COLUMN: Jesus doesn't condone bullying
The first time I saw Norman City Council’s 5th Ward Representative Dave Spaulding speak in public, he was one of many Norman residents at a 2010 Norman City Council meeting who appeared in a YouTube video saying generally nasty things about the LGBTQ community. Among the enthusiastic throng of conservative-talk-radio-host impersonators who gracelessly palavered for the entirety of the council’s three allotted hours that night against a motion to name October LGBTQ history month, the only thing that made Spaulding memorable was the garish floral-print shirt he wore.
Spaulding's argument then was the LGBTQ community sought “special treatment” by having a month to commemorate their respective communities and the contributions they have made. “Do they want equality, or do they want to be placed on a podium? Make up your mind.” said Spaulding.
Indeed, any group wanting a special amount of time for recognizing their collective achievements, contributions or sacrifices is in direct logical opposition to a fair and equal society. Surely, there is an extensive record somewhere of Rep. Spaulding’s scathing finger-wags at un-American governmental podium placings throughout the year, such as Black History Month, Veteran’s Day, and of course, the National Day of Prayer.
It’s not as if Spaulding was alone in his public proclamation of half-baked arguments, but his are most distressing because of that awful shirt and the fact that shortly thereafter, he was elected to represent Norman’s 5th Ward.
Last month, Spaulding, in much more dignified attire, voted against naming October “Bullying Awareness Month.” Now, don’t jump to conclusions and assume Spaulding is a jerk because he likes all bullies. He’s a jerk because he only likes some bullies. Specifically, he likes bullies who base their wedgies, purple-nurples and locker-body-slams on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In this vote, Spaulding hardly makes an original statement. He sides with the American Family Association, the Family Research Council and other lobbying groups on the religious right that seem obsessed with putting "family" in their titles. Their argument, and Spaulding’s, is that anti-bullying legislation and awareness would restrict the rights of Christian students and prevent them from ostracizing, ridiculing and verbally assaulting gay students. Therefore, anti-bullying is actually a ruse of the gay agenda to “indoctrinate school children into the gay lifestyle.”
For Spaulding, it’s about the First Amendment rights of one seventh grader to shove another seventh grader into a locker and call him a faggot. That’s mighty classy of you, Dave, and almost painfully ironic, especially if we recall your LGBTQ sentiments. What was that long-winded, arrogant argument you made about equal treatment?
That’s right — you didn’t want to put anyone on a pedestal. Unless, apparently, the people on that pedestal are saying things you want to hear, which in this case are derogatory and disparaging remarks made against minors whose sexual orientation might offend your deity.
Is asking school children to behave civilly an assault on their free speech? Is saying “No more ganging up on the gay kids” indoctrination into the gay lifestyle? And should religious beliefs be an excuse to say anything you want to anybody — no matter how vicious — without repercussions?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you should vote for Dave Spaulding again in 2013.
Everyone else, take 20 minutes out of your afternoon, read about the local political scene and vote in local elections. If everyone in Norman voted in local elections, people like Dave Spaulding would be history, as he represents an ever-shrinking portion of ignorance in our population.
Let’s make Norman the progressive, forward thinking city we all imagine it to be by getting involved in the local political process. It’s a small city, so it’s really not very complicated.
Trent Cason is a literature and cultural studies senior.