Bozell & Graham Column: Freedom of Association Is Great...For Liberals

The secular-Left website Slate recently warned on Twitter that “’Religious Freedom’ legislation will be everywhere in 2017.” “Religious Freedom” is in scare quotes, a warning that deplorables will use that thing called “religion” as their “weapon of choice” in the coming assault on the “LGBTQ” community.

The same website is celebrating a petition urging the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to reverse its acceptance of an invitation to sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration. The freedom to disassociate becomes a terrific idea when used to reject Republicans or conservatives. Slate’s story has a hero named Jan Chamberlin, who quit the famous choir since they would be endorsing “tyranny and fascism by singing for this man…I know I could never ‘throw roses for Hitler.’”

Slate “reported” that “Trump is not just any president-elect for Mormons, many of whom were turned off by his vulgarity, repressive immigration proposals, and calls for religious persecution.” Like many leftists, the only religious people they care about being persecuted are the Muslims. Persecuting the Christians – and we mean real persecution, as in setting bodies on fire, chopping off heads, machine-gunning and the like -- means literally nothing to websites like Slate. They've mocked a "Christian persecution complex" among conservatives.

Another Trump inauguration issue further displayed leftist hypocrisy, this time with the scheduled performance of the Radio City Rockettes. One of the dancers, Phoebe Pearl, protested on her Instagram page: “The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we're against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. We will not be forced! #notmypresident"

Basement-dwelling publications like Rolling Stone characterized this controversy as “a brief, Hunger Games–esque preview of the horrors to come.” Facing angry liberal media coverage, Rockettes boss James Dolan said no dancer would be forced to perform. What do you suppose would be their reaction if a Rockette announced she would not rent her apartment to a lesbian because she found the lesbian lifestyle “appalling”? 

The secular Left never recognized this line of reasoning when conservative Christians wanted to bow out of events they disagree with -- gay marriages. Florists like Barronelle Stutzman, bakers like Aaron and Melissa Klein, and inn owners like Robert and Cynthia Gifford have been trashed by the Left and heavily fined by liberal bureaucrats for wanting to make their own choices.

So let’s just make it apples-to-apples here. How would the media have reacted if a member of one of these groups had refused to perform for Obama’s inauguration? Undeniably, they’d be slammed as racists for shunning the first black president. But go against Trump, and you’re heroic, the resistance to the American Hitler.

It’s time for the “progressives” to recognize their own hypocrisy. No one should be forced to participate in an event he finds to be immoral, whether it’s the Pledge of Allegiance or a gay marriage. They mock the idea of “tolerating intolerance” under Trump and then embody all the tortured logic it implies. Their zone of “freedom of association” is exactly as broad as their narrow leftist orthodoxy.

Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis