This has not been a good week in the Pacific Northwest for those who believe that education has the power to lift the human spirit and appreciate our fellow traveler on life’s highway.
“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem. “
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jenny Martin of the Mercer Island Reporter has a report about a hate crime spree on Mercer Island. Mercer Island is a tony island community across Lake Washington from Seattle. In Hate Crime Spree Hits mercer Island Martin reports:
The Mercer Island Police Department’s Criminal Investigation unit is investigating a string of “felony level” malicious harassment/hate crimes that have taken place on Mercer Island over the last week.
The most recent incident occurred early Friday morning at the Northwest Yeshiva High School. The suspects, including at least three “older juvenile” boys, defaced the campus with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti. The trio were caught on a school surveillance camera at about 1:45 a.m. Similar graffiti was also reported this morning at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, also located on Mercer Island. The building, as well as two cars parked nearby were also spray painted.
Police suspect these two incidents may be related to a third graffiti report received on September 14 from the Island Park Elementary School. Employees arrived to find graffiti that targeted, “Police as well as specific ethnic and religious groups,” according to a police press release.The Mercer Island Police Department urges anyone with information to call the tip line at 206-275-7955. More updates will be posted as they become available
Sandi Doughton of the Seattle Times has a more extensive report of the defacing of the Northwest Yeshiva School at Jewish High School On Mercer Island Defaced With Anti-Semitic Graffiti
As if defacing the church and high school were not bad enough, comes news that the Montana GOP still has as part of their platform that homosexually should be outlawed. Really. Matt Voltz of AP has the report at SeattlePI.Com. In Montana GOP Policy: Make Homosexuality Illegal Voltz reports:
The party adopted an official platform in June that keeps a long-held position in support of making homosexual acts illegal, a policy adopted after the Montana Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1997.
The fact that it’s still the official party policy more than 12 years later, despite a tidal shift in public attitudes since then and the party’s own pledge of support for individual freedoms, has exasperated some GOP members.
“I looked at that and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,'” state Sen. John Brueggeman, R-Polson, said last week. “Should it get taken out? Absolutely. Does anybody think we should be arresting homosexual people? If you take that stand, you really probably shouldn’t be in the Republican Party.”
Gay rights have been rapidly advancing nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ sodomy law in 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas decision. Gay marriage is now allowed in five states and Washington, D.C., a federal court recently ruled the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy unconstitutional, and even a conservative tea party group in Montana ousted its president over an anti-gay exchange in Facebook.
But going against the grain is the Montana GOP statement, which falls under the “Crime” section of the GOP platform. It states: “We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.”
Montana GOP executive director Bowen Greenwood said that has been the position of the party since the state Supreme Court struck down state laws criminalizing homosexuality in 1997 in the case of Gryczan v. Montana.
Nobody has ever taken the initiative to change it and so it’s remained in the party platform, Greenwood said. The matter has never even come up for discussion, he said.
“There had been at the time, and still is, a substantial portion of Republican legislators that believe it is more important for the Legislature to make the law instead of the Supreme Court,” Greenwood said.
Critics say the policy is a toothless statement, the effect of which is simply to make gays feel excluded. A University of Montana law professor says Montana’s 1997 case and the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision means there’s no real chance for the state GOP to act on its position.
“To me, that statement legally is hollow,” said constitutional specialist Jack Tuholske. “The principle under Gryczan and under Lawrence, that’s the fundamental law of the land and the Legislature can’t override the Constitution. It might express their view, but as far as a legal reality, it’s a hollow view and can’t come to pass.”
Montana Human Rights Network organizer Kim Abbott said the GOP platform statement does not represent the attitudes of most Montanans, and it shows that the party is out of touch with the prevalent view of the people they are supposed to represent.
Hopefully, none of these haters is claiming to be Christian, because that is just not how the faith operates. One does not have to support a particular religion or lifestyle to recognize that people, ALL people have dignity and deserve to be treated with respect.
In John F. Kennedy’s Speech About Religious Intolerance I said:
This is a blog about education issues. The goal is to promote education because the thought is that educated, not merely schooled, people will make this world a much better place for all people. This blogger doesn’t claim to understand the nuances of other faiths, although I have read extensively. One needs to be grounded in the culture and environment of a faith in order to really understand it. What got this blogger thinking about religious intolerance aside from the, UN Christian response of a clergyman claiming the Christian religion, as opposed to the Christian faith, who threatened to burn the Koran was a person whom I met claiming to be oh so progressive and oh so aware of the world. This person told a crude and offensive joke about Jesus which they thought was oh so, ha, ha funny. That got this blogger thinking about what tolerance means to some folks, which is I want you to be tolerant of me, but I have no intention of extending tolerance to you. I have no idea of what Jesus would think about the particular joke, I do know that Jesus was an educated man and if one reads His principles directly rather than understanding through the filters of interpretations by those who claim to know what he said, then the Christian religion is not so foreboding. This is probably true of other faiths as well.
David Broder has an excellent opinion piece about John F. Kennedy’s speech regarding religious Intolerance. His opinion piece is found at John F. Kennedy’s Inspiring Speech About Religious Intolerance Just as it is important to read the source documents of any religion to gain an accurate picture of meaning, one should go to the original Kennedy speech. The original speech is found at Kennedy Speech On Religious Intolerance
I hope none of these idiots who hate are claiming to be Christian because they are certainly no kin of mine.
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