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Tolerants' Intolerance of Intolerance is Intolerable

by Christian Michael

September 22, 2013


Love is the only force that will both end and heal hate.

No law, anger, force or reciprocal hate will truly heal the true source of intolerance. Such things can seemingly curtail behavior, but like all things festering require an openness to sunlight to find healing.

So when I hear people who preach tolerance turn around and scream hate at people who don't believe in their brand of tolerance -- even if I agree with their viewpoint -- I see nothing more than a reflection of the very people they claim are intolerant.

Take our hot-button topics of gay rights. Many faith-based groups don't support homosexuality. In a free nation, they have the right to live their lives and run their businesses however they see fit, so long as they don't go out of their purview to control other people's behavior. That same is reciprocal of the people fighting against them. They cannot force them to run their businesses or choose to accept homosexual behavior.

I hear vitriol from both sides of most major issues. Each hates the other's standpoint and both vilifies the other. Sometimes one party seems more gracious than the other, sometimes the opposite. Sometimes they're both just plain dirty.

And it never changes anything, because hate of hate doesn't change hate. Intolerance of intolerance doesn't change intolerance. It just begets hardening of positions and hunkering. I suppose that's redundant, but people don't seem to be getting this concept, so maybe some repetition and re-explaining might help.

The commitment to the betterment of another person with a dedication of your soul (real love) sometimes means tolerating intolerance. It means letting people sit in their positions so long as they don't control other people's behavior outside of their purview. It means if they want to hurt themselves or seclude themselves to their belief systems, letting them. AND, not hating them for it.

Or, perhaps, think less of them and actually let people choose which behaviors they will approve of and which they won't and actually respecting their right to believe whatever they want. You know, it's a free country. People are allowed to believe that black people are from the cursed demons of hell and that freedom of speech is Satan's path to Armageddon. I don't have to agree, or even think their position is necessarily intelligent, but I will respect their right to have it, and I will respect them by not hating them.

I will respect the natural exercise of liberty we all enjoy by letting other people believe what they want to. Regardless of what that belief is. What makes the difference is:

  • Do you expect other people to pay (personally, financially, freedom-wise) for what you believe in?

  • Do they force other people to do what they believe? Within reason, parents can expect to impose behavioral concerns upon their children, though I would venture marrying them off underage and other such issues would be beyond that purview.

  • Will you exercise your belief system through voluntary participation?

Ultimately, it always boils down to the root of control. Will you attempt to control others' behavior outside of your purview?

Now, what do I mean by purview? As a business owner, Chic'Fil'A could demand only straight employees (which they currently accept all employees regardless of disposition -- I used to work with a homosexual at Chic'Fil'A, actually). Their purview is their business. No one forces people to work for them and they don't accept federal funds to stay in business.

My family is my purview. My wife and I (future) can run it how we desire. A church or other belief-based consortium can operate however it wish. That's freedom.

If I want to help someone who hates homosexuals to learn to love people regardless of their belief, attacking that belief system will only further entrench them in it. This is basic human psychology -- protectionism.

HOWEVER ... instead of blowing like a harsh east wind against the traveler and his coat, come out like the sunshine and show people love. Your love -- your tolerance of their hate -- is a more powerful tool to drawing them from it than any other tactic. And the key here is, it can't be a tactic. You actually have to love someone you consider unloveable. When they realize that you love them more than you hate their behavior?

Only then will you find their heart opening, and the road to tolerance open a new path.

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