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Foolishness in Triplicate



JUDGING from last week's controversy over the refusal of an employee of Kinko's Copies to print a flyer from the Association Against Learning in the Absence of Religion and Morality (AALARM) opposing University Health Services (UHS) funding for abortion, it would be easy to conclude that the world had been turned upside down.

Members of AALARM picketed, saying their civil liberties had been abridged. The same publicity hounds who garnered national headlines for their advocacy of "family values" (what AALARM takes to mean the suppression of those different from them) piously held signs marked "Boycott Oppressors" and "Thought Control, Inc."

The next day, the executive board of Defeat Homophobia, a group that has consistently supported those silenced by society, published a letter in The Crimson enthusiastically endorsing the employee's refusal to print AALARM's fliers. The employee--who is gay--said he "had a deep problem with an organization opposed to my existence."

Not only are both groups being hypocritical, both are wrong. Kinko's didn't have a legal obligation to publish the flyer, but it should have published it anyway.

AALARM emerges from this debate as the epitome of hypocrisy (and factual inaccuracy) by claiming abridgement of their Constitutional rights. By cloaking themselves in the Constitution, AALARM is setting up a standard they would reject in many other scenarios. If AALARM members E. Adam Webb '93 and Kenneth D. DeGiorgio '93 operated a private postering business, would they feel Constitutionally bound to plaster the campus with anything and everything that came in the door? Would they have hung up the photographs depicting gay and lesbian sex that they were so indignant about last month?

Kinko's is a private firm. In any other situation, AALARM would have agreed that it does not have to print what it doesn't want to. There was no abridgement of anyone's First Amendment liberties here.

AALARM's newfound love for civil liberties would be comical if it weren't for the hateful ideology that it masks. AALARM is the foremost advocate of intolerance and bigotry on campus. Its members are the persecuters, not the persecuted.

IT IS precisely because Defeat Homophobia represents those long persecuted by society that its stand is also wrong. It has leaped to the defense of an employee action it should instead disavow. Defeat Homophobia is short-sighted in advocating the suppression of unpopular opinions. The dispute is made even easier by the fact that the poster in question had nothing to do with AALARM's opinions on homosexuality; its opposition to UHS funding for abortion is well within legitimate campus discourse.

In a letter to The Crimson, Defeat Homophobia writes that the employee was well within his rights to refuse "to aid AALARM in its pursuit of free speech" and that his action was one of conscience. Would Defeat Homophobia's position be the same if a Kinko's employee had refused to copy one of their posters? What if he had said, "I'm morally opposed to homosexuality. I have a deep problem with an organization that explictly advocates acts I deem sinful"?

Defeat Homophobia would be protesting the action, and well they should. An individual's political beliefs--no matter what persuasion--should not control what information the community can read.

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