In Case You Missed It | Bullying in the name of God

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Bullying in the name of God

Two weeks ago, Michigan’s Republican-dominated Senate inserted language at the last minute into an anti-bullying bill that exempted bullies motivated by “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

If the homophobia and religious bigotry in those words were more thinly veiled they’d be naked. Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, explaining her “no” vote, gave an impassioned speech after the bill passed, saying that the Republicans’ last-minute exception had “swallowed the rule.”

Her speech went viral and sparked a national outcry, causing Republican Sen. Rick Jones, who introduced the bill, to recant the exemption, feebly justifying the language as protecting free speech, not bullies.

Jones has since vowed to vote for the House version of the bill, which lacks the controversial words. But Jones’ sentiment is clear, that it is OK to bully as long as your religion dictates it. While the First Amendment gives pompous and pious neanderthals like Jones the right to hate gays, it also gives the rest of us the right to berate them into keeping their Stone-Age beliefs in church and out of the classroom. Pray that this fool isn’t in public office for long.

Worst attempt at holiday immortality

Everyone has his or her favorite holiday TV traditions, from reruns of the old Andy Williams Show to a drinking game built around Olive, The Other Reindeer. For celebrities, carving out a spot in the holiday genre is as close to immortality as it gets. Think Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life or the gruff voice of Burl Ives as the snowman in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Famous people continue to launch myriad attempts at new holiday programming. Let’s just say some efforts are stronger than others.

This year’s award for creating the most contrived holiday show since David Bowie joined Bing Crosby in an odd rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” goes to (drum roll) celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. This is the best idea he could whip up.

On Dec. 2, at 9 a.m., Lagasse will be joined by the Radio City Rockettes dressed up like elves as he teaches them, and you, how to make an “Elvis inspired” peanut butter and banana sandwich. We could be wrong, but can’t most Americans over the age of five, including Rockettes, already handle this one? Whatever. It sounds like a drinking game just waiting to be born.

Benson’s generosity overwhelms

So we’re supposed to fall all over CU President Bruce Benson because he turned down his measly 3 percent raise this year? The guy only makes $359,100 annually. Cry us a river. What a grand gesture for a filthy rich oil tycoon.

Oh, and the university’s PR machine reminds us that he was among the overpaid administrators who agreed to have their salaries cut by 5 percent during the recession. What a sacrifice.

Taking a tiny percentage out of salaries that are well into the six figures as a symbolic gesture rings hollow with the CU employees who actually lost their jobs during that time.

You want to impress us, Bruce? Figure out how Colorado’s flagship university is going to survive in the long term in a state where higher education funding is being throttled in an increasingly tightening noose.

After all, you weren’t hired because of your academic credentials. You were hired for your business acumen.