To add insult to injury, after Alexander Boot, a regular opinion columnist for the Daily Mail, published an article entitled, “So attack on free speech is a sign of tolerance,” there was an outcry from the gay community, branding it a “startlingly homophobic column.” The Daily Mail responded by pulling the article.
It appears then that even criticism of censorship is to be censored, with one Facebook comment asking, “Actually isn’t the article a crime or against the law? Because of laws against homophobia or incitement to hatred?"
Turning now to Rhode Island, we move from the outrageous to the absurd, from censorship to moral insanity.
Two weeks ago, a 17 year-old student-artist at Pilgrim High School painted a mural depicting the stages of a boy’s life, from childhood, to teen years, to graduation in cap and gown, to marriage and family. The last image showed the boy, now a man, standing with his wife and son, with wedding rings over the couple’s heads.
This was too much for the school, and the administration decided to paint over the last image, since “some of the members of the Pilgrim High School community suggested that the depiction of a young man’s development from boyhood through adulthood as displayed may not represent the life experiences of many of the students at Pilgrim High School.” I kid you not!
How dare this young artist depict an image of a traditional family, since this “may not represent the life experiences of many of the students.”
Do you see why I call this moral insanity?
The artist, Liz Bierendy, herself raised in a single-parent home, explained, “I felt bad because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I was scared that maybe it would go out to our homosexual community and I didn’t want them to get in an uprise because I was not trying to preach that’s the right thing to do at all.”
Can you imagine this? She “didn’t want to offend anyone” and she was “scared” that it would provoke a negative reaction from “our homosexual community.” And all this over an image of a married couple with their child. What has become of America?
The school ultimately let Liz decide how to complete her mural, and she stood by her initial decision. But as long as incidents like these continue to happen – here and in other parts of the world – I’m going to continue to write about them.
The best way to combat censorship is to speak out more loudly and clearly, while the best way to combat moral insanity is to expose it.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.