Tim Cook and the New Ideal (the Anti-Ideal)
Descrimination isn’t cool anymore… as if it ever was. The most recent plea against discrimination came from Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple. His article “Tim Cook: Pro-discrimination ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous” appeared Sunday in the Washington Post. It’s short and to the point. He wrote:
I have great reverence for religious freedom. As a child, I was baptized in a Baptist church, and faith has always been an important part of my life. I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate.
He supposes that any stand against homosexuality is a result of cultural biases alone, as if religion fosters an anti-gay environment just by preference. He equates quitting discrimination to breaking out of a cultural norm. “I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Discrimination isn’t something that’s easy to oppose.”
The Definition of Discrimination
Discrimination is defined by Merriam-Webster positively as the ability to understand the differences between two things (akin to discernment), and negatively as unfair, prejudiced treatment (like racial discrimination, a purely subjective, errant reason for preferring one over another.)
Religious people do discriminate. We are supposed to because we must discern right from wrong in the world (Phil 1:9, etc.) Homosexuality is Biblically wrong (Rom 1:26–27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10). And like Paul, it is the Christian’s mandate to declare evil as evil (albeit with love and true empathy).
But religious people don’t discriminate. We shouldn’t be biased or unfair in our judgments. We, like God, must judge righteously and equitably by an absolute standard, which, in this context, means we must judge all sexual sin with the same rigor and gravity.
Is Slavery Really Analogues to Homosexuality?
Tim Cook is right to hate slavery, to label it as pure bigotry. Slavery was wrong. I think (hope) most modern Americans know that. But by making the connection between slavery and homosexuality he is saying the discrimination of skin color is the same as the discrimination of sexual orientation.
Morality is based on ideals. In order to be moral, you must first have absolute ideals, and in order to be virtuous you must act according to those ideals, that moral code. Tim Cook is saying that the only virtuous way to handle homosexuality is to accept it. Acceptance is the virtue. The problem is, acceptance isn’t an ideal. It isn’t anything of substance. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is amoral.
So while slavery was a moral evil because it was discrimination based on a moral ideal (read: the value of human life), discrimination of homosexuals isn’t a moral evil at all–it is, in fact, a moral demand. Tim Cook’s plea for the universal acceptance of homosexuals is flawed because he has abandoned morals altogether, substituting moral ideals for preferred practices. He would prefer to be treated as an equal to a heterosexual married man, but he isn’t willing to abide by the moral code which gains him that respect.
The only way a homosexual can claim legitimacy in society is if he or she accept a new moral code, a new Ideal. Homosexuality is judged not by a flaky societal norm, but by an Absolute Ideal of Nature, an absolute moral demand put upon creation by a Creator God. To break that ideal is to sin.
Tim Cook has taken a virtuous attribute (namely, love and acceptance) and applied it to a system without a foundation. He has taken the means (love) and made it the Absolute Ideal, over and above the intrinsic Laws and purposes of creation.
The New America
As Ravi Zacharias tweeted yesterday, “This is the new America of tolerance, another vacuous word defined by relativists whose only absolutes are the denial of any other reality except their own.” Tim Cook won’t judge a man for being straight or gay, but he will judge a man for judging a man for being gay. He doesn’t see morality in sexuality, but he does see it in social relationships. How ironic.
The Greatest Irony
Tim Cook decries discrimination against himself and his gay subculture, but what about his own discrimination against the third world countries which work in sweat shops to produce Apple’s products? He’s not showing them much love. Instead, he puts up mesh guards on all stairwells and rooftops to prevent their increasing suicide attempts.
Cook ends his article with a plea for courage, as if courage was all we needed as a society to get out of our discriminatory patterns. I say, with all love, he needs the courage to judge his own moral code and embrace an absolute ideal, no matter the consequences to his personal lifestyle or feelings. Living by an absolute moral ideal is painful, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that either the ideal is bad or you are bad. Unfortunately, our culture, led by men like Tim Cook, has chosen to believe the former, not the latter. And who’s surprised?