Dissent Must Be Crushed

Peter Vlaming. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Social mores in the United States are changing so fast, it’s hard to keep up. If you fail to conform to the latest turn in politically correct thinking, you’re toast. You could lose your job. Not just in California, but here in Virginia.

Peter Vlaming, a high school teacher in West Point, was fired yesterday by the West Point School Board for resisting administrative orders to use male pronouns to refer to a ninth-grade student who had undergone a gender transition, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Here are the details:

Vlaming, 47, who had taught at the school for almost seven years after spending more than a decade in France, told his superiors his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for a student he saw as female.

The student’s family informed the school system of the transition over the summer. Vlaming said he had the student in class the year before when the student identified as female.

Vlaming agreed to use the student’s new, male name. But he tried to avoid using any pronouns — he or him, and she or her — when referring to the student. The student said that made him feel uncomfortable and singled out.

Administrators sided with the boy, telling Vlaming he could not treat his transgender pupil differently than he treats others.

Vlaming’s unwillingness to use the officially sanctioned pronoun created a “hostile learning environment.”

Bacon’s bottom line: I can see both sides of this controversy. On the one hand, if the West Point School Board has declared it to be school policy to refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns, Vlaming should get with the program. If he doesn’t like the policy, he’s free to find a job teaching in a school that allows him to address students as he pleases.

On the other hand, I respect Vlaming’s right to hold his religious beliefs. I don’t share them, but I respect his right to have them and his tenacity in sticking to them. The RTD article does not illuminate his thinking, but I can hazard a guess. As a Christian, he might reason, if God created the transgender student as a female, that switching to a male gender identity is unnatural, or even ungodly. If you believe in God as an underlying premise, that’s perfectly logical.

It’s too bad Vlaming couldn’t bring himself to honor the student’s request to use male pronouns. From what I glean from the RTD story, he didn’t actually refer to the student as “she.” Apparently, he structured his speech to avoid using any gender-specific pronouns in connection with the student. That may have created some awkard situations, but it’s too bad that the student took great umbrage and complained to the administration. There is no evidence that Vlaming meant any ill will. But the cult of victimization and perpetual outrage now defines our society, so confrontation was probably inevitable.

Language confers the ability to shape how we think. The power to define language is the power to define the public discourse. Ultimately, incidents like Vlaming’s firing are a demonstration of power. Politically correct vocabulary and thought will be enforced. Dissenters, including those who dissent out of religious convictions, will be crushed. Some peoples’ rights matter more than others’.

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10 responses to “Dissent Must Be Crushed”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” Language confers the ability to shape how we think. The power to define language is the power to define the public discourse. Ultimately, incidents like Vlaming’s firing are a demonstration of power. Politically correct vocabulary and thought will be enforced.”

    When you perform a role on behalf of the Govt – the job requires you to do so without regard to discrimination – no matter your personal or religious beliefs.

    That’s the gig.

    Suppose you did not like Blacks or Muslims or Asians – could you perform ANY role that required you to treat them all – without regard to their color or culture or other characteristics?

    That’s not using the power of government to squash one’s beliefs.

    That’s where Government and Religion – separate and it’s the “power” of government to REQUIRE equal and non-discriminatory treatment of citizens by the Govt in their interactions with citizens.

    I just do not understand how folks swerve off of this and into other territory – accidentally or on purpose.

    We do not treat people differently – period. If you can’t do that – then it’s on you – not the government.

    Let me admit – that when it comes to homosexuals and transgender – I am uncomfortable.. but I understand and support the need to not discriminate.

    I do volunteer taxes as well as help staff a food pantry. Can you imagine if I turned someone away because of their color or gender or culture?

  2. You said it in the opening. If you don’t like the policy, you’re free to find another job. He wasn’t “crushed.” He seemingly didn’t follow the system’s rules and lost his job.

  3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    I wonder whether the result would have been the same had the teacher been of the Muslim faith.

    I also find it interesting when some argue a professional football league or team cannot regulate on-the-job speech at football games.

    I’m not arguing either way on the merits. I just find the inconsistencies puzzling.

  4. Andrew Roesell Avatar
    Andrew Roesell

    Truly, Satan rules the West. The age of revolutions is an age that pits itself against God. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14: 9-12)



    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      I agree with you, Andrew. This entire post makes one want to vomit.

  5. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    You can find a Bible verse or three to support just about any position you want to take on any issue, but I really don’t understand how its a major religious offense to call a “miss” “mister” if that is the person’s determined preference. I mean, whatever…

    Likewise if somebody is unaware of the strong preference, and out of habit calls that person “miss” from time to time, blowing that into a major issue is equally ridiculous. Our brains just naturally put people into categories – it is how the brain sorts out visual inputs to identify people and things.

    The story here has to be a bit deeper, there was some time coming to this point, and it strikes me the teacher was just being stubborn and even insubordinate. If I had a friend/coworker/student who had this request, I’d honor it. Religious principles? That’s silly. That is very much a hill worth dying on at some point, but not over this, folks.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      The best recent article I have read is this subject is:


      For a long series of articles on the subject, especially those children who have undergone these operations, and lived to deeply regret it, and there are many, you can go to the online web site of the Federalists, then click into key words such as “gender identity”, “sex change,” “trans-sexual”.

      As to the particular facts of this case, and the offense claimed against the teacher, go the works of the Canadian clinical psychologist and public intellectual Jordan Peterson, and also Camille Paglia who is a transgender woman, feminist, and serious scholar on the subject of both and much else.

      The Bible is another serious place to study the subject, along with much else, and has been for two millennia, despite current shallow and faddish opinion.

      About now, great harm is being done, yet “if the entire faculty believes something, and you never hear anyone discussing an alternative point of view, you come away believing its too,” say’s Michael Biggs of Oxford University who studies social movements. This is today’s central problem. All people need to be free to speak and be heard, so as to protect all people not just a few special interests. See Quillette article cited above.

    2. Andrew Roesell Avatar
      Andrew Roesell

      Dear Steve,

      So called “transsexualism” is an attack on, and lie about, nature. It is also then used to force others into accepting or assenting its legitimacy and “truth.” It is a deforming lie. It deforms the persons who undergo the barbaric “treatment” and then punishes other people into participate in what they regard as a patent lie and against God’s will. Punishing them for the same is wrong. Thousands, and perhaps, eventually, millions of people will be deformed so that this atheistic ideology can be promoted as “scientific truth.”



  6. I think I like Andrews 2nd argument rather than his 1st. To force people to participate in a lie is akin to making them say that the Emperor does indeed have new clothes. The 2nd argument makes it a speech clause of the First Amendment argument rather than an establishment or exercise clause of the First Amendment argument. It handily disposes of Larry G’s argument about discrimination based on some form of suspect class, never mind that transgender-ism is not a suspect class.

  7. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    So…..no real theological or moral argument, other than its an aberration and defiance against convention and thus….well, that has to be sinful. I very much agree that in most cases it is an aberration and an act of defiance, and in some cases the better word is neurosis (poor Sigmund, we can’t cite him any more…) Too often it seems that parents or some other adults have pushed the child into this, but it’s a classic neurosis…Is it harmful as Andrew thinks? Sure could be.

    I see no harm in using whatever gender pronoun the person wants and I suspect the teacher who feels so heroic at first is going to regret picking that hill as the one to die upon….There are issues of religious freedom where such a principled stance is required. Are you sure this is it?

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