16 January 2012

Attention all you tennis fans

The Australian Open starts this week, and tennis fans attending the matches are probably going to see lots of rainbow flags flying at the Margaret Court arena in Melbourne Park. The reason? The arena is named after Australia’s greatest female tennis player, who also happens to be a conservative Christian pastor opposing homosexuality in general and gay marriage in particular. Gay rights activists and their supporters are going to fly their colours proudly at the Open in protest against Margaret Court’s homophobia.

Court’s views on homosexuality and gay rights are informed by her (surprise, surprise) religious beliefs, as she has made clear:

I think I have a right, being a minister of the gospel, to say what it says from a scriptural side. I have been married for 44 years this year and, to me, marriage is something very special, wonderful, ordained by God. I look at the children of our next generation and think of the problems they are having in America with all this – we don’t need it in our nation.

So Court thinks that being well-versed on a man-made collection of history, myths and morality tales gives her the right to discriminate against gays. Chalk that one down as another example of physicist Steven Weinberg’s maxim: religion gives good people a reason to do bad things. Court also implies that Australia needs more religious (i.e. regressive) values, otherwise we’ll end up like those depraved Americans wallowing in godless gayness. Even America isn’t God-fearingly homophobic enough for Court!

Both Tennis Australia and the Women’s Tennis Association have stated that they do not share Margaret Court’s views. Tennis Australia posted the following on its website:

Margaret Court has won more grand slam titles than any other player and has been honoured for her achievements in tennis and she is a legend of the sport. We respect her playing record, it is second to none.

But her personal views are her own, and are definitely not shared by Tennis Australia. Like the [Women’s Tennis Association], we believe that everyone should be treated equally and fairly. We concur wholeheartedly with the WTA who stated that “all human beings, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or otherwise, should be treated equally. This is a fundamental right and principle, including within the world of sport. Anyone advocating otherwise is advocating against fundamental and essential rights.”

TA does not support any view that contravenes these basic human rights.

Every year Court is invited to the Australian Open as a guest of honour. Her presence at the tournament this year will be more... exciting than in previous years. Those of you who are going to the Open may want to bring along a rainbow flag to add to the festive, even gay, atmosphere.

HT: Martin


No comments:

Post a Comment