As schools resume session this fall, high school and college campuses across the country will be offering "Secular Safe Zones," or places where non-believing students can freely discuss their thoughts on religion without the threat of being bullied.According to the folks who are pushing this, these zones will ‘"curtail the effects of discrimination, bullying, and social isolation faced by many secular students - especially high school students - in our society."’
Giving these kids a bolt-hole when their delicate egos are bruised isn’t going to help them one bloody bit, folks. Once their protection – read ‘campus officials, teachers, RA's, guidance counselors, or even chaplains’ – is gone (graduation, folks) who’s going to be there to hold their hands, dry their tears, and tell them they’re still special people? Who’s going to give them their gold stars?
You really want to help these kids – any kids – who’re suffering from bullying? Teach them to fight back.
And no, I’m not talking getting into fisticuffs (although a bit of hand-to-hand self-defense might not be a bad idea); I’m talking about actually teaching these kids to stand up for their beliefs and to be able to articulate them in a manner that’s concise, clear, informed, persuasive, and influential.
In short, teach them the art of rhetoric – old-style Aristotelian rhetoric.
One of the best courses I ever took was my high school Speech class; we were taught to research our topic, to put our arguments together in logical order, and – most importantly – to be able to handle questions and counter-arguments without descending to ad hominem attacks and other forms of name-calling.
Of course, doing that kind of thing is hard; it requires effort. Much easier to coddle the students and make them incapable of defending themselves once, as Sgt. Hulka said, their ‘mamas are not here to take care of you now’.
Keep on sissifying these kids, and then wonder why the world is going to hell in a handbasket.