Thursday, March 23, 2006

Viroqua Diversity Day Cancelled

Viroqua is along the highway between Coon Valley and Sidie Hollow, Wisconsin. The high school's got about 370 kids in it.

For the past few years they've tried to have a "Diversity Day," you know, to learn about other kinds of people. As a teacher explained:
“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.”

True, that.

Two years ago the school board cancelled Diversity Day when 400 people signed petitions to keep the gay, lesbian, and transgender people out of it. I don't really remember it making the news, but that's what happened, they weren't all that interested in "that kind" of diversity up there that year.

This year, the out-of-town legal buzzards came in, and Diversity Day is cancelled again.

As the La Crosse Tribune puts it:
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. Legal issues lead to cancellation of Diversity Day at Viroqua High

Yes, Liberty Counsel. The same guys that filed the lawsuit here in Montgomery County. Same guys, up to the SOS.

Sounds like the Viroqua Area School District put up even less of a fight than the Montgomery County Public Schools did when these slick lawyers came to town. Gave up immediately. At least MCPS made them go to court before they gave away the farm.

So Diversity Day is canceled at Viroqua High School again.

The rightwing web sites are going crazy with this. "They'd rather cancel the event than allow ex-gays and Christians at it," is of course the way the spin goes. They love this stuff. This proves how put-upon they are.

You ever been to Viroqua, Wisconsin?

I notice the story doesn't say that any "ex-gays" wanted to be part of Diversity Day. They just weren't on the schedule, so the minister over at Bad Axe Lutheran complained to the Falwell legal team.

According to the paper, they had planned to feature "Hmong, Jewish, Muslim, American Indian, African American, Latino, Buddhist, gay, physically disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged people."

The gay speakers had said they would be uncomfortable if "ex-gays" were represented. Because, well, that's what the whole "ex-gay" thing is, anyway -- if they weren't trying pressure gay people to get back into the closet they wouldn't call themselves "ex-gay," they'd call themselves "straight." Don't kid yourself, the entire concept of "ex-gay" exists as part of a mission to shame gay people into being something they're not. Somebody switches from AC to DC, fine, not a problem, but if you're for real you don't hang up a sign when you do it.

A teacher explained:
“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.

That last line is key, and it will be lost in the noise. It was not supposed to be about proselytizing or alienating anyone.
  • Do you think the Hmong wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the Jewish person wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the Muslim wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the American Indian wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the African American wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the Latino wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the Buddhist wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the gay person wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the physically disadvantaged person wants you to become one of them?
  • Do you think the economically disadvantaged person wants you to become one of them?

That does seem to draw a line between those invited and those not, doesn't it?

Do you think the Christian wants you to become one of them?
Do you think the "ex-gay" wants you to become one of them?

Nobody minds if you've given your life to Christ, or if you want to say you're not gay any more. What people don't like is being told there's something wrong with them, and they need to be like you. That's not diversity, that's just rudeness.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think the Christian wants you to become one of them?"

So, a desire to share what is the greatest joy in one's life is offensive? It wouldn't be considered so for any other group.

March 23, 2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

It's the greatest joy in YOUR life, Wyatt, not mine. You have no boundaries, and until the day comes when Christians like you learn to respect others and their beliefs, we will continue to have problems in this country. Share with your children; to the rest of us you're just obnoxious and insulting.

March 23, 2006 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think the Hmong wants you to become one of them?

Do you think the Jewish person wants you to become one of them?

Do you think the American Indian wants you to become one of them?

Do you think the African American wants you to become one of them?

Do you think the Latino wants you to become one of them?"

These are races or tribes, so it's obviously a ridiculous question.

"Do you think the Muslim wants you to become one of them?"

yes

"Do you think the Buddhist wants you to become one of them?"

yes

"Do you think the gay person wants you to become one of them?"

may depend on the person but for some, yes

"Do you think the physically disadvantaged person wants you to become one of them?

Do you think the economically disadvantaged person wants you to become one of them?"

Bad comparison. Those at a disadvantage would probably wish not to be at a disadvantage. I doubt if many of them wish anything but well for others.

Those who are insulted by someone trying to share the truth they've found with them need to get over their insecurities.

March 23, 2006 11:23 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Wyatt,

You really put it better than anyone else I can imagine. YOUR truth is just that, YOUR truth. I have no problem with that, nor do I imagine most people do. It's only when you either want to share it, which is simply obnoxious, or impose it, which is completely unacceptable, that we have any problems. That you don't recognize that is consistent with the rest of the comments you've made here. I have no idea where you live, but if it's a diverse neighborhood, like much of America, and you were to keep approaching your neighbors to "share your truth," I imagine you'd be run out of the neighborhood.

Now, let's revisit your comments.

1) I thought Judaism and Christianity were just different denominations of the same religion. Why do you list it as a tribe?

2)Muslims don't want you to become one of them; the fanatics simply want to dominate you and everyone else.

3) Buddhists couldn't care less.

4) Your comment about "some" gays is the usual bigotry on your part.

The entire thrust of Jim's comment, which you deliberately ignored, is that the list presented was of groups coming together to celebrate their identities. It's only the Christian fundamentalists and the "ex-gays" who are interested in tearing down others' identities. Again, assuming there actually was anyone outside of Matt Staver who really cares.

March 23, 2006 2:30 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

For those who may have missed this from the "Speaking without Knowing " thread:

Retta, in this thread:

"It shows a lack of tolerance and respect that you so want people to show to you. “Tearing down” some one else’s thoughts only shows your lack of tolerance for others.

March 19, 2006 2:57 PM"

Then, two days later:

"CRCPrecious (Retta Brown wrote)on CRC message board:

When will they be able to marry their dog?

« on: March 17, 2006, 05:43:30 PM »"

Where, Retta dear, is your tolerance and respect for others?

March 24, 2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Anon- Am I a race or a tribe? This is your idea of knowledge? Judaism is a religion.

"sharing" is very different from evangelizing- something you probably don't understand.

And maybe you are mixing up Hare Krishnas with Buddhists.

March 24, 2006 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea

Your comment deserves a response, as do several others on other posting. I'm kind of swamped though for the next couple of weeks so I may get to reading the comments but won't have the time to make a cogent response. You guys will have to make do without your straw man for a time. Until then.

March 25, 2006 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tax time crunch takes a lot of time

freebird

March 25, 2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger grantdale said...

Dana, as was put by someone far smarter than me:

"We know you want to marry your dog, but how do we know your dog wants to marry you?"

The truth in that, alone, ends the insulting comparison.

March 25, 2006 9:33 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home