I have now seen two brief news items today that disturb me. Fred Phelps (and a trvel companion whose identity I no longer remember) is being barred from entering a country. And another country is attempting to kick out a holocaust denying Catholic bishop.
Ok, now look. I do not agree with either of these men. I don't hold their opinions. Indeed, I don't even like their opinions. And I think the behavior of Phelps and his ilk is totally despicable. And I know the holocaust happened, and to deny it is foolish, blind, and even hateful.
And this is a pretty big but...
Is it really right to decide what opinions one must hold in order to reside in or visit a country? Doesn't my freedom to hold my opinion, and even express it, dictate the freedom of everyone else to hold and express theirs?
Don't get me wrong. I hate the vitriol spewed by Fred Phelps. And I saw the pictures of the atrocities perpetrated on the Jews, and lots of other people, by Hitler.
But we CANNOT start using someone's opinions to decide where they can live or visit or work or shop or eat or anything else. That goes against the most basic of democratic principles, and diminishes us in the process.
And for those of you who think I am wrong, well, wait until "they" decide that your opinion on something is wrong and decide to take your house away. That is the slippery slope we are on.