Monday, October 11, 2010


I received several emails taking exception to my claim that people who are different are less likely to be "bullied" in a Christian school than a secular school. One of the more forceful objections included this explanation:
[T]he article states later that this would be much less likely to happen at a Christian school than a secular school. I am sorry to say that I have been in both settings and this is entirely and utterly false. As a Christian I would greatly appreciate if Christian schools, like [my college] and my Christian high school fought against things like intolerance of homosexuals while acknowledging they are in the wrong. Unfortunately, this is just the opposite at a Christian school and it is naïve to think otherwise. [My college] is a place for hatred of homosexual students, almost to the point where there is no way these students can come out of the closet to receive the proper help they need.
In my high school and many other Christian high schools within my area, the small minority of homosexual students were treated so poorly on our school grounds that I felt ashamed to call my fellow students Christians as they mistreated these individuals. Conversely, in the time I spent at a public high school, gay students were treated with respect and not necessarily liked, but no students were harassed in the ways I have seen in Christian settings.
The bottom line is that I have seen far too many hypocritical Christians in my life to say that gays are safer or treated better in a Christian setting than a public school setting. While I agree that there are many things to be improved about the public school system, the harassment of homosexuals is really not one of the issues. This case was a rare exception of an intolerant bigot doing something harmful to a college roommate that caused his death. As Christians we need to look ourselves in the mirror and do what we can to act more CHRIST-LIKE every day of our lives, and that includes treating homosexuals with the respect they deserve.
If this writer is correct it is very disappointing, but is he correct? Is it naive to think that people who deviate from the norm are treated with more respect in Christian environments than in secular settings? I hope not, but I invite others to share their opinion. If the experience shared above is typical then, it seems to me, Christian schools have a lot of work to do to teach their students what it means to be a Christian.

I know anecdotes don't prove anything, but I'll share one anyway. I have attended and taught at both secular and Christian colleges over the last 45 years. It was common in the secular schools to walk into a lavatory and find anti-homosexual graffiti on the walls, but I can't recall ever seeing that in the Christian colleges at which I've taught (In fact, I can't recall seeing much graffiti at all in these schools). What does that mean? Maybe nothing, or maybe it just means that the custodial crews are more efficient in cleaning the lavatories in the Christian schools, but it also might be a reflection of the different atmospheres toward one's fellow human beings in the two types of schools.

One thing I think I can say about this, though, is that if Christians torment someone for being homosexual they're violating the principles laid down by the Christ whom they claim to follow and upon which they claim to base their lives. However, if secular students bully a gay kid those students aren't violating any principle of secularism. There's no principle that one can derive from a secular or atheistic worldview that could provide any reason to think that demeaning people who are different from and weaker than oneself is wrong. All that's being violated is an arbitrary code of conduct that reflects the tastes and predilections of the administration of the school.

Honeybee Collapse

For years scientists have been mystified and agriculturalists have been alarmed by honeybee die-offs. The collapse of the population of these essential crop pollinators in North America, estimated at about 20% of the bees, has variously been blamed on a mite, on pesticides, and on cell-phone radiation.

Now, it seems, scientists have finally discovered the real cause - a virus working synergistically with a fungus in the gut of the bees. Neither the virus nor the fungus are harmful by themselves but together they're apparently lethal.

You can read about this discovery here.