Division And Fear In Silicon Valley

I have not seen any issue that has divided Silicon Valley so deeply since first moving there in 1992 as this Mozilla thing has.

I’m not talking about the blogs, even this one. I’m talking about very emotional disagreements breaking out on Twitter and Facebook between people I respect and who until recently thought that they saw these issues of equality, tolerance and freedom the same way.

The worst of what I’m seeing is this – people who have steadfastly supported gay rights (and minority rights in general) but don’t like seeing how Eich is being treated are being called bigots and worse by their colleagues.

At some point soon everyone is just going to exhaust themselves, and an uneasy truce will emerge.

But the long term fallout seems to me to be that a lot of people simply won’t say what they think any more out of fear of retribution. That’s what will cost us the most.

28 thoughts on “Division And Fear In Silicon Valley

  1. Jay says:

    How is Brendan Eich’s dismissal any different from any company that allows HR or employee to google candidates, look them up on facebook, seek out what they say on twitter, or grade them by their inactivity on github and then rejects them over their social media presence?

    I say that as a supporter of gay rights and gay marriage who is appalled both at Eich’s dismissal as well as the new Silicon Valley Old Boy’s network facilitated by spying on employee’s social lives.

    • Bart says:

      You seem to be missing the point. This post is about attacks waged against anyone who comes to Eich’s defense, or even points out the hypocrisy of those attacking him…unless I missed the point of this post completely. But I suspect you are the one with lower reading comprehension in this case.

      • Ptholome says:

        The politically correct language is the cause most people in Spain don’t speak anymore about their thoughts. There is the news inquisitors who attack verbally people whom disagree with the general good thought.

  2. abundantlife says:

    What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? The fact is that homosexuality is a choice and perverse. It is sin – like stealing and murder – and God abhors all sin. We live in a time where holiness is looked upon with disdain – and darkness is exalted because humans love darkness over light. The Bible warns that this will happen in the last days. Those of us who read the Bible and follow Jesus are not surprised with this backlash happening. Nonetheless, it is a disgrace – and reflection of the state of man.

    • Michael Arrington says:

      Thank you for that moment of levity.

    • Mcbeese says:

      Wow. Out of respect for the quality of this forum, I will hold back my emotional response to your intolerant response and suggest that you simply step back and think about what your Jesus would think about your response. In all my years of Bible study, I never found evidence of intolerance or exclusion by Jesus. I only see that kind of behavior in those who would purport to be his followers.

      It doesn’t matter what I believe or don’t believe, it matters that you are a believer and that you hold a position that is so against everything your Jesus stands for.

      • abundantlife says:

        Yes, friend, Jesus hates sin…. He has no tolerance. Happy to provide you with specific verses later. Sin is hard to admit for those in bondage.

        • Michael Arrington says:

          no, no, stop. “Jesus…has no tolerance” – I love it!

          • abundantlife says:

            Leviticus 20:13
            If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is an abomination, they shall surely die.

            1 Corinthians 6:9-11

            9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor HOMOSEXUALS, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

            1 Timothy 1:10
            8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and HOMOSEXUALS and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

          • Michael Arrington says:

            Ok, let’s do Bible verses.

            Deuteronomy 22:11 [Wool blend socks are sin]
            Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.

            Timothy 2:11 [Women need to shut the hell up]
            “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.”

            Deuteronomy 23:2 [children of unwed parents can’t go to church]
            “A bitched [bastard] shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”

            Deuteronomy 23:1 [yeah]
            “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.”

            Mark 12:19 [bang your brother’s wife]
            “Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.”

          • abundantlife says:

            I see. So you read your Bible but you exclude verses about homosexuality. Enough said. Be well.

          • Michael Arrington says:

            No I just did a search for “absurd bible verses”

        • PeterH says:

          In my experience, those in bondage are usually pretty open about sinning. Especially if it involved more bondage.

    • Jesus says:

      Brother, You are a dispicible fool. You shall be damned to Hell!

  3. People have always been held accountable to what they say in public (as they should). Please rest assured, Eich paying a price for his opinion wont change human behavior.

  4. dacameron says:

    @abundantlife you cite Leviticus, Corinthians and Timothy in response to someone observing that it’s particularly un-Jesus-like to propose such intolerance.

    Leviticus was written 500-odd years before Jesus was born, and Corinthians and Timothy was written – by Paul, not Jesus – after Jesus was dead.

    Those passages are not expressions of Jesus’s outlook on life (nor actually do they claim to be).


  5. grabola says:

    Congratulations, if you’ve made it down to this comment, you have now been officially baptized into the Church of the Atheists and Agnostics.

  6. Jenny Herzenstiel says:

    The only Scripture that any Christian really needs to know is Mark 12:28-31. When asked directly about the most important commandments, Jesus replied: Love God, and love each other. “There is no commandment more important than these.”

    Of course sin is bad, but the whole point of the New Testament is that we are all imperfect and God loves us anyway. We are not supposed to judge each other in that manner. We will all face God’s Judgment. He will judge us. Judging each others’ sin is declaring ourselves to be God. That’s a big no-no.

    So much of Jesus’ teaching was about charity. He focused on kindness, the Golden Rule. A popular verse from Corinthians is often taken out of context. There are three things that matter: Faith, Hope and Love. The Greatest of these is love. In early translations, it said CHARITY, not the word LOVE. They did not mean romantic love, they meant love for all people.

    Regarding sin, in God’s eye, is birth control worse than sodomy? I don’t know. How about two unrelated things, is stealing worse than sodomy? I’m not positive, but I think lying and stealing were condemned by Jesus a lot more often than sexual immorality. Who has never, ever, ever used company supplies for personal use? Taken a pen from the bank? Taken home extra napkins from a fast food place? That’s stealing. Well, how much can you steal before you have violated Thou Shall Not Steal? $1000? $50? One cent? How often do we justify our own sins, “well, geez, it was just a stack of Post It Notes, I didn’t rob the vault.” That’s lying about the stealing. What if we pick up a penny we find on the ground? It doesn’t belong to us. Just because we don’t know who it belonged to doesn’t mean it is ours for the taking.

    We have laws for lying and theft and certainly violence, and we define these laws based on perceived severity, but our laws are based on human perceptions. Obviously someone who steals paperclips from work is not a threat to anyone, but are they violating God’s Commandment? We cannot perform God’s Judgment. “God’s ways are not our ways.”

    • chrispy54 says:


      “The only Scripture that any Christian really needs to know is Mark 12:28-31.” Are you saying we should ignore what God has said in the other 65 books? Or the rest of Mark? As you have quoted Mark’s gospel, explain this scripture:

      “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Please note the first sentence. Can you find a single scripture in the Bible, where God condones a homosexual union of any kind? Jenny, I would like to know, is the Word of God higher than the word of man?

      “but the whole point of the New Testament is that we are all imperfect and God loves us anyway.” That is a very liberal interpretation of God’s Word. You cannot mix secular humanism with the Word of God – 2 Cor 6:14. Paul the apostle, who is often quoted at weddings said this:
      “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” – Rom 6:1-2. Paul received much of his criticism from inside the church. What about 1 Corinthians 6:9-11? If he was alive today, you would have hated him. He spent most of his time rebuking the new testament church.

      “We are not supposed to judge each other in that manner. We will all face God’s Judgment. He will judge us. Judging each others sin is declaring ourselves to be God. That’s a big no-no.” That is a broad sweeping statement and a misinterpretation. When the bible talks about judgement, it is talking about hypocritical judgement, specifically by the jews, who were judging others, but committing the same sins. Remember that christians are called to judge one another. Your stationary analogy is very unscriptural. You are implying that if I steal a post it note at some point in my life, I am then unfit to make any future moral judgements.

      Having said all of this, if I say that the homosexual lifestyle is a sin, that is not me judging. That is God’s judgment. We are messengers. It sounds to me that you what you really have an issue with is not what I, or other christians have said, but rather, what God has said. If you do claim to be a believer, I seriously suggest to spend time in prayer, read the bible and ask God to help you understand His Word. Don’t take my word for it. Take His.

      You cannot separate God from His Word. Many liberal “christians” are doing that today. They erect a Jesus of their own making. One that gives them license to shift their morality according to public opinion. “God is not a man that He should change His mind.” Do not be intimidated/swayed by other people – Rom 12:2. If we depart from His Word, what will He make of us when we stand before Him?

      “I’m not positive, but I think lying and stealing were condemned by Jesus a lot more often than sexual immorality.” Actually, He barely mentions lying and stealing. Can you please read what the Word says before making these statements. 1 Corinthians 6:18 – “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” – There are levels of sin.

      I realise that this post sounds harsh, but I’m saying all this out of love, even though it sounds to the contrary. I’ve spent time writing this to you, with the goal that you will simply seek God on these things. Let Him be the light that you seek, and not the one the world is shining at you.

      • Jenny Herzenstiel says:

        Thanks for the response. Good food for thought. Yeah, “only” was a very poor choice of word in my first sentence… I know I need to learn a lot more, too.

        I think the pro-same-sex union agenda is equivalent to having an AA meeting at a brewery. I guess my contention is with the typical approach. Someone quotes Leviticus, then someone invariably responds with a list of Bible verses that are conveniently ignored in the modern world, or starts listing Scriptural contradictions. It gets off-topic very quickly and accomplishes nothing.

        First, people must be brought to Christ, then learn how and why to repent. Talking to someone who doesn’t agree with the basic premise is pointless. All the sin-badgering and protest signs of the past few years don’t seem to be very effective in bringing people to Christ. I think the churches that teach from love rather than fear have a better chance at reaching new people. After finding faith, then a little fear can be necessary. Throw in the fire and brimstone too soon, and people say, “I’m going to Hell, why bother trying.” It’s a very tricky balance and I don’t envy those who are trying to lead.

        Anyone can testify their own blessings, educate and explain why they believe what they believe, and share God’s love. All good!


        • Chris says:

          No problem.

          I agree with you that christians quoting Leviticus may not be the right approach. Some believers have been guilty of throwing scripture at unbelievers with absolutely no explanation of why God has said this or that, which doesn’t help at all. My desire is to promote discussion instead of ending it, but at the same time, not dilute God’s Word with flowery speech or new age “love”. We still need to preach the full gospel and not a seeker friendly version.

          I think this is what the problem is. In their effort to bring people into a relationship with God, believers can water down the message. We can be guilty of underestimating what the Word of God can do when it is spoken. When we correctly wield God’s Word to someone, we are paving the way for God’s Holy Spirit to fall upon and convict that person of their sin.

          As it says in the Word – “No one can confess that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” This is how people were saved in the new testament. My contention is with the liberal christians who are mixing the Word of God with the word of man. I’m sure you would agree that this doesn’t work. We want to add people to God’s Kingdom, not fill empty pews with people who have been preached a God of “it’s all good hippie love”. God judges us because He loves us, in the same way a father judges his child.

          We need to remember that Jesus Himself offended not only the Jews but His own disciples as well. He pulled no punches and was no doormat. When we offend people by preaching the gospel, never think that those people won’t end up in God’s Kingdom. It doesn’t mean we said the wrong thing. Sometimes it can take years before they submit to God. Other times it can happen almost instantly. Paul the apostle warned about the consequences of preaching a different Jesus. He uses very strong language – “let them be eternally condemned”.

          Very harsh words, but he says this because he knows that a false Jesus cannot save anyone. Yes, churches do need to teach from love, but it needs to be from the love of God, not the love of man, which teaches that we can live in sin and still be christians. That’s worldly love. When the apostles preached about redemption and sin, it was out of God’s love.

          So, if we don’t preach the truth, we are effectively tying God’s hands behind his back. This is why it’s so important to listen to and be lead by the Holy Spirit of God. He not only knows that persons past, present, and future, but He knows them back to front – He knows exactly what to say, and how to say it. The problem is hearing that still small voice. This only comes from a relationship with God. This was a much bigger response than I intended.

          God bless.

  7. I don’t believe the situation is quite as bad as you’re suggesting.

    I think the effect on public discourse will be minimal, for three reasons: all but very few people have any realistic chance of ever being a CEO, so most need not be concerned; most of those that do have such ambitions were probably already aware that they needed to avoid this sort of political controversy; and everyone realizes (or should realize) that Mr. Eich could almost certainly have diffused the situation if he’d been willing to admit that he had made a mistake, and perhaps made a matching donation to a suitable organization.

    In broader terms, Mr. Eich was either unwilling or unable to admit mistake. To me, that says that he wouldn’t make a good CEO. (Eevee talked about this over on http://me.veekun.com/blog/2014/04/05/mozilla-and-free-speech/ which I think is worth reading.)

    On the other hand, whatever I personally may think of Javascript, there’s no disputing that it has been insanely successful, putting Mr. Eich amongst a very small group of developers. All in all, it seems to me that a role as CEO is a waste of his talents. Who knows? One day, another major breakthrough may owe its existence to this affair.

    What will be, will be, but I think cautious optimism would not be inappropriate here.

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