Cover Story

Zero Tolerance

Tolerance has its limits. Just ask Ron Greer--firefighter, pastor, and community activist. When Mr. Greer criticized homosexuality, City Hall suspended him. He couldn't even conduct a church event without being shouted down. Today, he's engaged in a struggle for his own religious freedom and freedom of speech--a liberty that increasingly is coming under assault from the forces of "tolerance" nationwide.

Issue: "Gagged by Tolerance," March 22, 1997

From Madison, Wis.

The people accusing firefighter and pastor Ron Greer of intolerance began gathering at his Madison, Wis., church, Trinity Evangelical Fellowship, by about 3 p.m. A group of homosexual activists and their sympathizers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison turned out in force, with coats and gloves and signs and bullhorns. The police officers who stood by looking put-upon did little to diminish the party atmosphere of the protest.

The scene at first looked pretty much like a Friday night college kegger. Little by little, however, the signs and rainbow flags began appearing, and the crowd began working up its righteous indignation. Ron Greer had earned their wrath by openly opposing homosexuality, and the lockstep leadership at City Hall was in the middle of investigating him, trying to determine whether he could be fired for voicing his views.

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A leather-jacketed lady, her face pale and reddened by the icy end-of-winter winds, sipped from a styrofoam cup she held close with both hands, and cleared her throat. Then she threw back her head and chanted: "Hey,hey, ho, ho, Christian hate has got to go!" By the end of the first repeat, more than a hundred other voices joined in; she stopped and smiled, pleased with herself.

The signs were bright and amateurish, simply worded and consistent: "HATE--Not in my town"; "Hatemongers go home!" The protesters held them obligingly for the television camera crews who also showed up early.

By 6 p.m., more than 300 homosexualists had gathered across the street from the church; with sufficient numbers, the mass was ready to move toward the church with the loose, lolling coordination of an elementary-school fire drill. They set up a gauntlet outside the doors to the church, a tight corridor lined by chanting, shouting activists. They also clustered at the door, ready to pack the church as soon as the doors opened.

Mr. Greer was the main attraction. He had run afoul of the avidly pro-homosexual city administration last year, just after it hired 44-year-old Debra Amesqua as its fire chief. Miss Amesqua, while she has refused to comment publicly about her sexual habits, has strong, visible ties to the homosexual community. When she learned that Mr. Greer had handed out to other firefighters at work a few tracts that denounce homosexuality as unbiblical, she ordered an investigation. For this, she informed him in November, she was suspending him without pay for two months and ordering him to attend diversity training scheduled for him by the department. "The good of the service demands it," she wrote to him.

Tolerance as a non-negotiable demand? The very idea is fast losing its novelty:

n In Orange County, Calif., a group of employees has demanded the county develop rules against "workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians." The protection the group seeks, according to news reports, is against "verbal abuse" from anyone who considers homosexuality wrong.

n A news anchor in Los Angeles, angry at a poor-quality script, let a comment slip off-air about the news writer's speaking "English as a second language" (which she did). The comment prompted KCBS-TV to force every one of its employees to attend

a diversity-training class, during which they were instructed to "honor all the cultures, races, genders, and sexual orientations that make up our community."

n In the New York Police Academy, a homosexual officer instructs each new policeman in how to "respect gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders." On city time, he meets with homosexuals in gay bars to "discuss common problems"; he helps organize the annual Queens gay-pride parade; he has helped committees commemorating the Stonewall riots. During those 1969 riots, drag queens and teenaged male prostitutes attacked police who were making a raid outside a bar called the Stonewall. When the police retreated into the building under a storm of beer bottles and shot glasses, the homosexuals forced the door shut, then set the building on fire.

n In Minnesota, the state board of education has decided "diversity instruction" isn't enough; board members want to mandate "diversity-related action." They have established the "goal [that] students reflect movement beyond the level of awareness to the level of making decisions on social issues and taking actions" that demonstrate allegiance to the diversity movement's fundamental principles. And it's not just for kids. The state Supreme Court has ruled that to continue to practice, attorneys in Minnesota must attend diversity training periodically.

Diversity wasn't celebrated in the tract Ron Greer has admitted handing out to a few friends. Titled "The Truth about Homosexuality," the short treatise is woefully intolerant, Fire Chief Amesqua contends. It states, "There is no constitutional right to commit homosexual acts," which technically is true, given a recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of a Georgia law banning sodomy.

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