There has been alot of controversy lately on the legitimacy of ex-gay reparative therapy. With Lisa Lings latest pro-Exodus International fluff piece and Apples approval of the Exodus International App for the Iphone, Exodus and reparative therapy have been in the spotlight of both the gay community and the mainstream media. It is with this backdrop in which I view the National Post's analysis of the legitimacy of the CBC's policy. Though I am very hesitant to agree that the content of ones public speech should be censored, the National Post gives a very good reason for why the CBC's censorship is actually good.
Though they make a good case for the CBC's censorship, I will still have to mull the National Posts reasoning over. For I mostly find myself agreeing with John Stuart Mill in his analysis on free speech. He claims that speech, no matter how harmful, hateful, or bigoted, should be tolerated by society. This speech, he says, serves two purposes. It first allows us to see the hatred of others, and therefore strive to not be like them. Second, it allows us to rebuild our own thoughts on the subject - for when we dont have to argue our beliefs, we take them for granted and don't think about them.The first is that — on an objective, scientific level — the notion that “therapy” offers a “cure” for homosexuality is simply preposterous: Everything I know about such therapeutic programs suggests they are acting camps for sad, guilty people who want to pretend away their biologically programmed sexual instincts for the sake of their religious beliefs. (As a friend of mine once put it: If you really believe that gay-reversal therapy works, ask yourself this question — ‘Would you ever let your daughter marry a “straight” “graduate” from such a therapy program?’) And so putting aside the offensiveness of McDonald’s remarks, they strike me as outright pseudo-scientific gibberish. In a free society, people should be free to spout all the pseudo-scientific gibberish they want, of course — but they have no right to use a media company’s bandwidth for this purpose.The second, related, objection is that hate speech is hate speech. I happen not to be a fan of strict hate speech laws. But the fact is that they exist; and are embedded in the terms-of-use policies in all publicly disseminated media; and so long as that is the case, they should be applied consistently. If we would never tolerate the dissemination of comments that suggest blackness is a “disorder,” or that ethnic Jews suffer from some sort of “disorder,” why would we permit the same label to be used with gays? (McDonald would counter that sexual orientation isn’t a biological characteristic — it’s something we freely choose, to which I say: see above.)McDonald lists off all sorts of religious authorities that declare homosexuality to be a defect. But so what? Racist bigotry isn’t any more acceptable from Christians who cite the Curse of Ham in Genesis 9:20-27. So why should homophobes get a free pass when they cite other portions of the Bible — or Koran?
Even though I will have to think about the National Posts column, overall I am pleased that they have come out in favor of the LGBT community in this instance. It does show that as LGBT people are treated with dignity and respect within a community, those within said community will eventually come to recognize their hatred.