Of course, the title of this post isn't the actual biblical quotation that is used so frequently it makes your brain want to sever its relationship with your ears. That quotation is most often paraphrased
as, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I made the little addition above, though, because I think it perhaps more accurately reflects where a certain segment of the christian population is taking the religion.
In saying that, you might think I'm referring to our old friend Connie Morris,
the wacky intolerant member of the Kansas State Board of Education (Although, now that I think of it, "Bored of Education" might be a better spelling for Morris' Kansas) who has fought so hard to remove things like evolution, sexual education,
from her state. I'll admit, Morris has been in the news lately, for her rather vehement reaction to a picture
of our carbohydratious lord, the Flying Spagetti Monster,
but that's not such a huge deal. In any case, it's nothing new.
No, I'm referring not to Connie Morris' typical idiocy, but to a whole new brand of idiocy I've become aware of. Allow me to introduce Ruth Malhotra
who is making quite a stir with her lawsuit against Georgia Tech.
What is this lawsuit about, you ask? Well, I'll tell you, but first I want you to sit down. Seriously. Sit down, lean back, and make sure that you're good and comfy. Ready? Okay- she's suing because, as a Christian, she believes she has a right to be intolerant.
Or, as the article states it:
Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she's a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.
Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she's demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.
So, yes, apparently she's suing because, as a christian, she has a right and a religious duty to be mean to homosexuals. I find this logic to be a little troubling, to put it mildly, even if I'm not really all that surprised. I've been half expecting this move for years now- particularly given the antics of the folks at Westboro Baptist
and their ilk. Still, this move seems pretty bold to me because we actually have a christian coming out and saying, "Hey, look, my god isn't
a god of love and tolerance. He's a god of sticking this jackboot right up your ass." I'd like to say that's she's a lone crank, but sadly that doesn't seem to be the case:
The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical, frames the movement as the civil rights struggle of the 21st century. "Christians," he said, "are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian."
In that spirit, the Christian Legal Society, an association of judges and lawyers, has formed a national group to challenge tolerance policies in federal court. Several nonprofit law firms — backed by major ministries such as Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ — already take on such cases for free.
The legal argument is straightforward: Policies intended to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination end up discriminating against conservative Christians. Evangelicals have been suspended for wearing anti-gay T-shirts to high school, fired for denouncing Gay Pride Month at work, reprimanded for refusing to attend diversity training. When they protest tolerance codes, they're labeled intolerant.
In other words, Ms. Malhotra isn't a lone crank, but is instead one of a number of people trying to combat the obvious persecution
of christians in this country. I have to admit, I'm more than just slightly skeptical that christians are in fact persecuted- if only because I think other groups
have a stronger claim, but of more interest to me is some of the logic underlying this case:
Others fear the banner of religious liberty could be used to justify all manner of harassment.
"What if a person felt their religious view was that African Americans shouldn't mingle with Caucasians, or that women shouldn't work?" asked Jon Davidson, legal director of the gay rights group Lambda Legal.
Christian activist Gregory S. Baylor responds to such criticism angrily. He says he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race and gender. But he draws a distinction that infuriates gay rights activists when he argues that sexual orientation is different — a lifestyle choice, not an inborn trait.
By equating homosexuality with race, Baylor said, tolerance policies put conservative evangelicals in the same category as racists.
See the problem? It's simply this: being
black or white, male or female, is an inborn trait, but living
with people of other races- that's a lifestyle choice. I think there are far weaker arguments that interracial marriage
is genetic than there are for homosexuality. Likewise, whether or not a woman is permitted to wear pants
is surely not genetic. So, what happens if some fragment of christianity decides these "lifestyle choices" are evil? Are we going to have to endure the same sort of hate mongering that homosexuals are being subjected to? Are law abiding, loving couples going to have to simply deal with religiously-motivated diatribes against miscegenation?
That possibility isn't exactly far fetched.
Well, sadly, my answer is more or less "yes." I'll be honest: this article provides what I think is the most compelling reason yet for making school children wear uniforms (this kind
rather than this kind
) that I've ever encountered, but it doesn't convince me that Malhotra is wrong... exactly. As y'all know, I am fairly rabid
about free speech, and this is no exception. If the campus community at Georgia Tech is going to accept pro-tolerance messages, then I think they also have to accept anti-tolerance messages. Either ban both, or ban neither, and I think banning neither is the way to go. However hateful Malhorta's speech may be, I tend to think that it is protected, and she is an adult who is legally entitled to exercise her rights. So, loathe as I am to admit it, I have to side with Malhotra to at least some extent.*
However, that said, I still have my own right to speak, and I'd like to say this:Ms. Malhotra,
Your actions, however well-intentioned, are simply evil. While I do not share your faith, and frankly find many aspects of it quite repugnant, I have met numerous christians who attempt to live up to the promise of the new testament. It is my honor that one such christian of nobility, my good friend Slag, is a co-blogger on this site. You, Ms. Malhorta, twist their faith into a parody of generosity- a parody that teaches that in order to help, you must hate. Sadly, you are not alone in that. As a representative of christianity, you fail to even be as convincing as others who you would doubtless find distasteful. For all their failings, they still represent their religion far better than you. I am utterly disgusted with your behavior.
Still, please continue to hate and spew vitriol at those you find sinful. I think you could do nothing better to reveal the true nature of your faith. Hate may be easy to find, but your spitefulness will earn you fewer converts, and far less glory, than I think you imagine.
Drek the Uninteresting
What can I say, folks? Sometimes free speech sucks.
As for the christians in the crowd who disagree with Ms. Malhotra: it's time to stand up and be counted. If this isn't the sort of person you want representing your faith, you need to say so. Otherwise, by remaining silent, you're tacitly approving of her interpretation of your religion. Sometimes doing nothing is still making a choice.* Don't get me wrong, if she wants to actually deprive homosexuals of rights she's gonna have to come through me to do it, but speech itself doesn't bug me too much. Well, it does, but there's a principle involved.