Sunday, December 22, 2019

Spare the Child and Spoil the Rod

I'd be very interested to know what the right-wing Christian Rod Dreher would have to say about this incident.  The supposed persecution of Christian conservatives is one of his recurring themes.  Would he defend a teacher who, apparently because of her religious beliefs, attacked a child and the child's parents in the classroom?

For the benefit of those who, like me, dislike sitting through videos, what happened is this: a young boy was excited and proud because after going through five foster homes, he was finally being adopted.  The adoptive parents are two gay men.  When he talked about this in class, the substitute teacher in charge berated him: why would he be happy and proud about being adopted by homosexuals?  The boy didn't want to make trouble, despite his anger, so he didn't talk back, but some of his classmates did.  (That, for me, is the best thing about the story, that other kids stood up for him.)  They went to the principal, who removed the teacher, and she was subsequently fired by the agency that employed her.

The teacher is entitled to her beliefs, but not to pick on a student because of them.  I'd feel the same way if a liberal Christian teacher berated a child of the Duggar family, for example.  Or if an atheist told Christian children that their parents should be caged for brainwashing them with fairy stories.  I'm impressed that all this happened in Utah, which for me first comes to mind as the state which banned all extracurricular high school groups rather than allow Gay Straight Alliances.  Orson Scott Card is surely gnashing his teeth in helpless fury nowadays.

If I'm ever tempted to doubt that we have made progress in this country, a story like this one reminds me that we have.  Progress is never final, of course, and there are many people who will work to turn it back.  But as this story shows, there are also many people who will work to block them.