03 June 2014

Selective outrage at free speech

Cal Thomas is unhappy because the National Football League reacts in a different way when someone insults homosexuals than when someone insults Christians. He notes with disgust that a member of the Miami Dolphins was penalized and obliged to take sensitivity training after Tweeting to express his horror at the sight of Michael Sam, who will be the league's first openly-gay player, kissing his boyfriend on Draft Day. For Thomas this "sounds like the old communist 're-education' camps" -- but what really seems to bother him is that no one is sent to the NFL Gulag for insulting Tim Tebow. Perhaps you remember Tim Tebow? A hot college quarterback who lacked what it took to succeed in the pros and thus became more famous for his overt Christianity, which Thomas would have you think is exceptional in professional sports. Tebow's faith has been mocked and even parodied on Saturday Night Live. When Tebow was cut by the Denver Broncos, he came in for more mockery. That no one was punished, and no one saw a need to punish the mockers, is fresh proof for Thomas that a double standard prevails in our secular humanist culture. His belief, apparently, is that it is either equally OK to insult a man's faith and his sexuality or equally wrong. If it's OK to mock Tebow's faith it should be OK to express revulsion at Sam's sexuality, or if the latter isn't OK, it shouldn't be OK to mock Tebow's faith. It's tempting to say false equivalence, but it is fair to note that had Tim Tebow been a Muslim or a Jew it would have been less OK to mock his faith, for many people, than it is when he's a Christian. Meanwhile, if the Dolphins player did no more than say that he found a male-male kiss "horrible," than whatever penalty he endured -- he's since been fully reinstated -- may have been excessive. Many people find male homosexuality repulsive -- many of the same people probably feel the opposite about female homosexuality, depending on how hot the females look -- but it's one thing to find it repulsive or "horrible" and another to deem it "wrong." There is, however, a genuine zero-tolerance attitude toward homophobia right now that has no room for nuance. Meanwhile, since Cal Thomas takes any opportunity to vaunt the moral superiority of Christians to Muslims, he ought to be proud that his co-religionists can take some ribbing rather than going for their swords as Muslims so often do. Neither faith should be exempt from ribbing or sterner treatment, and since religion is a different kind of identity than sexuality, religion should always be more subject to ribbing since it is always more open to intellectual and truly moral criticism than is the choice of an adult sexual partner.

Thomas hints that secular liberals abhor expressions of faith because religion "exposes flaws in themselves they prefer not to see." Since Thomas endorses a certain degree of abhorrence of homosexuality, may it not also be true that expressions of homosexual love expose flaws in certain observers that the observers prefer not to see? Think about it....

No comments: