“You went to a Christian college, what did you expect?”

I thought I should address one of the responses that my story of the continuing saga of my censored alumni update has garnered. There’s this idea out there that if you went to a conservative Christian college that you should just expect them to behave badly and that’s that. A corollary to that idea is the one that says that says that you picked the Christian college, you shouldn’t complain about the results. I’ve got several problems with that attitude. First, as I’ve discussed before, LGBTQ campus climate issues are not just a Christian college problem. It’s a college problem. This idea that it’s just something you should expect when you go to a Christian college lets secular institutions off the hook. As a current student at a state school, I would be lying if I said that things are copacetic here. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve spent my Saturday gameday listening to the people sitting behind me scream “faggot” at the football team. Sure, the school wouldn’t tolerate it if it was reported, but who’s going to report a bunch of students whose identities you don’t know? That’s not even going into all of the discussions I’ve had with other students about how the overall student body atmosphere at the law school feels unwelcoming. Having a supportive administration and faculty with policies in place doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant problems to work on. Going to a state school, that’s not something I expected, but it’s what I got. The campus climate problems may be different at Christian colleges than secular ones, but don’t kid yourself, the environment can be pretty bad at state schools too. I don’t want my criticism of how Covenant handled my alumni update situation and the erasing of LGBT alumni[…]

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Covenant College censored my alumni update

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8, KJV When I was asked at the start of last spring semester whether I would be interested in assisting on research for an amicus brief in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court later that spring, I jumped at the chance. Not only is it something that I’m personally and professionally proud of, as having the opportunity to play even a miniscule role in a major case is something that most people don’t get, it was something that I believe as a Christian was the right thing to do. Do justice. Love mercy. The brief I worked on dealt with the way that the laws negatively affect children raised by LGBT parents, and how those laws negatively affect LGBT youth, their sense of self and their ability to imagine a future for themselves. More specifically, I worked on a team with several other law students to coauthor a survey to capture the voices of LGBT youth and young adults, and our paper is cited in the amicus brief. The responses that poured in were heartbreaking. Kids sharing their stories of growing up and realizing they were different, and the fear and worry about whether their future relationships would be treated as legitimate by the government, feeling that they were lesser because of the law. Yet, in all that, hope that someday things might change. Kids daring to dream that there might be a future where they could build a life for themselves as equal citizens. I worked to provide justice for those kids. As you can see, my work on[…]

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No, Marvin Olasky, the DOMA ruling doesn’t mean you’ll soon have to chose between silence or jail

Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment, but every so often I feel the need to check out what one-time trustee at my alma mater, editor-in-chief of World Magazine (who would use that position to write thinly-veiled screeds about Covenant turning liberal), author of the Newt Gingrich-pimped The Tragedy of American Compassion (and of the super racist, orientalist, poor-excuse-for-a-novel Scimitar’s Edge, among other books), architect of “compassionate conservatism,” Marvin Olasky has to say about world events. What he has to say about yesterday’s DOMA ruling is an absolute doozie.  Because I’m bored and because the hyperbole, panic, and overall insanity of the piece is absolutely hilarious, I am going to do point-by-point commentary forthwith.  Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in today’s Supreme Court same-sex saga is stinging the left, which is hitting back with headlines like “Top 10 Rage Quotes from Scalia’s DOMA Dissent.” No, Marvin, Scalia’s dissent is not “stinging the left.” We’re too busy laughing at it. I’ve been waiting for this dissent on pins and needles for months because I knew it was going to be epic. Scalia is many things and is unquestionably brilliant, but on the issue of homosexuality, he is completely and utterly incapable of maintaining any sign of impartial jurisprudence, as his scare-quote ridden, rant about about the gay agenda taking over law schools, Lawrence v. Texas dissent made clear. It’s one of those things you can’t even get mad at because the image of Scalia impotently seething with rage that the world is changing is too funny. After skimming the holding in Windsor yesterday, I skipped right to  Scalia’s dissent and it did not disappoint. Dude was so mad that he starts out his dissent with what was was pretty much a frontal assault on Marbury v. Madison and the entire concept of judicial review upon which[…]

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Real People

I’m kind of dreading the Supreme Court rulings on marriage tomorrow. Not because I think we’re going to lose–all the Supreme Court math suggests otherwise, but because whatever happens, my Facebook newsfeed is going to be horrible tomorrow. I know people say I should just make heavy use of the “Unfriend” button, and maybe I should, but I don’t feel right about cutting people out of my life like that. All I know though, is that the two days during oral arguments over Proposition 8 and DOMA were unpleasant because of all the nastiness that showed up in my newsfeed. People forget that there are actual people with real feelings reading their posts, and seeing how many of the people you grew up with and consider friends think you should be a second class citizen without equal rights hurts. Please remember before you click to post, there are real people with real feelings who are reading what you write. This may be an academic debate for you, but for us, it’s personal. Show some love and compassion and try to think about how you would feel if people you know are busy posting away about how they think that people like you are disgusting abominations who shouldn’t be allowed the same rights they take for granted.

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Changes

Obviously we’re still waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on DOMA and Prop 8, it was a bit of a circus there today because of the possibility that it would take be announced. There was a lone protester across the street with a huge sign saying something about sodomy, dude was wearing one of the red Operation Save America/Operation Rescue “Jesus is the Standard” shirts with the cross and the American flag. Once upon a time, I ran in those circles, but that feels like a whole different lifetime.

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Irony

The Daily Beast has a story about homeschooled kids who have grown up and are blogging about their negative experiences. I didn’t have the kind of negative experiences that those kids had, although I’ve definitely seen the kinds of problems that the article discusses. I think most of us who have grown up in homeschool circles have seen the problems and have stories we could tell–stories like the time I overheard moms at homeschool skate talking about how they weren’t going to teach their daughters algebra because they didn’t need math to be a stay at home wife and mother. What jumped out at me though, was this quote from the article: Now the first wave of kids raised in these homes has reached adulthood. Many were trained to be activists, to argue, to question the verities of the dominant culture. Debating skill is hugely important in many homeschool circles, because it’s seen as a crucial tool of Christian apologetics. (Patrick Henry, the Virginia college for homeschoolers that Farris founded, has a moot-court team that has twice defeated Oxford’s Balliol College.) The movement’s leaders never intended, though, for students to turn their prowess against the culture they were raised in. “Michael Farris, his whole idea was creating this cultural army. The finishing point of everything was supposed to be debate,” says Stollar, 28.  I’ve written before about how I’d applied to do the HSLDA intern program after high school, and how in retrospect I’m glad I didn’t get it. The above quote rings so true to me because the great irony of the fundamentalist homeschool world is that they told us we were the activists who were going to change the country–that was a common theme in World Mag articles about homeschooling, and definitely so in the HSLDA newsletter–and well,[…]

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Dispatches from the Culture Wars: DOMA

Sixteen and a half years ago President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, enshrining inequality into federal law. As Clinton tells it, he had to sign it because it was a veto-proof majority and any veto would have been overruled anyway, though I rather suspect that it had more to do with the fact that he was two months away from the general election and thought it would ensure his reelection. The truth is probably something that historians will have to sort out farther down the road. In any case, sixteen and a half years ago DOMA went into effect and the federal government was barred from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples and from granting them any of the federal benefits granted to male-female married couples. Four days from now, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of DOMA, in the case United States v. Windsor. I was 16 when DOMA was signed into law, and if you had told me back when I was 16 that half a lifetime later I would find myself contributing to an amicus brief in the Supreme Court challenge of DOMA I would not have believed you. Not because back then I was still a member in good standing of the religious right, but because in my idealistic naivete I could not imagine that a law that seemed like such a blatant violation of equal protection would be allowed to stand for any measurable length of time. The idea that sixteen years later we’re all waiting on pins and needles, doing Supreme Court math in an attempt to guess whether or not DOMA will be overturned was something I didn’t even consider a possibility back then. And yet here we are, and most of my law school classmates are too[…]

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