I’ve been thinking quite a bit about moral ambiguity based on a recently-revised Michigan bullying law. The first bill, called Senate Bill 137, was passed by the lower house and allowed protection for bullies who taunted other students because of their, the bullies', “sincerely-held” religious beliefs. Originally created as a bill to remedy the negative effects of bullying, the bill’s passage gave more protection to bullies than they’d had without it.
Due to a lot of flack from the media and Michiganders, the bill was revised into House Bill 4163. This bill doesn’t protect bullies based on any sort of personal convictions, but it also doesn’t list the individuals groups protected by the bill, or “enumerated classes.” Many felt that listing the enumerated classes would make the targets of bullies feel more accepted at their schools.
However, the bill does ban bullying and protects those being bullied from being targeted for reporting incidents. It also lays out a structure for implementing anti-bullying tactics, personnel and reporting procedures. Gov. Rick Snyder plans to sign the bill into law next Tuesday afternoon.
We throw the terms “moral code” and “family values” around pretty loosely in this country, but those that use these loaded words like these do not intend for the meaning to be vague. The definition of moral code is supposed to be a personal set of beliefs that governs a way a person lives his or her life. The definition of “family values” is that one sets a positive example for her children and lives a life for your relatives. By definition, nothing less and nothing more.
Often, but not always, the American connotations of these words is a set of beliefs issued by God that allow you to shit all over the freedoms of others while holding up words like “moral code” and “family values” like shields. One person's right to personal bigotry should influence another's personal “moral code,” or peace-filled life. In this case, that means leaving kids who are required to attend school for the express purpose of learning well enough alone. What kind of screwed-up “moral” person would allow a child to continue to be bullied while their bully could hold up some (desperately misused and wounded) Jesus Christ as his instigator? The hubbub around this bill is a terrible set-back for Christians and non-Christians alike.
This bill is an embarrassment for Michigan, but I suppose it’s better that they corrected themselves, rather than pretending that nothing was wrong and slamming the bill into law. That certainly would have happened in other states, while they patted themselves on the back for their moral superiority.
What do you think of this anti-bullying legislation, drafts one and two?