Editor’s Note: Please read “Tennessee Anti-Gay Lawmakers Keep Voting To Protect Lawbreakers Not Kids,” which includes a revealing “apology” from Rep. Faison.
A Tennessee Republican Tea Party lawmaker today blamed poor parenting and exempted bullying as the cause of gay youth and teen suicides. State Rep. Jeremy Faison stood on the floor of the Tennessee House of Representatives and argued against a cyberbullying bill, lamenting that kids who literally bully their fellow classmates to death could be charged as criminals instead of given detention.
“We can’t continue to legislate everything,” Rep. Faison said today, and in the video below. “We’ve had some horrible things happen in America and in our state, and there’s children that have actually committed suicide, but I will submit to you today that they did not commit suicide because of somebody bullying them. They committed suicide because they were not instilled the proper principles of where their self-esteem came from at home.”
Note that the Tennessee Legislature apparently does think you can “continue to legislate everything.” Yesterday they passed a law making miscarriage murder, last week a Tennessee House committee passed their infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, two weeks ago the Tennessee Legislature passed a bill that protects teachers who teach creationism, and those who welcome “debate” on culture war issues like global warming, and also two weeks ago the Tennessee Senate passed a bill that would classify holding hands as “gateway sexual activity.” Yes, Tennessee wants to protect children from holding hands Tennessee wants to protect eggs from miscarriages, protect teachers who wield Bibles as schoolbooks, but the Tennessee Legislature refuses to protect LGBTQ kids — or those just perceived as LGBTQ — from bullies.
Chas Sisk at The Tennessean adds:
The Tennessee Democratic Party condemned Faison’s statement within minutes.
“Did Rep. Faison just say that kids commit suicide because they haven’t been instilled with the right values? What a disgrace,” the party wrote on its Twitter feed.
The Tennessee Democratic party wrote on their website today:
Faison is apparently blaming the parents of suicide victims for their inability to “instill the proper principles” in their children. What a disgrace. Now, of course a tall and burly Faison doesn’t see any problems with bullying, as he admitted, he was perfectly capable of defending himself or dishing out punishment as he saw fit. But many kids don’t have that ability. That is why laws like these need to be passed.
It is unfortunate that some in the Republican Party have become the protectors of bullies. Of course, it is not terribly surprising, because as a legislative group they are nothing but bullies, disparaging and demeaning those without power in this country in order to build themselves up. So it is no wonder that they would see no big deal with the problems associated with childhood bullying in this country, and become the defenders of harassment.
Faison, 35, quotes “Glen Beck” and lists the 9/12 Project on his campaign website, and writes as his biography:
I remember as a little feller hearing the men in our church talk about politics after the service. I remember hearing frustrated questions like, “When are we going to get somebody IN THERE who votes like a real person ought to vote?” or “Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone represent us that is not a career politician?”
Let me introduce myself, my name is Jeremy Faison and I am running for State Representative for Cocke and Western Greene County. I am 33 years old and the daddy of 4 children Beka, Gage, Regan, and Asher. My wife’s name is Miriam and we live in Cosby. I am a proud member of the NRA. God, family, fishing, hunting and music are a few of my favorite things. We own a pest control company in town. We work very hard to provide for ourselves and our employees. We feel a personal responsibility to this area. East Tennessee is a wonderful place and we desire to see this area grow economically. People should not have to leave this area to provide for their families. We are rich in natural resources and ripe for opportunity.
You can contact Rep. Jeremy Faison via his page on the Tennessee House government website, Project VoteSmart, or Facebook.
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