The day I came to speak at UNCC, several concerned (read: offended) gay rights activists called in the local media to help them publicize their objections to my appearance. The president of PRIDE went on camera and told the local news station that my appearance was an example of “bullying.”
Did you hear that one? Speech equals bullying and bullying must be stopped. It’s just another self-proclaimed liberal asking the free press to help him destroy the First Amendment.
When I gave my speech at UNCC, a news camera was there. So were about 25 members of PRIDE. They were very attentive and very polite. They nodded in agreement with many of my arguments and they applauded sincerely at the end of my speech.
During that speech I pleaded with the members of PRIDE to avoid embracing the notion that they somehow have a right to be unoffended. I told them that if they confront offensive speech they should not censor it. They should instead use it in an effort to show that they have an important agenda that proposes real solutions to real problems.
It is reasonable to impose time, place, and manner restrictions to keep Fred Phelps away from military funerals. But it is not reasonable to ban his speech altogether. In fact, groups like PRIDE should do the exact opposite. They should record his speech, post it on their websites, and promote it as a way of showing that hatred is real and that they, the members of PRIDE, have a better way.
The members of PRIDE understood what I was saying even though people like Neal Boortz do not. Boortz would prefer to use the long arm of the government to threaten university students with expulsion for refusing to agree with politically correct views on sexuality.
Boortz would allow government re-education – even for the commonplace idea that sexual orientation involves choice. And he would support the actual expulsion of students from state universities if they refuse to submit to government-supervised re-education. But I believe that ideas far more offensive than that have a place in the marketplace of ideas. And I believe that those who find them offensive can sometimes find them useful.
Opponents of gay marriage need to use rather than censor the video I have referenced in this column. It will certainly help us challenge the idea that opponents of gay marriage are less loving and tolerant than proponents. And it speaks volumes about the imprudence of supporting gay adoption.
The temptation to censor other views comes naturally to all human beings, whether gay or straight. But it is a temptation we can all chose to suppress. Our genes have not destined us to Neal at the altar of political correctness.