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State Passes Bill “Allowing the Bullying of LGBT Students in the Name of Religious Freedom”

The Tennessee State legislature has passed a bill titled the Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act and have sent it to governor Bill Haslam for his approval. According to LGBT news outlets, “the bill allows and encourages anti-gay bullying in the name of religious freedom.”

The ACLU has come out strongly against the bill, saying it “crosses the line from protecting religious freedom into creating systematic imposition of some students’ personal religious viewpoints on other students.”

The ACLU released a statement, saying “Should this pass, students with a range of religious beliefs, as well as non-believers, would likely routinely be required to listen to religious messages or participate in religious exercises that conflict with their own beliefs. Conversely, if a student of a minority religious faith (e.g., a Buddhist, a Wiccan, etc.) or a non-believer were to obtain a ‘position of honor,’ as defined under this bill, that student would be permitted to subject all classmates to prayer and proselytizing specific to his or her faith tradition in connection with school events. In both cases, parents would have no recourse to ensure that their children were not coerced into such religious exercise.”

According to The New Civil Rights Movement, “At a basic level, a student could merely write “God” on a chemistry test as the answer to a question asking to where water comes from. A student could also stand in class and say their religion says that gay people are sinners and going to hell, and that speech would be legally protected. The bill states “a student may express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. A student would not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of the student’s work.”

The website also notes that “Attacks on LGBT people and same-sex marriage are automatically protected under this bill, offering anti-gay students a state-sponsored license to bully. And of course, a student could claim they worship Satan and subject their classmates to that “religious viewpoint” as well.”

The Governor has not stated whether he will sign the bill but it may not matter. The Tennessee Senate passed the bill by a unanimous 32-0 margin while the House overwhelmingly approved it with a 90-2 vote which means any veto can be overridden.

About the author

Igor Derysh is the Managing Editor of Latest. com and a syndicated columnist whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sun Sentinel, and AOL News. His work has been criticized in even more publications. Follow him on Twitter @IgorDerysh

  • NY to SF

    I think it’s time for me to go to Tennessee & beat anyone who threatens my child’s life. That still fly’s right. You attack me & if I feel my life’s in danger or my family’s life’s in danger I use self defense to protect.
    You do know that a person can die from a punch soooo I could shoot someone for Assault & battery on me fearing for my life. Notice I didn’t bring religion into this. I don’t have to. It wont make any difference when it comes to public rights.
    Did Tennessee start the punching game ? I’ll finish it.

    • ted

      Right on brother/sister!

    • Auri Ford

      like i stated on my facebook page, if i ever see this happening i will knock the shit out of the person with this bullshit freedom, and stand up for people. i have a lot of friends in LGBT and i respect each and every single one!

    • PatTheRat

      Why so much hate from you? You want to go punching people? You want to go finish fights? What??? Hate begets hate. Just stop already.

  • NY to SF

    Somehow I think when you call the police and say this other person assaulted you it’s going to fix this outrageous plan. What’s the cop going to do ? Stand there and say “You deserve it.” lol
    This isn’t going to fly. Law protects the innocent .

    • Ken Coit

      Sure it does. If his spiritual leader declares the violation against the church’s teaching, what will the officer do?

    • Lucas Leach

      it’s supposed to but it doesn’t

    • Mary

      At least it’s supposed to.

    • Daniel Williams

      No…laws protect the guilty every day!

  • connlyfox

    That is unconstitutional completely!

  • NY to SF

    This would be fun. ALL Religions have a BIG flaw that is funny .
    Let the mud slinging begin. Rib bone to Hitler . Thousand virgins to Snake charming . Don’t forget Greek Gods . They’re fun.
    Atheist will be on the side lines laughing with popcorn.

    • Shadowreeper1337

      Sigh I’m going to have to agree with this all major religions have at least one huge flaw

  • David James

    The religious right, along with the Tea Party evangelicals, are so worried about Sharia (sp?) law coming to the U.S. when in fact, they’ve already established or are putting into motion the very exact same thing. Unbelievable.

    • Mary

      There isn’t a lot of difference when it all comes down, is there?

  • NY to SF

    This should be kept in check. Call it …..let’s see…. What could you call this in school to keep this sane . How about make up some unheard of class & call it ….hummmm. The Debate TEAM ! ?

  • Lucas Leach

    this is digusting

  • Deborah Murphy Ross

    The religious zealots are no better than fundamental Muslims who commit acts of terror in the name of God….and yet these so called Christians don’t recognize themselves for the terrorists they are

  • Kutthroat Kandie

    I will NEVER go to Tenn. again. This makes me sick

  • Susan Tague

    But of course these idiots want to keep the Government out of their lives…Oh yah, I forgot only if what the rwnjs want to control is the law…This is not just sick, it’s dangerou

  • Gary Mosse

    The reactionary nature of many voters has led to representatives & Senators who display amazing levels of ignorance or stupidity. Texas has it’s share of stupid representatives whose remarks defy all realms of accepted knowledge. Louie Goomer ((sp) leads the pack I gross stupidity!

  • Passage or even attempting to pass any bill allowing fiscal, mental, or any form of abuse to be allowed against citizens of this country every member of the Tennessee State Legislature should be arrested at once and charge with felony criminal charges. As someone born and raised in Tennessee I’ve never been ashamed of being a hillbilly but today I am, as well as disgusted with every resident of Tennessee! If you do not stand up to stop this then it’s time for the outsiders to come to town and stop it at what ever is necessary. May God have mercy on you fools!

  • Daniel Williams

    The South just keeps getting deeper and deeper into shit. Mississippi now Tennessee. Which one is next? Any bets anyone?

  • Rita Ricks

    The writer of this article is seeking to incite fear and anger. I just read another article about the same bill which explains that the bill came about because a teacher refused to allow a 10 year old student to write a paper about who they admire most, on God. The bill is designed to protect teachers from being sued if they allow a student to express a religious view. If you believe that this is going to lead to students speaking out in a classroom setting to tell others they are going to hell, or some of the other things this writer suggests, then you should realize there is no law preventing them from doing that now if they want to. Keep calm and carry on my friends, Igor Derysh just wants some attention. ( look at the picture chosen for the article)

  • Kyle Patton Clark

    This law has been effective on the federal level since the constitution was written and signed. Believe it’s called the first amendment.

  • tloco11

    if this is what being a christian means,, im glad im not one!!!

  • Viir Exeter

    There is no such thing as “religious
    liberty,” and there shouldn’t be. “Religious freedom,” is nothing less
    than the demanding of the right to subscribe to absolute and utter FICTION
    (much of it hatemongering and inhumanely ABUSIVE fiction), and have that FICTION
    be recognized and put forth as societal mores and, worse, law. At no time
    should any faction’s religious beliefs (they’re called “beliefs” for a reason
    as there is no FACT involved) be taken into consideration when it comes to the
    authoring of legislation and law.

  • Joann Hinton

    The right to bully do to religious belief is not a freedom at all. Most religions are against people who as they say throw stones. I say everyone has the right to live their life without someone individual of group harassing them. Hell,s gate shall surely open for those who choose to judge..

  • Annette

    A society gets the politicians it deserves. I really don’t understand how the people that voted the Senate into office are capable of functioning. Do they just never visit outside their sheltered little lives?