The $70,000 in money taken away from two colleges for assigning gay-themed books is a minuscule part of South Carolina’s $24 billion budget next year. But an effort to restore the money took up a majority of the first day of deliberations over the state’s spending plan in the S.C. House Monday.
Amendments sponsored by the House’s minority Democrats to give back $52,000 to the College of Charleston and $17,142 to the University of South Carolina-Upstate – the cost of the reading programs – were rejected soundly by near 2-to-1 margins in the GOP-controlled House.
The ongoing controversy over the book choices has led to a national debate over the role of government in publicly funded colleges.
. . . Rep. Garry Smith, R-Greenville, who spearheaded efforts to cut the schools’ funding, said the books – “Fun Home,” chosen by the College of Charleston, and “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio,” chosen at USC Upstate – do not reflect the community standards of S.C. taxpayers.
. . . The House is expected to consider a budget amendment Tuesday that would have the state set aside $1 million from each public college’s state money until they ban using “pornographic content” in classes and requiring any students to take a class that includes a nude model. The amendment from state Rep. Mac Toole, R-Lexington, does not define “pornographic content.” He said most people understand the definition. Toole’s amendment also would require colleges to start courses on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights before the money is released.
The "community standard" argument is a weak excuse for those who don't want to own up to their homophobia. I contributed an article to the "Best of Rainbow Radio" and I am a taxpayer. I RESENT Rep. Smith appointing HIMSELF as the arbiter of community values. How dare he makes such a judgement about books he obviously has not read and people he obviously don't know. Since apparently my life doesn't fit his definition of community values, perhaps he should refund the portion of my tax dollars which pays his salary. If he deems my life as not adequately reflecting his definition of community values, I deem his pockets not fit for my community cash.
And that goes double for Rep. Toole. Instead of requiring colleges to start courses on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Rep. Toole should make it a point to read the two items himself.