Thursday, March 6, 2008

I Miss Information

I would like to apologize for using this blog/column (blogumn?) to recklessly and shamelessly promote the sport of badminton.

If you have been a regular reader of my work, you might be a little confused, since I have written more than 60 of these things and have never once mentioned badminton by name.

Bear with me. I'm following the logic of Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, a conservative activist group that opposes a new gay rights law in California.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a daily newspaper with a tremendous reputation in spite of its absurd name, the law prohibits public school personnel from “demeaning gay, bisexual or transgender orientation.”

The law is intended to prevent teachers from telling students that homosexuality is immoral.

Thomasson's take: "If you can't say anything negative (about homosexuality) … that means you have to promote it."

So, again, I must apologize for not saying anything negative about badminton. I hope my fervent support of this lawn game has not offended those of you who prefer croquet.

While I'm at it, I should also apologize for constantly pressuring my readers to love and accept carpet mold, swordfish, Sweet-n-Low, brothels, Idaho, and the St. Louis Blues.

I am ashamed of myself.

My regret would not be so intense if it weren't for something I read in a recent Bangor Daily News column by Pastor Lee Witting.

Witting wrote about this law, telling his readers that it prohibits the use of the term “mom and dad” in public schools so as not to offend kids with homosexual parents. He also said a similar regulation had been instituted in Britain against the the terms “mum and dad.”

As someone with more than three functioning brain cells, I immediately suspected this was complete hogwash; such a bill would never be signed into law by a Republican governor, not even a steroid-crazed one from California.

I emailed Witting and asked him to tell me where he got this info. He was kind enough to reply with a link to a website called WorldNet Daily, a pseudo-news organization with an obvious conservative agenda (the giant Ronald Regan T-shirt ad was my first clue).

A quick Google search turns up other sites, some of which repeat WorldNet Daily's claims about the law, and some of which identify them as products of a false “e-rumor.”

Whom to believe?

Eventually I hacked my way into the California legislature's public database and read (gasp!) the actual law itself. It says: “No teacher shall give instruction nor shall a school district sponsor any activity that reflects adversely upon persons because of their race or ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion.”

As the Sacramento Bee points out, the law “does not specify what kinds of statements or activities would 'reflect adversely' upon gays.”

So it turns out Pastor Witting and WorldNet Daily were spreading lies.

At least, that's how it looks until you read between the lines.

Just like if you've been reading between the lines of this column, you would realize I'm actually trying to convince you to convert your children to a diet of monkey entrails.

You have to be careful where you get your information these days.

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