As of this week, I no longer use Mozilla Firefox as my default browser.
And just so we’re clear, this is not because I necessarily agree with Brandon Eich’s decision to support the Proposition 8 campaign. On the issue of gay marriage, I am a true moderate. On the one hand, as an observant Catholic, I do believe that marriage is an indissoluble, sacramental union between a man and a woman whose purposes – procreation and unity – are categorically inseparable. In the realm of politics, however, I lean towards the libertarian position. I question the wisdom of imposing by force of law the true definition of marriage without first doing the cultural groundwork. After all, let’s face it: Marriage – genuine marriage, that is – is something we no longer value as a society — and it was the heterosexual majority, by and large, who brought about this change. Well before gay marriage became a flashpoint for controversy, straight men and women were having children out of wedlock, getting divorced and remarried, having contracepted sex, and basically treating marriage not as the serious commitment outlined above but as a vehicle for adult self-expression — and until we address this severe erosion of the marriage ideal at the level of civil society, all arguments in favor of officially codifying a proper understanding of the institution will fail to be persuasive.
Additionally, as a person of good will who has gay friends, I sympathize with the homosexual community’s yearning to be accepted and included — and, quite frankly, I feel that some people who oppose homosexual acts on moral and/or religious grounds have failed to acquit themselves well when it comes to treating their gay brothers and sisters with compassion and respect. I hear horror stories – and I have no reason to believe they’re not true – of gay young people being thrown out of their homes by parents who apparently have forgotten the principle of loving the sinner while hating the sin. I also had friends in high school who were relentlessly bullied because they were merely perceived as gay. And social conservative rhetoric? I may agree with the baseline principles, but — well, let’s just say I think some serious revision and re-framing is in order. Gays and lesbians are human beings with human longings, and while we should, for the sake of truth, continue to promote the proper definition of marriage, that does not mean we can’t – or that we shouldn’t – think of ways to answer those longings that hold fast to our convictions while simultaneously acknowledging the dignity of those who must bear the homosexual cross.
That being said, I can’t abide leftist bullies — or the quislings who cravenly yield to their demands. And make no mistake: What happened to Brandon Eich was bullying, and bullying of the most illiberal kind.
It would be one thing if leftist gays and their allies had simply decided not to use Firefox upon learning that its organization’s new CEO supported Proposition 8. Hell — if I were to learn that the CEO of a particular business were, say, an enthusiastic supporter of Planned Parenthood, I would seriously entertain the idea of going somewhere else. Boycotts are an adult, responsible way of showing your displeasure; no one should feel forced to support, monetarily or otherwise, a viewpoint one personally finds abhorrent. Driving a man out of his job for holding an “unpalatable” opinion without presenting any evidence that said opinion would lead to legitimate acts of discrimination against his employees or the customers his organization serves, however, crosses the line into blacklisting — and if it wasn’t okay to blacklist communists in Hollywood in the 1950’s, why is it suddenly okay to blacklist opponents of gay marriage now?
The left, it appears, has abandoned critical thought and civility in favor of pure, unadulterated revenge — which they then seek to justify by blurring the line between social disapproval and outright oppression. I have – no joke – seen leftists argue on Tumblr that if we “rightwing Teabaggers” approve of the Founding Fathers’ taking up arms to secure their liberty, we should also approve of gay radicals using aggressive means to achieve their goals. But, of course, the two situations aren’t even remotely comparable. There are elements of our legal code that probably should be altered to, as I counseled above, acknowledge the very real concerns of gay citizens, and homosexuals sometimes aren’t treated with the charity they deserve — but these are problems that, right now, can be solved through the democratic process, through conversation, and – for the worst cases – through existing criminal law. ‘Tis a situation very different from that which the Founding Fathers faced, in which their assertion of their rights brought an army of musket-armed Redcoats to their doors. ‘Tis also a situation very different from that which homosexuals currently face in countries governed by radical Sharia law, where the murder of gays for the sake of religious purity is officially sanctioned. And it’s a situation very different from that faced by civil rights activists after World War II, whose attempts to challenge a comprehensive, organized legal structure that imposed second-class status on blacks in every particular were met with government-perpetrated violence.
These leftists also refuse to distinguish between honest, well-meaning opposition and actual hate. If you express any doubts about the crusade to redefine marriage, you are, as far as the left is concerned, on par with the Westboro Baptist Church. But that is not how it works in reality. The Catholic Church is the largest and most prominent institution that opposes gay marriage — but the Church also offers relief to AIDS patients regardless of their sexual orientation. How does that square with the whole idea that people who promote traditional, biblical marriage can only have malign motives? Yes — some gays have been hurt by family members, neighbors, and schoolmates just because they’re gay. I definitely don’t want to minimize that — and as I suggested above, I think we as Christians have a special obligation to reach out to the walking wounded in the gay community and work to rebuild trust. But — projecting the image of the father who disowned you onto everyone who does not approve of your lifestyle is no more valid an approach to life than assuming all homosexual men are pederasts.
And by the way, gay activists: You haven’t actually helped your own cause. Once again, there is absolutely no evidence that Eich’s personal views on the subject of marriage would’ve impacted how he ran Mozilla in any way; in fact, Eich publicly indicated that the contrary was the case. Thus, in scalping the now-former CEO, you’ve essentially confirmed the Christian Right’s worst fears about your true motives: that you’re interested not in “equal rights” but in compelling societal approval by force. Continue on that path, and the tide may turn against you; such is the consequence of vengeance.