Jay McDowell, an economics teacher, bought one of those shirts and wore it in class that day. McDowell then showed his students a video about a gay teenager who committed suicide, and devoted the rest of the class period to discussion.
Daniel entered McDowell’s classroom for the sixth period that day. McDowell noticed that one of the girls in class was wearing a belt buckle with the Confederate flag. He ordered her to take it off, because it offended him. Daniel then asked the obvious question. Why should it be all right for so many students and teachers to wear the purple T-shirts, but not all right for the girl to wear the belt buckle?…
McDowell then, predictably, told Glowacki that the Confederate flag was a symbol of hateful things, like “the slashing and hanging of [African Americans].” It was discriminatory against blacks. Glowacki responded that the purple T-shirts were discriminatory against Catholics. This prompted a heated exchange. The young man is no theologian, and the teacher no moral philosopher. McDowell says that he told Glowacki that it was all right if his religion said that homosexual behavior was wrong, but that Glowacki could not say that in class. He also says, missing the illogic and the aggressiveness of his statement, that he told Glowacki that to say “I don’t accept gays” is like saying “I don’t accept blacks.” When Glowacki replied, “I don’t accept gays,” McDowell threw him out and began disciplinary action against him.
Howell, MI, where this took place, is north-west of Detroit, whose main claim to fame these days is going broke. Wonder if teachers such as McDowell would have been so aggressive in, say, Dearborn, not so far away, where he would have faced a class with many Muslims and women wearing hijabs? Or hijabs and Confederate belt buckles? (I’ve never seen a Muslim wearing both, but there’s a first time for everything, especially in the South).
I commented on this trend back in 2007 in my piece What It Takes to Experience Discrimination. I also noted liberals’ tendency to back off from/play games with Islam in my 2010 piece Strange Bedfellows: Liberals and Muslims.