Haters, Haters Everywhere

The air is heating up with Republican presidential hopeful Mit Romney’s religion making its way to the arena of public discussion.  Ever since Pastor Robert Jeffress stated in an interview that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) — or, Mormonism — is theologically a cult, there has been an overwhelming negative response to his comments.  His opinion has been deemed hateful, misguided and intolerant.  All for believing Mormonism is a cult.  My concern here is not so much whether Mormonism is a cult, but instead, the blowback Jeffress has received.  Is his view hateful and intolerant?

The charge of intolerance has gained a significant amount of traction over the past decade or so.  It was really ramped up when activists for same-sex marriage realized that by labeling the opposition hateful and intolerant they could intimidate opponents into backing down.  It was basically the same-sex marriage version of the ‘race card‘.  It became quite clear that the ‘H.I. (Hate & Intolerance) card’ proved effective when debating a controversial topic.

  • Oppose abortion?  You obviously hate women, you misogynist
  • Oppose same-sex marriage? You obviously hate homosexuals, you homophobe
  • Oppose illegal immigration? You obviously hate brown people, you xenophobe
  • Oppose affirmative action? You obviously hate blacks, you racist
  • Oppose soaking the rich with more taxes? You obviously hate the poor, you elitist
  • Oppose a Mosque at Ground Zero? You obviously hate Muslims, you Islamophobe

At a point in the not so distant past, the term tolerance has been redefined.  In order to pass the tolerance litmus test, merely respectfully bearing with (nearly) everyone’s points of view is not enough.  Now, unless you are an advocate for, endorse, and champion another’s point of view (or behavior) you are intolerant.  This alone is not yet enough, you must also believe the view (or behavior) is good.

But this isn’t tolerance, it’s agreement.  The concept of tolerance itself requires disagreement.  After all we don’t have to tolerate people we agree with.  Gone is the original understanding of tolerance: Respectfully bearing with a person with whom you disagree.  People deserve tolerance, not their ideas.  Ideas and convictions are to be debated and reasoned through.  People are to be tolerated and treated with respect, not shouted down and called names.

Here’s the rub: When Jeffress’ detractors designate him intolerant and hateful, they are essentially proclaiming he is wrong.  ‘So what!’, you say?  I agree, in theory.  There is nothing wrong with thinking someone is wrong.  However, those decrying some people — let’s face it, politically and theologically conservative Christians — as being intolerant, are themselves being intolerant according to their new understanding; hoisting themselves by their own petard.

I have never understood how it so easily escapes the accuser that they are employing a rather conspicuous double standard.  You think I am wrong, I think you are wrong, but somehow I am intolerant and you are a noble victim?  How is such an escape justified?  It never is.  Either the rules apply to all, or they apply to none.

Tolerance doesn’t mean everyone is right.  What I would like to see is true tolerance.  An environment where a person is free to weigh in with their religious, political, and social opinions without threat of accusations of hatred and bigotry.  If one believes their convictions are actually true, there should be an invitation of opposition and investigation.  The truth can stand up to inquiry.  In a truly tolerant society, all views can compete in the market place of ideas without fear of intimidation.  The idea which most closely comports with the facts, is true — not intolerant or hateful.  Ultimately a person’s objective when forming opinions should be to have true opinions regardless of their popularity, or lack there of.  There is no nobility in forming opinions for the sake of someone else’s conscience.

Comments

  1. The truth sounds like hate to those that hate the truth.

    My daughter’s wildly liberal college sociology teacher preached on the distorted view of tolerance, then asked on a discussion board if tolerance was enough or whether acceptance was required (she was pushing the LGBTQ agenda, of course). This genius teacher didn’t realize that by definition if you require acceptance that is the opposite of tolerance, not an extension of it.

  2. Now this is some double speak. I agree that tolerance, unchecked, would require everyone to roll over and accept anyone’s opinions, but that isn’t what anyone means by tolerance.

    The distinction you totally fail to understand is that all those examples are intolerant not because of your contrary opinion but because of your desire to restrict the actions of others – in your example, stopping others from being gay, having abortions, immigrating to the US, advancing in the workplace, paying equal taxes, and building a house of worship. (the tax is more bad math than intolerance; also, if you confuse all foreigners with brown people, your problem might be racism, not xenophobia)

    I tolerate your right not to do all of those things. Don’t be gay. Don’t have abortions… But you are intolerant when you oppose the rights of others to do those things.

    Let me help you make your argument. It is intolerant of military leaders to prevent people from praying to Jesus by name in military formations and public school sporting events. That infringes on actions they would like to take. Of course, that intolerance is justified as sectarian prayer during government events by government appointees would promote sectarian religious views using government resources. The intolerance of proselytism with government resources is justified as a lesser evil than abuse of government power.

    There is a fundamental difference between calling someone intolerant and actually legislating (or preaching) to restrict a persons actions.

    • Well, I don’t know anyone who wants to stop people from being gay. Yes, people want to prevent same-sex marriage. People want to prevent abortion(killing their children in the womb), prevent comming into the country illegally, secure a strictly merit based system of academic and professional achieval, prevent a system that preys on the successful (btw, conservatives would love nothing more than equal taxes, half the country doesnt pay a dime), and prevent a shrine to jihad.

      You import the idea in that samesex marriage, abortion, unfettered access to our country, advancement based on something other than acheivement, wealth redistribution, and monuments to jihad are good.

  3. Wow, what a list!

    “stopping others from being gay”

    Pure straw man. I know a “few” Christians and have never heard of such a thing. The LGBTQ movement is what is trying to change the definition of the word “marriage” and teach kids as young as 5 how allegedly normal those behaviors are.

    “having abortions”

    You ignore a basic scientific fact: The unborn are human beings from conception. We are trying to protect them from being crushed and dismembered. You are intolerant of these human beings and think it should be legal to kill them just because they are unwanted.

    “immigrating to the US”

    Huh? We support legal immigration. Oh, you mean we oppose illegal immigration? Of course we do. It’s illegal. If you think we should open our borders to any and everyone, please think 30 minutes into the future. What will you do when ship after ship of Indian and Chinese people come over? Will you be able to feed, clothe and house them all?

    “paying equal taxes”

    The top 1% of earners pay 38% of federal taxes. Are you saying that they should only pay 1% of taxes? That would make things equal.

  4. Unborn being human from conception is not a scientific fact, it is an opinion, namely yours. Where the unborn is defined as being human changes depending on the laws of the area, and varies wildly. For example, China doesn’t define an unborn child as a human being until it is both born and takes its first breath. Once it takes that first breath it is a human being and protected under Chinese law, until then it is fetal matter. Science itself is incapable of making such a distinction.

    As for the United States; when a fetus is considered a living, let alone a human being, is determined by the state, and naturally varies wildly as well.

    Back onto the topic of tolerance; I feel that it is perfectly within a persons right to be intolerant of whatever they choose. Demanding tolerance et al. is a bit tedious, as we all have things we do not tolerate, such as child rapists (one would hope).

    It is one thing to be intolerant of same sex marriage, but another thing entirely to want to place legal restrictions on same sex marriage. In some cases this can be understandable, as it is perfectly reasonable to be intolerant of pedophilia and in turn demand restrictions on such actions. But the reasoning behind demanding restrictions on pedophilia and same-sex marriage differ enough that the former is perfectly reasonable, while the latter is not.

    The issue with pedophilia is consent, as an impressionable underage child simply cannot be trusted to be knowledgeable enough of the world to be capable of consenting to engaging into a sexual relationship with an adult, and such relationships have been found to psychologically damaging to the child. This gives plenty of reasons to place restrictions on such actions.

    The disagreement with same-sex marriage is sanctity. Which is entirely irrelevant when it comes to a secular nation such as the United States. It’s perfectly reasonable to be intolerant of same-sex marriages, even for a church to refuse to marry such unions. But that is a religious issue, not a legal one.

    I agree that we all have the right to disagree with people, but actively opposing something to the point of demanding other people agree with you, or changes to the law, or legal action in support of your side is something else entirely, as such I must agree with Jason Torpy on his interpretation.

    On another note, I must disagree with describing the Muslim Center as a “Ground Zero Mosque” or “Monument to Jihad”. Ground Zero Mosque is understandable as the phrase itself is enough to let people know what you are talking about, nevermind that it is neither a mosque nor is it even located in “Ground Zero”, but “Monument to Jihad” seems a bit harsh, don’t you think?

    • First, you expose your ignorance of the issue when you say “Unborn being human from conception is not a scientific fact, it is an opinion, namely yours” because embryology textbooks have been saying this for years. Only abortion propagandists deny this. I’ll get you some quotes if you like. The government doesnt make medical findings, medical professionals do. So when the government says life begins is irrelevant.

      I’m really not interested in arguing all of these points. The point of this commentary was about disagreement. How both sides disagree, but only one side is called names, and harassed and intimidated attempting to shut them up. No one is neutral, everyone has a point of view, and everyone has their reasons for their view. In a truly tolerant society, both sides get to speak. In our faux-tolerant society, only one side is allowed to speak unencumbered by threats. Only one side is permitted in schools and universities. Only one side of these issues is permitted to speak them publicly without being badgered for apologies.

      And this is because the reasons people oppose the things I listed above, their reasons are irrelevant to the one playing the tolerance card. All that matters is feelings have been hurt. And now in America, feelings are a sacred cow.

  5. “Unborn being human from conception is not a scientific fact, it is an opinion, namely yours.”

    That’s not what all the secular embryology textbooks say: http://tinyurl.com/yfje8lq . Science couldn’t be more clear.

    Even absent all the scientific data, just what type of being do you think two human beings would create?

    “For example, China doesn’t define an unborn child as a human being until it is both born and takes its first breath. ”

    Bad example. China also has forced abortions. And if China defined a human being as someone outside the womb for 10 years, would you be on board with that? Slave traders thought blacks were less than human, Hitler thought Jews were less than human, etc.

    Back to the topic: You are begging the question with oxymoronic “same-sex marriage.” You act as if it has always existed and that Christians are being intolerant of it and trying to take it away. But the facts show the opposite:The LGBTQ movement does not tolerate the real view of marriage that even atheistic cultures like China and the former USSR adhered to. They want to force others to affirm their view of marriage.

    Meanwhile, we aren’t saying gays can’t “marry.” They can go to all sorts of fake churches and have a ceremony. They can honeymoon, live together, etc. and we won’t do a thing about it. We are merely stating what should be obvious: The government has no reason to get involved in those relationships and affirm them as being the same as heterosexual unions, which by nature and design produce the next generation and are the only unions that can provide one mother and one father to a child, the well-proven ideal.

    Leftists have perverted the definition of tolerance and are trying to do the same thing with marriage.

  6. For the most part, I agree with John. Tolerance ought not to include respecting bad or wrong ideas. There is also no cause for calling someone names in an effort to shame them into silence.
    That said- there are elements of each of those examples (abortion,same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, affirmative action, tax policy, religious freedom) that have ignorance, intolerance and misunderstanding in their arguments. This is why we should take the time to listen and debate these topics. Just because some people who rail against immigration issues are xenophobic- doesn’t make every person with conservative views on immigration a xenophobe. Their argument will stand on it’s merits- and if the argument can’t stand without ignorance and intolerance- then all the worse for the opinion.
    Knee jerk name calling is putting words or motives into someones opinion that do not necessarily stand up to closer scrutiny.
    To the example that spawned this post, I don’t know enough about Mormonism to know if it is a cult. I am ignorant to that information. I suspect that it meets the criteria by which I would define a cult. So does Catholicism though- of that I am sure. I know enough about Mormonism to comfortably say it is a heretical offshoot of Christianity- this is all.
    Calling a religion a cult or un-Christian is not intolerant per se, but you best have an informed argument backing that claim. Intolerant fear-mongering is claiming God will show His wrath if we elect a Mormon.

  7. http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/187349-dem-house-gop-misogynist-for-bringing-up-abortion-bill

    Who called it? Someone who who sounds a lot like me, that’s who.

    Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Thursday charged House Republicans of misogynous motives in bringing up a bill that seeks to limit federal funding for abortion.

    “What my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are attempting to do is misogynist,” Speier said on the House floor. “It is absolutely misogynist.”

    “This bill goes to the farthest extreme in trying to take women down, not just a peg, but to take in shackles to some cave somewhere,”

  8. @ Neil

    When the fetus is defined as a human being is not a completely universally agreed upon concept, even in science, is what I was arguing. Some text books denote post embryonic stages as the beginning of being defined as human (Which off the top of my head I believe is some 7 or 8 weeks after conception), other sources state when the heart starts beating (which is what many medical professionals associate with being a living human anyway). To say that the field of medicine is in complete unanimous agreement that a human being is defined as such at the moment of conception is absurd, and to call me ignorant for stating as such is eye-brow raising.

    The ‘Chinese Government example’ is based off of the Chinese Field of Medicine, whether you agree or disagree with the actions of the Chinese Government is completely irrelevant, it was meant as a counter-example to the argument that it is a universally agreed upon concept. It is not agreed upon in China hence it is not a universally agreed upon point in the field of medicine, and no, we can’t just ignore China or any other country that would disagree with your definition. Chinese medicine is a clear counter-example of the argument that it is universally agreed upon, else we want to redefine it as “every field of medicine that agrees with me states that the human is defined at conception”, which is beyond argument.

    “Even absent all the scientific data, just what type of being do you think two human beings would create?”

    A human being, eventually. The question is when it is classified as human. The process of becoming a human being begins at fertilization. And even if we were to all agree that human ‘beingness’ begins at the moment of conception, it still wouldn’t mean that it would have any rights.

    As to the same-sex issue, what do I care what the LGBTQ movement is doing? I am arguing my own stance, not theirs. But while we are on the topic of forcing their view of marriage, isn’t that what you are doing? You haven’t explicitly stated that you are, and I am making quite a few assumptions here so correct me if I am wrong, but I suspect that in your disagreement with the legality of same-sex marriage stems from a personal view of what marriage means and that you would like others to follow this personal view of marriage, possibly by changing the law to restrict marriage to only include what you consider to be a true marriage, also known as “forcing others to affirm their view of marriage”. This isn’t wrong, per ce, but you should at least recognize that both sides are guilty of the same thing and that they aren’t inherently at fault for it.

    Legally, marriage is simply the unification of property between two persons. It’s a legal contract, and there is no rational reason why two men or two women shouldn’t be allowed to live together and share property, including legal rights to their children and making choices for each other in medical situations and countless other cases, and no rational reason why the government can’t legally recognize it. It’s when you add religion to the mix that you find reasons why it shouldn’t be allowed, and that is perfectly okay. Just keep it in the aforementioned religion and out of law. Marriage only involves a church out of tradition, it isn’t a necessary part of marriage. Your argument and my argument sound very similar, except I am not trying to restrict the actions of other people, hence I disagree that the conclusion in your case is “obvious”.

    As to the rest of your argument, and I’ll keep it short; both nature and design are impossible to determine and are incredibly hallow arguments (They even have fallacies named after them), and a nuclear family being an ideal is only a opinion, an opinion that seems to ignore the existence of single parents. You could argue that single parents are less than ideal, but there are no laws against single parenting, and no reason why less than ideal unions such as presumably per your own opinion, homosexual ones, should be restricted under the law.

    I’m getting a bit off topic. My apologies, but I feel that responding to these direct attacks at my person was necessary. If brevity is a virtue, then length is my vice. Again, my apologies.

    @ John

    Asides from your initial response to my post (which I feel I’ve addressed above), I agree with you. Feelings aren’t important enough to get in the way of rational discourse, and it is healthy that people have discussions like these. Calling out variants of the ‘race card’ without justification only detracts from discussion. It’s a discussion-stopping argument.

  9. Dennis Prager has coined a term for us “intolerant” folks: SIXHRB. Sexist, Islamophobic, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Racist, Bigoted. He rightfully points out that it’s just an easy way for a person who cannot logically and rationally defend their point of view to SHUT DOWN any meaningful discussion with someone who differs with their opinion. Add in an ad hominem attack upon character, or some other immature name-calling or mud-slinging session, and you’ve got the the typical Leftist tactic used to bully someone out of the debate.

  10. Pluralism has led to the death of reason. That is why so many people are comfortable with simultaneously holding conflicting positions. “Tolerance is the most important value. You’re a jerk for being intolerant.” Pluralism bludgeons those who seek the truth with their “tolerance” mace. Just like you pointed out, this mace is a weapon fit for any argument contrary to pluralism’s agenda. Oppose same-sex “marriage?” Use the tolerance mace. Oppose abortion? Use the tolerance mace. Hold to biblical orthodoxy? Use the tolerance mace. It’s not a weapon of precision, but it doesn’t need to be if it makes the intolerant conservative shut up.

  11. @Grannie

    I am only a relatively recent discoverer of Prager. I think he is a very clear and precise thinker. I only wish I gave him attention years ago.

    @Crow

    We are getting a bit off topic, as you yourself recognize. I have plenty written about Abortion, you might like reading through some of those. Or, nothing is off topic on the Discussion Page.

  12. “What my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are attempting to do is misogynist,” Speier said on the House floor. “It is absolutely misogynist.”

    John, ask her what she thinks of gender-selection abortions, nearly all of which destroy females for the sole reason that they are female. That’s the ultimate misogyny, and it happens with her blessing.

  13. I had an article by Mike Adams from 2007, which I found while cleaning out my files. He hit the nail on the head when he said, “Hate speech is verbal communication that induces anger due to the listener’s inability to offer an intelligent response.” He also pointed out that, “only those who are emotionally unfit are likely to become uncomfortable simply by hearing a contrary point of view.”

    You can’t ague with that!

    • it is so sad. The volume goes up, the subject changes from the issue to the opponent, and you can see the stress build up. It’s difficult to understand how people are so overrun with emotion that they abandon all reason.

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