Sunday, May 22, 2011

What the **** Tennessee???

It's been a while since I was thoroughly annoyed by one of our idiotic states, but Tennessee is seriously working overtime to get into the mix. (If you missed the other states that annoy me, they are: Illinois, South Carolina, and South Dakota.)

So what is Tennessee doing that it has now won my Stupid State Award? Really, what hasn't it done? Let's take a look, shall we?

First off, I'm sure most of you have heard by now that the Tennessee senate passed SB 49 on Friday, nicknamed the "Don't Say Gay" bill, that would prevent science teachers from discussing homosexuality with their elementary and middle school students. They can't talk about it! Can't acknowledge it's existence. Gay kid in the classroom? Sorry. Kid with gay parents in the classroom? Nope, still no. How about kids in the classroom with eyes and legs who are sure to walk around in the world and see gay people, even if they are not gay themselves? No, no, and no. Children in Tennessee classrooms cannot be exposed to the idea of homosexuality. Now I don't think anyone thinks that grade school children should be taught about the details of sexuality, but that's not what we're talking about. What the bill states is that teachers cannot discuss homosexuality. At. All. Really? As if gay teenagers need something else to make their lives harder. Hello, Tennessee! Have you not heard of the It Gets Better Project? Do you not recall that this was a response to a gay COLLEGE student killing himself because of the unbearable stress of being ridiculed by his peers??? Apparently, promoting "family values" is more important to Stacey Campfield (the bill's sponsor) than protecting the emotional well-being of the children of Tennessee.

Oh, but don't worry. The gays aren't the only group that the Tennessee legislature hates. Oh no. They hate the Muslims, too! SB 1028 aims to save Tennessee from the threat of terrorism by regulating any organization that "adheres to sharia". Now I'm not a Muslim. I've never been a Muslim. But I've read some of this bill, and it is asinine. Here's an example. The beginning of the bill sets out to define what sharia is, and therein explaining why it is a huge threat to the people of Tennessee. Here's one of the things it says:
Sharia requires all its adherents to actively and passively support the replacement of America’s constitutional republic, including the representative government of this state with a political system based upon sharia; 
Got that? So if you are an adherent of Sharia law, you, by definition, want it to replace the US Constitution and the US government as a whole with Sharia. Which sounds pretty terrifying, were it not completely inaccurate. I'm not sure what kind of religious scholars they consulted while writing this bill, but here's what a quick check of Wikipedia says:
Muslims believe Sharia is God's law, but they differ as to what exactly it entails. Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship. Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia as well. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexuality, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting
Really, all you need to know is this: "Muslims... differ as to what exactly it entails." But they all agree that it's a code of conduct for moral behavior. Sharia is what tells Muslims to pray five times a day or to abstain from drinking alcohol. By banning adherence to Sharia, they are basically stating that Muslim-Americans are banned from practicing their faith. (Yeah, this sounds completely Constitutional.) The Sharia defined in Tennessee's SB 1028 is as ridiculous as stating that:
Evangelical Christians believe that every word of the Bible is the literal Word of God and that God's Laws supercede the laws of man. God's laws are enumerated in the Bible and include supporting the ownership of slaves, polygamy, and the stoning of adulterers.
You know. That really isn't that crazy. I think we should keep a closer eye on those Evangelical Christian types. You know how they are always getting into trouble for all the adulterers they're stoning.

Dammit, Tennessee, don't go hiding behind your fake pretenses of "protecting children" and "protecting family values" and "protecting our citizens from terrorism." That's a bunch of crap and we ALL know it. You don't like gays and you don't like Muslims. And now EVERYONE knows it. Can you please go back to hating in the privacy of your own homes instead of insisting that your hate becomes legislation? Because it just makes you look like a bunch of asses.


Alex@LateEnough said...

I'm pretty sure Tennessee now requires evolution to be taught with intelligent design and/or creationism. {sigh}

Julie said...

While I agree that Tennessee politics deserve the dumbass stamp, I'm all for states getting to choose how they want things run. If all the dumbasses would please move out of Missouri and relocate to Tennessee, we'd appreciate it.

Claire said...

Wow. Just... wow. That's insane.

Katie said...

Tenessee is like a time warp. Maybe if they stop selling condoms kids won't have sex either. Let's see how that all works out.

rubyspikes said...

Alex: Yes, I almost included the intelligent design thing, but the bill got shelved, so I decided to leave my rant and legislation that is still possible.

Julie: I'm not sure how much I'm into the whole, "states rights" thing. I know it was our founders' vision, but what if you're a black person living in a racist state? Or a gay person living in a homophobic state? Or a Christian living in a Muslim state? Hmmm. I need to think about that some more.

Claire: I know!

Katie: That totally works! Kids are super smart like that!

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