“[S]ocial conservatives believe that efforts to protect gays from assault, discrimination or bullying impinge on their religious freedom to express and act on their belief that homosexuality is an abomination. That’s stating it harshly, but it is the underlying belief,” Time religion reporter Amy Sullivan huffed in a November 4 Swampland blog post on the magazine’s website.
“[T]he Michigan legislature is doing its best to make me hang my head in shame,” Sullivan, a “transplanted Michigander” groused, explaining that:
On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state senate passed an anti-bullying bill that manages to protect school bullies instead of those they victimize. It accomplishes this impressive feat by allowing students, teachers, and other school employees to claim that “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” justifies their harassment.
Perhaps Sullivan envisions schoolyard bullies getting off scot-free after beating up gay students simply because the bully happens to be religious, something that is, of course, patently absurd.
The magazine’s religion writer insisted that one has to understand “that social conservatives consider themselves the real victims,” perhaps being unaware of the case two months ago of Fort Worth, Texas, teenager Dakota Ary.
Ary was briefly suspended for voicing in a classroom discussion his religious beliefs about homosexuality. The school system ultimately reversed itself, but the fact remains that Ary was treated by school officials as a bully for simply defending his religious convictions.
For good measure, Sullivan charged social conservatives with pettiness – arguing Christian conservatives have a “serious persecution complex to get worked up about” the law when Christians are dying martyrs’ deaths in Iran – and threw in the boilerplate charges of hypocrisy and Islamophobia, without, of course evidence of either:
The same religious conservatives who applaud the religious exemption in Michigan’s anti-bullying bill would be appalled if it protected a Muslim student in Dearborn who defended bullying a Christian classmate by saying he considered her an infidel.
“I’m not holding my breath” for the Michigan House of Representatives to remove the religious exemption from the bill, Sullivan wrote in closing, “But stranger things have happened.”
Yes, like a secular reporter hostile to conservatives of religious faith covering religion for a major news magazine.