In October 1947, 10 members of America's film industry publicly denounced the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of alleged communist influence in the motion picture business. Ultimately known as the “Hollywood 10,” they went to jail, were denied work because of their beliefs and eventually considered martyrs to what is now widely denounced as McCarthyism.
Perhaps we should call the recent victims of America's latest fascistic impulse the “Michael Sam five” – if the list doesn't get any larger.
But it will, of course, because celebration of everything gay has almost overnight become not only fashionable but absolutely mandatory. Unless, of course, you wish to be fired, fined or otherwise condemned as a bigoted Neanderthal and exiled to a re-education gulag.
Which is more or less what happened to the Miami Dolphins' defensive back Don Jones after he tweeted “OMG” (Internet shorthand for Oh my God) and “horrible” after seeing Sam kiss boyfriend Vito Cammisano on national TV this week after he became the first openly gay player selected in the National Football League draft.
Dolphins management immediately expressed their “disappointment,” fined Jones an undisclosed amount and banned him from team activities until he completes sensitivity training. Properly chastened, Jones apologized, insisting he is “committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization.”
What those values are remains unclear, but if recent events are any indication they include a growing intolerance for anyone not willing to display the required amount of tolerance for the cause du jour.
Late last year, of course, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson was suspended from his TV show on the A&E network after expressing views about homosexual behavior perfectly consistent with the Bible and 2,000 years of mainstream Western culture.
TV exiled two more outspoken Christians just this month after Jason and David Benham's new do-it-yourself show on the Home and Garden Network was cancelled after a left-wing Internet site branded David Benham an “anti-gay, anti-choice extremist” for leading a prayer rally outside the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
And Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure earlier this year after it was revealed that, several years earlier, he had given $1,000 to support an effort in California to prohibit gay marriage.
That's five: Five people whose very livelihoods have been threatened because their views are considered as unenlightened as President Obama's were before his opinion on gay marriage “evolved” less than two years ago.
Gay commentator Andrew Sullivan, a long-time advocate of same-sex marriage, lashed out against the intolerance of the “gay mafia” in the wake of Eich's sacking. And as if to prove his point, columnist Michelangelo Signorile criticized Sullivan and pointed out that not only did Eich support Proposition 8, he also supported “far-right extremist” Pat Buchanan for president in 1992 and, later, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
“It all just became too much for Mozilla to bear . . . realizing its CEO's worldview is completely out of touch with the company's – and America's – values and visions for the future,” Signorile concluded – apparently fine with the new reality that merely thinking or voting the “wrong” way justifies loss of employment.
This might all be funny, were it not a reflection of something potentially dangerous – a danger reflected not only by the ironic impulse to silence dissent in the name of diversity, but by the nature of much of that dissent.
Listen to what the Benham brothers had to say:
“As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to biblical principles. If our faith costs us a television show, then so be it.”
Is that what America is becoming – a place in which such people must choose between poverty, ostracism or silence? No one expects gays to hide in the closet; why should Christians or anybody else who respectfully disagrees?
ESPN's Stephen Smith, a supporter of gay causes, injected some welcome common sense. “I would say the same thing (about Sam's emotional on-air kiss) I would say to a heterosexual couple: Get a room.”
The political left eventually made heroes of the Hollywood 10. The way things are going, Smith should settle for not becoming victim No. 6.