In the wake of the Indiana religious liberty kerfuffle, the Final Four coaches released a joint statement saying, in part, “that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated.” This seems to be an oft-repeated mantra these days.
I simply want to point out that this statement is false, a lie, a fib, a tall-tale, a story, a fabrication, a whopper.
We discriminate all the time. Those Final Four coaches—God bless ’em, especially Mike Krzyzewski (Go Duke!)—discriminate for a living. They choose some basketball players over others. Not everybody with a pair of Nikes can lace them up at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The colleges that employ these coaches also practice discrimination. They discriminate against the poor with exorbitant prices. They discriminate against the average-intellect or the lazy by refusing admittance. Universities are built on discrimination.
As a society we discriminate against thieves by jailing them, terrorists by profiling them, and the financially successful by taxing them out the ying-yang.
Oh, but that’s different. We’re talking about discriminating based on sexuality.
Ok, but we do that, too. It’s codified right there in our laws. Pedophilia is against the law (for now, at least, but who know…erotic liberty knows no bounds). In fact, homosexuality itself is discriminatory—by definition it prefers one sex to the other.
So to say that “discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated” is not true to the world we live in. And it is not workable. We can’t live in a world that doesn’t discriminate at all. We wouldn’t want to. So, three cheers for discrimination!
Now, I’ll readily grant the point that what these fine basketball coaches actually meant is that people should not be discriminated against for being gay. They would likely have racial discrimination in view as well. I want to say four things to this.
One, and this is obvious: being gay and being black are not the same thing. So let’s stop pretending they are. A little honesty goes a long way.
Two, I agree that humans should not cause harm to another human being. This is at the heart of Jesus’ command to love your neighbor. But we need a standard to know what is actually harmful, not perceived harm.
Three, these coaches did not say that people should not be discriminated against for being gay or being black (or any other color of skin). They said “that discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated.” Words have meanings. And what these words mean is a falsehood because we do actually discriminate and need to discriminate at some level. Otherwise we’d have a void of wisdom with chaos taking its place.
(At this point one might object and claim that I am equivocating on the term discrimination; that I should be using discretion instead. I do this knowingly and on purpose, mainly because the culture-making shriekers all across America started it and employ it as a strategic tactic) .
Four, if we cannot avoid discrimination in life then we need a standard to appeal to in order to determine if our discrimination is just or unjust. Coach K discriminating against a 5-foot-9 chubby white power forward is just—his whiteness has nothing to do with why K doesn’t offer him a scholarship. He simply doesn’t have the physical tools to play power forward in the ACC. Southern restaurants in the 1960s refusing service to black patrons was unjust—they had all the tools necessary to eat there: an appetite and a wallet. But they were refused because they were racially different. This is injustice. Getting current, I would argue that a restaurant today refusing normal service to gay patrons would be unjust. However, a Christian refusing to photograph (or cater, or decorate for) the so-called gay wedding would be just. It would be just because we love the truth (and calling something a “gay wedding” is a lie, for there is not such thing) and we do not wish to harm our neighbor (and we believe that homosexuality is actually harmful to human beings). It would be unjust to give approval to lies and harm. Further, it is unjust to coerce a photographer to hurt his neighbor in this way and go against his conscience in matters of truth.
Now, everything I wrote in the above paragraph goes back to the paragraph’s first sentence. We need a standard to appeal to. When we make a claim, how do we know it is true? My standard is the Bible, the very words of God. What is the standard for the Erotic Libertarians? Because we say so? Because the cool kids say so? Because someone on MSNBC yells about it until they are rainbow-colored in the face?