Duck Dynasty: No, Tolerance Doesn't Have To Go Both Ways

Sorry. Duck Dynasty again. It's always the stupid shit that forces a dialogue, it seems.

There's a lot of whining going on about there being no tolerance for people of faith in America anymore.

Here's the thing about tolerance. Tolerance (which I've posted about before here) does not require that one be tolerant of social injustice. When we denounce beliefs which cause harm to others (and yes, denigrating LGBT folks and equating homosexuality with bestiality is indeed harmful), we are in no way in conflict with the concept of tolerance. Tolerance, in a global declaration by the UN, is defined as "the responsibility that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), democracy and the rule of law. It involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism and affirms the standards set out in international human rights instruments...The practice of tolerance does not mean toleration of social injustice or the abandonment or weakening of one's convictions."

When people state that they stand with Robertson because he has the right to speak freely about his faith, they're right -- he does have that right. But it begs the question -- are Christians required by their faith to malign human beings for their natural traits? (If so, that's a horribly flawed morality.) And are those who disagree required to tolerate it?

The reason why it has become "politically incorrect" to denigrate gays and lesbians is not because society no longer tolerates religious belief or family values. It's because this view of sexuality and gender is as unethical and as harmful as the Taliban belief that women should stay at home rather than go to school. It is quite simply archaic and discriminatory thinking that has no value in modern society -- thinking that is morally dubious at best. While those who embrace reason, science, and human progress are moving on and leaving behind naive and outdated views from ancient texts, others remain kicking and screaming, believing that others are being intolerant of their Bronze Age ideas about sexuality and gender (or about the origins of the cosmos and life).

If we must tolerate religious views of LGBT-condemning fundamentalist Christians, then we must also tolerate the religious views of women-stoning fundamentalist Muslims. We can't say that one is any more or less correct. They are both morally unsound and archaic views that cause harm to others.

Why aren't people tolerant of those who wish to cure epilepsy or mental illness by drilling holes in the skull? (This was a common early medical practice.) Well, mostly because we learned more about biology, realized that we were mistaken, and we changed our approach.

There is nothing about tolerance that requires someone to tolerate the mistreatment or maligning of other human beings because of their natural traits. So crying foul on this one and saying it's an attack on faith and family values is to miss the point. Because anti-LGBT sentiment is not a value. Any faith that dictates that it is, is morally flawed. Acquiescing to such ideology is not a virtue.

1 comment:

  1. So other people's views are archaic and yours is better? It is not Ok for him to have an opinion which puts other's in a bad light but it is OK for you not only to sate your opinion to put him an a bad light but also to take away part of his livelihood? That seems more damaging to me than simply having a different opinion.