Friday, April 15, 2005

"People of faith," my Aunt Fanny 

Let me be more direct:

If these are "people of faith," fuck 'em:

BLOOMBURG, Tex. In this rural East Texas town, where news spreads among the 375 residents through phone calls and gossip-gathering trips to the Shell Mart, Merry Stephens knew the rumors about her.

Stephens is a lesbian, the townsfolk whispered.

Though it was true, Stephens denied it for five years while she was the coach of a championship high school basketball team in Bloomburg, afraid the truth would cost her a job.

Last December, the board of the Bloomburg Independent School District, in a 4-3 vote, began proceedings to fire Stephens for what she said was homophobia veiled as unfounded allegations of insubordination. She was put on administrative leave.

The district will buy out the last two years of Stephens's contract, amounting to about $100,000, one of her lawyers said.

In 1999, Stephens, who grew up in a small town in Arkansas, started coaching at the Bloomburg Independent School District, which is only one building, kindergarten through 12th grade, and last year had 264 students.

In 2000, Stephens moved in with Sheila Dunlap, the school's bus driver and a teacher's aide. Dunlap, whose family has lived in Bloomburg for more than 100 years, had two children and was in the process of divorcing her husband of 25 years.

In the meantime, Stephens was building the high school girls basketball squad into one of the best teams in school history.

Last year, it won the area, district and regional championships, coming within one game of the state tournament, and was given a parade in town. Even then, there was talk that the school board was trying to fire Stephens.

Some parents of Stephens's players wanted her gone. Craig Hale, who owns an oil company, said he does not want a lesbian teaching his children and possibly influencing the way they think.

"I had nothing against her as a person," Hale said, but if he stood up for "one [Jew] lesbian" that would mean he was "for [Jews] them adopting kids, and my morals and the Bible doesn't allow that."
(via the look for actual news in the Sports section New York Times)

Right. Your "morals." 'Scuse me while I go vomit.

OK. I feel better now. Mr. Hale, Stephens and Dunlop lived in your town. Dunlop lived in your town for 100 years.

Do you know what that makes them?

I'll spell it out for you, Mr. Hale. It makes them your n-e-i-g-h-b-o-r-s. And somebody... Who is it, now.... Somebody long ago... Somebody had something to say about neighbors... I know it will come to me... I know! The Bible!

"28": And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

"29": And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

"30": And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

"31": And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
(Mark 12:28-21)

Well. I guess these people must hate theirselves pretty badly, eh? (Since, if they are Christians, they must love Stephens as they love themselves?)

The print version has a very nice little kicker, that I think we should take up:

Stephens is happily out as a lesbian, even buying two stickers for her pickup truck. Two have rainbows, the traditional symbol of lesbian and gay pride. The other says: Focus on your own damn family.

Amen, sister.

NOTE Of course, the bumper sticker is a pointed reference to Focus on the family, James "D/s" Dobson's theocratic front organization.

corrente SBL - New Location
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