Debate: Should Tim Cook have come out as gay?

Photo by Mike Deerkoski via Creative CommonsJulia Jordan-Lake, Columnist

I do not think that the CEO of Apple had any place announcing his sexuality.

While I can imagine how hard it must be to follow in the footsteps of the effervescent Steve Jobs, I do not think this is the way for Tim Cook to call attention to Apple.

Apple does not need to pick a side on what is defined as marriage; Apple needs to sell Apple products. Sexuality has no place in the world of business.

This is not an anti-homosexuality argument. I had the same position when Dan Cathy, president of Chick-Fil-A, spoke in opposition to the gay community in 2012. I just want to eat my Chick-Fil-A sandwich. I do not care what you think constitutes a marriage.

Tim Cook argues that he is not an attention-seeking person. He does claim that it is his duty to step forward and share every part of himself with the public.

I don’t know what types of philanthropic efforts he is involved in, nor do I know his position on climate change. I do, however, know that he likes men.

Tim Cook is undermining the LGBTQ movement by coming out. A straight CEO would never announce in a Businessweek article that he liked women. By all means, raise awareness for your views within the parameters of the business world. But this coming out statement is long overdue.

Same-sex marriage is now legalized in more than 30 states. This statement is not radical; it is simply irrelevant.

For Tim Cook to attempt to compare himself to such a radical figure like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is just wrong. The parallel between the Civil Rights movement and the legalization of gay marriage is simply too much of a stretch.

Additionally, Cook argues that being gay is “among the greatest gifts that God has given him.”

I am unsure how sexuality is a gift. Following my line of logic earlier, if homosexuals and heterosexuals want to be treated equally – as I believe they should be – it is illogical to claim that sexuality is a gift from God. It is an attribute, yes. But it is no more of a gift than your height or weight. It simply is.

I understand Cook’s rhetoric and motive in arguing this, but it simply falls apart when you try to imagine a straight CEO composing the same article.

I do think it is important to be true to yourself. But being true to yourself does not mean one dramatic press release that will soon be forgotten.

Being true to yourself is about cultivating a life that makes other people want to listen when you open your mouth to speak.

There is an old cliché that actions speak louder than words. Cook is speaking loudly, but what is he really standing for?

Julia Jordan-Lake is a sophomore psychology major. Email her at jjordanl@samford.edu.

 

Jackson Hogan, Columnist

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, overcame the greatest of evils: silence. Cook wrote an op-ed in Bloomberg Business Week on Oct. 30, 2014 identifying himself as gay to “help someone come to terms with who he or she is, bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, and inspire people to insist on their equality.”

By publicly asserting his orientation, he fulfilled his duty to the world, business and Christ.

To the world: The first person Cook references is Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, the freedom fighter who once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

There is no wrong that is outside the scope of each person’s responsibility. All people, including Tim Cook, have only two options once evil is recognized: fight it or fight for it. There is no neutral option.

In choosing the former, Tim Cook works toward the good of all by seeking justice for a persecuted minority who are systematically harmed because of whom their orientation leads them to love.

Though his coming out may seem a small contribution in light of the sacrifices others have made, the words he put forward do their part to shift the perception of LBGTQ individuals from stereotypes to human beings sexually oriented in a way different than the majority.

To business: As CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Cook’s views undoubtedly hold sway in the business community, a community subject to the biases of its members.

Cook’s statement is particularly apt in the corporate world, where openly LBGTQ individuals face harassment in the workplace, more difficult employment and advancement prospects and lower pay than heterosexual peers.

He has been criticized for speaking in a business forum as a CEO about a subject that should not have a place in business.

I agree sexuality should have no place in business, but the reality of the situation is that it does. It disadvantages qualified people. So even if he were to speak as the CEO of Apple, it would be ethically sound because the issue is firmly within business ethics.

But Cook does not take liberties by speaking as a representative of Apple or its shareholders: he speaks as a man seeking good and, viewing where there is bad, hopes to do some small act to make it good.

To Christ: Martin Luther once said, “take away assertions, and you take away Christianity.”

Cook fulfills his duty to God both by speaking for the downtrodden and by defining the sanctity of orientation, doing his part to form Christianity as the body of Christ instead of the monstrosity of exclusive bigotry.

A silent Christian is no Christian at all: Jesus did not quietly wallow in his own righteousness when faced with the victims of society. He fought on their behalf with word and deed, choosing to be a Good Samaritan rather than a bad priest. In doing so, he shaped the faith.

By coming out, Cook follows Christ’s example of being a warrior of faith for those who need one.

Though not dramatic or personally disadvantageous, Cook fulfilled his duty as citizen of both the earthly and Heavenly realms by choosing to speak rather than silently feel, aligning himself with the disadvantaged, using his position of respect, honor, and fortune to seek the collective good. He is therefore justified.

Jackson Hogan is a sophomore political science major. Email him at jhogan2@samford.edu.

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