James Reimer wanted nothing more than to be left alone with his Christian beliefs. In 2023 that is enough to get you cancelled
In the classic 1987 Seinfeld episode The Sponge, Kramer is harassed by AIDS Walk organizers for refusing to wear a ribbon as he walks in the event.
VOLUNTEER: But you have to wear an AIDS ribbon.
KRAMER: I have to?
KRAMER: Yeah, see, that’s why I don’t want to.
VOLUNTEER: But everyone wears the ribbon. You must wear the ribbon!
KRAMER: You know what you are? You’re a ribbon bully (walks away).
VOLUNTEER: Hey! Hey you! Come back here! Come back here and put this on!
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Kramer supports AIDS research, but he doesn’t support meaningless symbols. Some aggressive AIDS walkers eventually track him down and beat him in an alley for not going along with the mob. Comedian and curmudgeon George Carlin summed up Kramer’s resistance: “Religion is like a pair of shoes … Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.” But these days you must wear the shoes of the cool kids or suffer the consequences.
Naturally, progressives pushing their myriad causes fail to see the irony – even as they laugh at the skit. Since when was it a cultural crime that 100 per cent of people don’t agree on any position? You don’t demand everyone eat meat, worship God or write with their left hand. Why do we demand unanimity on Woke catechism? But white-guilt liberals now look for any excuse for indignation.
The last group you’d have expected to adopt the You Must Wear A Ribbon tactic is the NHL. But no, the league that forgot Don Cherry is again forcing its sanctity on players who dare to say “No, thanks” to wearing LGBTQ+2 sweaters as part of inclusivity promotions. This time San Jose goalie James Reimer said his Christian religious beliefs preclude him from taking part in their costume drama.
Needless to say, the cascade of “homophobia” and “intolerance” cries from the AIDS walkers … er, the LGBTQ+2 media lobby … came down on Reimer’s head. His team and the league huffed and puffed about their virtue but, thankfully, declined the calls for Reimer to be perp-walked to centre ice. Social media was another story, insisting he wear the ribbon.
Here’s what I wrote in January, the last time the NHL virtue soldiers jammed their holiness down other people’s throats over a Philadelphia Flyer who said, “Nyet”. “As Canada’s Justice Minister in the 1960s, Pierre Trudeau articulated the essence of liberal tolerance with his “government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation”. Sixty years later, PET’s son Justin would like to amend that to “the government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation – unless those people are saying nasty things about me.”
What once was a proud definition of liberty has transformed into a confidence game run for the Woke elite and its friends in the Media Party. Example this week: The Philadelphia Flyers staged a Gay Pride night. As part of the promotion they wore rainbow-coloured jerseys in warmup.
All except Ivan Provorov, who is Russian Orthodox. His religion is not slack-jawed with Progressive awe at same-sex marriage. So (while he wished no one ill), he refused to join the parade. Cue the Church ladies of the sporting press. “Adam Proteau: Ivan Provorov has the right to any opinion he chooses. And we have the right to have any opinion on Ivan Provorov that we choose. Like this: he’s a shameful human being whose homophobia is only going to get more shameful over the years.”
Fine. Then answer this: If an NHL team held a Christian night, and players were forced to wear jerseys with a crucifix, would you defend a player who opted out because of his conscience? Or would you go full Proteau and say he’s a “shameful human being whose religious intolerance is only going to get more shameful over the years”?
No one in the chattering class wants to take that on, of course. They don’t see that rights that work for them also must work for people they consider heretics. Meanwhile, the unwashed mass responded with their wallets. Provorov jerseys sold out on the NHL Shop and Fanatic.
But your elites want everyone to wear the ribbon. Or take a vaccine. Or wear a mask. Or, in the case of this December column, the NHL announcing it’s now a non-binary league. “… the NHL’s sudden conversion to trans orthodoxy is also highly instructive on how deep the tentacles of this ideology have attached themselves in ordinary culture. The NHL? Men-as-women playing against biological women? Until this radical chic agitprop thrust itself to the fore the last few years, this was unthinkable for the NHL or its fans. Laughable. Fantastical.
But now you have a league HQ embedded in the heart of Manhattan – where the global media, business and arts community have already succumbed to the intimidation of cultural blackmail. The NHL’s sponsors, suppliers, broadcast partners and just plain neighbours have also taken the Trans Kool-Aid. At some point the NHL’s surrender must have seemed inevitable – even for a league that asks its employees to never back down to bullies.
Seeing (Gary) Bettman – who has epitomized stubborn resistance in his denial of the science of CTE brain trauma – crumble before the forces of approved speech is instructive to those who think this leaky scow can still be turned around quickly. Or that the forces of objective media might raise a whimper about being.”
Media so embedded in its own vanity it hurts. “Sticks and stones may hurt journalists’ bones but names are first-degree murder. So save a prayer for poor Mr. Bettman. He held out longer than some before accepting the white guilt hemlock. Knowing his desire to be the longest-serving commissioner in history, he probably wishes he’d quit his job three seasons ago. Because he’ll never wash away his cisgender privilege now.”
It’s telling that the thought police have made organized religion an underdog. James Reimer wanted nothing more than to be left alone with his Christian beliefs. In 2023 that is enough to get you cancelled.
Bruce Dowbiggin is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book by bookauthority.org. His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best.
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