Pharyngula

Scum of the earth. Parts of Michele Bachmann’s district contain the most smug, pious, conservative rat-buggering jerks on the planet (like Marcus Bachmann and his anti-gay “clinic”, for instance). And the symptoms are beginning to show: the Anoka-Hennepin school district, part of Bachmann’s domain, home of the Elmer Gantry-wannabe Bradley Dean, is also the epicenter of an epidemic of teen suicides, 9 in the last two years. These are kids who were bullied for being gay, or suspected of being gay, or not fitting in to the their inbred little community (and who would want to?), and the school district has been acquiescing to pressure from religious groups to maintain a policy of intolerance and even demonization of gays.

As civil rights groups have pushed the Minnesota school district to do more to increase tolerance of LGBT students, conservative religious groups fought to keep them away from public schools. After Samantha’s suicide and several others, students in Anoka-Hennepin schools participated in the Day of Silence. The event, organized by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, encourages kids to remain silent for the day in recognition of the effect of anti-gay bullying and harassment. In response, religious activists took up the “Day of Truth,” an event championed by the “ex-gay ministry” Exodus International that’s usually held the day before the Day of Silence. Students who participated were encouraged to engage their classmates in discussions of homosexuality from a Christian perspective.

Fifteen-year-old Justin Aaberg appears to have been one of the targets of this initiative. One day last year Justin came home and told his mom, Tammy, that another student had told him he would to go to hell because he was gay. “That did something to his brain,” she says. He hanged himself in his bedroom last summer. Only after his suicide did Tammy learn that the Parents Action League had reportedly worked with area churches to hand out T-shirts promoting the “Day of Truth” to students at his high school (which is also Bachmann’s alma mater). The students were also instructed to “preach to the gay kids,” Aaberg says. (No one from the Parents Action League responded to a request for comment.)

You would think that Christians, who claim to have the moral high ground in everything, would recognize that driving kids to suicide is not ethical behavior. Unfortunately not; it’s part of their agenda. If they can’t convert them to their sanctimonious faith, it’s just as good to have them dead.

Will the school district change its policies? I doubt it. The churches dictate what is allowed.