Will Phillips is a Fine Example for my Son, for the Nation

Will Phillips, just ten years old, is standing up to his school and his peers to protest for the rights and lives of gay and lesbian citizens. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church is throwing a tantrum in DC, threatening to hold back human services and other good works if the DC Council respects gay and lesbian rights. A child shall lead them, eh? 

Will Phillips is a bright 10 year old boy from Arkansas. He’s been getting in trouble lately, but not like most other 10 year old get in trouble. He’s not respecting the Pledge of Allegiance in class, and that’s what is getting him in trouble. You see, Will doesn’t think gay and lesbian citizens are respected by the Pledge, and thus he thinks it rings hollow. Will got the teacher all angry at him. From the Arkansas Times:

Will’s family has a number of gay friends. In recent years, Laura Phillips said, they’ve been trying to be a straight ally to the gay community, going to the pride parades and standing up for the rights of their gay and lesbian neighbors. They’ve been especially dismayed by the effort to take away the rights of homosexuals – the right to marry, and the right to adopt. Given that, Will immediately saw a problem with the pledge of allegiance.

“I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”

After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will’s mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day. Each day, the substitute got a little more cross with him. On Thursday, it finally came to a head. The teacher, Will said, told him that she knew his mother and grandmother, and they would want him to stand and say the pledge.

“She got a lot more angry and raised her voice and brought my mom and my grandma up,” Will said. “I was fuming and was too furious to really pay attention to what she was saying. After a few minutes, I said, ‘With all due respect, ma’am, you can go jump off a bridge.’ ”

OK, maybe Will shouldn’t have sassed his teacher, as ignorant as she was, but the whole thing is simply brilliant for a ten year old boy. That’s what I want for my son, that he understands principles, acts based on caring for others, and doesn’t overly weigh the consequences in terms of ridicule by peers. Will Phillips has done some great things here, and hopefully his whole school has some great discussions about the ethics of what he is doing.

Will didn’t just whine when he didn’t agree with the law and the way our country treats people. He took action. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, is back to whining. In DC the Catholic Church is threatening to get out of the social services business if DC passes a sweeping anti-discrimination law protecting gay and lesbian citizens and recognizing gay marriages. Yes, the Catholic Church is willing to sweep good works under the rug because they don’t respect gay and lesbian rights. That’s a whiney ultimatum, more akin to a tantrum than to good works Catholic Charities has in the past been known for. Perhaps they should take Will Phillips as an example, since they evidently don’t have good examples of moral beahvior within the church.

 

Read the original article in All Spin Zone

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