May 14, 2012

Bird turf wars and t-shirt politics.

Let me tell you, I had a full weekend. A weekend very unlike today promises to be. I'm dealing with some eye strain (like a granny) so I'm trying to not to spend too much time looking at my monitor. The downside is that I'm a little behind on some of my habitual reading and I'm pretty bored. The eternal promises of more work to come still haven't come into fruition so here I sit, mentally twiddling my thumbs.

So my weekend was lovely. In  no particular order, I got mistaken for a mother several times ("Thank you, I am well rested, but he's not my baby") while out with a friend, soaked up some actual warm weather on the porch, and managed to get in some relaxing. No housework other than laundry got done which was my only regret. I had dinner and drinks with a friend and we chatted for several hours. I did yoga, I had breakfast with friends, I went to the book sale, we took our mothers' out for lunch. I ate Froot Loops for dinner one night and pizza the next.

There was also a bird turf war happening in our driveway and I go to see the carnage (two dead, one injured) and almost ran over the only survivor as a mercy killing. I understand the circle of life and that birds die but I really didn't have it in me to watch one, a baby apparently, full of life but not making it on its own. I bonded with my neighbours over it, though. One of them even informed me that "He'll feel no pain and eventually he'll just fall asleep." I appreciated the sentiment I guess but, let's be honest, he probably wasn't feeling the best.

Well, after much hemming and hawing an executive decision was made and the poor little guy ("Mowgli") was rescued and fed and loved. He didn't make it through the night but at least he didn't get pecked to death like the rest of the nest.


Has anyone else heard about this? When I first read about the kid who got suspended for wearing a shirt that said "Life is wasted without Jesus" I thought the school was being overly militant in its pursuit of political correctness. Where is the free speech and religious freedom here? And then I read further and my views changed. Throw a "my" at the front of the slogan and you're fine. Make it say "Life with Jesus is awesome" or something else positive. The only reason this kid got in trouble was because people were offended by his shirt.

I do think that people are sometimes too easily offended by others. I also remember people wearing shirts that were way more inappropriate in school than that. So what's the big deal? Well, reverse it and make the slogan "Life with Jesus is wasted." All of a sudden I see where the issue is. People feel that their own religious beliefs or non-beliefs are being attacked and I get it. You shouldn't have to feel attacked when you go to school in effort to learn.

I am all for giving this kid the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his wardrobe choices. He probably saw the shirt, thought hey, that's cool and a good conversation starter, and wore it school. No bigs. Clearly this kid is an in your face Christian (maybe not the best tactic) and thought he'd make a statement.

I kind of understand. I mean, I did at one point in my younger life wear a shirt that said "I love Christian boys." I'm not sure what was going through my head at the time and I'm glad that shirt has vanished into the embarrassing teenage void. I do not mourn its loss. Christian boys (and the non Christian ones too for that matter) didn't go around wearing "I love socially awkward girls" shirts. Sadly.

So why is this such a big deal? Yes, spread the good news about Jesus up and down and all over if you want but be respectful. If a school administrator asks you not to wear your shirt because it's offending other students then don't do it. You did it once, now you know, so don't repeatedly throw it in their faces that you're disobeying them.Wear it after school and on weekends, but not at school where you're intermingling with different beliefs and sensitivities. Be respectful. Actually, if people are really getting offended by your shirt maybe think twice about wearing it in public too, but, clearly, that's not going to happen in this situation. This 19 year old (which in itself makes me think he's spent too much time thinking about his t-shirt politics than his actual schooling, although there are loads of legit reasons he'd still be in school) clearly is out there to make a statement.

If you say you don't disrespect others' beliefs then try to be more sensitive to them. You may not think you're doing anything other than expressing your own opinions but you're actually disrespecting the authority that the school and the school board has over you. And.. aren't we supposed to respect authority?

The fact of the matter is that this kid isn't allowed to wear this specific shirt at school. He can wear other Jesus loving shirts, just not one that brings others down. For that reason I think he's being a goof.

I think people should be free to express their religious beliefs (yay freedoms!) but need to be smart in how they do so. Let them wear crosses, head dresses, turbans, and "I love socially awkward Christian girls" shirts but let's keep it friendly. Seriously people, it's not rocket science.

I'm sure the school is going to be so glad when this kid finally graduates and takes his t-shirt with him.

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