Playing the Bully Card at Belmont U.

That didn’t take long did it?  Lisa Howe, the still former women’s soccer coach at Belmont University in Nashville, has played the bully card.  Now joining the race card, the bully card has become the newest weapon of choice that is often misused to silence any opposition to the radical homosexual agenda within our culture. 

Howe, the lesbian coach who outed herself to her players at this former Baptist school closely associated with the Country and Christian music scene in Nashville, has become the latest heroine in the fight for “homosexual rights” in America.  Howe, suddenly thrust into the role of civil rights champion, said:

“When we see in society that young people are being bullied or when we have gays or lesbians or those perceived as gays and lesbians taking their own lives, I think we have a problem.  So, for me to continue hiding, even when people properly assume that I was a lesbian and in a relationship … perpetuates the bullying and doesn’t take a stand against it and say ‘We can be accepted and we can be safe.'”

As to the first part of Howe’s statement, I think most people, regardless of their personal opinions about homosexuality, would agree that we have a problem.  There is no question that we have seen a recent string of suicides by homosexuals that have been linked — directly and indirectly — to bullying.  Public campaigns against bullying have became more visible and more vocal in recent months.  A Newsweek article recently stated:

“Bullied to death is the crime of the moment, the blanket explanation slapped on suicide cases from Texas to California, where two 13-year-olds recently killed themselves, bullied for being gay. The most twisted example yet came last week, when Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old New Jersey college student, threw himself off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate and a friend allegedly streamed a Webcam video of his tryst with a man.” (full article here)

Let me be clear.  Bullying, no matter who the target, should be condemned in the strongest possible language by everyone, most especially followers of Christ.  Every person is created in the image of God.  Even if the bullying never becomes physical, verbal abuse should not be condoned under any circumstances.  To ridicule someone as “gay” or a “f**” is offensive and wrong.  Contrary to the children’s rhyme, words often hurt much more than sticks or stones.  To harass or bully or otherwise mock or make fun of someone shows a profound misunderstanding of Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Now to Coach Howe’s playing of the “bully card.”  How can this outed lesbian coach, who has admitted what apparently everyone already knew (“properly assumed”) about her sexuality, say that she was hiding?  Hiding in plain sight, I suppose. 

And, how do her circumstances, particularly following her own “revelations” of a partner and a child on the way, possibly “perpetuate the bullying” that has caused teenagers and young adults to commit suicide?  Coach Howe, whether she realizes it or not, does a disservice to efforts to combat the very real problem of bullying that is taking place throughout our country. 

Just like with certain professional race hustlers who constantly play the race card against their opponents when there is no evidence of racism, those who play the “bully card” not only damage their credibility, but miss out on an opportunity to enlist support in the anti-bullying crusade from those who may otherwise believe homosexual conduct is immoral.

Ms. Howe wants to be safe from those she perceives as bullies.  Everyone — gay and straight — should be afforded that same protection.  However, what Coach Howe ultimately wants is to be accepted unconditionally, even by those who may not find some of her choices acceptable.  That’s why she played the “bully card.”  Maybe it’s time to respond with a grace card instead!

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About Howell Scott

I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for the last fourteen years. Before entering the ministry, I was a practicing attorney in my homestate of Florida. I have been married to my wife, Brenda, for 18 years and we have three sons, Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.
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