Jonathan I. Katz is a professor of physics at Washington University - and a proud homophobe. He is the author of an article titled In Defense of Homophobia and blames homosexuals (or "sodomites" as he likes to call us) for millions of innocent people dying from AIDS around the globe.
Jonathan I. Katz is also considered one of best scientific minds and was invited to help figure out a way to stop the massive oil flow in the gulf of Mexico - that is until he was uninvited after an outcry because of his controversial writings on homosexuality.
I'm not really sure how I feel about this. On one hand, there is a certain satisfaction in seeing an avowed homophobe get his comeuppance. On the other hand, are his personal beliefs on homosexuality in any way relevant to the issue at hand - that is, the massive oil spill? However, his extreme views on an unrelated topic - that is, homosexuality - does call into question his impartiality and logical mindset. Would his personal beliefs color how he viewed any suggestions made by someone else that happened to be openly gay? But, shouldn't we be using all of our available resources to find a solution to this environmental disaster?
I think what irks me most about this is the apparent willingness by some to capitalize on this tragic disaster for their own political gain. It seems that whenever a public figure does or says something that is even mildly homophobic then the homophobe-ophobes start circling like sharks.
Is this homophobe-ophobia really any different than the homophobia they decry? Is trashing those with whom we have philosophical disagreement with the right approach?
While I admit that allowing ourselves to get all worked up in a tizzy over some issue does bring with it a certain self satisfaction - is that really the best way to gain the respect of society at large? If we want people to respect us, even though they may disagree with us - shouldn't we give them the same consideration? Seriously, do we really believe that name calling and righteous indignation is going to change the world view on homosexuality?
In my previous blog post I referenced the Golden Rule in the context of the Christian gospel; however, the golden rule has it roots in a wide range of world cultures and religions. It implores us to treat one another with basic human dignity and respect.
I don't have a problem with arguing with philosophies and beliefs of others - but when we attack the person who has those philosophies and beliefs then we have crossed the line and gone too far IMOHO. The only way we are going to gain respect is to give respect.