Thursday, January 25, 2007

3 years later, anti-gay T-shirt is still wrong

Almost 3 years after the fact, a San Diego federal judge has ruled for the Poway Unified School District in a summary judgment against the family of Tyler Chase Harper, who had sued because his school pulled him out of class when he wore a T-shirt that attacked homosexuality with a reference to the Bible, Romans 1:27. Tyler Harper has since graduated, but the case was continued on behalf of his younger sister, Kelsie Harper.

The judge was John A. Houston, a 2003 Bush appointee, who recently ruled strongly against the Escondido City Council for trying to deny illegal immigrants the right to rent an apartment in Escondido. The City Council gave up before wasting even more money on the issue.

Conservative Christians are not giving up as easily. Kevin Theriot, lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund finds the judge to be incompetent regarding the right to free speech. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune he said, “The court just misapplied the law and doesn’t understand what free speech is all about.” Ah, those liberal Bush appointees. Will we ever get a President Christian enough for the conservatives?

Theriot has other cases about being able to attack homosexuality in schools. He should know that the First Amendment doesn’t let people say whatever they want, wherever they want. So then it’s just a matter of nitpicking, isn’t it? It’s just a matter of deciding exactly where one person’s rights end and another begins. That’s what these cases about what is said about homosexuality in schools are about, not about incompetent judges. Shame on Mr. Theriot for being dishonest about that. I wonder what God says about such lies, nothing good I think. I wonder where I can wear tape on my T-shirt about that.

I learned from the Dover, PA case on intelligent design that actually reading the judge’s ruling is much better than reading anyone’s sound bites. That applies to this case, too. It’s 30 pages and a lot of that consists of boring procedure, but there are some interesting points there. The judge says that being hostile to a religion’s beliefs on homosexuality is not the same as being hostile to a religion. Gee, that didn’t occur to me. I doubt Mr. Theriot liked that conclusion, even though the judge documents everything he says, unlike Mr. Theriot. It’s an interesting read for anyone who has the time.

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