Note: this is a legacy post that seems hopelessly quaint by today’s standards of social media siloing, and everyday blocking. But think about what was already happening in late 2005, before Facebook and Twitter, when people were already expressing their horribly bigoted opinions in the old-style online forums and mass email chain letters. We started finding out back then who the good people were, and weren’t, didn’t we? –Sean Prophet, August 2022
I had to tell a bigoted friend to take a hike today. You know this thing called freedom of conscience and freedom of speech has limits. And I would never make it as a politician. I just can’t stand political correctness, and not taking a stand against injustice. I’m sure there was a time when people considered it acceptable, even a matter of religious conviction, to justify racism. The good ol’ US of A has a long history of lynchings of Africans, which as a matter of common knowledge used to be entertainment spectacles, complete with food vendors and sales of postcards of the lynched bodies hanging.
Today, the battles are different. Today’s religious hot-button issues are abortion and gay marriage. Even being gay in general. But that doesn’t make the bigotry any less pernicious, or the beatings and killings of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) people any less real. In an example of art imitating life, a recent episode of Nip/Tuck (which I help promote) featured a shocking scene of a transvestite being viciously beaten. Fortunately, later in the show, the transvestite and several friends exacted a splendid revenge.
But most of the battle takes place quietly. On online forums, in the voting booths, over cocktails. The violence is there nonetheless. If a person advocates legal discrimination and bigotry against a persecuted minority, they are part of the problem. They are present in spirit at the beatings, the rapes. They provide tacit consent to the murders. Attaboy.
So I told my friend of more than 20 years to take a hike today. And I’m not sorry. I made every effort to convince her, some of it posted here. But she still advocates laws being passed against gay marriage. She said I was bigoted against religion. I said no–I may not like religion, and I may try to convince people why it’s not in their interest to believe–but I’m not advocating passing any laws against religion. It’s kind of an important distinction.
I value my friends. Really value them. Along with family, they are what make life worth living. But in the end, ideas are more important than people. Because ideas can provide a platform for understanding, tolerance, and evolution–or ideas can kill.