Christian Privilege at Texas A&M


Texas A&M has a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center, which has irritated the Christian right from the start. They’ve been trying to defund it, but have apparently now settled for just allowing religious students to withhold a portion of their student fees so they don’t have to pay for it:

The Texas A&M student senate late Wednesday passed a bill aimed at letting students opt out of funding the university’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Resource Center on religious grounds.

After three hours of tear-filled testimony and impassioned debate, the senate voted 35-28 to approve the measure to allow students to choose not to pay portions of their student fees to specific university services that conflict with their religious beliefs.

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.

If student fees go to support student groups on campus at all, this is the same old Christian privilege we’ve seen time and again. Why should religious students get a “special right” (you see what I did there?) to not have to pay to support something they disagree with? A portion of everyone’s student fees likely goes to fund a whole range of student groups, including Christian ones.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    A portion of everyone’s student fees likely goes to fund a whole range of student groups, including Christian ones.

    Well I just assume the bill was worded to account for equal treatment, and also would have allowed students to opt out of funding any other student group, including religious groups.
    Right?

  2. abb3w says

    From the sound of the wording of the A&M policy, atheists there could similarly object to the funding of Christian groups, and also avail themselves of a corresponding rebate. (At the local U, Atheists have such an option if they object to the funding of “particular speech activities”.)

    In which case, the nice rhetorical flourish is somewhat diminished by it not being a special right at all.

  3. says

    Naturally, Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, who previously filed a bill “to protect professors and students at public universities from being discriminated against for conducting research on the theory of intelligent design,” also filed a bill which would have prevented public universities and colleges from funding LGBT resource centers and other “gender and sexuality and related student centers.”

    Zedler’s bill was, however, withdrawn.

    http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2013/04/zedler-aggies-back-off-defunding-lgbt-resource-centers/

    Could it be that, even in Texas, it is becoming a political liability to be an LGBT bigot?

  4. Alverant says

    #6
    Of course if Atheists did exercise that option they would be accused of trying to persecute christians. OK I know that’s a straw man’s argument, but given the phony persecution complex we’ve seen from christian groups when their own logic is used against them it’s not much of a straw man.

  5. tbp1 says

    What a bunch of babies. Everybody funds things they don’t like or don’t use. I don’t use municipal sports facilities, but I use the library all the time, just to name one example. When I was a student my student fees went for any number of things I didn’t like, but I just went with it, knowing that some of other people’s fees paid for stuff I liked and they didn’t. It’s really not a hard concept.

  6. Lyle says

    @Alverant, #8

    Of course if Atheists did exercise that option they would be accused of trying to persecute christians. OK I know that’s a straw man’s argument, but given the phony persecution complex we’ve seen from christian groups when their own logic is used against them it’s not much of a straw man.

    It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to think that there would be outrage if atheists did indeed exercise the option to not fund groups that conflict with their religious beliefs. I think the most appropriate response to such outrage, if it were to occur, is “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” If religious people want to dictate how student groups get funded then all students must have the right to opt out of specific categories of student groups if everybody is equally subject to the fee.

  7. badgersdaughter says

    If religious people want to dictate how student groups get funded then all students must have the right to opt out of specific categories of student groups if everybody is equally subject to the fee.

    That means that records have to be kept on every individual student, tracking what they have and have not chosen to allow their fees to support. Such information would be impossible to misuse, wouldn’t it?

  8. Lyle says

    @ badgersdaughter #11.

    That means that records have to be kept on every individual student, tracking what they have and have not chosen to allow their fees to support. Such information would be impossible to misuse, wouldn’t it?

    Oh, absolutely, because no organization ever has misused such information.

    You’ve expanded on my point perfectly. It’s a stupid idea and shouldn’t be implemented.

  9. gshelley says

    Well I just assume the bill was worded to account for equal treatment, and also would have allowed students to opt out of funding any other student group, including religious groups.

    that would be my assumption, we rarely see any sort of double standards from people like this. On the other hand, as we saw in the vouchers for Islamic schools this week (and last year), sometimes they just don’t think things through.

  10. says

    “After three hours of tear-filled testimony”
    Like?:
    And then…With sincer tears in his eyes Craig pleaded to the student body “Why…I just…I just can’t…*sniff* everytime I think about two men fucking I just gag and cry. Why would you force me to fund a group that tells guys it is okay to fuck each other?” *sniff* *is handed a klenex by his manish looking xtian girlfriend and proceeds to wipe his nose*

    So in theory I could make the same argument about brussel sprouts in the student cafeteria…

  11. Sassafras says

    his manish looking xtian girlfriend

    When you pull shit like this, you’re being as bad as the fundies are.

  12. baal says

    I suspect it was my highschool debate background but when ever I see a plea for special case rules, I think about how that rule would impact a system were it applied evenly (general case). To wit, if christians got (and they wont, cf @#2) what they want, (freedom to not pay for clubs they don’t like) what would the system look like if everyone got to go buffet table on the student services fees?

  13. naturalcynic says

    This crap would be a recruiting tool for libertarians – those who want free association only. I’m sure that some would want to opt out of everything possible, decimating [or more] student activities.

  14. a0905671 says

    Thanks for posting. I just sent them $50 from over here in Germany. I don’t know if this will make any difference but thought it was the right thing to do.

  15. says

    Surely this will only last as long as it takes someone to sue because they don’t want their money going to support Christian organizations. I mean, it seems like there’s no way this would stand up as is.

  16. abb3w says

    @8, Alverant:

    Of course if Atheists did exercise that option they would be accused of trying to persecute christians.

    @10, Lyle

    It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to think that there would be outrage if atheists did indeed exercise the option to not fund groups that conflict with their religious beliefs.

    Only if there were numbers significant enough to impact funding levels. Since anecdotally there’s only about two atheists who bother, no-one notices.

    Most of the rest of the atheist student group don’t think it’s worth the paperwork for getting back $2.84, and there’s periodic discussion of starting an atheist quarterly magazine and applying for funding from the fees — which would be more effective at triggering outrage. That, however, seems likely to come mostly from outside the school. The last bake sale where they sold cookies for “a dollar OR YOUR SOUL”, they got about forty souls, fewer dollars… and mostly ignored.

    @17, naturalcynic

    This crap would be a recruiting tool for libertarians – those who want free association only. I’m sure that some would want to opt out of everything possible, decimating [or more] student activities.

    At least one of the two anecdotal atheists I’m aware of who does so, is indeed foremost a libertarian.

    @19, stuartsmith

    Surely this will only last as long as it takes someone to sue because they don’t want their money going to support Christian organizations.

    No. Look up the Rosenberger case.

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