Freedom of speech, however controversial it may be, is perhaps the most hallowed of the fundamental tenets of the United States. In acquiescing to the demands of gay rights groups, the NCAA has removed CBSSports.com sold ad inventory from Focus on the Family off of the organization's championships web sites.
But by forcing this move, a move driven by hatred of the messenger, these same gay rights groups took a stand that could easily be interpreted as discrimination against strong families and organized religion. And that, my friends, is a slippery slope that should be opposed not only by the Catholic colleges and universities that are members of the NCAA, but by any individual or group that values our basic freedoms.
But you may say that this is a victory against discrimination? How could it be? The ad simply espoused the importance of family and doing the right thing, while making no mention of gender preference.
Let's start by looking at the "offensive" ad:
The ad has a simple message: "All I want for my son is for him to grow up knowing how to do the right thing." It does not say that the father wants his son to grow up an avowed heterosexual that opposes abortion. In fact, if you look closely, the father is not even wearing a wedding band (either that or my eyes have gotten really bad).
So as the manufactured headline above states, by spinning the words and views of this mini-controversy, the gay rights advocacy groups are saying they are blatantly anti-family and that the message of Focus on the Family is too dangerous to allow in a space of public display.
Too radical a view? Consider this excerpt from an article on Inside Higher Education, especially the last paragraph which has been highlighted for emphasis:
Griffin, who works with the NCAA on gay and lesbian issues and consults widely in college sports, took on the NCAA after she noticed the ads on the NCAA site. In a post that spread quickly in the blogosphere, Griffin wrote Monday that Focus on the Family "not only opposes a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, they also are one of the most powerful national opponents of civil rights for LGBT people. You can bet they are in the forefront of every national and state battle over LGBT rights and abortion rights.
"Now they want to impose their values on the NCAA tournament and college basketball fans and the NCAA and CBS are inviting them to. They are rolling out the red carpet and I am deeply offended by the NCAA’s complicity in this," Griffin added.
Perhaps I am being a bit simplistic, but the last paragraph indicts Griffin's entire argument, and the arguments of gay rights advocates. All Focus on The Family did was buy advertising space. Griffin and the opposing groups are the ones who have now forced THEIR values on the NCAA.
What about the rights and views of NCAA member institutions like Gonzaga, Georgetown, Providence, Loyola (CA, ND, and IL), Boston College, Holy Cross, Niagara, Fairfield, Fordham, Siena, DePaul, Notre Dame, Saint Peter's, Saint John's, Saint Joseph's, Dayton, Marquette, Villanova, etc, etc? Will they be heard in this debate? Or will they be silent because they do not want to mess with the golden goose known as the NCAA tournament?
In the end, all that the anti-Focus on the Family advocates have done is embarrass themselves and made Focus on the Family look like the nobler voice of reason. Remember all the pro-choice screaming about this Tim Tebow ad before it aired?
Who really came out looking worse? Who really took the higher road of discussion and reasonableness?
Our right to free speech is too precious for any one group or subset of groups to take away from all of us. And that is exactly what is happening here.