"Discrimination" is a pretty complicated idea. It's commonly used now as a bad word. You shouldn't discriminate. That's not nice.
Yet discrimination is the very essence of life. I'm choosing this over that. I'll accept this behavior, but not that. I strive to be a discriminating consumer. This person is good for me to associate with, but I should stay away from that one because he'll get me in trouble.
So what's good discrimination versus bad discrimination? More specifically, what's socially acceptable discrimination? Who gets to decide?
This brings us to the University of the Cumberland in Kentucky and the current controversy. Are the Baptists going to get screwed out of their funding?
A gay-rights group sued Gov. Ernie Fletcher on Tuesday for not vetoing $11 million in state funds earmarked for a Baptist college that expelled an openly gay student this month.
Legislators included in the budget $10 million for a proposed pharmacy school and $1 million for scholarships at the University of the Cumberlands.
The college expelled Jason Johnson after he posted details of his dating life on the Web site MySpace.com.
The Kentucky constitution prohibits the use of state tax money to support religious institutions or entities that discriminate against citizens, according to the lawsuit.
What to think? Certainly the University of the Cumberlands discriminates against homosexuals. But then, Yale discriminates against stupid people. Good luck getting into Yale or Harvard with an IQ under 80. That's certainly discrimination.
You might argue that elite schools discriminating in favor of smart kids is good, just what they're supposed to do, but that this Kentucky school discriminating against homosexuals is bad. I suppose I'd tend to agree with that.
But this is a Baptist college. This Jason Johnson fellow is not just gay, but very public about it as well. Would it really be reasonable to expect a Baptist college to tolerate this guy making a public mockery of their beliefs on their campus - and representing them as a student? Should he have a civil right to advertise an orgy in a Cumberland dorm room, and damn those bigot Baptists if they disagree?
I think I'll have to side with the governor on this. The Kentucky Fairness Alliance is demanding that the governor discriminate against the University of Cumberland. You might argue that this would be good discrimination, but it's still discrimination.