Note from a Hometown, Part 2: LGBT Studies and the Congressman:
Here's another interesting story from the Rude Pundit's hometown. Hang in there until the end for the twist.
So you might have seen that Republican (and teabagger) Rep. Jeff Landry from Lafayette, Louisiana, is in a bit of a snit over a program at University of Louisiana at, well, Lafayette. It's a school of roughly 18,000 students, and, in fact, is the Rude Pundit's alma mater. In what was at the time an uncontroversial move a month ago, the sociology department added a minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender studies. ULL became the first university in the state to offer LGBT studies, major or minor. And, just to be clear, "the LGBT minor did not require budgetary allocations or divert resources from other areas."
Landry, who is locked in a reelection battle with a much-better financed and slightly less-crazed Republican, wrote a letter to the president of ULL, telling him to get rid of the minor because "it fails to provide an economic benefit to the participants or financial sense for the taxpayer." What the economic benefit of religious studies, another program at ULL, might be is not addressed by Landry.
Now, obviously, this led to the usual uprising of nonsensical responses from the public in the local paper and eminently rational pushback from most students and faculty, with UL President Joseph Savoie pointing out that 200 other colleges and universities in the United States offer such programs and haven't turned into flaming pits of Gomorrah. Of course, there's always professors like William Simon, who has made his future LGBT students in his engineering courses feel totally comfortable with his letter to the editor where he says, really, "Students do not need courses on how to become better-educated in these types of deviant behavior."
We could leave this alone except for one extraordinary twist in the story you might not have heard. That would be the part with Nicholas Landry, who happens to be Rep. Landry's brother. And he happens to be gay. And he happens to have taken to Facebook to offer a comment:
"In reference to your recent quest to remove the LGBT minor from the UL curriculum, I want to state my opposition publicly. Ignorance is not education. Your constituents, heterosexual and homosexual alike, have made huge inroads in working towards equality in our community. By embracing diversity and acknowledging our differences, we gain understanding. Understanding is education."
Jeff's response? A change of heart? An attempt at understanding or even reconsider? Nope. It's exactly what you'd expect: ""To my brother. I am sorry we disagree, but we still love and pray for you."
And thus Nicholas Landry, an event planner in New Orleans, demonstrated that he is the far worthier sibling to be in Congress.