Thursday, February 27, 2003

It's being reported (here and here, for instance) that in some schools the children of military personnel are being harassed by anti-war teachers.

I am more than willing to denounce any harassment of service members or their kids. This kind of thing was wrong and stupid in the Vietnam era, and I'd like to think most anti-war people know better now. The men and women in the military have no control over bad decisions being made in Washington. They're the workers. They want to do what's right. It's particularly wrong to take it out on their children.

Having said that, I'd like to point out that this situation is roughly analogous to what happens to atheists and Jews and Buddhists and Muslims and non-Evangelical Christians in some classrooms when they're ostracized or marginalized for being unwilling to participate in sectarian prayers openly or sneakily sanctioned by public-school officials. Any conservative who's outraged at harassment of soldiers' kids ought to learn from that harassment some sympathy for people whose religious beliefs, or lack thereof, don't conform to those of the majority in certain towns.

I don't think you should harass a kid for a Jesus T-shirt or a Satan T-shirt. I think war advocacy, war opposition, and everything in the middle should be respected. Conservatives will denounce harassment of soldiers' kids, rightly -- but I want to see them denounce harassment of people they strenuously disagree with as well.

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