SC legislators using the budget to punish colleges for getting students to read about gays
Disclosure alert - one of the books,Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, has a piece I wrote on the deceptions and propaganda of the religious right. How very appropriate:
South Carolina legislators want to punish two public colleges for assigning books on homosexuality to freshmen. The House budget-writing committee on Wednesday tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.
Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, "Fun Home," to incoming freshmen. Bechdel's book describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.
USC Upstate assigned "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," referring to South Carolina's first gay and lesbian radio show, for a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book. Social conservatives complained about the colleges' selections.
The proposed reductions in the budget equal what the colleges spent on the programs. Rep. Garry Smith said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else. Making a point requires impacting colleges' wallets, he said.
"I understand diversity and academic freedom," said Smith, R-Simpsonville. "This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate." He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course, rather than a campus-wide requirement.
. . . The House Ways and Means Committee defeated by a vote of 13-10 an effort by Republican Rep. B.R. Skelton to restore the money. He argued such retribution is inappropriate.
. . . Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges. Such censorship can set a troubling precedent, she said. She warned Republicans who voted against Skelton's amendment that the punishment could negatively affect the state's image and job recruitment efforts.
Since when does a legislator butt in class curriculum? Since when should a legislator use the power of a budget as if he or she is a dictator to demand what teachers should assign students to read based on some false argument of "academic freedom" and "debate" which is no doubt defined by said legislator?
And please don't lay that junk on me about "taxpayers' money." The last time I checked, lgbt South Carolinians also pay taxes. Make no mistake about it. This issue has NOTHING to do with forcing students to accept a lifestyle.That phrase is just made up junk propagated to make homophobia sound more palpable. Nor does this issue have to do with "debate" or "academic freedom."
This issue is about a legislator misusing the power of his office. This issue is about yet another attempt to symbolically emblazon a symbolic scarlet S (as in "sinner") on the persons of lgbts. This issue is about yet another attempt to communicate to lgbts that no matter who we are or how far we go in life, the self-worth of ourselves and our families (even if our families include children) should be reduced to the false white-hot fevered, fumbling imaginations of sexual intercourse and misappropriated Biblical verses disguised as legitimate moral concerns.
It's all a bunch of bull.
Way to go, Rep. Smith for allowing the Palmetto State to be embarrassed again!