It was brought to my attention last week through a barrage of Twitter messages and one very depressingly designed email blast that BC was hosting an event entitled “The Case Against Gay Marriage” featuring Ryan Anderson, a noted scholar in both religion and philosophy. Now, I realize why this may have made some people a bit uneasy upon first glance, especially considering how I doubt BC wants to promote the conservative Catholic label so many wrongly adhere to it. But what I was most shocked at was not the event itself, but instead the reaction that so many of my peers had to both the topic and the discussion. They ranged from laughter, to eye rolling, to outright hysteria, and in my opinion were all unwarranted. Everyone just needs to keep their pants on about this!
Now let me start out by saying that I wholeheartedly support same-sex marriage and I believe it is only a matter of time before it is legal everywhere. That being said, I am by no means opposed to discussing the very serious points that people can make against it, as so many of my classmates seemed to be. I’m not a Republican nor do I hold particularly conservative social, political, or economic beliefs but I’m not opposed to considering the opinions and very strong points to be made by those who do. I understand that as members of a younger generation, most of our peers tend to feel similarly about many social issues—gay marriage being top among them—but does that mean that we should ostracize, criticize, or ignore those with differing views? Should we beat down the opposition until everyone thinks and believes the same things? Pretty sure they tried that during the French Revolution, and look how that turned out. Is conformity of thought really what we want in society? I, for one, do not.
I realize that this is an issue that hits very close to home for a lot of people and I sympathize with them; it must be horrible to have a person—let alone the government—curtail your rights because of a choice that you did not make. Nonetheless, I think it is just as horrible the way so many members of the BC community reacted to this event. Yes bigotry is terrible, and yes I believe that we need to do everything in our power to extinguish it here at BC and in the world in general, but Ryan Anderson was by no means a bigot. The response he received at his lecture this past week, and since then in so many BC news outlets, was frankly appalling and I am ashamed that as a university community—a place meant to extol the virtues of independent thinking and scholarly debate—we couldn’t realize the merit of this event.