I will confess to living, to a certain extent in a bubble. London is a wonderfully diverse, cosmopolitan and progressive city. Before moving here I of course, lived in San Francisco. Which is largely its own planet, much to the pride and delight of residents there. Prior to SF I lived on the North Side of Chicago, the liberal bastion of Lakeview (aka 'Boystown'). On top of that I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. Hardly a conservative enclave by any means.
So it's easy to forget how insane some places are. Places like Anoka, Minnesota.
I have blogged in the past about the epidemic of teen deaths in Anoka. How in a space of less than two years nine young people at Anoka middle and high school were bullied to death. All because they were either Gay or Lesbian, or were perceived to be Lesbian or Gay. And the good Christian conservatives response to this epidemic of suicides? Blame the victims, and do everything they can to prevent ANY effort to address the real cause or issues that drove nine young people in their town to end their own lives. MSNBC profiled the issue, back last Fall
The current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine takes a clear, brutally honest look at Anoka, and how the intolerance of one town is killing their own kids. The article is very hard to read, but I encourage everyone to try to get through it.
The Anoka-Hennepin County School District, is in the Congressional district of none other than GOP/Tebagger bigoted whackjob Michelle Bachmann. When she was a Minnesota State Senator, Bachmann vigorously opposed anti-bullying programs. Citing her concerns that telling kids they shouldn't terrorize and torment classmates who they think might be Gay or Lesbian, telling them they should just go kill themselves, is somehow a violation of the right to free speech. (Hat tip to the Huffington Post)
Yeah, because to expect educators to make school a safe space for all kids, is just so irrational right? On his program "The Last Word" , Lawrence O'Donnell highlighted the issue.
The article in Rolling Stone explores how hate groups like the insanely mis-named "Minnesota Family Council" have mobilized full force to defend what they believe is their right to bully LGBT kids to death.
It is people like the Minnesota Family Council, who have smiled approvingly as the climate they created resulted in the bullying of nine young people to death, and then claim any effort to stop them from killing even more, is somehow a violation of their rights, who truly make me hope that atheists are wrong, and there really is a Hell. Because, I dearly want the bigots and bullies of Anoka, Minnesota to spend eternity there.