John Grant: Some liberals have no tolerance for conservative positions

 Recently the resignation of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich stirred quite a controversy and rightfully so. That the left’s intolerance prompted the Mozilla board to force Eich from his job is an abomination and contrary to the freedom of expression America stands for.

In case you missed it, Brendan Eich is an American technologist and creator of the JavaScript scripting language. He co-founded the Mozilla project, the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation and served as the Mozilla Chief Technical Officer and very briefly as its CEO.

He was forced to resign after a few days on the job because it was discovered that he contributed $1,000 to help fund a campaign to finance Proposition 8, a proposal that ultimately was passed by California voters. Seven million of them voted in favor of it.

So what was so wrong with Proposition 8 that it forced Eich’s resignation? Simply, it opposed same-sex marriage.

Eich sought to make clear that he would not and did not let his political feelings influence his working practices.

Anger and hurt grew, both within and outside Mozzila. Perhaps most obviously, OKCupid, a dating and social networking website, put out a message to all Firefox users, urging them to boycott the browser and saying: “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing, but failure.”

Eventually, after it became clear to the board that the uproar over Eich’s contribution was costing the company money, Mozilla announced that Eich had stepped down.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich correctly labeled Eich’s removal an example of the left’s “new fascism.”

Gingrich said: “This is just the most open and blatant example of the new fascism, which says if you don’t agree with us 100 percent, we have the right to punish you. I think the question is: Do you want to live in an open and tolerant society, or do you want to impose your views at the cost of people’s jobs?”

How ironic that the “Rainbow Crowd” constantly talks tolerance, but they are the most intolerant of all.

When I was in the Florida Senate, I introduced a unique idea, one that would inscribe into law that marriage in Florida would be between a man and a woman. It was passed into law by a wide vote margin. Florida became the first state to so declare in statute.

My reward? A bomb was detonated in my front yard and my Senate office was the recipient of a sledgehammer that broke out the windows and “Gay Power” was spray painted on the walls. That was from the people whose battle cry is “tolerance.”

Our nation was founded on two core principles: freedom of speech and freedom of religion, both of which are contained in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Regardless of your views on marriage, any American who values the First Amendment should be deeply troubled that Brendan Eich was essentially driven from his job because of his personal beliefs.

He never discriminated against coworkers.  In fact, by all accounts, he is a fair and honorable employer. Yet because of his private beliefs about traditional marriage, which I share, he has been demonized and his livelihood compromised.

As troubling as this particular incident is, the chilling effect it will have on broader issues of free speech cannot be overstated. Reasonable people can disagree on issues.  In fact, robust debate in the public square is itself an American hallmark.

But what happened at Mozilla was not debate. It was the stifling of debate.  It was the silencing of dissent.  It was the compromising of two of our nation’s most cherished principles: free speech and freedom of religion.  The implications are vast and deeply troubling.  We should all be concerned.

Isn’t it ironic that those whose battle cry is “tolerance” are the most intolerant of all. If a fast food chain’s CEO stands for traditional marriage, that is a sacrilege to the leftists, but when Whoopee Goldberg comes out in favor of smoking pot, along with Oprah, that is to be celebrated.

Bubba Watson won the Masters golf tournament, but when he celebrated at Waffle House, the left came unglued.They are enraged that he would take young kids to the Waffle House and “feed them poison.”

Why does it matter where Bubba Watson takes his family after he wins the Masters, or any other day?  Why is it anybody’s business?

Well, the anti-Waffle House comments of the left had nothing to do with proper nutrition.  It is because Waffle House is identified by the left as one of “5 Food Companies Run by Radical Right-Wingers.” CEO Jim Rogers Jr. is a longtime supporter of Republican causes, and the company’s political action committee has given exclusively to Republicans.

According to the “tolerant folks,” If people go to Chick-fil-A, they support a right-wing cause rather than getting a good chicken sandwich.

Activist politicians and judges inclined to rewrite the Constitution to find new rights to abortion and same-sex marriage are just as likely to think that government can mandate which products we must buy, support higher taxes and impose onerous regulations that will strangle free enterprise and grow the government.

That’s My Opinion and I am sticking to it.

John Grant is a political columnist who served 21 years in the Florida Legislature and now practices estate planning law in Tampa. He can be reached at [email protected] Column courtesy of Context Florida.


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