“How can Margaret Court say she spreads love when she is stoking so much division, dismay and anger?” writes Oliver Holt, vindicating yet again my heart-felt conviction that sports hacks should never venture outside their bailiwick.
Mrs Court began to do those heinous things after she ended her tennis career, during which she won 24 Grand Slam titles. That makes her one of the most successful athletes in any sport, and Mr Holt generously acknowledges her accomplishments.
But then Mrs Court committed a blatant double fault: she became a Christian pastor and publicly opposed homomarriage. In spite of her opposition, that abomination was recently legalised in Australia by a two to one margin, showing that her seditious scheme had failed.
But Mrs Court did try, and that attempt alone sufficed to draw the ire of Mr Holt and her fellow tennis players. (I apologise for using the gender-specific term ‘fellow’, but replacing it with ‘person’ just wouldn’t work in this sentence.)
Thus Martina Navratilova issued a stern rebuke: “Margaret,” she said, “you have gone too far. Shame on you.”
Now Martina, wearing a mannish suit, proposed marriage to her girlfriend on bended knee in a crowded restaurant. I’m not asking you to comment on that display, but it’s worth pondering a world in which that sort of thing is normal whereas disapproval of it is shameful and going too far.
I don’t know how Mrs Court answered Mr Holt’s question above, which he clearly considers rhetorical. I only know how I would have answered it.
Mr Holt probably holds the majority view that Jesus never existed or, if he did, he was neither God nor his son, but rather an itinerant preacher trying to incite a rebellion. However, every account of Christ’s ministry shows that he a) ‘spread love’ and b) ‘stoked much division, dismay and anger’, enough to get himself crucified.
Thereby he proved that combining a) and b) is not only possible but indeed likely. Further proof was provided by his disciples who also preached love and yet stoked so much anger that they were killed. And let’s not forget those missionaries in Africa, used for protein intake by the same people to whom they preached love.
Hence the question posed by Mr Holt isn’t so much rhetorical as irredeemably idiotic, which I’d point out to him in so many words, especially if the conversation took place over a drink or two. But he didn’t stop there.
Mr Holt then proved that pursuing non sequiturs is a fine art with no limits to perfection. “If God is love,” he wrote to Mrs Court, “why can you not find it in your heart to accept gay couples who are in loving partnerships?”
If God is love, how can anyone dislike Marmite? If God is love, why doesn’t everyone like rap? If God is love, why do we hate mass murder? You see, Ollie, I can do non sequiturs too.
It takes advanced stages of cretinism to insist, as Mr Holt does implicitly, that Christian love incorporates every expression of profane love, such as, say bestiality, S&M, coprophilia or indeed homosexuality.
I’m not saying it doesn’t, God and the Equality Commission forbid. I’m only pointing out that Mr Holt errs against the simple logic first communicated to me by my uncle when I was eight or so. “If Grandma had balls,” he said in response to my non-sequitur question starting with ‘if’, “she would be Grandpa.”
Mr Holt can’t seem to get his head around the fact that Mrs Court is a Christian, and a pastor to boot. That means she lives her life by the book both parts of which describe homosexuality as an ‘abomination’.
I realise that the book is hopelessly outdated, out of tune with our progressive times. But since it hasn’t yet been outlawed, Mrs Court is entitled to accept it at face value. Moreover, I know many people who don’t accept the Bible at face value and still regard homosexuality as a perversion.
And even many of those who don’t express themselves quite so robustly still think that legalising homomarriage was indeed going too far, to use Miss Navratilova’s vocabulary. (Calling her ‘Miss’ is yet another faux pas, and I’m painfully aware of that. However, I refuse to use the title ‘Ms’ out of sheer bloody-mindedness, and, even though she went down on her knee in the best traditions of male chivalry, she’s not biologically a Mr.)
Dusting off the old logical tools, which Mr Holt doesn’t seem to have in his box, at what point does God’s love stop short of endorsing marriage? Are there any kinds of love that may be tolerated and yet not given contractual legitimacy?
For example, the Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld married his Siamese cat Choupette. I don’t know if the union was consummated or, if so, how. From what one hears, the only way to escape scratching is to stuff the kitty-cat into a high boot head down, but, one way or another, would Mr Holt regard this as a proper expression of Christian love?
None of this should distract us from acknowledging that Margaret Court has committed a crime worse than murder. A murderer attacks only his immediate victim; Mrs Court challenges the whole modern ethos – and, to aggravate matters, refuses to show appropriate remorse.
“I give my beliefs,” she says. “I believe in freedom of speech but you get very persecuted because of what you say.” And prosecuted too, before too long, if not already.
Freedom of speech, indeed. What world is she living in? A free one? Mrs Court ought to have her head examined – and possibly chopped off.