Court of public opinion stifles free speech

PETER SWEENEYMidwest Times
Margaret Court and her husband Barry watching action on day one of the Australian Open in 2020.
Camera IconMargaret Court and her husband Barry watching action on day one of the Australian Open in 2020. Credit: Dave Hunt/AAP

If one goes by public reaction, Margaret Court has few companions ... before and after her pocketing of the Companion of the Order of Australia award.

By records the greatest ever female tennis player, Court, whose late father-in-law (Sir) Charles and brother-in- law Richard were premiers of WA, has strong views on certain issues — especially religion.

She stands by them. And that’s what riles her knockers, who believe she’s serving from the wrong side of the court.

“I run a church and teach what the Bible says, that’s my belief and I stand by that,” Court said last week.

What’s wrong with that?

Surely Margaret Court is allowed to express her views, and act them out.

Every Australian is entitled to an expression — it’s what makes this country so free compared to virtually every other one.

But because her views on same-sex marriage and homosexuality aren’t “modern” or in “today’s world”, we are led to believe they are foreign to those of most people.

However, is it a case of the noisy minority?

Last year, there were calls for the Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park to be renamed.

Now there are calls for her to be defrocked of her latest title.

Tennis, at the top level, is largely individual, arguably close to the most selfish of senior sports.

We are seeing evidence of such, by words and actions, in Melbourne right now.

A world record 24 major singles titles, including being the first woman to win a grand slam, meant Court — in those days Margaret Smith — was the greatest individual tennis player. Now she is more interested in team play.

She sees the Bible as the “rule book” for life.

Her religious views feed the souls of many.

Her actions and practices at her church in Perth feed the stomachs of many.

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