I'm not going to defend recently terminated Gray's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington - verbally attacking a co-worker wouldn't stand in most industries, although in Hollywood I think there is some expectation that the art of art allows for some level of eccentricity. Washington could have helped smooth things over by voluntarily submitting himself to "rehab" of some sort to cure him of his misguided, if not hostile, expression toward a homosexual cast member. Wait...he did. Which is another example demonstrating that if you offend the right group of thought police, there is no forgiveness, there is no second chance, there is no making amends, particularly if that group represents some sort of minority segment of society.
Washington would be fine if he had attacked a co-worker over his or her Christian faith. If he were a bitter, overweight lesbian insulting Christians on a televised national talk show, there would be no expectation of "rehab", no coerced apology, no preemptive action taken over concerns of losing advertisers. If Rosie O'Donnell isn't picked up by NBC, she might have a future working for the John Edwards presidential campaign.
So what is "rehab"? A brief search for the seemingly new definition of "rehab" turned up little outside of what we expect rehab to be: drug, sexual, criminal, psychiatric...nothing really about dealing with bigotry or unpopular judgment.
Apparently, rehab today refers directly to reeducation; thought-control; mental conditioning; brainwashing. Dictionary.com defines brainwashing as "a method for systematically changing attitudes or altering beliefs." American Heritage Dictionary states it as "intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs."
The issues over homosexuality in the culture and particularly in regards to homosexual marriage is a classic example of something that should be battled out in the realm of free speech. There has been a steadily increasing momentum in favor of open homosexuality and it's only natural that people who have long felt marginalized by society will embrace the new era of gay empowerment and use the First Amendment to advance their acceptance in society.
So isn't it reasonable to suggest that free speech should go both ways, especially on a controversial subject such as normalizing a behavior that has been "in the closet" throughout most societies histories? Don't Americans have the Right to debate a drastic societal change, even a Right to verbally or vocally dislike it?
Here are some examples of limitation put on anti-gay speech:
In one of the more notable examples, a San Diego government high school allowed students to promote the "Day of Silence", a pro-gay protest day. A counter demonstrator. wearing a t-shirt that said "Homosexuality is shameful - Romans 1:27", was suspended. In court, a judge from California's 9th Circus ruled in favor of the school, stating that supporters of the student in question "still don't get the message".
A North Carolina government high-school allowed students to promote the "Day of Silence". When one student attempted to promote the "Day of Truth" by wearing an "I Love Jesus" t-shirt and handing out religious materials, he was suspended. The case made it's way into court where a judge did rule the schools policies as unconstitutional.
A Maryland Metro Transit employee, after expressing anti-gay views on a cable talk show, was fired.
In Virginia, an employee of a private company was fired for having a sign in his personal vehicle's window saying, "Please vote for marriage on Nov. 7", apparently in regards to an upcoming referendum. After the company received some political pressure, he was given his job back.
A few years back, in a Woodbury, MN government high school, a student was suspended for responding to a school sanctioned gay-pride day by wearing a t-shirt that read "Straight Pride". He filed a lawsuit and won.
A police psychologist was fired from two different police departments for past criticism of homosexuality.
President Bush's current Surgeon General nominee, Dr. James Holsinger, is under assault for a document he had written over 15 years ago suggesting that anal sex is somehow, possibly unnatural. Now medical professionals can't even give professional medical opinions critical of homosexuality. And he calls himself a doctor!
So why has criticism or opposition to homosexuality become so unimaginable? Are attempts to shut down speech masking a serious insecurity about the validity of gay marriage and gay indoctrination in our government schools? Or is it merely a reflection of a certain ideological dominance in certain public institutions? Sex-ed defeats abstinence; evolution defeats creative design; global warming defeats sanity, everything defeats Christian expression...why is one side heartily embraced by a supposedly Constitutionally bound institution while the other side is actively and persistently silenced?
I'm often told by anti-Bush and anti-war champions that free speech means that unpopular and critical speech is the most important speech to defend. Why doesn't that apply to homosexuality? Are our government institutions implementing "rehab", in the name of political correctness, across large spectrum's of society by consistently punishing, pressuring or threatening any opposing views to homosexuality or gay marriage? Can homosexuality not be promoted and normalized without one-sided government enforcement? Are the opposition to homosexuality's arguments so persuasive and substantive that homosexual acceptance simply can't be met on it's own merits, in the arena of ideas? Shouldn't pro-gay agendas be expected to stand on their own without sweeping indoctrination?
Maybe Ann Coulter had a point in her infamous critique of the whole anti-gay rehab phenomenon. I somehow don't think she'll be entering rehab to appease the thought police anytime soon.
If battling intolerance requires intolerance, then the concept of intolerance is a lost cause for gay activism.