Carl Trueman has made a clever attempt to play the “tu quoque” card (the reply that one does the same thing he decries in someone else) as World Vision changes its mind and Mozilla throws their CEO under the bus. Trueman argues that Christians who are satisfied with World Vision’s reversal, under pressure, on gay marriage are hoisted on their own petard when they balk at the Mozilla affair. Trueman believes he has the Christian Right on the horns of a dilemma, since in the matters of World Vision and Mozilla, ideological lobbies used “economic muscle” to pressure the companies to obey their will. In one case a faith-based charity moved back in line by disallowing gay marriage among its staff. In the other, a major software firm let go brand new CEO Brendan Eich because he privately disagreed with gay marriage and contributed politically to oppose it. Trueman’s argument is based on the old “false analogy” fallacy. In other words, Trueman draws a strong comparison between two matters when they only resemble each other superficially. Anticipating an objection, I can certainly see my crying foul on logic getting a swift denunciation as too obscure and highfalutin. If that’s the way you feel, well fine, but I hardly think that it’s a good thing for a seminary professor to weigh in on public controversies using shoddy reasoning.
The World Vision and Mozilla affairs differ more than they agree. In the former, a faith-based charity simply cannot have its cake and eat it too. An organization cannot reasonably appeal to conservative Christians for charity, change policy to allow lifestyles contrary to Christian ethics among its staff, and continue receiving the same amount of support as before. In the latter, a brand new CEO loses his job because simply because of an outcry from those holding a politically aggressive viewpoint. The two issues are not the same and the Mozilla mess has plenty of room for Christians and all citizens of any or no faith to cry foul, whether they think twice about it or not.
Trueman may or may not have a point that the tactics for change in both cases are similar since it’s debatable that economic pressure is the deciding factor in Brendan Eich’s resignation. More likely, most of the Mozilla brass just didn’t want the bad press, and since the issue is among the greatest of politically correct causes, the choice was clear even if also cowardly. Anyway, those who disagree with the outcome, whether in the case of World Vision or Mozilla, have no recourse. So I’m still left wondering why Trueman has gone ahead with a simplistic “you also” kind of punditry to stick it to the Christian Right. Could it have something to do with how some bloggers just enjoy the casual sport of beating on the Christian Right piñata every chance they get? We can now see that his contention that the main lesson here is “living and dying by the economic sword” leaves us with an implied moral equivalence that not even Trueman can countenance in his piece. Even so, the professor is most certainly right to call on Christians to prepare for what’s ahead. What can the righteous do when the politics of gay marriage can shatter a person’s business career?