I’m all for government trying to save money wherever it can to cut the budget responsibly, but when they do so in the name of censorship, well, that crosses a line.
Down here in South Carolina — where it’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity — the House budget-writing committee has tentatively approved a spending plan for 2014-15 that would cut $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,142 from the University of South Carolina Upstate.
Oh, because both those schools assigned books about The Gays to students to read.
Last summer, the College of Charleston assigned the Alison Bechdel book, “Fun Home,” to incoming freshmen. In the book, Bechdel describes her childhood with a closeted gay father and her own coming out as a lesbian.
Uh oh. Lesbians! Gay men! No money for you!
And at USC Upstate, students were assigned to read “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio,” about South Carolina’s first LGBT radio show; it was part of a required course for all freshmen, which included lectures and other out-of-classroom activities meant to spark discussions about the book.
Uh oh. Lesbians! Gays! Radio! Close.That.Wallet.
And then the social conservatives, AKA Republican homophobic wingnuts and religious zealots proposed reductions in the budgets to those two schools; reductions, oddly enough, that equal the exact amount of money spent on those two courses with The Gay Books.
State Representative Garry Smith [right], one of the aforementioned wingnut GOP goosesteppers, said he made the proposal after college officials refused to give students an option to read something else:
“I understand diversity and academic freedom. This is purely promotion of a lifestyle with no academic debate.”—Garry Smith
Two things, Garry, you tool. You don’t understand diversity if you seek to cut funding for classes that are discussing diversity.
And secondly, get this through your thick Neanderthal skull: being gay is not a lifestyle, it’s a life. My lifestyle is how I live, not my sexual orientation. Perhaps it might have done you some good to audit either one of those courses before you opened your bigoted yap.
Now, oddly enough, especially for South Carolina, and the South Carolina GOP, one such man, Republican Representative B.R. Skelton tried to argue that the funds should be restored to the schools, saying that if funding of education is dependent on the kinds of books assigned, “we’re going down a road we don’t need to go down.”
And, naturally, the Democrats thought this whole idea both ludicrous and stupid.
Representative Joe Neal called the budget committee action a case of using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat, while one of his fellow Democrats in the State House, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, said state legislators have no right pushing their own personal beliefs onto colleges and college courses.
It’s funny, in Arizona they’re debating whether or not you can refuse service to the LGBT community on the basis of your own personal religious views, while in South Carolina they want to ban classes that assign books on The Gays.
That slippery slope is headed straight toward Uganda, people, because if we continue to allow The Gays to be denied service, for any reason, anywhere, and if we continue to say that no one, even adults in a college setting, can even read about The Gays, it’s not far off from going back to criminalizing homosexuality, and even worse.
On a high-larious sidenote:
As this story broke, I came across this other tale:
The United States flag outside the South Carolina Department of Education ... let that sink in ... the department of Education ... was flown upside down for part of the day; the same day the legislature voted to cut the funding to those two schools.
South Carolina can't even fly the flag right. Coincidence? Or is it just another example of the heat and the stupidity of this state?