Thursday, March 01, 2007

Columnist Attacks Chase For Religious Intolerance

Proving once again the 10th-grader at Fort Wayne's Woodlan High School is more mature than the adults in her community, a columnist for the News-Sentinel attacks Megan Chase for showing religious intolerance in her editorial encouraging tolerance of gays. Kevin Leininger writes:

The column that started the controversy was, despite its immaturity, more persuasive. Writing in the Jan. 19 issue of the Woodlan Tomahawk, sophomore Megan Chase offered a heartfelt plea for tolerance. A friend recently had told Chase he was gay, and she urged students not to “look down on those people or make fun of them just because they have a different sexuality than you.”

Good advice, and Chase should have quit while she was ahead. Instead, she waded into a minefield.

“There is also the religious aspect to the argument,” she wrote. “(But) I wouldn’t want to believe in something that would condemn me over something that I didn’t even choose.”

“We were concerned about (Chase’s) reference to religion, and felt it either should have been expanded upon or deleted. Was she representing all religions?” explained East Allen County Schools Assistant Superintendent Andrew Melin. “This was characterized as ‘censorship’ or ‘intolerant,’ but it wasn’t that at all. We need to demonstrate a respect for all people.”

Precisely. The people supposedly in charge shouldn’t have to read the newspaper to learn a student has used a tax-supported publication to question or criticize people’s faith – especially in the generally conservative East Allen district.

And, intentionally or not, that’s exactly what Chase did. Have we reached the point where traditionalists – especially religious people – are expected to abstain from the debate over legitimate, controversial public issues?

Leininger's rationale, unlike Chase's, is simply ignorant. Chase understands that "homosexuality" is an innate characteristic that defines a person at birth no different than the color of their eyes, skin or hair. Allowing someone to preach hate and damnation against a person because they are gay is no different than the fundamentalist Christians in this country who defended slavery based upon it being a common practice in the Bible. Chase's rejection of the illogical religious condemnation of gays is a hopeful sign she and perhaps others of her generation are choosing reasoned judgment over a bigoted doctrine to which many of the adult generation are hopelessly grasping.


lori said...

I agree with you about Megan, she is more mature and logical.

I have thought all along that this huge fundie shove that we have been living through will hurt religion in the long run. I used to enjoy listening to others talk about their faith, now if I hear "have a blessed day", I want to puke. Unfortunate.

Jay said...

What these religious fundamentalists will never admit is that they made a conscious decision to become religious and practice an "alternative lifestyle"; the very bomb they love to throw at the GLBT community.

I also agree with Lori: the fundies are hurting the very religion they claim to hold so dear to their hearts.

Anonymous said...

Of all the categories covered by the more enlightened cities of Indiana -- including Indy, FW, Lafayette and Bloomington-- religion is the only one truly FREELY chosen-- not race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin etc.. And yet, it's the one that's most likely to be used to discriminate against the otehrs. ODD isn't it?