What are you thinking about right now? Did you know that if you’re someone famous, what you believe – inside your head – could get you into big trouble?
If it gets out.
Okay, so you’re not someone famous. Nor am I, but my point is that this ‘trouble’ is generated not by behaviour, but by revealing the contents of your mind. Reveal beliefs which offend the dominant cultural belief-system and your entire sporting reputation may be on the line.
Welcome to the world of Margaret Court. (What a great name for a tennis player. If I’d been named Mikey Outside-half or Tommy Left Wing, my sporting destiny would have been revealed.) But back to serious commentary.
Margaret Court. Winner of the most Grand Slams by a female tennis player, 24. 11 in the Open era when it became much harder to win them. She is a tennis sporting great, no question. The equivalent of Rod Laver, another Australian great.
Until now. Until she revealed some of her beliefs.
Bad move. She’s a Christian and she told a Christian TV station that she disagreed with gay marriage. Apparently, her language was un-PC also, which didn’t go down well.
She didn’t lie, steal or hurt anyone. She just revealed her beliefs which conflict with our culture. Especially women’s tennis culture. Billy Jean King and Martina Navratilova are especially important in this regard. Both tennis legends, both gay, both activists for their sexual orientation. In female tennis culture, it’s a very bad move to offend them. Martina, in particular, is ticked.
In fact, it’s such a bad move that the court named Margaret Court Arena may now lose its name at the Australian Open. Having a court named after you is a great honour. But Sam Stosur, Australian former World number one, wants it removed. She has started corralling women’s tennis players for the cause, threatening to boycott the court. Because of Court.
They will probably win. Margaret Court’s name will probably be removed.
Our ‘tolerant’ liberal culture is tightening up. It’s more aggressive, more judgemental, more punitive than it once was. If you put a foot wrong, it will punish you.
Not for your behaviour. For your thoughts. Your beliefs.
What’s wrong here? Well, the idea that it’s how we think, or believe, which is so offensive. In just the same way that a ‘hate-crime’ criminalizes thought and belief, Margaret Court’s beliefs are on trial and found guilty. A ‘hate-crime’ is a criminal behaviour which is considered that much worse and therefore punished more severely because of the beliefs which are behind it. That’s why I don’t agree with the designation ‘hate-crime.’
Because only God knows the heart. Only God knows what we truly believe. And only he can judge us for our thoughts and beliefs. Hence the tenth commandment, which is a commandment relating to the heart: Do not covet.
In our society, we should criminalize behaviour, not thoughts and beliefs.
Because we’re not God. It’s as simple as that.