Sullivan on “thought police on gays”
Andrew Sullivan finally notes the increasing trend of gay activists trying to silence, prosecute or psychologically “re-educate” dissenters.
Good that he’s acknowledging this, I suppose. But even here he sneaks in his “our freedom is their freedom.” If I thought for one second that Sullivan’s proposed “liberal” tradeoff (also made explicitly in “Virtually Normal” — gay marriage and open military service in exchange for an end to hate crime laws, pressure on the Boy Scouts, the Church and other private institutions) would hold, it might be worth considering. But it wouldn’t hold. For one thing, Sullivan’s own life refutes it — he’s made the cause of advancing homosexuality within the Catholic Church practically his vocation, so the kulturkampf would continue in private institutions. Call me cynical, but I frankly doubt he would be less perturbed by and opposed to certain Church teachings if the state let him marry his boyfriend, but the Church didn’t.
“It’s also vital for people of good will to understand that civil rights for gay people in no way should affect the rights of others, especially in religious denominations of all kinds, to loathe, disdain, pity or malign homosexuality,” he says. The key word here is “should.” This is less than reassuring. I would be tempted to say that Sullivan simply doesn’t know what illiberal Jacobins fill up the gay activist movement. Except that he perfectly obviously does — and arguably no journalist/public intellectual has suffered worse public humiliation at their hands than Sullivan has.
I’m sure Sullivan says what he does sincerely and in good faith, but to put it bluntly, how many divisions does he have? Which attitude is more common among homosexuals — his or ones like this in which a high-status comfortable homosexual tells a mainstream gay group in the pages of the most serious gay journalistic outlet that “We as a group have become tolerant of intolerance. Whenever anyone justifies their bigotry with what I call DHRB (deeply held religious beliefs), we roll over as if that were the end of the discussion. We have confused respecting a person’s right to hold whatever religious beliefs they choose with respecting those beliefs. … Is no one willing to say forcefully that homophobic DHRB have no place or value in a civilized 21st century?” And Episcopal gay activists are already demanding in Sovietized terms for bishops to “make sure” that a dissenting priests get “appropriate pastoral, episcopal, and psychological care to help him understand” the “embarrassment to himself, his diocese, his superiors, his Church, his vows, and his Lord” that opposition to homosexuality is. Andrei Sakharov didn’t hear it any better.
Thus, however hideous they strike Sullivan as being, we have decisions like the Colorado case Sullivan cites in which a judge forbids a Christian parent from indoctrinating a child with homophobia, including going to a church where they hand out “homophobic material.” They happen from the perfectly reasonable demand in shared custody cases that one parent not poison the child’s mind against the other. Add onto that (uncontroversial) premise merely the secular religious belief that homophobia is an irrational prejudice that has no public standing and deserves no public acknowledgement, like racism. That latter premise is quite widely held by our judicial masters, and endorsed by Sullivan and used by him as a weapon in the discussions over gay marriage and the like.
Sullivan himself once defended on “Crossfire” the use of books like “Heather Has Two Mommies” in public schools on the grounds that an increasing number of the kids in schools will have gay parents. And thus, he understands perfectly well that because some homosexuals want to redefine family for themselves, obligations and burdens are imposed on others that share the public sphere and must drink from the same cultural well, contrary to their religion.
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