Pyrrhic Politics

By Jeff Laird

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Continued from Page One

That brings up the third, and hopefully most meaningful example: Donald Trump. I know far too many LGBTQ activists who don't give my first two examples a second thought, for one reason: "Winning" is all that matters, and "winning" has nothing to do with rights, it has everything to do with getting their way. Specifically, forcing people to facilitate their moral choices without criticism. And it's not hard to see in those cases. What does Trump have to do with it, then?

(Side note: I'm neither endorsing nor condemning Trump here. The ministry isn't doing any such thing, either, and I'm entirely responsible for the content of this article. Trump, in this case, is simply a vivid example of the point at hand. — Jeff Laird)

Eight years ago, the idea that someone like Donald Trump could be taken seriously as a candidate would seem silly. The same was true eight months ago. But as of now, this close to nominations, he's still a front-runner for a major party's presidential platform. That should scare LGBTQ activists absolutely silly, and not for the superficial reason most people think of first. It's because of those six words:

Be careful what you wish for.

I ask you, my LGBTQ friends, do you think what happened in Georgia was good for civil rights? That the florist who happily served a gay man for years should be punished for declining to service his wedding? That the aforementioned actor's stance is justified, since the "correct" side was being favored?

If you do, great; now, invest that power into the care of a government personified by Donald Trump. To a Supreme Court stacked with people who think and speak like he does. To a vocal and vociferous minority of voters who scare your state's Governor, and Disney's accountants, just enough to screw you over...while pretending they're brave for standing up to you.

It doesn't have to be Trump, specifically. One man is not the concern. It's the fact that there are other people, politicians, and would-be leaders out there willing to take his approach. And lots of people ready to get behind them. Trump is an example of why you can't dismiss this particular warning as paranoid. Or, pretend a candidate "extreme" enough to flip the script can't be elected in this country.

Can you tell me, in all honesty, you're totally comfortable with government, and culture, eviscerating your right to control your own expression, when that guy, and that mindset, might wind up in charge? Or, God forbid, someone just as highhanded, but more politically savvy? If not, you need to do something about it: keep that power out of the hands of government. Tides turn, culture changes. Don't sacrifice your future freedom for the sake of short-term vindictiveness.

Looking at the Georgia law, again, this should be a no-brainer. If a church, of all employers, isn't allowed to hire based on agreement with their core tenets, then "freedom of religion" is a myth. If a pastor, of all people, can't decide what kinds of marriages he'll perform, then "freedom of speech" does not exist. If you don't think those are rights pastors and churches should have, then ultimately, you're saying you shouldn't have them either. And you'll probably regret that, before long.

Please, also keep in mind that many of the laws which the LGBTQ community are protesting are the direct result of legal and social actions taken by the LGBTQ community. Actions intended to force other people to approve of their cause. In other words, X decides Y should be sued for not helping X do what X wants to do. So Y tries to pass laws protecting their right not to participate. X gets such laws rejected. Hooray for X…until later on, when Y is suddenly in power, and X realizes that they've set their own boat on fire. Like so:

Picture a bakery, owned by a homosexual couple, being told they either make a cake celebrating a local church's "pray away the gay" revival, or go out of business for discrimination. Imagine a staunch feminist photographer being told she will photograph a betrothal ceremony for a nine-year-old girl, or lose her license for discrimination. Imagine the actor being told that he either convincingly portrays abortion doctors as depraved murderers, or he can't act anymore. Don't like those? Tough — the way things are headed now, if a future cultural shift deems those morally acceptable, you'll either get with the program, or go out of business.

That's a crucial set of examples, by the way. None are actually happening…yet. The problem is that they're 100% equivalent to what's being forced on Christians in the name of "tolerance" by segments of the LGBTQ lobby. But, if that slice of society gets its way in these various lawsuits, political actions, and so forth, then those won’t be theories anymore. They'll be inevitable when (not if) the cultural tide turns. Trump's tenacious foray into the political arena ought to be slam-dunk, end-of-discussion proof for this kind of legal issue. Especially in a post-Barack Obama culture. Obama's ascendance proved unknowns can go from zero-to-President in a handful of years. What will you do when some future right-wing wunderkind blusters his way into power and gets to use your own tools against you?

As fast as things change, it's dangerous, short-sighted, and (politically) stupid to celebrate when people are coerced to do what they despise. Calling that "tolerance" or "progress" is the kind of Doublethink Orwell would gape at.

So, what am I asking for? What's my point? This entire piece has been addressed to my friends and neighbors who see themselves as allies of the LGBTQ cause. What I'm clamoring for is the basic principle Evelyn Beatrice Hall used to exemplify the beliefs of Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." In order for that to mean something, you need to be a considerate ally to the LGBTQ cause, not a yes-man.

To protect your freedom to do as you like, you must defend my freedom to not do what you do. It goes further than that, of course, but it's the chief danger we're facing. The core principle we seem to be forgetting is that forcing people to participate in something is not freedom, it's the very definition of tyranny.

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Published 4-11-16