This past week, members of the State Senate in Michigan crowed about passage of Senate Bill 137 — the anti-bullying bill.

Feeling as I do that folks should recognize the efforts of our politicians, I do so.

Thanks to the Senate. Thanks for just about nothing.

Thanks for passing a bill that makes no sense, has virtually no

“teeth,” and arguably will never really be enforced.

The Senate passed a bill that was meant to make bullying in public schools a punishable offense.

They even named the bill in honor of a young person — Matt Epling, who committed suicide after being bullied for too long — a kid who unfortunately felt that killing himself was the only way out of his situation. The bill was/is called “Matt’s Safe School Law.”

The bill was designed to offer actual, measurable punishment to the many bullies out there who make kids’ lives miserable every day.

The bill would also be a legislative recognition of the fact that bullying was and is indeed a problem.

So, the Senate passed the law.

But (and sadly, there always seems to be a “but”) they couldn’t leave well enough alone.

The Republican Senators simply had to add on one little tidbit. This “tidbit” screwed the whole thing up. Ruined the entire effort — both effectually and “spiritually.”

The anti-bullying bill passed by the State Senate was meant to be just that — an anti-bullying bill.

Then the GOP Senators added one sentence.

“This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.”

REALLY!!??!!

How the heck can a group of reasonably intelligent people so effectively and efficiently ruin a good act with one simple sentence — and why?

Why, for Heaven’s sake?

With one sentence, the assembled senators basically ripped all the muscle and teeth out of a bill meant to respond to bullying in public schools.

If you don’t understand what they wrote it is this:

“You can’t bully another person for any reason. EXCEPT, for religious reasons.”

This is not my interpretation, ladies and gentlemen.

The GOP senators added very simply and clearly “This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.”

So what does this actually mean?

It means this. If you bully a kid in school in Michigan, you are in big trouble.

BUT ... if you bully a kid in school in Michigan and it is backed up by “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” you’re OK. Nothing will happen.

No harm, no foul.

It means that if a bully pins a kid up against a locker in your local public high school, shoves him around a bit, spits on him, calls him a “fag” or a “homo” or a “fairy” — that’s bullying.

But if the same bully pins a kid up against a locker in your local public high school and screams, “God hates fags” that’s OK.

That is “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

If a group of students mobs an exchange student from Thailand or Cambodia after discovering she is Buddhist and proceeds to tell her she is going to Hell because she doesn’t believe in Jesus, that’s not bullying.

That is simply an expression of “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” even though the Buddhist student has no idea what they heck they want from her, or what she did “wrong” to deserve either Hell or this kind of assault.

Anything, ANYTHING is game if it is done, said, or expressed out of “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

What the senators don’t seem to understand is that the greatest bullying in the history of humanity has come out of “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

The inquisition was an administrative “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

The Salem Witch Trials were the result of “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

In fact, the Holocaust was the expression of “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

The abuses of one religion against people of another are the fruit of “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

The persecution of minority ethnic or racial groups has long been excused as “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

The oppression of women has been explained as “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

You must be kidding me!

Why? Why have they done this?

I guess you need to ask them.

And get ready for a great answer. An answer probably based on “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”

In the meantime, thank you to the Michigan Senate. Thanks for nothing.