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Teacher Who Said Gay Marriage Made Him Almost Throw Up Back In Class

by David Badash on August 24, 2011

in Bigotry Watch,Discrimination,News,Religion

Jerry Buell, the teacher who wrote on Facebook that same sex marriage almost made him throw up is back in class after being suspended by the Lake County School Florida school board. Schools Superintendent Susan Moxley has decided Buell did not violate the code of conduct. Buell’s comments garnered nationwide attention in what many are calling a First Amendment case.

READ: Anti-Gay Liberty Counsel Attorney For Teacher Suspended For Anti-Gay Facebook Post

“Moxley said she has issued Buell a list of directives, which will become public record in 10 days, to follow,” adds local Florida news station WKMG. “Buell said he will no longer use his Facebook account because his wife asked him not to,” the station also notes.

“I’m watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up,” Buell wrote on his Facebook wall last month. “If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???”

Buell was represented by the anti-gay Liberty Counsel, and the ACLU issued a statement supporting Buell’s right to make the remarks, though cautioned they did not agree with them.

The Liberty Counsel ludicrously added, “Buell has encountered nationwide scrutiny and has missed the first three vital days of getting to know his students and preparing them for the year. The amount of damage that has already been done and the effect this will have on his students is irreversible and should not go unnoticed.”

“Harry Mihet, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, commented: ‘This is a great day for the Constitution. By fully exonerating Mr. Buell, the Lake County School Board has reaffirmed what the rest of Americans already knew. The First Amendment protects the right of public servants to express their personal opinion without any fear or intimidation. It is a shame that Mr. Buell had to miss three days of teaching for his employer to learn this lesson’.”

“On August 25, 2011 Liberty Counsel will host Florida Awake! at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg. Buell is scheduled to attend the event and share his experience, along with others who have received similar persecution for their Christian beliefs. This event will gather support from individuals in Florida to take a stand for their constitutional rights. The rally seeks to motivate, educate, and equip the public to restore our nation’s values, as our Founders originally intended.”

Would the Liberty Counsel also be quick to defend the First Amendment rights of a teacher who posted anti-Christian language on their Facebook wall?

Buell, awarded “teacher of the year” last year, told CNN today that all the students he teaches know that he respects them as “children of God.” Which may or may not be something that children want to be viewed as, and that certainly is a potential violation of the First Amendment.

Of course, lost on all is the simple fact that an LGBTQ student most likely will not feel safe in Buell’s classroom, and should not have to be behind closed doors with someone in a position of leadership, power, and authority, who thinks who you are might make them throw up.

It’s important to remember, teachers are in schools for the kids. Not the other way around. Something that the Right is constantly preaching when it comes to unions and money but not when it comes to gays and safety.

By the way, Buell is the faculty advisor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at his school.

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin wrote last week, “Say you’re a gay kid, your ‘sin’ makes your teacher puke and he’s tight with the jocks and some sort of God. How confident would you be walking into his classroom?,” and added, “Just to get a flavor of Buell’s influence among the high school jocks, this cached web page says he had to move his morning meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from his classroom because it couldn’t accommodate everyone. ‘We have had to move to the cafeteria because our numbers are growing like crazy!’ Feel any better?”

I wonder now how many LGBTQ-perceived kids will be paying for the firestorm surrounding Buell’s comments this year?

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{ 5 comments }

Scott_Rose August 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm

The Orlando Sentinel reported that ex-Buell student Bryan Blaise said that one day in class, Buell was asked if he thought gay people should be allowed to serve in the US miitary. As Buell had already created a class environment hostile to gay students, Bryan was surprised to hear Buell say "Yes." Then however, Buell reportedly went on to say that the gay soldiers should be at the front lines as the heterosexual soldiers desert them from behind. The Lake County Schools have no GSA or PFLAG. Their anti-discrimination policy and their code of student conduct do not list "sexual orientation" as a protected group. Blogger Dr. Rich Swier, who operates close to this area in Florida, notoriously says that anti-gay bullying is a "healthy form of peer pressure." Certain of the Lake County Schools Board members are on the boards of Christian counseling/rehabilitation types of places, i.e. pray the gay away.

Scott_Rose August 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I saw plenty of local persons coming to Buell's defense and not a single one expressing an interest in seeing LGBT students adequately welcomed and protected in the schools. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes promotes the idea that one can pray to Jesus to be changed from gay to straight. Its member contract pledges students to abstain from homosexuality for life. The area's U.S. Congressman, Daniel Webster is implacably anti-gay-rights.

StanleyJames August 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Xtremist xtians make me puke. Its people like them who drive thousands of gay kids to suicide. of course in the name of god

I know a fixed gay — Bill W of Lutherville md it took me 2 years of monthly meetings to tear off his veneer of respectability

He then said – Gays support the Westboro BAPTIST church, and then said "Matthew Shepards parents should have fixed him"

The guy btw calls himself an ultra orthodox Catholic. And I've seen things that suggest he is a favorite of his church. He also seems to have some of the extremist xtian in him-prob cuz his wife Karen is / was a right wing protesttant

the catholic church of the endless molestation of chidlren all over the world. Google "(country name) catholic molestation" for any western(ized country and you will puke

The xtremist xitans – the same people who gave us slavery, the kkk and segregation. And are the root of the thousand or so hate groups per the SPLC

StanleyJames August 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm

BTW brevik was an extremist xtian

Scelerific August 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I have really mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I do believe in his right to free speech, even if the things he says are gravely offensive. Denying his rights just because we don't like what he says isn't much different than others denying us marriage because they don't like what we do. Moreover, I think the trend as a whole of people suffering professional discipline for things posted on Facebook needs to stop. A person's personal life should not be allowed to affect their professional life, assuming they behave accordingly in professional settings.

The problem, unfortunately, is that as a teacher, the line between his personal and professional life is blurred. He doesn't stop being a role model to his students just because they step out of the classroom. Even if he did keep his views out of the classroom–which some people are saying he doesn't–things he says and does outside of class may still have effects on students–and when you work with impressionable individuals, you should be held to a certain level of self-awareness.

There's not really a good answer to this problem. If nothing is done, then the students he teaches could be affected in detrimental ways; if he's silenced, we're infringing on his rights. Either way, someone has their rights trampled on, so the question is, whose rights are more important? Ideally, the students would be protected before the teacher; however…only the teacher has true constitutional protection in this case.

It's a depressing world.

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