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Editor's Note: Warren Throckmorton, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Grove City College. Along with Michael Frey, he leads the Golden Rule Pledge and blogs at warrenthrockmorton.com. Don't miss an "AC360°" special report in collaboration with PEOPLE Magazine, "Bullying: No Escape," all this week at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.
The nation is mourning the recent suicides of three young teens, Billy Lucas, Asher Brown and Seth Walsh. Although each situation was a little different, a common denominator was that a central feature of the harassment the boys experienced was anti-gay name-calling.
Sadly, these boys join a string of other suicide victims who'd been subjected to anti-gay bias.
The tragedies have heightened the attention of the public on an already contentious debate about how to prevent anti-gay harassment. While everyone agrees that such bullying is harmful and must be addressed, not all agree about the means to that end.
Gay groups want to enact legislation which specifically includes prohibitions on bullying based on bias toward gays or those perceived to be gay.
Some Christian conservatives believe such laws communicate approval of homosexuality and thus disapproval of traditional Christian teaching on sexuality.
My view is that evangelicals need to put ideological worries aside and become part of the solution.
Addressing anti-gay bias doesn't require anyone to change religious beliefs about sexuality.
Current laws forbid bias on account of religion and yet I do not believe these laws promote my religion or any religion. Since religious bias is sometimes at the root of aggression toward others, laws set the boundaries of behavior in an explicit manner.
In the same way, it seems reasonable for schools to make clear that the boundaries of appropriate behavior exclude name-calling and harassment involving perceptions about sexual orientation.
Addressing such bias strikes me as an application of the Golden Rule – do to others as you would have them do to you.
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