Friday, April 5, 2013

Texas A & M and "religious freedom"

A & M is a very conservative school with its own military quasi-ROTC program. This week, the student senate passed a bill...well, read what happened:
Texas A&M student body president John Claybrook said he will veto legislation from the student senate aimed at letting students opt out of funding the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center, or other university services, based on religious grounds.

News this week that some student senators had targeted the center thrust the traditionally conservative university into the national spotlight, and Claybrook said it was time to "stop the bleeding."


A veto by Claybrook means that the legislation passed 35-28 on Wednesday will not represent the official opinion of the student body at Texas A&M.

The center, opened in 2007, is a resource and referral center dedicated to providing a safe and affirming location on campus for all students and puts on annual campus-wide events such as Coming Out Week, GLBT Awareness Week, AIDS Awareness Week and others. University officials say approximately 1,200 Aggies utilize the center each semester.

For weeks, the student-led bill had been aimed at defunding the Texas A&M GLBT center, but approximately 24 hours before the final vote, the "GLBT Funding Opt Out Bill" became "The Religious Funding Exemption Bill." Its scope was broadened, and it did not specifically mention GLBT services.

“Even without the wording that specified particular groups that would be affected in the final version of this bill, the sentiment towards the bill has not changed and has caused great harm to our reputation as a student body and to the students feeling disenfranchised by this bill,” Claybrook said.

Opponents have argued that the bill was discriminatory, alienating and embarrassing for A&M. Proponents said the bill would ensure religious freedoms for all students. Others have called the efforts of the Aggie senators meaningless, as the measure would have faced many hurdles before implementation.
You know, if I were an LGBT Aggie, I would demand that my student funds be denied any religious group on campus.  What part of living in a plural society do these Christianists not understand? (Yes, I know....all of it.)

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