Last month, anti-lgbtq organizations and personalities targeted a high school teacher, Lora Jane Riedas, of Riverview High School in Florida. They claimed she bullied Christian students. The fact that she is openly gay was the proverbial icing on the cake to these folks as they implied all sorts of ugly things about her, particularly the story that she made students remove cross necklaces while in her classroom. That specific gem was hyped extensively by various religious right and conservative news sources, facebook pages, and discussion boards. Anti-lgbtq hate group The Liberty Counsel began the chaos against Riedas by sending a letter to the Hillsborough school district detailing the charges. Naturally, the school district investigated..
Via People for the American Way's Right Wing Watch, came news last week that the investigation ended and Riedas has been totally exonerated:
. . . the school released the results of its investigation and found Liberty Counsel’s claims to be without merit:
A teacher at Riverview High School who was accused by a conservative organization of banning crosses while advocating for gay rights has been cleared of wrongdoing after a school district investigation. Lora Jane Riedas, who teaches freshman math and is faculty advisor of Riverview’s Gay Straight Alliance, said she did not allow rosaries, as they are considered gang symbols and not allowed in the school dress code. She said she did not discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in class. All 10 students interviewed by district investigators backed her up on that point, although some contradicted her on the issue of the crosses.
A letter released by the school examined the allegations made by Liberty Counsel and found no evidence to support any of them.
Here is the interesting, or rather not to be unexpected part, of this entire controversy. All of these organizations and personalities who made Riedas appear as if she was bullying Christian students have been conveniently silent regarding her exoneration. To my knowledge, there has not been any mention of Riedas's exoneration by any of the groups, figures, or conservative news sources which portrayed her as a huge anti-Christian bigot.
Their convenient silence gives you an actual perspective of their supposed Christian mindset, doesn't it? Seriously, it looks to me that the Liberty Counsel targeted this teacher to create some type of moral panic about lgbtqs targeting Christians. Had it not blown up in the organization's face, my guess is it and several other conservative organizations and groups would have continued to hype the situation up to give a degree of credibility to their "religious liberty" talking points, i.e. justifying discrimination against lgbtqs on religious grounds.
That being the case, we shouldn't be so quick to celebrate just yet. The Liberty Counsel and its cohorts were unsuccessful this time, but I bet they are, probably even as I write this, moving on to a new situation which they hope to exploit the false boogeyman of "anti-Christian gay bullies."