Friday, December 21, 2007

that's what i'm talkin' about

yesterday i asked you all to write or call the bangor daily news and express your concern about coverage of their story regarding the Orono School Board meeting.

today, i'm again asking you write or call the staff at the Bangor Daily News...and tell them this time, in regard to the CCL, they got it exactly right.

and thanks to each and every one of you who picked up the phone yesterday or sent out an email. the power of collective action is a truly beautiful thing.

Editorial: Christian priorities
By BDN Staff
Friday, December 21, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

At a time when the state is cutting back assistance to the elderly, children and the poor, you might reasonably assume that the Christian Civic League of Maine would have larger concerns than the bathroom practices of an elementary school student. You’d be wrong.

The league, which has long been obsessed with sex, has entered the fray over an Orono 10-year-old, guaranteeing that this battle over bathrooms, sadly, will continue for a few more rounds.

The stresses faced by a 10-year-old boy who believes himself to be transgendered must be enormous. The boy’s plight is now public, thanks to the grandfather of a fellow student. The man directed his grandson to mimic — and essentially mock — the transgendered boy’s use of a girls bathroom, and later, a faculty bathroom. For this, the league called the man "courageous."

The Orono School Committee is to be commended for striving to protect the boy’s identity, and whatever remains of his privacy. And that privacy is at the heart of the matter. The boy’s bathroom needs could stem from a past trauma, a physical disability, a psychological malady, or from gender identification issues, none of which should be disclosed to the public.

And furthermore, the school is bound by the Maine Human Rights Law, which requires a reasonable accommodation be made to anyone seeking it over sexual orientation or gender identification.

Further, the special bathroom arrangement for the boy have not detracted from the experiences of others at the school, at least according to available accounts.

The Christian Civic League of Maine’s decision to champion the grandfather’s actions further erodes that organization’s credibility and reason for being. In a formal statement on the matter, league Executive Director Michael Heath praised the grandfather and claimed the man’s grandson was facing discrimination.

The league "seeks to present and maintain an effective, positive, and faithful Christian witness in the public life of the state of Maine," according to its Web site. It’s likely there are more effective, and certainly more positive ways for the league to be a Christian witness. In these financially difficult times, why doesn’t the league serve as a network, facilitating church volunteers to check on seniors and help shovel out their walkways and drives, help close gaps in leaky doors and windows, offer rides to appointments and donate to heating oil accounts for the poor.

If not these ways of being a witness, surely there are more Christ-like ways of engaging in civic life than interfering in a child’s bathroom use.


allison said...

Something tells me you and your organization did some great advocacy work behind the scenes yesterday.

Thanks Darlene, for all you do.


j said...