Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

A Word on Tolerance. Well, Several, Actually.

I fancy myself a pretty open-minded individual.  I like civil rights, I’m a big fan of free speech and I personally think the United States Constitution was a great start for securing those things for a budding nation.  When I’m studying groups I don’t understand or want to know more about, I think I have a great capacity to tolerate whatever crazy ideals the members of that group may have and I try very hard to honor their humanity without compromising my own.

But, there’s one thing I can’t stand, I won’t stand and certainly in my personal life I absolutely will not tolerate.  Intolerance.

Liberals get bagged as very wishy-washy when it comes to things like this.  I hear that right-wing stand-by “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” often as the go-to for pointing out that open-minded tolerance of all types of views and opinions basically makes us spineless.

I think I may agree.

See, we’ve gotten so used to touting ourselves as lovers of everyone that when people start spewing hate all over the world, including our schools, even from those in charge of education, we sort of throw our hands up in the name of free speech.  Or go the opposite way and start threatening people or their families, which is pretty abhorrent behavior.

Then there’s this guy, Andrew Shirvell who used to work in the Michigan Attorney General’s office but was fired for conduct unbecoming an officer of the court.  Conduct in the form of an anti-gay blog.

I’m not advocating that we start policing folks for taking advantage of their Constitutional right to be a jackahole (similar to whack-a-mole) at all.  What I am advocating is that we stop allowing people the space in our personal lives to be hateful.

I used to really try to let everyone have a say on my social networking pages.  Then someone posted something really anti-GLBT.  I was mortified.  I was worried that my gay and lesbian friends would see that and think that I was okay with someone posting things like that on my page.  So, I started deleting.  Then I started deleting “friends” who could only drum up happy talk for other types that only believed like they do.  I am not the United States and my personal life is not a democracy.

Bishop Spong (who is one of the few religious heroes I have) has done amazing work changing minds and lives inside the Episcopal Church.  He recently wrote a sort of manifesto (and again, I’ll thank my friends in Religious Roundtable for the heads up on this one) basically refusing to engage in the debate of intolerance anymore.

“Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: “New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth.” I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it. I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.”

You can read it in its entirety here on Walking With Integrity.

So, yeah, I’m gonna do that, too.  There aren’t always two sides to every story.  Sometimes there’s just right…and then there’s wrong.  I feel confident, even arrogant, that I’m on the side of right, on the side of human rights, so yanno, if you don’t agree, feel free to not engage with me about it, either.  I won’t tolerate intolerance.  So.  There.

Written by thelittlepecan

November 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

9 Responses

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  1. […] A Word on Tolerance. Well, Several, Actually. November 2010 8 comments 5 […]

  2. I absolutely believe there are limits to tolerance. When tolerance of speech or actions means tolerance of things that bring harm to others, then it needs to be confronted.

    ~JaniePie, aka the Cloaked Monk

    cloakedmonk

    November 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

  3. I agree and support your point of view wholeheartedly. It is no longer acceptable to debate whether or not women are inferior to men, or coloreds are inferior to whites. Even the questions are now offensive. This definitely needs to be moved into the same category.

    (I accidentally typed “whether or not women are inferior to me.” That “n” is important, and I’m glad I caught it. It would have completely changed the tone of the response.)

    Adam Jones

    November 18, 2010 at 10:36 am

  4. You are correct in acknowledging that we as individuals are not a democracy. We have things to gain and lose by the personal sacrifices we make amongst our fellow humans. We are the boats, democracy is the ocean.

    And it should be as such.

    Just last week, I equated religious belief to building model airplanes.
    It’s just part of what people are. There is no definitive reason to prioritize one interest someone has over another.

    If particular interests truly trump others, how does the Gay Preacher or the Conservative Pro-Choicer exist?

    Don Hill

    November 18, 2010 at 10:16 am

    • That’s an interesting point, Don. And we know there are both of those things, in fact, I know several very Conservative folks (mostly Libertarians, though) who are pro-choice at least in some instances.

      thelittlepecan

      November 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm

  5. I am becoming like that too. I’m tired of having to be tolerant of views that I find abhorrent to humans in general.

    Zeenatroohi Kwon

    November 18, 2010 at 8:57 am

    • It makes it a bit difficult. I need to be able to allow my friends to share their views…but at some point, it does start to be ridiculous.

      thelittlepecan

      November 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm


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