I don’t think that means what you think it means: Margaret Court edition

It is hard that they can voice their opinions but I am not allowed to voice my opinion.
Source: Gays won’t drive me from the Open, says Margaret Court

Yes it’s that Margaret Court, Grand Slam tennis legend & conservative evangelical Christian minister, freely voicing her opinions against same-sex marriage to a journalist for The Australian.

It’s the old story – freedom of speech in “the public square” does not guarantee freedom from criticism, and will always mean that person/group P listening in the same “public square” has an exactly equal freedom of speech to voice their opinion that person/group Q’s opinion is wrong.

It’s also quite rich for somebody like Court, who stands up at an actual pulpit every week, freely expressing her opinion to a receptive audience, to accuse others of not “allowing” her to speak elsewhere, when all the protest involves is marriage equality activists and allies waving rainbow flags in the tennis arena named after her. She’s just miffed that it will be difficult for her to effectively counter such a simple visual demonstration of broad support for same-sex rights, so she’s getting her spin in first.

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, religion, social justice

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3 replies

  1. I was going to go “When did Margaret Court become a conservative evangelical minister?” but Margaret Court fell off U.S. tennis fans’ radar by the ’80s (in fact, I had forgotten she was Australian), so really anytime between then and now probably.
    I am often puzzled by athletes being conservative in later life.

    • I am often puzzled by athletes being conservative in later life.

      I’m not – I’d expect the ratio of various political viewpoints to align moderately well with the variances in the general population. Elite athletic competition is all-consuming, so we as viewers rarely get much of a sense of other aspects of an athlete’s life, because they simply don’t have time to do much else while they’re in training for championships, so I can see why any one individual’s later life views might come as a surprise, but statistically speaking I can’t think of any particular reason for elite athletes to be slanted more towards progressive than conservative.
      Back to the post – this reminds me of Andrew Bolt last year acidly asking voluble protestors outside the court “Can I have my freedom to speak now?” when he had microphones being held up to him by journalists and they didn’t. Having the right to speak as one wishes doesn’t mean that other people’s right to keep talking at the same time gets taken away. I just wish those protestors had started chanting SPEECH IS FREE FOR BOTH YOU AND ME at him.

  2. Her husband, Barrymore Court, was the son of Sir Charles Court (and is the older brother of Richard Court). Sir Charles Court was Premier of Western Australia between 1974 and 1982, while Richard Court was Premier of Western Australia between 1993 and 2001. The Courts are basically the big name political family in the WA Liberal Party scene.
    (Explanation for folks from outside Australia: the Liberal Party of Australia is our major conservative political party. Sir Robert Menzies got the difficult concepts out of the way in the party name).
    Quite honestly, I’m not surprised by Mrs Court’s conservatism. She’s of an age, and from an era, where becoming a full-time tournament tennis player was an aspiration only open to the privileged. She married into a highly privileged political family. Given her age, her background, her history and her religious faith (all of which can be garnered from her Wikipedia page) I’d be more surprised if she’d turned out to be a left-wing feminist!
    Back to the topic of the post – didn’t she already voice her opinion on this matter, repeatedly? I hardly think anyone attempted to stop her – even if a number of people did say that in their opinion, the way she phrased it was a bit over-the-top. She’s not being stopped from speaking out now – and she’s perfectly welcome to have her say in any medium she chooses. It’s just that she can’t force the rest of us to listen, and she can’t force anyone to agree with her position. Which isn’t censorship – it’s democracy in its purest form.

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