The British Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is calling on the Home Secretary to bar the Anglican primate of Nigeria, a leading opponent of the confirmation of New Hampshire bishop-elect Gene Robinson, from entering Britain on the ground that he might “incite the hatred of gay people.” Meanwhile, in Canada, The Toronto Star published an article by a priest setting forth the Church teaching that “[t]he homosexual condition is a disorder, and homosexual acts are grave moral aberrations.” Of ten letters responding to the article, six accused the priest of hate crime (an example). Since the Canadian parliament is considering whether to make “hate propaganda” directed against homosexuals a crime, the wave of accusations is no joke.
It shouldn’t be surprising that “tolerance” turns out so intolerant. In its contemporary sense it’s a fraudulent principle, because it can only be a relative and not—as liberals pretend—an ultimate standard. Its application inevitably depends on what is thought necessary for good social order. If the family and therefore sexual restraint are thought fundamental, then principles and actions that disorder them will, one way or another, be inhibited or suppressed. If the radically free individual is thought fundamental, then traditional morality will get the same treatment. The fundamental political and moral question, now as always, is what substantive way of life is best. Liberals’ refusal to deal on that basis suggests a lack of confidence in their answer. Traditionalists should note and respond accordingly: by offering a better way of life they can win.