Saturday, May 14, 2011

LIFE: A Bigot Is ...

A little late, but what the heck, it's not like anybody expects Blogger and Blogspot to be up ALL the time. Or do you? At any rate, this blog was written during the Blog-out. I've changed the references, but I can't guarantee Sun Media still has Steve Buffery's post still available.

Steve Buffery's post Thursday should be read by everybody. And by some people twice. Although, I suspect a year of repeated readings wouldn't beat the truth into their heads.

What Buffery wrote about today was bigotry and the race to be morally superior to those, that people perceive to be bigots. In this case, he went off on the mob mentality that took over when Damian Goddard of Sportsnet got fired for his support of the anti-gay marriage tweets sent out by sports agent Todd Reynolds. Buffery opens his posting by saying he is in favour of gay marriage, in order NOT to end it with a obsequious "Not that there's anything wrong with that." Too bad. We can't just comment on other's polarizing views without pre-emptorily defending ourselves first.

So, here's my view. You can check back through the blog. I've said it all before. Marriage needs to get out of the courts, replaced with some non-religious term like Union, and let the churches and the synagogues and such have their ceremonial get-togethers. Marriage hasn't been around forever. In fact, it's a fairly new institution. And it's all designed to tie the participants to their religious community. And, if in their ignorance, that community wants to exclude certain people from their not all-encompassing embrace, so be it. I didn't want to join their club anyway.

All people deserve equal rights. Let the legal part of Marriage (errr Unions), be as agnostic as possible. If two people of adult age want to partner up, let no man pass a law to rent that union asunder. If they want to divorce, off to the lawyers they go. No religious involvement whatsoever, unless they want to throw a marriage after they legally get unioned (or even at the same time).

Okay, I guess I should get around to my point of view on the Goddard-Reynolds pronouncements. Are their comments bigoted? Slightly Yes and probably No. What, you expected life to be completely black and white? Yes, because they are choosing other's opinions to inform/replace their opinions. And by others, I mean ethereal beings and the humans who have appointed themselves in charge of interpreting the words and will of those ethereal beings. But no, because I feel bigotry requires two components. There's the belief, then there's the action. Which is why I separate bigotry and prejudice.

Bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.

Prejudice: [1] an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. [2] any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable. [3] unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.

Goddard and Reynolds are guilty of prejudice. By whatever rationale, they have decided against a concept that they have no interactions with, other than as sideline commentators. Do I think their rationale stinks? Of course. I am a reasonable man. But I don't think they are bigots because I don't believe they have, or ever will, act on those beliefs (the complete intolerance bit). Barring possibly a vote, if their vote is ever solicited, I think both of these otherwise bright guys can be deemed harmless in this area.

Now, there ARE contemptible twits who don't believe in just having an opinion. These are the zealots who insist on acting out on their prejudices and finding ways to interfere in the lawful pursuits of other people. Yes, most of these mentally inferior excrement-disturbers come from some religious wacko group. Others just see it as one more way of bashing people who "are not like us." Those are bigots and are open game for all the derision in the world. Too much is not enough when it comes to the battle against bigotry.

But firing Goddard and harassing Reynolds into submission doesn't qualify as fine examples of allowing free speech (and thought) in this country. Sure, they should have adhered to the hominem, better to be thought a fool than to open one's mouth (or load up Twitter) and prove it.

Good men and women can agree to disagree. As long as they allow for dissenting opinion, the world can be a really civilized place. It's when zealots of any stripe insist on only one voice, one thought, that the world gets to be scary.

Read Buffery's piece. Even if you disagree with it.

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