I don’t know—the show trials of the Cultural Revolution come to mind

From First Things, a piece about the problems the CEO of Mozilla is having because of his support for traditional marriage:

Grammar and diction unworthy of an editor aside, one of the most striking things about this passage is its tone, or perhaps we should say its genre. The remedies demanded (public recantation, propitiatory sacrifice) are of the sort necessitated by ritual defilement, rather than the giving of offense. It is also clear that Thomas does not merely wish Eich to say that he has changed his views, he truly, sincerely, desperately hopes that Eich be transformed. The key realization is that the howling mob which Thomas has ginned up is only partially an instrument of chastisement. It is also intended to educate. Thomas is in this to save souls.

Whether or not Eich keeps his position, this episode is instructive for those who hold out hope for a détente in the culture wars. The flawed analogy between the movement to end discrimination against African-Americans and the movement to allow gays and lesbians to marry is sincerely believed by many. But it is not merely a convenient piece of rhetoric or a skillful legal strategy. The moral force of the civil rights movement did not permit any sort of accommodation or compromise with bigots, and contemporary social conservatives who believe that they can negotiate more favorable terms of surrender have fallen prey to wishful thinking. What Thomas’s statement and others reveal is that the same-sex marriage movement has inherited that same genuine moral outrage, that same crusading zeal. While supporters of traditional marriage would like to convince the world that they are correct, they may soon find it difficult enough just to establish that they are not monsters. What is certain is that this will not be the last time that a public example is made of a dissenter from the new moral order.

Reminds me of a premonition I had during a Book of Common Prayer (Canada 1962) wedding when it occurred to me this rite might be illegal some day.

I think the zeal the author “Anonymous” discusses though is not so much like that of the American Civil Rights Movement but more similar to the denunciations, show trials and public recantations of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.


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2 Responses to I don’t know—the show trials of the Cultural Revolution come to mind

  1. Rev22:17 says:


    The real tragedy is that incidents of this sort of bigotry rooted in ignorance from the political Left are so commonplace that they are no longer news.

    The root of the problem rests in ignorance of (Western) classical philosophy founded on the tradition of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle — a tradition which nobody can argue to be in any way religious. One major branch of classical philosophy is a moral doctrine called Natural Law, which recognizes that the societal institution of marriage is fundamentally ordered toward procreation and the nurture of children born therein — clearly an impossibility in a homosexual relationship. This is precisely the source of societal protections and responsibilities afforded to the spouses in a marriage, the objective of which has always been to provide material security to a parent who leaves the workplace to nurture children in the family home.

    There is a legitimate question of whether, and in what circumstances, a society might wish to recognize other forms of households in which the adult members share similar legal protections and responsibilities. For example, should such provisions extend to the monks in a monastery or to the sisters in a convent? To a household of two men or two women? But such situations clearly are NOT marriages, and thus should not be called marriages under secular law.

    But until we institute classical philosophy as a major subject area in our public schools and thus teach Natural Law as a common moral standard, the ignorance and the consequent confusion will persist in the political sphere and Lenin’s “useful idiots” will continue to prevail at that ballot box.


  2. EPMS says:

    Was Ernst Zundel subjected to a “show trial” for publishing “The Hitler We Loved and Why” and similar works? Were those who apologised for Alberta’s Sexual Sterilization Act, in force until 1972, making a “public recantation” under duress? The problem is that when public opinion changes, those who continue to espouse views once held by the majority find themselves ostracised or worse. We may have little sympathy for anti-Semites and “eugenicists”, and great sympathy for upholders of traditional Christian sexual morality, but the penalty they must pay for being out of step is essentially the same.

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