A new study on gay K-12 students and bullying has just been released to the general public through the various new services. You may read a summary article on this study at the following safe link:
I have some opinions on why much of this bullying occurs in our schools. First of all, I would like to say the following as a foundation:
What the Fundie Preacher Says in the Pulpit:
The homosexual lifestyle is contrary to the written word of God in the Bible. In the Old Testament law, it is described as an abomination before the Lord, and the prescribed punishment for homosexual acts is the death penalty. Homosexuality was the sin that caused God so much rage that He destroyed the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and killed every citizen in them. In the Book of Romans, the apostle Paul lashes out at the sin of homosexuality. Now dear friends in Christ, I am not suggesting that we Christians should execute homosexuals for their crimes against God or run them out of our towns to save them from destruction. No, as the scriptures say, we are to be like-minded with Christ Jesus. If we have that same mind as Jesus, our first responsibility of love to our homosexual neighbors is to confront them with their sin and tell them it is wrong. Next they must repent of this awful, indecent sin and be saved by grace through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What the Kids (and Parents) in the Pews Actually Get from this Sermon:
Wow!!! Homosexuality was an abomination before the Lord—one of the worst possible sins ever. God even prescribed the death penalty for them. He went into a rage and destroyed two whole cities and everyone in them. God must really hate homosexuals to do things like that. Even the Apostle Paul thought they were evil. Well, if God and Jesus are the same like preacher says, then Jesus must hate homosexuals too—enough to be really mean to them—even to the point of killing them. Well, if I am required to have in me the same mind as Christ Jesus, then that means I am supposed to hate homosexuals just as much as Jesus does; identify every homosexual I can find in my town; confront him with his disgusting sin; and be just as mean-spirited and tough with him as Jesus was on Sodom and Gomorrah. Freddie Spencer. Yeah, Freddie Spencer in my 8th grade class. I bet that effeminate little twerp is a homosexual. I am going to make his life miserable at school tomorrow, and Jesus will reward me for being just like him.
We know from numerous news stories and the statistics within them that a majority of the members of the millennial generation do not abuse their homosexual neighbors. Neither do most of the kids in the generation right behind them. They encounter gay peers at school, in the shopping malls, and elsewhere. They get to know these peers and realize they are just as human and fun to talk with and play with as the other kids are. Many love their gay neighbors just as much as they love themselves and other people.
That being the case, then who is bullying gay kids at school, making their lives miserable, and driving many of them to suicide? Well, a few are probably secular kids who grew up under horrific circumstances at home and are well on their way to being what clinical psychologists call “fried” psychopaths and sociopaths. They have spent their whole lives mastering the fine art of bullying and getting away with it. However, in reality, we all need to admit that 10 budding shades of Jack the Ripper are not present in every American school cafeteria or hallway. These nefarious guys and gals are pretty rare vultures. So who else is doing all of this bullying of gay kids at school?
My best guess (and indeed I could be wrong) is this. The children of Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical parents are directly responsible for most of the bullying of gay kids that occurs in our schools. I would further hypothesize that the original motivation for this bullying was obtained from their pastors at church and from their parents—particularly when their fundie pastors say one thing in the pulpit—and the parents and kids in the pews hear something very different, just as I laid out in italics above. Unfortunately, in my opinion, a few fundie pastors are so overtly hostile to gay people that a very clear and unmistakable message to abuse flies straight at the pew sitters, and this too inevitably translates into fundie kids bullying gay kids at school.