A well-liked, Christian man in England had his salary reduced by 40 percent after posting a comment on his Facebook page in which he stated that the government should not force churches to perform same-sex “marriage” ceremonies. And a Christian couple running a bed and breakfast in their family home in England was fined almost $6,000 for hurting the feelings of a gay couple by refusing to rent a room to them.
The headline to Amanda Platell’s report on the first of these two cases said it all: “The real hate crime is persecuting a decent man for his beliefs.”
According to Platell, “Adrian Smith is a kind and gentle man. Friends say the happily married father is a pillar of the community, a practicing Christian and a tireless worker for charity. Yet this week Mr. Smith was in court, defending accusations that he is a bigot whose personal views are so offensive and outrageous that they are incompatible with his work as a housing officer. His crime? To have put a posting on his personal Facebook page which said he thought civil partnerships ceremonies in church were ‘an equality too far.’”
Smith’s comment, posted on his personal Facebook page, explained, “‘If the State wants to offer civil marriages to the same sex, then that is up to the State; but the State shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith or conscience.’”
Who could object to such a moderate, fair-minded comment? One of Smith’s co-workers did object, alleging that his post demonstrated that he was “blatantly homophobic.” As a result, “His salary was reduced by 40 percent by the Trafford Housing Trust, which claimed he was guilty of ‘gross misconduct’ because people might mistake his views as trust policy.” Yes, this actually happened in jolly old England.
Platell, who is no rightwing conservative, exclaimed, “What utter nonsense. And what a terrifying insight into the dystopian world we now live in—a world where a man can be penalised for a thought crime, even when that thought is shared by a huge proportion of the population.” And even when the thought is eminently reasonable.
Then there is the case of a devout Christian couple, Susanne and Mike Wilkinson, owners of a bed and breakfast, who refused to rent a room to a gay couple in 2010, just as they had previously refused to rent a room to an unmarried heterosexual couple. They were taken to court by the gay couple and, just last week, found guilty of hurting the feelings of the gay couple, resulting in a fine of nearly $6,000.
After the verdict, Susanne Wilkinson said, “We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law.” She noted that, “Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home. People’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack and I am concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs.”
“I am a Christian,” she said, “not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life—as Jesus expects from His followers. That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats.”
“We find this a strange justice,” she commented, “in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”
The Wilkinsons actually received hundreds of threatening emails (sometimes hundreds in an hour), with one message arriving “hand-delivered and handwritten in capitals,” saying, “I am coming to burn your house down.” So much for tolerance.
Back here in the States, Angela McCaskill, a deaf black woman serving as the Chief Diversity Officer of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., was placed on administrative leave after signing a petition calling for a vote on same-sex marriage in Maryland. (See my article, “The Diversity Police Strike Again.” Note that it was two lesbian professors who reported McCaskill to the school administration.)
But instead of backing down, McCaskill held a press conference in which she said: “I’m dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance, a university that manages by intimidation, a university that allows bullying among faculty, staff and students.” Well said, Dr. McCaskill!
Barely 25 years ago, two gay strategists stated that it was essential to “Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers.” They explained that, “In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector.”
To be sure, there have been more than enough gay men and women who have been victims of hatred and violence, and they deserve society’s protection as much as any other citizens. But today, more and more gays are becoming the victimizers while it is civil-minded, decent straights who are becoming the victims.
The gay bullies are being exposed, and their very own strategy is working against them. It’s time for society to stand up for the victims of gay bullying.
Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.