An opinion column
Reading an article in the April 10 online edition of the Los Angeles Times,I think I may have stumbled upon something – the root of a problem.
There are several hot-button issues facing our nation,and one of them is undoubtedly homosexuality.
Questions abound in this political,moral and religious debate,the most important being should gay and lesbian marriages be legal?
But there's an even more confusing and loaded question on the table: Is it right to tolerate intolerance for the sake of religious convictions?
Ruth Malhotra,22,a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology,is leading a crusade on campus for her right to speak out against homosexuality.
Like most other public universities,Tech bans speech that puts down others because of race,gender or sexuality,and rightly so. But Malhotra finds it an infringement on her right to be Christian,and,as the Times said,“her right to be intolerant.”
In what has now become a “movement,” religious groups are battling for the right to speak out against Gay Pride Month and the right to not attend diversity training.
The Times quoted the Rev. Rick Scarborough,president of the Christian group Vision America,as saying,“Christians are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian.” The Times said Scarborough was,rather prophetically,characterizing the movement as the civil rights struggle of the 21st century.
How Scarborough finds Christianity,which is freely and openly practiced throughout this nation,under enough scrutiny to compare its struggle to cross-burning all over the South is beyond me – funny how the whole KKK thing was in the name of God,too.
But for the sake of the Rev.,let's say he's right and this is comparable to the civil rights movement of the 20th century.
Gregory S. Baylor,director for the Christian Legal Society's Center for Law and Religious Freedom,said he finds the tolerance policies that protect people on the basis of race and gender fundamentally different from policies protecting “the practices” of homosexuals.
Baylor said he does see the logic in policies that protect people's inborn traits but not people's “practices” – isn't Christianity a practice,not an inborn trait?
People do have the constitutional right to “disagree” with homosexuality,and after speaking with Baylor,I've come to the conclusion that some leaders of the “movement” are merely in disagreement while still promoting tolerance. But they need to be in closer contact with their followers because some are taking the term “disagree” to an inappropriate level.
There are those who feel justified when personally attacking – in the name of God no less – homosexuals. And I hope something is inherently wrong with that logic.
Putting all legitimate arguments aside,let's just admit why people are really upset: Money. It has been called the root of all evil,and college groups are worried that if they decide to be religiously selective,campuses will cut their funding.
I'm all for having your own private club. But the way I see it,if a group is going to put up a “No Gays Allowed” sign,then provide your own paint.
People much older and much wiser than I have tried to convince me that this too shall pass. They say the homosexuality debate is as convoluted as the civil rights movement or women's suffrage.
But after reading the witticisms of the religious right,I must contend that this is a peculiar fight. The United States once saw the error of using the Bible to legitimize racism,but I don't foresee such an epiphany with homosexuality. Not only does gay marriage go against biblical teaching,it goes against what the majority of society finds to be morally right.
We couldn't find a moral reasoning behind the discrimination against blacks,but with some twisted logic,we're able to see quite clearly the reason we treat practices of homosexuals with such disdain.
At the moment,I'm just disappointed. Throughout my fair share of history classes,I was told,“We don't want history repeating itself.” No more Holocausts,no more racism,and no more sexism – we've seen what ignorance does to people,and let's not let it happen again.
Still,with all the pre-collegiate lecturing,Malhotra and the Georgia Tech College Republicans found it necessary to send a letter to gay activists who organized Coming Out Week on campus in the fall of 2004. The letter said gays who come out publicly force others to withstand “a constant barrage of homosexuality,and continued,“If gays want to be tolerated,they should knock off the political propaganda.”
Let ignorance reign,and God bless America.