When tolerance becomes totalitarianism

The ‘gay rights’ movement initially seemed consistent with the  values of tolerance and liberalism. However it (and the associated ideology which even extends to ‘transgenderism’ and some seemingly rather confused notions around gender) has mutated into an ideology which is far from the values of freedom and tolerance.

This is a case in point.  A bus driver has been suspended from his job because he refused to drive a bus which was decorated in such a way that it actively promoted the gay rights movement (and any other deviations [1] which are associated with the rainbow flag).

He wasn’t suspended for insulting anyone or refusing to carry a gay passenger. He was suspended (and one imagines will most likely be sacked) because he didn’t want to associate himself with some propaganda for an ideology which he disagrees with. From the actual point of view of freedom – why should he? Not discriminating against people has mutated into a system where one cannot hold dissenting views. Where everyone must believe one and the same thing.

The same issue is at stake in the Gay Cake saga. [2] A ruling by a lower court said that a firm of Northern Ireland bakers had acted unlawfully in refusing to bake a cake with a message on it supporting a change to the law in favour of gay marriage. (Gay marriage is not yet legal in Northern Ireland). The ruling was based on flawed reasoning that said that baking such a cake would not mean that the bakers supported the message on the cake. The judge used an analogy with football saying that baking a cake with ‘Manchester United for the cup’ did not mean that the bakers supported Manchester United. Firstly this was wrong – a strong Manchester City baker would certainly have a problem baking such a cake. Secondly; it fails to address the question of conscience. The issue at stake concerns an institution of the Christian religion and certainly people should be able to ‘act according to their conscience’. The ruling failed to connect theory and praxis. If you do something this means that you accept the theory that goes with the action and, vice versa, if you have a belief your actions should be in accordance with your belief; to do otherwise in either case is to be in bad faith. The Supreme Court correctly saw through the flawed logic of the lower court and overturned the ruling. Now the ‘customer’ (linked actively to the gay rights movement and likely a provocateur) is trying to get this decision overturned in the European Court. [3]

Again; the bakers have not insulted anyone. They have not refused to serve anyone based on their sexual lifestyle. They have done nothing to repress or oppress anyone. They would have refused to put the controversial message on the cake if the person demanding it had been heterosexual.  They just don’t want to contribute to the other side of a political campaign on which they take a view based on their conscience. In the same way a flag-maker could quite reasonably decline to make a flag for a customer that said “Bring back the death penalty” if this was an issue on which she felt strongly. Sure; protect people from discrimination. But forcing people to think what you think is not about freedom and tolerance.

The gay rights movement doesn’t demand tolerance. It demands submission to a single-pointed, narrow, ideology. This is basically a cult. It will be interesting to see what the European Court does with this.

Notes

  1. ‘Deviations’ may seem like a strong word. I follow the comments made by psychologist Anthony Storr in his 1965 book Sexual Deviation. (Penguin). From a certain perspective homsexuality is a deviation. It doesn’t mean that you need to see it pejoratively.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_v_Ashers_Baking_Company_Ltd_and_others
  3.  https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/15/gay-marriage-cake-customer-takes-case-to-european-court

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer