Living in a Firestorm of Tolerance

Living in a Firestorm of Tolerance


Something deeply unsettling is happening in our culture.

If you’ve been following the news this week you may have heard the controversy with OkCupid (a dating site) and the Co-Founder and CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich. In a nutshell, OkCupid had a specific landing page for anyone trying to enter their site using the Firefox browser. On this page was a statement that said that as "Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is not a proponent of equal right for gay couples” they would “prefer that our users not use Mozilla to access OkCupid. 

They stated that by opposing the redefinition of marriage he wished for gay relationships to be “illegal”. “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.” (emphasis mine)

What was Brendan Eich’s crime? He donated $1000 six years ago to Yes on Prop 8, the democratic campaign in California to support the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, for life. 

For those with short memories, the majority of California voters agreed with him. Proposition 8 passed. (Amazingly, one judged overruled the vote of millions of Californians, but this is a problem beyond the scope of this post)

Yesterday it was announced that Brendan Eich had resigned from his post from Mozilla, and the board of the not-for-profit company that owns it. Mozillia issued a statement on their blog:

"Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves. 

"We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better."

They go on to state, apparently seriously:

"Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."

Um, yeah, apparently.

I engaged in some discussion on this issue on social media, and I’ll tell you that a lot of people are having a hard time figuring out how to stand for free speech and freedom of thought, if they are even trying to find the line anymore.

It seemed not so long ago that we had the freedom to discuss marriage and other issues without fear for loss of employment or being mobbed in the court of social media. For most of my life marriage has always meant one thing, in this country and every other, and it was so obvious and clear what it was that people would look at you strange if you felt you had to state it. Then the government (without substantial input from the Canadian people, mind you) decided that marriage was too exclusive, that the definition needed to be changed.

Today, if you think that it is what it was, you are a hate-monger. I saw Eich called the equivalent of a racist, a white supremacist, one engaging in “public act of discrimination.”

Really? Along with 52% of Californians, and the voting majority of 31 other states? (not all have voted on the issue)

I am a Catholic Christian. To me, the meaning of marriage is clear, and I don’t believe the government of any country can rewrite what is written in our human nature. It’s not just because it is in the Bible; it is observable in our nature. Men and women are made for each other in a particular way. Their union is of a complimentary nature, and is blessed with the capacity to bring new human life into the world. Their good and the good of their children is in the continuation of their committed, loving relationship.

All human beings have the freedom to enter into relationships other than this, but this is marriage.

That’s what I believe. Was that hate-speech?

The way things are going these days, I’m afraid to hear your answer.

Question: Are we really more tolerant today, or are we just changing what we are tolerant/intolerant of?

Futher reading: Margaret Sommerville's The Case Against "Same-sex Marriage"

*Image via Catholic Memes

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