willing to criticize Muslim law, and flame and battle over differences in Christian doctrine. People have died over that stuff!

     And further, the Catholic church (and the Mormon church) seems to have no trouble sharing their opinion on gay marriage, or birth control, or many other things. They are willing to enter the political arena with their religious bias(and lots of money), then it seems only fair that others can critique their behavior.

  •  Well said. (6+ / 0-)

    It's particularly thoughtless to blame high school kids for where they go to school.  How many of us had total choice as to where we went to grade school, junior high, and high school?  How many of us had any choice at all?

    And yes, somebody chose to send these kids to Catholic School, but it may well have been their parents.  I know people who sent their kids to Catholic schools because the kids were being beat up in public school, and Catholic schools are the only nearby private schools with scholarships available to low-income families.

    I can understand non-Catholics feeling it isn't their fight, or their priority, to take on a parochial school's prom policy.  Particularly when groups like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are going after non-Catholic organizations like the flippin' Girls Scouts, and attempting to dictate to U.S. lawmakers.  There is a certain sense in which it's easy to think, "They signed up for this, it should come as no surprise."

    But, like you said, the First Amendment is not (contrary to most conservatives' rantings) a license to undisputed speech.  Your right to say something does not preclude my right to say what you said was bigoted, or simply incorrect.

    And, there's the part where LGBT kids everywhere are in the fight of their lives.  In some cases, fighting for their lives.  I don't are if somebody's enrolled in We Hate Dirty Homos High School, they have the right to be who they are... and if you're not ready to be back-up, at least you don't need to take pot shots.

    •  Certainly. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, sfbob, commonmass
      I can understand non-Catholics feeling it isn't their fight, or their priority, to take on a parochial school's prom policy.
      And I'm going to amend my diary to make that more clear. I didn't mean to shame people who don't see this as their particular fight. I just had to challenge the people who tell those of us who do care about this issue that it isn't our place to criticize religious institutions.

      Well said comment, cai.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:44:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't saying you were. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chrislove, commonmass

        I was more sounding out my own position.

        For one thing, the prom policy is only symbolic of the larger struggle for these kids.  The struggle to accept who they are, and to be safe and accepted in their community.  To be out and proud.  To get to the point where nobody sees any reason why there might be anything of which to be ashamed when a same-sex couple attends a dance, unless someone has toilet paper stuck to their shoe.

        It's really not about the logistics of how two girls can get to a dance.  These kids chose to make a stand where they did; it's not for us to tell them it's a stupid place to take a stand, or that this particular fight doesn't matter.  It's part of a larger struggle.

        •  No no, I know, I meant (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cai, commonmass

          that it's possible my diary gave off that vibe, and your comment showed me that. I've amended it to make it clearer.

          And you couldn't be more right. :)

          Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

          by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 04:55:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  a larger struggle indeed . . . (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chrislove, commonmass, demway

          A struggle within a struggle, if you will.

          For one thing, the prom policy is only symbolic of the larger struggle for these kids.  The struggle to accept who they are, and to be safe and accepted in their community.
          What you describe there is difficult for any adolescent:  to discover one's own personality and beliefs, to push back against some boundaries and embrace others, to keep and discard.  The stakes are so high, and it's hard work even for non-Queer kids.  I am so impressed with young couples like this who have the poise, self-respect and courage to claim their own human dignity* despite school policy being narrowly heteronormative, telling them they are wrong.  I wish I had been that mature when I was in high school.

          It's young people like these that give me hope for the future.  The kids these days, they're alright.

          (* I'm not trying to flamebait; I know the school doesn't explain its prom policy in terms of denying anyone's dignity.  I'm just trying to be concise.)

          'Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that Government is best which is most indifferent.' -- F. D. Roosevelt

          by LandruBek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 05:15:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I was a bit surprised too by the response to that (7+ / 0-)

    post. Religious freedom they have, and yes as a private institution they can make whatever crazy discriminatory laws or rules they wish. But that in no way means we have to sit on our hands and do nothing as they discriminate and make kids into targets for their hate and prejudice.

    •  Me too...especially since (4+ / 0-)

      you didn't say in any way, shape, or form that the school didn't have religious freedom under the Constitution. Some of those comments were seemingly out of nowhere.

      Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

      by Chrislove on Mon May 14, 2012 at 05:36:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't be surprised. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chrislove, sfbob, Ahianne

        The user in question has taken this position before.  S/he basically believes that the First Amendment's freedom of religion clause is a license for anyone to discriminate so long as the discrimination's claimed basis is religious.  The user typically shows up in LGBT diaries to espouse this point of view and is very reticent when asked about forms of discrimination other than homophobia.  You'll notice that there was no response to the query about religiously motivated segregation.

        I'd personally just ignore this person.  I think s/he has some unresolved issues with homophobia.  I seriously doubt anyone can fail to understand the distinction you're making here.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Mon May 14, 2012 at 07:43:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  and do they get any public funding? (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe vouchers or special tax treatment by the state?  I wouldn't be surprised.  One reason the Establishment clause has such complex case law is that churches and schools develop blurry boundaries, and schools and the state have blurry boundaries.  If the people help fund the school, then the people should get some say about their policies.

      'Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that Government is best which is most indifferent.' -- F. D. Roosevelt

      by LandruBek on Mon May 14, 2012 at 06:53:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  worth the few minutes it takes to view (6+ / 0-)

  •  I wish it was different (0+ / 0-)

    but there's no way I would ever expect a Catholic high school to approve a lesbian couple attending a prom. Those two young women knew it, too. If  they really wanted to drive the school administration crazy, they would've hooked up with a pair of gay guys as dates.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Mon May 14, 2012 at 08:15:28 PM PDT

  •  Gay People of Georgetown University (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, Chrislove

    and Gay Rights Coalition of Georgetown University Law School first sought official recognition from the school in 1979 or 1980. The case was litigated during the entire time I lived in DC (1980 to 1986) and was finally resolved, more or less in the student groups' favor, in 1987.

    Here is a link to the November '87 New York Times article covering the resolution of that case which people I knew at the time were involved in.

    The group, now known as GU Pride, is listed as a student organization on the university's website and the university, after years of fighting, adopted a non-discrimination policy.

    So it IS possible to fight and to win. I was unable to establish when exactly the non-discrimination policy was adopted; clearly it took quite some time. However the fact remains that the result of decades of organizing and protesting and, yes, litigating, eventually ended up producing at least grudging acceptance by a church-charted institution. GW is in fact the OLDEST Catholic university in the US and is an extraordinarily prestigious school. If it can happen there it can happen anywhere. But nothing happens unless people start making noise.

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