In my latest article at MercatorNet I apply my focus on providence to look for the positive aspects in the case of Israel Folau, a rugby player whose recent sacking for quoting a “homophobic” Bible verse has worried conservatives, Christians, and free-speech advocates in Australia and beyond:
Predicting possible negative outcomes is a learned skill. In fields like journalism and ethics it’s an occupational hazard. We can learn to do the opposite instead, looking for the good in every situation, the good our faith tells us God will inevitably bring out of evil.
What happened to Folau is not exactly something his friends and family would cheer for, but it’s also not an outright evil or pure misfortune.
My latest piece at MercatorNet looks at the burden of offensiveness implicit in a defense of free speech, of which Chesterton wrote:
This listening to truth and error, to heretics, to fools, to intellectual bullies, to desperate partisans, to mere chatterers, to systematic poisoners of the mind, is the hardest lesson that humanity has ever been set to learn.
This piece was prompted by a Tasmanian Greens party candidate’s complaint to the anti-discrimination commissioner about a document defending and explaining the Catholic church’s position on marriage.
How do we balance the offense felt by the complainant against the freedom of the church to express its own principles and tradition? The answer lies in Chesterton’s depiction of free speech not as a self-evident good, but as a terrible burden nonetheless worth bearing.