When Adults Ruin Everything (A running series)
Outside of Seattle's liberal city limits in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, a political correctness battle is heating up. The Seattle Times has an article that does little to really get to the heart of the matter.
Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations often include a speaker who is supposed to celebrate the life of Dr. King, reflect on the painful past of our country, and in my opinion, point us towards the dream that Dr. King envisioned.
Mount Si High School invited the Rev. Ken Hutcherson (read this article if you want to know what the Seattle Times thinks of him.) He is an outspoken pastor who has been villainized by many for his anti-homosexual comments. The tolerant people of society do not tolerate his desire to share with people his religious views.
The Problem Begins
According to the article, English teacher George Potratz "booed Hutcherson," and another English teacher, after the speech, "stood up and asked Hutcherson whether he believed in equal rights for gays and lesbians."
The article makes states that at no point in the assembly did the Rev. Hutcherson discuss or mention his personal beliefs on gays and lesbians.
The Problem Grows
The Rev. Hutcherson did not feel welcomed at Mount Si High School and the district apologized to him for the treatment he received.
The Problem Divides
The more tolerant and civilized people in the argument believe that the district should not show tolerance towards the Rev. Hutcherson by inviting him to speak about Dr. King's legacy knowing that he owns intolerant beliefs about gays and lesbians.
The less tolerant and uncivilized people (the article leads us to believe that these insensitive people are Christians) in the argument believe that the problem is that two teachers voiced their political and personal beliefs in the public school setting.
The Daily Grind's Commentary
First, I must admit that I attended Northwest University. My religious views, though personal, shape the way that I approach the world in which I live, move, and have my being.
The Daily Grind believes that tolerance is important and essential to the society that Dr. King, Ghandi, or even Jesus envisioned. If the Rev. Hutcherson, who is known to have a certain measure of charisma as a public speaker, can deliver a powerful and moving speech on the life of Dr. King, his religious views should not prevent him from speaking on such an important matter. I can't imagine that a homosexual in need of medical attention to save his life would refuse help from a paramedic known for her religious views against homosexuality. The Daily Grind believes that in the matter of celebrating Dr. King's life, we should view it as necessary to the health of our nation.
And yet, the Daily Grind believes that the Rev. Hutcherson, if he is truly known for his anti-homosexual stance, ought to focus his attentions more on carrying out the two greatest commandments that Jesus taught--Love God and Love Neighbor. If the Rev. Hutcherson wants to follow Jesus (the true meaning of Christian), then he should be known for his compassion and not his condemnation.
But the issue at hand still remains complicated. Should the teachers have been corrected for their actions? Yes. I think that we teachers have a responsibility to demonstrate that same tolerance so many of us preach at our students. It seems that when we stand in front of our class and reprimand a student for calling the test "gay," we shouldn't then stand and boo a person for his religious views. That defies tolerance.
Can we engage our students in thought provoking discussion? Should we? Without question. But booing is not discussion and challenging an invited speaker's beliefs at a school wide assembly is neither the time nor the appropriate place. The Daily Grind believes the teachers were in the wrong.
This issue, and issues like it, continue to demonstrate that adults have a way of ruining everything. We preach life skills that we ourselves do not employ; but then we tense in disgust when our students don't practice what we preach.