Archive for February, 2010

Science Flies You To the Moon

February 18, 2010

“Tolerance Vigilantes”

February 10, 2010

Gil Bailie of the Cornerstone Forum blogspot has hit upon a catchy slur that he seems determined to forge into a viral meme through endless repetition. “Tolerance vigilantes” describes LGBT activists who fight discrimination, even when their tactics are completely non-violent and lawful. And because they are opposed to discrimination, they must be…intolerant! Aha!

On 1/29/10, Bailie posted a piece titled, “The Tolerance Vigilantes at it again…,” about LGBT activists in Oakland, CA, trying to oust a Proposition 8 supporter—Lorenzo Hoopes—from the board of the Paramount Theatre of the Arts, which is partly funded by the city. Because the City Council must approve the theatre’s board, the activists petitioned their elected council representatives not to reappoint Hoopes. Hoopes is not just any Proposition 8 supporter; he was Oakland’s largest donor to the campaign, and so his reappointment would understandably rile LGBT members of Oakland’s arts community.

These LGBT persons did not storm the City Council offices carrying pitchforks and torches. Nor did they threaten anyone or engage in drive-by shootings or lawn-burnings. Their position was that people who support discrimination should not be tasked with representing the community. They used their political clout to bring about a change that they believed would benefit their community, and they did so by peaceably petitioning their elected representatives on the Council. That was their right.

And yet Bailie writes, “The members of the board…dare not publicly support [Hoopes] for fear of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender thugs who might take revenge on them…”

Thugs? Revenge? Vigilantes? This is more than hyperbolic. It is slanderous and incendiary. Bailie’s insinuation that board members have reason to fear bodily harm from the activists is completely without basis in fact. If Bailie were trying to stir up his own mini-mob against the activists, he could not have chosen a more fitting rhetorical style.