It's not uncommon for controversial issues to be discussed in Elyse Crystall's "Literature and Cultural Diversity" class at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Recently, when the discussion turned to why straight men often feel threatened by gay men, Tim Mertes, a conservative Christian, spoke out against homosexuality, saying it was "impure," "dirty," and "disgusting." Unfortunately, after class some students complained about Mertes's remarks, Crystall was prompted to zip off an e-mail to class members, warning she wouldn't "tolerate any racist, sexist and/or heterosexist comments in my class." She added the language Mertes used was "hate speech," "violent," and an example of "white heterosexual Christian male" privilege.
Fortunately, conservative groups on campus came to Mertes's defense, arguing Crystall's e-mail was not evenhanded and a violation of Mertes's rights to free speech. Even N.C. Congressman Walter Jones weighed in by firing off a press release and a letter to UNC's chancellor, rightly contending that "had Ms. Crystall substituted the word "'black' for 'white,' 'homosexual' for 'heterosexual,' or 'Muslim' for 'Christian,' she would have been suspended or fired immediately." (See Related Article)
Despite the fact Crystall sent out a second e-mail apologizing for singling Mertes out, she currently contends she did so under pressure from the English Department. She said a public relations official wrote the apology and she signed it, even though she didn't agree with it. UNC faculty members have also defended Crystall's first e-mail in a letter to Chancellor James Moeser and Provost Robert Shelton, asking them to reiterate support for "sexual minorities" on campus. "If calling homosexuality 'disgusting' does not constitute disrespectful, insulting and homophobic speech that fosters a 'hostile environment for gays and lesbians,' then what words do cross the line?" the letter states. "The classroom cannot be an arena for the exchange of ideas when it is permissible to dehumanize a group of people by labeling them as disgusting."
But according to a story about this incident in The Independent, a Raleigh newspaper, senior Michael McKnight -- founder of the Committee for a Better Carolina, a group that has proposed that faculty sign a pledge guaranteeing "respect for all viewpoints" -- says the notion that Mertes's words could possibly intimidate gay students at UNC is "laughable." Knight said, "I can't imagine a campus that's more gay-friendly than this one. People talk about heterosexism, but I almost feel there is homosexism going on here -- that everyone's shoving homosexuality down my throat."
In his book Persecution, David Limbaugh makes a statement that I think amply summarizes this entire matter. He writes, "As we can see, in modern America it is taboo to disparage or ridicule any group or to do anything that the most hypersensitive might find offensive. Yet that prohibition does not seem to apply to protect Christians or Christianity. It just depends on whose ox is being gored." Without question, this is the case when those sympathetic with the gay lifestyle, for example, demonstrate as Ms. Crystall did: no sensitivity toward Christians and their beliefs, yet in stark contrast demand the tenants of gays and lesbians be treated as sacrosanct by society.
Personally, like Tim Mertes, I too understand first-hand this double standard. Last week, I wrote a scathing editorial condemning the illegal and illegitimate actions of gay activists. I said the defying of marriage laws by gays and lesbians in California, New York, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oregon -- the foisting of the issue of gay marriage on the country by judicial activists sympathetic with the gay agenda -- is an attempted homosexual gang rape of our culture. For that strong denunciation, I received the most threatening and profane e-mails in response to any editorial I have ever written. Most called my faith into question and claimed I was terribly mean-spirited. Nevertheless, those who accused me of gay bashing said some horrific things about me, most of which I've heard expressed against other Christians who've also dared to firmly rebuke homosexuals.
One man wrote, "You are one ugly mother f*?%#@*. You are human dross. No matter how much you attack gays ... nothing in its right mind would ever f*#@ you ... Someone needs to whack some sense into your fat skull (preferably with a two by four with a sharpened nail at its end). Repent, oh ugly one, for you are scum." Another wrote, "You win the prize for the most ... ignorant column ... typical of so many conservative 'preachers' -- all condemnation, no heart." The writer added, "[T]here is no difference between you and those who flew the planes into the WTC." Various e-mails used words like, "nasty," "hateful," "slander," and "hate-mongering" to describe my last column. One said it was "another justification for the continuing violence and harassment against gays" ... an attack "by you and your fellow pseudo-Christian perverts". Another compared my statements and similar ones made by other Christian conservatives to Nazism. One even said that people of my ilk had caused him to lose his faith in God.
All of this reminds me of little Johnny on the playground. Along comes the school bully and starts throwing his weight around, harassing Johnny, punching him in the arm over and again, stealing his lunch money and threatening to beat him up if he resisted. Finally, little Johnny's tolerance level is exasperated. Courage and a righteous indignation start to build in his bosom and he decides to fight back. But when little Johnny gives the bully a black eye, the bully runs crying to the teacher in an effort to get little Johnny into trouble.
Homosexual activists and their sympathizers will whine and cry foul whenever someone gives them a black eye in politics or debate. Yet gay activism should be seen for the aggressor it really is. The gay agenda is a bully that harasses our culture with the sinful prospect of gay marriage and civil unions. If not vigorously opposed, it will steal away the sacredness of human sexuality and the true meaning of the great institution of marriage. Gays and lesbians should never be underestimated for their effectiveness in getting the government, academia, the media, etc., to repress, intimidate, humiliate, and silence their opposition. This is why we must decry the double standard of the left that would deprive Christians from the same rights to tolerance and free speech insisted upon for homosexuals.
In fact, let me go on record with Tim Mertes in saying I also believe homosexuality is "impure," "dirty," and "disgusting." Even our Lord said it was an "abomination." Sadly, wicked people may someday succeed in silencing Christians from using these words to describe the homosexual lifestyle. But I take consolation in the fact that they can never silence God.