Call Me (a bigot) Maybe

Getting an award is  usually a joyous thing. Usually. Not for Cardinal Keith O’Brien. On Thursday, the leader of Scotland’s Catholic Church received Stonewall’s Bigot of the year Award 2012. And a veritable explosion of outrage has since rained down upon our heads.

Believe it or not, the outrage isn’t about some of comments that won him the honour:

If marriage can be redefined so that it no longer means a man and a woman but two men or two women, why stop there? Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage?” Cardinal Keith O’Brien

The so-called slippery slope argument is fine. I mean he could be right, next thing we know someone could marry their pet budgie.

“What if a man likes little girls? Can he adopt a little girl and then just have a little girl at home? We are working towards the destruction of any sort of moral standards.” Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Gay Men= paedophiles. Acceptable. Especially coming from a man in charge of an organisation with such a scrupulously clean moral record in its treatment of children.

“Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that ‘no one will be forced to keep a slave’. Would such worthless assurances calm our fury?” Take a guess

Nope that’s fine. He’s just expressing his religious beliefs after all. The only word choice that brings about and teeth gnashing and/or mouth frothing is Stonewall’s. That’s right. Stonewall is in trouble for calling a spade a spade. Or indeed a bigot a bigot.

Apparently, the term is too old fashioned.  Don’t you know the first world’s problems are over?  England has civil marriage, there’s “ real” marriage in some places, women are in top jobs and stuff and there’s a black man in the White House. Things ain’t as bad as they used to be- Worry about the economy!

And not only is it old fashioned, it’s meeeaan. After all, being called a bigot is so much worse than being called a paedophile or a Nazi, being held responsible for the moral degeneration of society and being fearful that you might be hurt or killed.

Old fashioned and mean and shooting ourselves in the foot apparently. A real lesbian said so and everything. Scottish Tory Leader Ruth Davidson said: [Stonewall] “doesn’t do itself any favours [with the bigot award]… The case for equality is far better made by demonstrating the sort of generosity, tolerance and love we would wish to see more of in this world.”

I fervently agree that, in general, the eye for an eye approach is destructive and petty- calling people names because they called you names first is childish.. And the world could always do with more love and tolerance. But, calling someone a bigot isn’t childish or petty, it isn’t advocating violence or even saying someone is a fundamentally bad person. It is calling out unacceptable behaviour.

I love my dad. But I still look him in the face and call him a bigot when I think he needs to hear it. Even though it hasn’t worked yet, I will keep on doing it and I hope people I care about would do the same for me if it became necessary.

The ‘call out’ argument is often refuted by the response that those who use the dreaded b-word are  themselves bigoted, because they refuse to see things from the opposing side’s point of view. Hmmm… if you edit judiciously the dictionary definition does say a bigot is “: a person who is obstinately … devoted to his or her own opinions. In this case? Check.

Call me a bigot…I dare you.

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