Spotlight on Bullying

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Tragic suicides of young men bring attention to the problem of bullying in schools.

A recent article by NASW News highlighted the recent suicides of teens and young men who had taken their life after being tormented by their peers.  You probably remember reading one or more of these incidents in your local newspaper or seeing a report on the news.

After the rash of suicides, US President, Barack Obama, reminded teens who are being bullied that there are people out there who care about them.  I want to believe that the "people out there" include general church members and youth who attend church and also attend schools where bullying goes on.

The article says that as many as one in four students are bullied with verbal bullying being the most common.  Bullying is experienced by boys and girls, and bullies can be boys or girls. 

One of the items mentioned in this article grabbed my attention. The article mentioned the perception that bullying is "just an inevitable part of growing up."  When adults take that perspective, the bullying  victims feel as though adults cannot be trusted to protect them.  To me, that is like the "sink or swim" mentality.

Instead, the article stresses that we must teach our youth to develop a sense of empathy. If youth can feel themselves in someone else's shoes, the likelihood of hurting that person - or understanding how hurt can occur - diminishes.  And the opposite may be true as well.  As long as youth don't feel the pain of someone else, it becomes easier to hurt someone and to believe that it is their problem for feeling hurt.

Posted in: Safe Church; Blog Photo courtesy Eddie~S - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pointshoot/2500644518/ Image: See Credit

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Let's be honest:  the young people referred to above were being tormented by their peers because they were gay - or were perceived as being gay.  

LGBT youth are 4 times as likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers.   Why?   Because society still denies them the right to be different.  

The CRC's stance toward people who have a  sexual orientation other than heterosexual (i.e. those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered), contributes to the bullying that children and teens and adults continue to experience. 

 Until the denomination shifts from its dogmatic perspective and shifts away from a literalist interpretation of scripture on the matter of sexual orientation, the CRC is a partner in the systemic oppression of people who, as President Obama clearly states in his Whitehouse address, "have a right to be different"  and to be "true to themselves".

See:http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/21/president-obama-it-gets-better 

I  am grateful, that a Christian President of the USA is able to give LGBT youth the hope that things will get better.   If all Christians could work toward that, then perhaps more CRC youth who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered, would have the hope that things will get better.   And perhaps our faith would be more relevant to all of our youth who see that the Human Rights principles espoused by their governments, workplaces and schools, are reflected in the churches they attend.

 

The CRC stance on LGBT is one of forgiveness.  The CRC does not condone bullying or violence towards LGBT, because scripture asks us to love and forgive, even while gently correcting those who are living sinful lifestyles.  

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