Gay Couple Believes In Diversity - As Long As It Is Their Way

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by GotZoom, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    They were uncomfortable that someone would have an viewpoint against their lifestyle. Instead of embracing free-speech and diversity, they walked; so the entire event was cancelled.

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    VIROQUA, Wis. — Faced again with controversy over plans for a gay speaker, Viroqua High School officials have cancelled Diversity Day.

    The event, held every two years since 2000 for juniors and seniors, had been set for Thursday.

    Scheduled speakers included Hmong, Jewish, Muslim, American Indian, African American, Latino, Buddhist, gay, physically disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged people.

    But it was called off late last week after a legal group raised a potential challenge to include a formerly gay or Christian viewpoint.

    In 2004, about 400 people signed a petition asking that speakers on gay, lesbian and transgender issues not be included in the school’s Diversity Day. The school board cancelled the event, but it was reinstated after spring elections changed the board’s makeup.

    While pressure in 2004 came largely from within the community, this time, much of the challenge was from outside, said Gregg Attleson, a Spanish teacher at Viroqua who was on the Diversity Day planning committee.

    The Tribune obtained a copy of a March 8 fax to David Johnston, Viroqua district administrator, from the Liberty Counsel, a national public interest law firm with offices in Florida and Virginia.

    The fax stated that Don Greven, pastor of Bad Axe Lutheran Church, and Charles Lind, grandfather of a Viroqua High senior, had raised concerns about no Christian or formerly gay viewpoints being among the Diversity Day speakers.

    The fax pointed out a federal court in Michigan had ruled unconstitutional a similar exclusion at Ann Arbor Public Schools event.

    “By excluding the Christian and ex-gay viewpoints, the (Viroqua) District violates the Establishment Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection,” the Liberty Counsel argued in the fax.

    “Diversity means, in our understanding, that the various views are presented, and that was lacking,” Greven, 61, said Monday.

    Planners said they hoped the day would bring students face to face with minorities and those living alternative lifestyles.

    “Our students are not going to be living their lives out in Viroqua,” said Attleson. “They’ll be out and about in the world — in jobs, in the military, in the university —and they’re going to come into contact with people of different backgrounds. And we feel it would be real helpful for them in a nice safe place, like a high school, to have contact and be able to dispel some of the stereotypes.”

    Attleson said students would have heard two keynote speakers, seen a movie and gathered with three of 10 speakers for small group discussions during the day. Students could choose which small groups they wanted to attend, he said, and wouldn’t have to participate if their parents contacted the school in advance.

    When committee members heard some wanted the ex-gay viewpoint presented, they contacted the homosexual couple who would be speaking, Attleson said. The couple refused to participate alongside the ex-gay viewpoint, Attleson said, saying they would be uncomfortable.


    The committee then decided the best course of action was to cancel the whole day.

    “Non-positive groups were not what we were going for,” said Ellen Byers, an English teacher on the committee.

    She said it was important to have homosexuals represented because a lot of misunderstanding exists about the issue and because Viroqua has gay students.

    She said the day was not supposed to be about “proselytizing,” or alienating anyone.

    “It’s ironic, because we’re trying to be tolerant and at the same time we might be accused of being intolerant,” Byers said.

    http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2006/03/21/news/1news21.txt
     
  2. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    I pray for this world...because it's filling up...with ...pun...crazy people..older...
     
  3. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    Fundamentalist viewpoint does not really need to be represented for the sake of diversity in rural Wisconsin. It's the norm. Cancellation is OK, it was a dumb event in the first place.
     
  4. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    maybe, just maybe, exclusion of the norm is exactly what is wrong with this country in the first place.
     
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  5. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    "Scheduled speakers included Hmong, Jewish, Muslim, American Indian, African American, Latino, Buddhist, gay, physically disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged people."

    I can see why introducing a bunch of rednecks to ethnic minorities might help prepare them for the real world out there, but "gay" "Buddhist", "economically disadvantaged"? There are no external distinguishing characteristics to those people.
     
  6. CSM
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    I am uncertain about what you are saying. Is the norm defined only by external distinguishing characteristics? I also have to wonder why you use the disparaging term 'redneck' for what I assume you consider the norm and the more PC terms for those outside the norm?
     
  7. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    I use the disparaging term "redneck" for rural Wisconsinites because I live in Wisconsin and I know the people who live there.

    I'm just saying introducing rednecks to blacks, Hmong, or whatever might have some benefits if they've never met those kinds of people before. Introducing them to people who have an ideological axe to grind like a religion or a lifestyle is propaganda.
     
  8. dmp
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    so you oppose to the homosexual couple?
     
  9. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    I think the whole thing is dumb. They should teach the kids how to read and write.

    You can obviously divide society into any number of religions, philosophies and lifestyles. The excercise becomes meaningless. Race is an objective fact, so if you live in a backwards place like Wisconsin and you've never met a black :afro: or Asian, that might be useful. You don't have to meet religious people or gays, because you've already met them, no matter where you live.
     
  10. CSM
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    Again, I am unsure of your position on this particular situation and I get the feeling you are deliberately skirting the issue. From your last statement, I construe that you are against the introduction of the Hmong, Jewish, Muslim, American Indian, African American, Latino, Buddhist, gay, physically disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged lifestyle and/or religions.
     

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