When you’ve lost Bill Maher, you’ve lost a lot of people:
A reader writes:
I’m one of those lefty queer liberals you are always sneering about, but you are right about this one. This whole episode has the air of the lynch mob about it and I am disappointed with people.
I read what you wrote about your disgust with gay “fanaticism” and I couldn’t agree more. I came out of a very cultish Christian church that hated women, gays and anything cultured, but I still consider myself spiritual (and Christian) and want to have a daily relationship with the Holy Spirit. Over dinner the other night, three other like-minded gays and myself discussed the schisms in the church, and how common sense was often jettisoned in order to tow the party line. And then we talked about how we don’t like how the gay community is doing the same exact thing. We are all for gay rights and equality and acceptance, but at the point that we no longer have grace for anyone else’s viewpoints, we have become the very thing we abhor.
I am a Christian who vocally supported the rights of gays to marry for many years – and did so in rural Texas, where doing so actually meant you were risking something. Sorry to say now that I regret it. Not because it was wrong to support gay marriage, but because the gay community apparently will not extend to me as a Christian the same respect. First it was wedding cakes and flower arrangements, now this. Not to be overly dramatic, but it seems I basically signed my own death warrant with respect to religious freedom. I guess I was naive not to expect this type of blowback.
Sorry, guys. From here on out, you’re on your own.
I work for Mozilla (please don’t share my name, although I know you have a policy of anonymity anyway), and I have worked closely with Brendan Eich for many years.
The part that makes me the saddest about this whole story was that the benefit for the equality movement was minimal at best, but the blow this strikes to the movement for an open and healthy Web could be huge. I so wish we had done better over the years at telling Mozilla’s story. (Did you or your readers know we’re a mission-driven, non-profit organization? It’s sad how few people do even to this day.) Brendan was our co-founder, one of our best minds, and one of the most passionate and committed members of the movement to keep the Web from being owned by powerful interests like Google and Microsoft. He was always scrupulous in his professional decorum, and despite a fierce ability to argue a technical or strategic point about Mozilla, I never once saw him treat anyone unfairly or with a hint of malice. But now I have to watch my Facebook feed fill up with stories of my fellow liberals high-fiving each other over the toppling of another ostensible corporate villain.
I am a married heterosexual, a believing Christian and a constitutional conservative who nonetheless voted for gay marriage (for the Nevada constitution) when it came up some years back. My lifelong best friend and long-time business partner is gay. We saw things differently, but he didn’t impose his views on me, and I didn’t impose my views on him.
As a supporter of the Constitution, I support any two consenting adults’ ability to legally marry, because I see nothing in the Constitution to prohibit it, and because I take the 10th Amendment seriously. In addition, and I guess this is the bottom line on this issue, I absolutely support the right of any individual to hold beliefs in and contribute to any legal cause, period. It’s really nobody’s business – or shouldn’t be – what someone believes and supports – as long as he doesn’t take punitive action against those who hold a different belief.
I’m guessing that the liberal Left doesn’t see that they’ve created a precedent. And there will be a backlash. Every time a gay activist tries to take a stand on a mainstream issue, he’ll now be vulnerable to charges that he’s a closet McCarthy-like bigot intent on crushing the rights and even the chances of gainful employment of those who dare hold different views. Those gay activists will be marginalized, at least by some, and to some degree. What good does that do anybody?
I’m a gay man and I guess the most interesting point to me here is a little personal. Although I dislike the term “internalized homophobia” – it has always seemed to miss a necessary amount of nuance and complexity that goes with the whole experience – the fact is, over time, my own internal discomfort or feeling of awkwardness hearing, say, Ellen DeGeneres refer to her wife, or a man refer to his husband – has absolutely changed.
I’ll admit – I had some internal evolving to do too, don’t know how to quite describe it – sort of, feeling it to be remarkable that others were in advance of my own thinking, how could I have been so idiotic, and why (despite your book) didn’t I have the prior guts to even internally stand up for this notion, coming to the same defense of the issue where I am today.
That’s the nuance that’s missing from the stupid absolutism of the Mozilla situation.
Agreed. But when you have absolute certainty that you are right and that you represent goodness and your opponents evil, nuance is irrelevant. As is any semblance of toleration.
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