|Our sacred honor: Defending the right to be moral
By Alisa Craddock
Homosexuals like to frame their agenda as the next great civil rights battle to be fought in America. But there is no right to be deviant. There is no right to impose deviant sexuality on the culture. There is no right to redefine marriage for the entire society. There is, however, a right to worship in the faith of your choice, and to live according to the moral as well as the theological tenets of that faith. Indeed that is the hallmark of faith: a belief in a higher power, and a desire to stay in right relation to that power. It is a condition that has existed in every civilization in recorded history, and is acknowledged as a natural right in our founding documents. A recent survey found that the majority (59%) of Americans believe Christianity is under attack in the United States. In fact, for those who concern themselves with the state of religion in the rest of the world, faith is under attack everywhere. This then is the next great civil rights battle.
One of the most effective ways in which homosexuals have advanced the notion of "gay rights" as a civil rights struggle, is through campus and workplace diversity and sexual harassment policies. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the pursuit of diversity in higher education is a "compelling state interest, because it "prepares all students to succeed in and enhance the global community", and that [a university] "may take appropriate, narrowly tailored actions to admit a student body that, among other things [what other things?…], is racially and ethnically diverse." [my emphasis.] Thus "diversity" has been linked with the Equal Opportunity policies required by the federal government, and now becomes a mandate to hire and to prevent all forms of discrimination. But in enforcing that mandate, and by adding sexual orientation to the categories of protected classes [oh, those other things], though it is not expressly included in the ruling, the universities end up taking a stand against religion, and thereby discriminating against, not surprisingly, conservatives and Christians, who do not embrace the idea that all morals, cultures, religions, and family arrangements are equally valid.
Consequently, there is an increasing resistance to the spread of diversity policies on college campuses. Policies such as the ones I mentioned in my last column that give de facto endorsement to a secular globalist agenda are being used to silence conservative and Christian voices on campus, while encouraging the spread of culturally destructive notions of sexuality, gender, population control and environmentalism (a kind of eco-religion). Organizations like F.I.R.E, (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the Christian Legal Society, the Thomas More Law Center, the American Center for Law and Justice, and other organizations are representing disgruntled Christians and conservatives and calling college administrations to answer for their biased and unconstitutional treatment of students and employees who express dissenting views from those represented in these policies. Lawsuits have been filed to defend freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and religious freedom.
Now, a student at Georgia Tech University has filed a lawsuit with the aid of the Christian Legal Society for the right to be "intolerant". She joins a growing number of voices (mostly Christian) raised against policies which compel students and employees to be tolerant of homosexuality. They are waging a legal battle against speech codes that ban harsh words (or in some cases, any words) against homosexuality, against "diversity" workshops and programs that condition students and/or employees to accept gays and lesbians, and which deny people the right to reject deviance. The evangelical Reverend Rick Scarborough, a Baptist minister and a leader in the movement) noted that "Christians are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian." (It fits into the larger agenda of Americans having to defend the right to be Americans.) I was recently compelled by the situation at my own place of employment (which is also my alma mater) to take such a stand.
The great English writer and Catholic convert, G. K. Chesterton, described tolerance as "the virtue of a man without convictions". Another way to say that is if you tolerate everything, you stand for nothing. Tolerance is a perversion of the Christian idea of charity. It is not precisely the opposite, but is what I describe as a distortion mirror image. Charity, of course, involves acceptance of persons, love of neighbor, treating others as you wish to be treated, while tolerance involves acceptance of behaviors or ideologies, and here is the crux of the matter. When tolerance is presented in place of charity as the ultimate virtue, then those who are "intolerant" of certain behaviors or ideologies can be painted as hateful. When people are regarded as "hateful" it becomes "morally acceptable" to silence them. When tolerance policies are seen as the means of achieving ‘peace', then those who resist tolerance are seen as inciting conflict.
The ones who are most often portrayed that way these days are Christians, largely because of their intolerance for abortion, homosexual relations, feminism, transgenderism, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia, to name the most prominent behaviors. The fruits of these behaviors are manifold, and intolerance of the behaviors (and the ideologies that propel them in politics) may be an expression of authentic charity, just as, say, a parent disciplining his child is an act of charity, or a town passing an ordinance to keep strip clubs away from schools is an act of charity. You seek the greater good for your neighbor, or sometimes the greater good of the community or society. But tolerance, while it may not advocate children playing in the street, would be morally neutral on the issue of strip clubs near schools, because that would imply there was something immoral about stripping as a livelihood (or watching it for entertainment). That would be a moral judgment, impermissible where tolerance reigns. So the act of charity (the ordinance and the moral judgment that instigated it) becomes an act of hatred (intolerance). But tolerance is alien to justice. It's the formula for enforced peace through carefully cultivated apathy, and an apathetic people are ripe for conquest and submission.
You might contend that "charity" is itself an ideology, but I would argue that charity is simply the act of doing what is just and right. It is a moral act that answers to no political agenda or party. A two-year-old knows when he is being treated unfairly. That's not ideology. That's a natural sense of justice. Even the most selfish soul can be driven to outrage at the sight of authentic injustice against another.
Tolerance sounds on its face like such an enlightened attitude. The catchword used to encompass all that "tolerance" demands from us is "diversity". Sounds harmless enough, right? We enjoy other cultures, other languages, international cuisine, ethnic music, getting to know the locals in various enchanting locales around the world, we even find each others' religions intriguing. We refer to people who have been exposed to a broad range of cultures "refined" or "cultured" or "cosmopolitan". As a child (…alright, and as an adult, too, I admit it) I was a big fan of Star Trek. I remember when they introduced the Vulcan IDIC symbol that Spock wore around his neck in one episode. IDIC stood for "Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations." How inspirational that was to an impressionable young mind. How fraught with endless possibilities, like the vastness of space itself. But the Star Trek vision is not the future that is unfolding for us. For a clearer picture of our future, we should look to the Soviet education system (and their policies in dealing with those who didn't comply).
Diversity itself is a neutral thing, a broad, expansive, intellectually inviting word in which we find the potential for limitless enrichment, surprise and delight. But the term has been hijacked by liberal elites who want to micro-manage every aspect of our lives through psychological and emotional manipulation to create the perfect "peaceful" society, and as such the word "diversity" takes on an entirely different connotation. It might be likened to the difference between marrying a spouse of your own choosing and having one chosen for you. It is one thing to enrich and broaden your life and experience by exposure to other cultures, peoples, customs, and mores; it's another thing entirely to be forced to accept them all in preference to your own, or at least to be compelled to accept each as equal to your own, to deny your own affinities, to be forced to include among your social groups those whose values or behaviors you may find repugnant (or who may actually oppose your own) lest you find yourself or your social group charged with discrimination. Perhaps someone may even be looking for an opportunity to disband your group, if it is hostile to their interests or they are hostile to yours. A Christian Club whose charter may specify that only those who hold to the Christian religious tradition may be voting officers in the club, may be charged with discrimination if they deny the opportunity to a practicing homosexual or a Muslim to hold office in the club.
Diversity, then, as a political agenda, is a philosophical oxymoron. Though it appears to embrace infinite variety, it is really intended to promote "groupthink"—absolute ideological conformity, non-individuation, social tyranny. Far from merely exposing students to a variety of cultures and viewpoints, the consequence of this "mandatory tolerance" is a muddling or enforced denial of one's own values, morals, beliefs, and associations. In a nutshell, it nullifies all affinity for God, family, and country. It is being imposed on us in preparation for our entrance into the one world government, which is ideologically socialist and atheist, and whose treaties and documents pave the way for absolute tyranny over our lives.
In an earlier column, I addressed my belief that our sexual revolution was being engineered in order to weaken us morally so that we might be controlled politically as our leaders move us gradually under the banner of the United Nations. Here we have an example (less obvious than Lawrence v. Texas) of just such an effort. In ruling that "diversity" is a compelling state interest, they have done an end run around the constitution and have laid the legal foundation for the coercion of students and employees of universities (and by inference, corporate employees as well, since it was their global interests this ruling advanced) to ascribe to a secular humanist (that is, value-neutral) worldview. It cannot but force the denial of religious, moral and patriotic sensibilities. It effectively sets the university against the very thing an education is supposed to teach you to do: to think critically, to seek truth, and in so doing, to shape character.
This is the situation schools and college campuses are facing all across the country, including, quite recently, my own alma mater (where I am also employed). As I wrote in my previous column, the changes were handled with such stealth that no one seemed to notice what was happening, and those who recognized it were only vaguely aware of its broader implications. Apparently those who had some idea what was happening lacked the courage, to speak up, or perhaps were not able to articulate their misgivings. I was literally the only one to speak publicly against it, and I took my case directly to the Board of Trustees. During an earlier meeting between the Human Resources Director and the staff regarding the changes (back in November), I expressed my anxiety to her over enforced ideological conformity implied in the new diversity statement, and was advised in essence that if I didn't agree with the university's philosophy and mission, I shouldn't be working there. ("If you were against smoking, you wouldn't want to work for the American Tobacco Association," she said.) So much for "inclusiveness". It was a very telling moment.
The day before the Board of Trustees met to vote on the changes to the regulations, I wrote them a polite, detailed, and articulate letter. I spelled out exactly what this would mean to the university, what kinds of conflict it would create, how it might turn litigious, and I attached six columns illustrating my point (in case they thought I was exaggerating), and then I went to the Board of Trustees meeting the next day to see how they would vote. (As a little gift from heaven, there had been a nice story on the front page of the newspaper that very morning about the Christian students at Georgia Tech suing for the right to be ‘intolerant'.) I did at least get the delay that I hoped for. But the next time it comes up, if it does, I won't be alone. I believe positive changes have already been made, though I am not sure of the full implication at this point. But at least I did what was necessary, politely and with great civility, to defend free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of the press, as well as academic freedom at the university I love and where I have worked for 16 years. I am not particularly comfortable with a leadership role. I have often said I would rather be a carefree, fanciful romantic than a carping female Jonah. But these are not carefree times. Passivity and apathy are deadly to our culture. So it was my turn to point out that the king wasn't wearing any clothes, to put my money where my mouth is. From a personal standpoint, I have felt terrible anxiety about this for several months, and I am grateful the administration and the Board of Trustees were responsive to the objections I expressed.
What this is really about, in the end, is the right to be moral. It's about the right to "discriminate" in deciding what is good and what is evil. It's about the right to affirm without shame or humiliation or punishment that which is true, and to reject what is false. It's about the right to embrace virtue and reject perversion of all kinds, especially perversion of the truth. These are things worth fighting to preserve and protect. With so many people running around inventing and asserting new "rights" these days, it is important that we not lose sight of the authentic ones, and have the courage to step up and claim them whenever they are threatened.
Alisa Craddock is a political columnist and activist in the culture war, a convert to Catholicism, and describes herself as a Christian Libertarian. In addition to Enter Stage Right, her columns have been published on Alain's Newsletter and Out2 News. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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