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Agents of Intolerance Target Peter Vidmar

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

In our culture, we have learned that militants across the behavioral-and-belief spectrum pose a threat to society at all levels. We see radical environmentalists who literally promote anarchy toward-and often set fire to-profitable institutions. We hear of '60s radicals who use the classroom to war against every last vestige of America's first principles and against all we've held sacred. And even now, our nation is under siege from groups of terrorists who celebrate the deaths of those they oppose the world over, and particularly in the West.


Although varied, all such militantism is tied together by a common trait, and that is intolerance. None of those listed above will tolerate anyone who sees the world through a paradigm different from their own. If you disagree, I invite you start a conversation with some tenured leftist university professors about the economic genius of Friedrich Hayek or members of Al Qaeda about the supremacy of Christ.

These examples notwithstanding, perhaps intolerance is never more visible than when we look at the vocal advocates of homosexual behavior. If you disagree, I invite you to ask Peter Vidmar what his experience has been.

Vidmar is the "highest scoring gymnast in American history." As an Olympian (1984), he was the team captain of USA men's gymnastics and has since served as a U.S. Olympic ambassador, as the co-chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee Summer Sports Summit, and on the executive board of the United States Olympic Committee, among many other things. He is currently the chairman of the board of USA Gymnastics and a gymnastics commentator for both CBS and ESPN. He has lived a life that has commended him to generations of Americans who comprise the viewing audience of gymnastic events the world over.

Fittingly, on April 28, the USOC announced they'd chosen Vidmar to serve "as Chef de Mission of Team USA for the Games of the XXX Olympiad," where he would "provide overall leadership to Team USA and function as the liaison officer" between the various Olympic committees. But before he could relish the moment, the militant opponents of marriage as the union of a man and a woman launched a verbal attack against Vidmar that forced him to resign the honor.


What was Vidmar's crime? How did he bring this on himself? He joined 7 million other Californians in supporting the state's Proposition 8 in 2008 and had the courage to make historically informed statements on the value of preserving "a traditional definition of marriage."

Johnny Weir, a U.S. Olympic figure skater and well-known as a person caught in the traps of homosexual behavior, modeled the intolerance of the homosexual agenda when he said it was "disgraceful" that Vidmar had been chosen in the first place. Moreover, Weir also confessed he "wouldn't want to be represented by someone who is anti gay marriage."

In all these things, the careful reader will notice Weir has committed two or three major errors that put the intolerance of same-sex "marriage"; advocates on full display.

For starters, Weir said Vidmar was "very publicly against something that may be represented on the American team." By this, Weir means that Vidmar was "publicly against" same-sex "marriage." In truth, however, Vidmar did not make public statements against anything. Rather, he was publicly in support of marriage between a man and a woman. Vidmar said as much when he issued the following statement about the amendment to the California Constitution that protects marriage (formerly Proposition 8): "It's good for our society to have a traditional definition of marriage."


Nevertheless, the intolerance of those who promote homosexual behavior so sadly encapsulates their thinking that they paint public, positive support of one thing as equivalent to public, negative opposition to another.

Another error Weir made was in intimating that Vidmar could not be a suitable representative for the American team because some members of that team held to beliefs or practices with which Vidmar might not agree. In this scenario, the only suitable representative for the American team is one who has no objections whatsoever-moral, faith-based, or otherwise-with homosexual behavior, and one who lacks the compassion to object to any other number of such self-destructive practices.

Although Weir and other practitioners of homosexual behavior are usually the first to argue that what they do in their private lives is none of our business, they made sure Vidmar wasn’t extended such charity. His decision to use a minuscule portion of his private time (and private funds) to support a cause he believed worthwhile has been seized upon by the militant agents of intolerance and was used to drive him from the arena he so loves.

The Alliance Defense Fund has seen this intolerance firsthand again and again as it has defended marriage in California and many other places. In fact, just last week an ADF-allied attorney in Europe was heckled and jeered by homosexual activists at a European Union meeting where she dared to say that Christians shouldn’t be sent to prison for peacefully expressing their beliefs. Therefore, we appreciate the courage shown by Vidmar: a man whose very reputation is now under siege because he had the fortitude to stand when others would not.


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