I am strongly in favour of LGBTI rights and have been quick to condemn hate speech in the past, but I am a little bemused by the furore over Margaret Court. I certainly haven’t changed my unequivocal views on marriage equality, but just how shocking or newsworthy is it really that a Christian pastor in her 70s holds outdated views around homosexuality? I doubt she is the only one.
I get that she is a (rapidly tarnishing) sporting icon with a stadium named after her (at least for now), but she is also 74 and much like Dawn Fraser's outburst a few years ago- it is important to remember her views are a product of a different generation. Adding her Christian faith, is it really much of a surprise she is on the wrong side of history?
While Court’s homophobia and Fraser’s racism are kind of understandable that doesn’t mean we have to condone them. But we also don’t have to overreact either. Her initial comment that she would not be flying QANTAS based on Alan Joyce’s public stance on marriage equality didn’t even warrant reporting. I wrote about the proliferation of non-news yesterday and this is another example. Who really cares what airline she flies on? By giving Court’s position national exposure we created a spotlight for her to broadcast her bigotry to a much wider audience- and she didn’t pass up the opportunity.
While I thought we could have let her original comments go with less fuss and certainly less publicity- the same way you roll your eyes and bite your tongue when a conservative relative parrots something they heard from Andrew Bolt- the same can’t be said of her more expansive response to the criticism. Court’s conflation of homosexuality with Hitler, Communism, the devil and ‘brainwashing’ was considerably more unhinged and less easily passed off. That certainly was offensive and it’s hard to miss the irony of a Christian minister talking about brainwashing.
It will be interesting to see what happens next, maybe Court will join the Liberal Democrats. If she had included the term, ‘cultural Marxism’ in her latest rant, I would have sworn it was co-written by Mark Latham.