South Carolina State Senator Mike Fair, whose district includes Bob Jones University, has already been in the news this year for trying to block the state from adopting new education standards regarding evolution because he wanted to “teach the controversy” and trying to block the adoption of the Wooly Mammoth as the state fossil. .
Now, the man who can’t seem to get more conservative has hit a new low, voting to defund the required reading program at the University of South Carolina Upstate because he thinks it’s promoting the “gay agenda”:
Last month the House voted to cut $17,146 from University of South Carolina Upstate’s budget. That’s exactly what it cost for its required reading program. The book required this year was “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio.” It’s a collection of stories shared on South Carolina’s first gay radio show.
“It’s just not normal and then you glorify, or it seems to me, that the promotion at USC is a glorification of same sex orientation,” said Republican state Sen. Mike Fair.
Fair said the school took what he calls questionable behavior even further when it booked the show “How to Become a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less.”
“That’s not an explanation of ‘I was born this way.’ It’s recruiting,” said Fair.
Actually, the show called “How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less” is a one-woman show that’s mostly a personal coming-out story. The title, while attention-grabbing, hardly means someone can just magically “become” gay or lesbian.
And the whole point of including the books as part of the freshmen required reading program is to expose students to different ideas. In a state like South Carolina, where Christian bigotry is in full bloom, introducing students to the stories of LGBT individuals is incredibly useful and worthwhile. And if the LGBT diversity is too taboo, where does it stop? In what other ways will state representatives dictate curriculum decisions to universities?
When the cuts were first proposed, university officials expressed their frustrations in a statement that perfectly described the problems:
… To target funding for a particular program because it doesn’t align with certain beliefs and judging it in terms of specific content instead of the discussions the content promotes is perhaps a bit shortsighted. Indeed, controversial issues are essential in creating levels of discussion and student engagement that cannot be generated otherwise. We see such engagement as essential to the educational process.
“A bit shortsighted” is an understatement. It’s a religious-based decision made by government officials who can’t see if they’re not wearing Jesus-tinted glasses. They’re ruining the students’ experience because it doesn’t meet the arbitrary rules of their faith.
That’s the sort of thing you expect at Bob Jones University, but not from a real school.
And just to rub it in, Fair and Republican colleague Sen. Lee Bright both voted against each of the incumbent USC trustees during board elections this week. Not because of their qualifications, but just to punish the schools for valuing diversity over narrow-minded Christianity.
This is just pure spite. It must be too hard for Fair to openly condemn LGBT people to hell from his political office, so instead he’s just punishing those who support them.