Compelled Speech in the Land Of The Free

A Virginia high school French teacher was fired from his position for purposefully avoiding the of gender pronouns when referring to a female student who is transitioning into a male. The teacher referred to the student by their preferred name in order to be respectful, and even apologized to the student directly and privately when he accidentally referred to the transgendered student as “her” while speaking to another student. The school claims that he violated it’s policies. Apparently, the school feels like its not enough for their staff to avoid being disrespectful to the students while also not breeching their own personal code, you have to actively participate in the student’s preferred pronouns. Compromise is unacceptable. Only total submission will be tolerated.

The teacher, Peter Vleming, a self described Christian, is now suing the school for violating his religious freedoms. We’ll keep a close eye on the lawsuit and report back when there is more news about it.

This situation comes right around the same time that Mayor Bill de Blasio passes a new law in New York City. Now, referring to illegal immigrants as “illegal”, instead of “undocumented” is punishable by a $2500 fine for using what the law calls “demeaning language”.

This, to me, is a clear case of thought policing and compelled speech. These sorts of laws and rules violate not only a person’s religious freedoms, which is obviously illegal under the U.S. Constitution, such as in the case of Peter Vleming, but also our personal rights. The point of free speech is to protect an individual from punishment when they prefer to not use certain words or language that might violate their moral compass or personal beliefs. This is not what the forefather’s had in mind when they put their lives on the line in order to start this country, that grants people such as this transgendered student the ability to even publicly announce their identity without public shaming or legal consequnce.

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