Debate.  According to my dictionary, it means to deliberate, consider, to engage in argument by discussing opposing points, to engage in a formal discussion or argument.

Bottom line.  There has to be opposing viewpoints in order to have a debate otherwise you have a one-sided conversation.

Well, apparently, officials in the Shawano School District is Wisconsin don’t seem to understand this simple concept.

Fifteen-year old Brandon Wegner was asked to write an op-ed piece for the school newspaper, “The Hawk’s Post,” about whether homosexuals should be allowed to adopt. He wrote the opposition; Maddie Marquardt wrote the piece in favor.  You can click here to read both articles.

Well, after the op-ed was published, Brandon was allegedly censored, threatened with suspension and called ignorant by the superintendent of the School District, according to an attorney representing the child.  A statement by the superintendent read, “Offensive articles cultivating a negative environment of disrespect are not appropriate or condoned by the Shawano School District.  We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended and are taking steps to prevent items of this nature from happening in the future.”

Any controversial topic will invite a heated discussion.  So, I guess, what the superintendent is saying is that he will make sure that no topic of significant value is ever debated again.  I guess he’ll try and limit debate in “The Hawk’s Post” to topics like, “Which Do You Prefer, Snickers or Milky Ways?”  “Coke or Pepsi?” or “Should the Cafeteria Be Painted?”  How about, “Green or blue decorations for the Prom?”  On second thought, let’s leave that one out because it may raise the ire of Irish folks and Smurfs.

The problem started when a homosexual couple, whose child attended the high school, complained.  The school immediately issued an apology and stated Brandon’s opinion was a “form of bullying and disrespect.”

Now, I don’t really care what anyone’s opinion is about homosexuals adopting children.  That’s not the issue.  The issue is that Brandon was invited to write an op-ed piece.  Maddie wrote a piece in support of homosexual adoptions and Brandon wrote the opposition.  That’s why it’s called a debate.

The superintendent’s intolerance reminded me of Saturday Night Live’s glory days when it did the Point/Counterpoint with Jane Curtin and Dan Akroyd.  Jane would start out with, “Dan, you self-important pig…” and “Jane, you magnificently ignorant slut…” and then each went on with their opinion.

Every issue will have at least two sides and if you don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint, then don’t invite a dialogue.

According to Brandon’s attorney, “The superintendent wants everyone to accept homosexuality as normative and homosexual adoption as something that should be standard practices.  In doing so, he’s belittling the views and the biblical views of many people across this country.  He is playing a zero-sum game.  He’s not interested in dialogue.  He wants to cram his view down the throat of everyone else and will not tolerate an opposing viewpoint.”

Whether you agree with Brandon’s position is not the issue.  He was asked by a teacher to take the opposing view of a controversial issue.  He did what he was asked to do and is then punished?  Where’s this kid’s First Amendment rights?  How is this bullying?  How is this disrespectful?

Years ago, a very dear friend of mine said, “opinions are like ass*&#@s; everyone has one; no one wants another one.”  The older I get, the wiser those words become.

Brandon will either be emboldened from this experience and hone his debating skills or will shrink away and never venture to offer his opinion again.  I hope he chooses the former.  In today’s college environment, he’ll need to have a very strong core belief system in order to survive the liberal groupthink mentality.

In today’s politically correct world, it’s perfectly okay for Samuel L. Jackson to say he voted for President Obama because he’s black yet not be called a racist;  but I’m a racist because I didn’t vote for President Obama based on his policies.

I’m a homophobe because I oppose homosexual marriage.

I’m a racist because I oppose unfettered illegal immigration.

I’m old-fashioned (or worse) because I believe children should not be born out of wedlock.

I’m a racist because I support many of the ideas of the Tea Party movement.

I’m sexist because I’m pro-life.

I’m a racist because I think the TSA should be profiling people at the airport and not hassling grandmothers in wheelchairs and looking in babies’ diapers.

I’ve got a neurological disorder (according to some people) because I believe in God.

Brandon has learned a very good lesson.   Where our educational system was once considered a place for the free flow of ideas and viewpoints, it has now become, with every story I read, the “epitome of intolerance.”

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

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