Total Drek

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

"...and let he who has obsessively studied an arbitrarily delimited set of my, and others', teachings cast as many stones as he wants."

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, and minorities 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.


Blogger Jordan Raddick said...

The thing that makes me so angry about this is the outrageous blatant hypocrisy of it all.

They're claiming that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice." Let's ignore all the copious evidence to the contrary and consider for a brief instant that that might be true.

Christianity is also a "lifestyle choice." Otherwise, why bother trying to convert people to it? And since Christianity is a lifestyle choice, then, by exactly the same logic, anyone who wishes should be able to discriminate against Christians. Christians should be fired from their jobs and prevented from marrying, just like gays and lesbians are today.

But no, Malhotra and her ilk are claiming that Christians are already persecuted, even without any of the new discrimination that their logic allows.

In other words, Malhotra wants people to stop persecuting and discriminating against her by preventing her from persecuting and discriminating against others.

But she thinks this is all OK, because her discrimination is an act of love. Huh? I would think that the real act of love would be to create a tolerant society where all people are accepted for who they are and the contribution they can make to the world.

This is all yet another incarnation of the age-old free speech argument: Malhotra is saying, "I should be allowed to speak freely, and no one else." Bullshit.


I shall now vomit, read a special Bible passage in Ms. Malhotra's honor, then donate to the Lambda Legal Defense Fund.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You know, Malhotra's opinion is truly repugnant to me. And I'm a recovering ultra-conservative Xian. These days, though, I bow to several gods, one of them being free speech. So I have to agree with you - and not because your argument was all that good. ;) My reason is this: what's more repugnant to me than Malhotra's opinion is the specter of my own freedom of speech being taken away in the same way the knee-jerk part of my brain wanted to immediately take away Malhotra's freedom of speech upon reading the article. Frightening.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Slag: Let's be precise here. There is an age-old free speech argument that runs, "Everyone who agrees with me can speak, but everyone who disagrees can't." There is also, however, an argument that says, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Malhotra is making the former, I'm making the latter. It isn't free speech's fault some people don't get it.

Bookmobile: Hey, I wasn't really making an argument for free speech so much as just stating a position. I can only write so many posts before my reasoning is well and truly out there. By now, I think I need not beat that particular horse any further.

I know what you mean about knee jerk reactions, though. They're usually the most dangerous.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan Raddick said...


In my annoyance, I wasn't clear about what I meant about Malhotra's free speech argument. I get really really annoyed with people claiming to believe in free speech when what they really believe in is free speech only for people they already agree with.

As much as it sucks to have to hear people like Malhotra, I agree that they should be allowed to have their say.

As usual, The Onion has done a great job of pointing out why we should protect freedom of speech, and really protect it:

If we don't protect freedom of speech, how will we know who the assholes are?

Thursday, April 20, 2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Hey Slag,

Yeah, I suspected that's what happened, but my life would be way less fun if I didn't get the opportunity to be an asshole to my friends from time to time.

If we don't protect freedom of speech, how will we know who the assholes are?

The Onion is truly an oracle worthy of Delphi. Or, at least, Tyco.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:14:00 PM  
Blogger freethoughtguy said...

Malhotra is nuts. But we have to let nuts speak up, just like we let the KKK and Nazis spew their hate. I detest these people, but I defend their free speech rights.

Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
The question is removed

Friday, December 18, 2009 11:42:00 PM  

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