Brickbat: Jesus


"Life is wasted without Jesus." William Swinimer, a 12th grader at Forest Heights Community School in Nova Scotia, wore a T-shirt with that slogan to school recently. It wasn't the first time he'd worn it, and officials had warned him that some teachers and some other students complained it was offensive. They told him not to wear it again. When he did, the school suspended him for five days.

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  1. Maple-sucking puck-slappers, all.

    1. I’m a lifelong Caps fan, and that loss last night went down the hardest I’ve ever…

      Like a kick in the stomach.

  2. The article neglects to mention that the kid was already preaching around and threatening other students with hell. Source

    1. Yes, how dare he be allowed to express his opinions to other students! The nerve! See below post.

      1. True, but if his expression disrupts the class, it’s the teachers’ and administrators’ responsibility to stop that disruption. He has a right to express his opinion, but he doesn’t have a right to interfere with other students’ learning.

        Now, I don’t know if that’s what was going on here, but it does seem more likely than the “War on Christmas” meme.

        1. True, but if his expression disrupts the class, it’s the teachers’ and administrators’ responsibility to stop that disruption. He has a right to express his opinion, but he doesn’t have a right to interfere with other students’ learning.

          Agreed. There is a time and a place, and during a lecture and the kid goes full metal street preacher is inappropriate.

          The article linked by Mr. Love did not specify when this kid was proselytizing, if at all. I would expect the same treatment for a student who was shouting “Allahu Akbar!” or “Death to Infidels!” during a lecture as well.

      2. Other students might be studying for their Canadian Geography final.

        He should keep his superstitions to himself.

        1. Why? If my kid went to school with a Darwin Fish shirt or one with a Dawkins quote, I wouldn’t expect them to be suspended. There is no mention of him speaking out or preaching in any way. Some people can’t handle even having the option to read something they disapprove of. If non-theists like my self want to avoid persecution we need to refrain from endorsing any religious persecution. A teacher led prayer is one thing…a kid in a shirt where the word “Jesus” is barely visible is totally different.

  3. a 12th grader at Forest Heights Community School in Nova Scotia

    Shouldn’t that be Grade 12’er? More proof when I nuke Canada, the Scotians are first on the list, followed by New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. At the behest of a friend, PEI gets a bye. I’m still on the fence about Quebec.

    I wonder if this kid would have been reprimanded for “Life recycles with Bhudda”, or “Life is submission with Mewhammad (PooBah)”?

    1. A Christian student lodging complaints against a Muslim wearing an “Allah rocks balls” shirt would have been accuse-laughed off of the campus.

      There are absolutely no double standards whatsoever in public schools. None. Especially in enlightened Canada.

      Canadia — fuck yeah.

    2. I enjoyed Newfoundland. While their idea of great seafood is to deep fry anything they can drag out of the ocean, it was a very pleasant place with striking geography and nice, if unintelligible, inhabitants.

      1. ^^Sheepfucker!!!!!^^

      2. Perhaps, but I’ll still need to nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

    3. I’ve got a soft spot for Quebec due to their 18 year old drinking age coupled with Montreal’s proximity to my alma mater.

    4. I’ve given up on eschewing threading for the handful of times I comment.

      PEI is a lovely place to drive around, but it struck me as a Depression-land theme park whenever I went into anything that looked like a commercial district. The Confederation Mall was mostly empty. The grocery store and the Wal-Mart looked busy. Though to be fair, it was the shoulder season when I visited.

      The Provincial alcoholic beverage stores looked like something out of the Soviet Union. There were two differences: The staff spoke English and there was actually some product, just not much product and not a lot of variety unless you want cheap, shitty booze. Exception: Rossignol has some good wine.

  4. Got First Amendment?

    1. They don’t have that in Canada.

  5. Clicking the link, I find myself disappointed that the “Life is wasted without Jesus” shirt does not feature a sleepy-eyed, grinning Jesus holding a bong.

    1. If that was the shirt he was wearing, the story never would have made the news. Mocking Christianity is fine and dandy. It’s the preaching of it that will get you in trouble with today’s nannies.

      And Doc was right. If he had a shirt promoting the “Religion Of Peace,” not a word would have been said to him out of fear.

      1. Sorry, I’m still assimilating the devastating message that I have wasted my life.

        1. Hardly, Saccharin Man. My life had been thoroughly enriched by meeting you. Waste, my big toe. Who else could have helped unleash my inner creative and vulgar penchants?

  6. Looks like America’s hat could use a lesson in free speech.

  7. Swinimer says the principal would have accepted a shirt with the slogan, “My life is wasted without Jesus.”

    “*My* life, eh? Would the principal have accepted a shirt with the slogan, “My life is wasted in this high school”?

    1. Or, “Jesus: He’s what life is aboot, eh”, with Jesus holding a bottle of beer and a donut?

      1. Yoo’re one coloUrful fellur, een’tcha?


  8. Here’s the best way to solve this problem. Get another kid who is not Christian to wear a shirt that says “Jesus is a turd in the punchbowl of life” and follow this kid around all day. We’ll see just how much his free speech convictions hold up.

      1. Then more power to him. I don’t give a shit one way or the other but my own experience with people who go out of their way to show their religion aren’t always so tolerant of those who don’t share it. At least with the shirt I recommended you’ve now got both sides of an issue being represented.

        1. I read an article the other day where something very similar happened. Some kid was wearing an atheist shirt. Christians got pissed and some kids wore their Christian slogan shirts to school. The school’s solution was to send them all home and ban them. Several kids came back wearing the same shirts and the school sent them home again. Lawsuits are pending.

          1. I hope the school loses both lawsuits. It would be ironic if all the students made a class action out of it.

          2. I know, as np points out below, it’s too much to ask for schools to let these things sort themselves out. In the example you give, if the kids were just wearing shirts and not fighting with each other then I can’t see why the school would need to get involved at all. If things were getting out of hand and causing grief for people not directly involved, then I would agree with sending the kids home.

            1. Back when I was in HS we had a moment of silence and a student led poem (usually a very religious prayer like poem of course). When a friend of mine wanted to read a very secular passage by Sagan the person overseeing the morning ritual said no. He went to the superintendent who OK’ed it. After that the poem topics became far more varied and interesting. The key is open access to all, not oppression.

    1. Better make that “Jesus is a turd in the punchbowl of MY life”

  9. Sorta OT:

    When’s Canada Football finally going to limit offensive movement in the backfield?

    I mean, come. the fuck. on!

    1. What – and become as boring as the No Fun League?

  10. He should have worn a ‘Buddy Christ’ T-shirt featured in Kevin Smith’s movie Dogma. I think you can still buy them online at

    1. I would rather spend the day with an obnoxious, sanctimonious evangelical than a Kevin Smith fan.

  11. “It started with him preaching his religion to kids and then telling them to go to hell. A lot of kids don’t want to deal with this anymore,” said Katelyn Hiltz, the student council vice president.

    The students said the T-shirt was the last straw that led to their complaints, but it was not how the issue started.

    “He’s told kids they’ll burn in hell if they don’t confess themselves to Jesus,” student Riley Gibb-Smith said.

    I wish they’d stop calling highschoolers “kids”, especially seniors, who by nature already adults. In fact if they’d treat them as such, including the father of the guy who pulls him out of school for other classes, and including the school who ridiculously suspends him, they’d be much better off.

    Teaching them how to deal with it voluntarily, so long as he isn’t harassing people, meaning he isn’t following people around hounding them, but just generally proselytizing i.e. broadcasting. The other students can ignore him, or confront him everyday, agree to fight e.g. a boxing ring (much like the old days dueling), proselytize a different religion opposing his viewpoints (and others who disagree can in turn do the same), whatever, is much better than teaching them to rely on authority to solve problems of social interaction.

    I do think a private school should have a right to suspend people for anything though (Allah shirts, Eco shirts, etc), but the point still remains that such moves are a disservice to the students.

  12. Their conception of rights is fundamentally different from our conception of rights, that’s for sure.

    1. Ours, at least theoretically, is “you got them there natural rights, bro, and that there government be defendin’ them”, whereas theirs is “here you go, underling — have a right. I grant it!”

      1. theoretically yes, in practice no so much.

      2. Yeah, my rights don’t originate with the government, and in practice, they’re not even supposed to be taken away by the government–only by a jury.

        If I’m not mistaken, in Canada’s system, your rights are explicitly granted by the government, and the Charter of Rights includes a provision where people’s rights can be suspended as well.…..ing_clause

        I think the way our religious rights were defined in the First Amendment was fundamentally superior. Two explicit opposing rights–free exercise and the right to be free from establishment–is much better than a vague idea about “freedom of religion”. People don’t like the fundamental contradiction or opposition of those two rights, but that’s the way it’s gotta be.

        Hell, the Taliban probably thinks they’re for freedom of religion, too. Under the Taliban, I’m sure, all orthodox Sunni Muslims are free to practice their religion without having any concern whatsoever for any other religion. And proselytizers of other religions have a right to be subject to whatever punishment their courts decide is appropriate.

        Canada isn’t that way in that their punishments are much more humane, I’m sure. So that’s one difference. Fundamentally, are there any others?

        I sure hope so.

  13. some teachers and some other students complained [the T-shirt] was offensive.

    So what happens if some teachers and some other students complain that the *suspension* was offensive?

  14. Dude is not making a whole lot of sense man, I mean like seriously.

  15. Where exactly did we get these people who are so easily offended by another person’s advocacy of a belief system? And where exactly did this notion arise that people have the right not to be exposed to another’s religious beliefs? And who are these people whose own religious faith or atheism is so weak that being exposed to a T-shirt is deeply disturbing.

    This has nothing to do with classroom disruption and everything to do with suppressing speech, with purported “offense” being used as the tool of suppression.

    1. I could take a couple of guesses.

      My first guess would be militant atheists, who are among the world’s most easily offended people. …some of them have a bit of a persecution complex.

      My second guess would be First Nations people, who were horribly exploited by religious residential schools. …the victims of which actually were persecuted.

  16. If this kid were American, he’d be on the SPLC “hate group” list all by himself.

    AND he’d be on the TSA no-fly list.

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