The personal battle of Errol Naidoo, to say the strongest words in as few sentences, continues in a recent Cape Times’ letter. Whilst casting a thin veneer on his homophobia and other anti-Christian sentiments, he alludes to something called the “liberal media elite”. I strongly recommending reading my co-thinker Jacques Rousseau’s latest blog post on this letter, for a thorough understanding of the fallacies involved.
Let us summarise his main point and one that is particularly important to me: The notion that whilst we can mock Christians, Jews and Muslims (though I think we do too little of the latter) and get liberal points for this, we lose favour when we chastise homosexuals. Notice that Naidoo is again pulling the “lesser than evil” card to thrust his view in. He did it before by saying the Christian responses have at least not been as bad as that of offended Muslims.
But this means nothing. Instigating because Group X does not cause violence when disagreeing with an opinion, unlike Group Y, does not make Group X’s point any more valid. Both groups have no foundation in demanding respect for their petty ideas about a growing irrelevant distributor of unhelpful, ancient wisdom. AC Grayling defines religions as the technology of humanity’s impotence – and it shows.
Does Naidoo, however, not have a point in his juxtaposition between dealing with homosexuals and dealing with Christians? At first, it may impress many people – as I have seen firsthand from friends – but when looking at it critically, we can see the faults.
I can almost guarantee that if the object of Sax Appeal’s mockery and ‘satire’ were directed at homosexuals and homosexuality, the liberal media would be singing a very different tune. Predictably, the liberal media elite have taken it upon themselves to determine the limitations of free speech – if any – for the rest of us. In other words, they decide who can be mocked, derided, ridiculed and humiliated. And according to their warped definition, Jesus Christ and Christianity are fair game. However, homosexuals and any expression of homosexuality are strictly off-limits …
The sanctimonious drivel currently published in our nation’s newspapers is nothing but a sad reflection of the liberal media’s hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to Christianity.
Rousseau responds in a paragraph worth quoting in full:
What [Naidoo] doesn’t seem to get is that nobody sane has any incentive to mock or ridicule homosexuals. Homosexuality is neither a belief system nor an ideology – in fact, the only thing that homosexuals have in common is a sexual preference, which is hardly mock-worthy. Nor, in my experience, are “homosexuals” particularly funny as a group of people – in fact, they’re just like Mr. Naidoo (well, perhaps slightly less funny). In fact, the only ridicule directed at homosexuals that I can recall reading usually emerges from organisations such as his.
This is what is important: homosexuality is not a set of ideas, which are designed (i.e. technology) to cater for explaining, exculpating, and excluding based on the word of a deity – himself designed as arbiter of the weather, the creation of the world and the dealer of death. These are a set of ideas, set down in a “holy” book, then embellished upon in massive theatrical orchestrations playing the tune of unreason – to a degree, where if you did not worship the same way, ignoring that we are worshiping the same god, I could kill you. This happens frequently between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, who differ only on a matter long due for prehistory and mythology. It makes as much sense as fighting over the length of Hercules’ hands.
Religion, which admits no doubt and treats scepticism, derision and apostasy with the loving care of a sociopath – as we can read from their own words – can not be equated with homosexuality. Homosexuality, firstly, is not a set of ideas. It is either “erotic activity with another of the same sex” or engaging in being a homosexual, which is itself defined as:
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex
2 : of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex (both as defined by Webster)
It is simply focused on relations with the same sex: there are no ideas here, it simply is a group of people – it is who they are. We can mock things we believe in, but we must be careful of mocking things we know. I know my father, I do not believe in him – so, if you mock him, I have a right to my feelings of being offended, in and of themselves. However, I do not know equality, liberty and justice – I believe in them. You can mock them all you like, and, perhaps I will be offended but that does not make my feelings correct as an argument in and of themselves. They are a set of ideas to which I hope this world adjusts itself. Hence, why everyone is an agnostic – if you claim to “know” god, that is worrying, since no one can know for certain that god does or does not exist (for this reason, agnosticism in my opinion is a silly and superfluous position to have).
Homosexuality does not dictate what you must do, in situation x, y, z. It makes no pretensions toward supernatural and untested claims. It is simply a position – ignore the pun – one takes in and of sex. What is there to say about it? It is a personal choice that, for the most part, harms no one – unlike religious beliefs. The reason why Naidoo even raises this erroneous comparison is the tendency for the faithful to be so concerned with activities in people’s private lives: adultery, homosexuality, marriage, etc. It is a despicable habit and it is only encouraged by the media, in forms of “gossip columns” and the obsession with celebrities.
Unfortunately, we are indeed interested in other people’s lives. This is central to being human. However, the religious take on an extra dimension on judging whether those private actions and lives – which are pleasurable and are performed by consenting adults – are “morally right”, with recourse to their scripture. Is it not strange that it is the religious lobby against homosexuality, invoking a repression of “civil unions” since it offends them? Is it not strange that is the religious throwing rocks and beating up young women, already deeply scarred by the thought of abortion?
Look what Naidoo says about Cape Town’s Tourism’s Sheryl Ozinsky – and the closest he comes to making a point:
In 2001 I wrote a letter to the Cape Argus challenging Cape Town Tourism’s Sheryl Ozinsky’s right to use tax payer funds to promote Cape Town as the “gay capital” of Africa .
Ms Ozinsky, a prominent member of Cape Town ’s homosexual community, used her position to unilaterally promote and advance the homosexual agenda in the city.
My letter and the articles it subsequently generated elicited howls of outrage from the liberal media elite who promptly accused me of bigotry, homophobia and Nazism.
I was immediately booted off the Cape Town Press Club Committee – that bastion of free speech – for daring to question Ms Ozinsky’s right to tag Cape Town as Africa ’s “gay” utopia.
What the media conveniently ignored was the fact that Ms Ozinsky had no authority or mandate whatsoever to promote the city under the banner of her sexual preference.
Significantly, however, I cannot recall the media writing reams about Errol Naidoo’s right to free speech or in fact, lamenting the dire threat to our Bill of Rights.
Yet raising awareness for homosexuality, to backhand conservative mindsets, is the reason for making Cape Town “pink”. With so-called “Pink” tours available to those of the homosexual community, it is a niche for a group of people who have long been oppressed by people like Naidoo who are voracious in their opinions on private lives. These people are homosexual, they do not believe in an idea of homosexuality. It is simple. It is about loving or preferring someone of the same sex and being able to express that. That’s it. Whether you are then Christian or Jew or a Scientologist, is entirely another point – and surely Naidoo recognises many instances of gays who are Christian.
I think supporting groups which have faced scorn from religious bullies is always a good thing – it is no fault that we nonbelievers often think of our consciousness-raising initiatives in juxtaposition to the Gay Rights movements (See, for example, the OUT Campaign
As I have stated before
, freedom of speech is based on reciprocity. Hence, why we should not repress the ideas of creationists, Holocaust deniers, astrologers, and so on. They must write about their views in the same way we would write about biology, history and astronomy – with available evidence and critical analysis. Naidoo, I do not believe, was ousted because of his views on homosexuality. I think he was ousted for merely asserting
his views on homosexuality and justifying it as immoral according to scripture. This is unhelpful for freedom of speech, since we have many people, all contradicting each, absolutely certain that theirs is the word of god. As Bertrand Russell said, in a summation of beautiful words that encapsulates Naidoo’s main problem: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt
This we can be almost sure is why Naidoo is not finding favour and being forced to whine in the letters page, when, once again – someone does not conform to his view. And, once again, when he and his ilk are offended.
Shame, Mr Naidoo. You don’t like the gays or the heretics? Their lives offend you? You will have a case when homosexuality prevails in suicide bombing, plane crashes and the oppression of women; you will have a case when nonbelief instigates evil behaviour. Until then, you may keep whining about the downfall of the press – since you only have whines and not evidence to back up your statements.