Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Free Speech, Religion, and a Headline I Thought I'd Never See

One thing that constantly surprises me about the US is the addiction to religion. Growing up in Britain makes you the equivalent of agnostic in the US, even if you do believe in a higher power, and I often find myself outraged by the constant evangelizing and proselytizing all around me. In the morning, on TV, there will be as many channels running Christian programming as there will be running news and weather reports. The news itself is filled with stories of religious outrage or indignation about some minor event or another. In some areas of the country, one of the first questions when you meet a new person is "which church do you belong to?". When you grow up in a country where the stock answer to this question is "The Church of Pub", it takes a little getting used to.
Two stories in the news recently (this post got lost in the mail before I could post it) have highlighted the quandary I have between proselytizing and freedom of speech. In Indiana, a mother is complaining that a school board's introduction of a school uniform has infringed her daughter's right to wear t-shirts with a Christian message to school. In Colorado, a girl who inserted an unapproved message encouraging students to convert to Christianity in her commencement speech is suing her school board for threatening to withhold her diploma until she apologized to the entire school. I'm happy for these people for whom religion really means everything, but in a country that is supposedly 80% Christian, what do you have to prove? And who are you proving it to? Taking the first article here as an example, the school board has set a uniform for all the students to wear. It's a polo shirt and khakis. Really simple. You can buy 20 variations of that uniform from Old Navy for about $100. But she wants to wear a t-shirt. Okay.
"The school is basically saying I can't wear a shirt that talks about Jesus or Christ or God or any religious type of T-shirt because we have to wear a polo," Brittany said.
No. The school is basically saying you can't wear a t-shirt AT ALL. Suck it Brittany, you spoiled little cow. Wear your martyr-shirt after school, for Chrissakes, like EVERY OTHER KID HAS TO. Brandon can't wear his Slipknot t-shirt, LaDamon can't wear his $80 Sean John t-shirt and little Madison can't wear her Hello Kitty t-shirt, either, so suck it up and move on. Sure, it would be better if there was no uniform, that you could wear what you want. My high school didn't have a uniform. Lots of others around where I grew up did. You know what, the kids that go to those schools wear it, because they have to. They don't want to, but they do. In fact, it's such a normal thing, that it hardly ever even gets discussed. They're not banning Christmas, they're not out to stop you from spreading the word of the lord, they're not darksiders. Just go to school, show up to class and STFU, already, okay?
Ahem. Anyway. Yeah. Weird country, the US, filled with individuals with a massive sense of unbridled entitlement. But thene again, you probably already knew that, right?
Finally, the headline I never thought I'd see. Coogan Could Sue Courtney. I mean, seriously. Who the hell would connect the dots between Owen "The Butterscotch Stallion" Wilson, Kurt Cobain's widow and Alan bloody Partridge?

1 comment:

Eagle Eye said...

I prefer omnipotent to entitlement today:-). I just wanted to drop by and say that I concur with your estimation of the U.S. and religion. Check out if you haven't already.