Saturday, May 10, 2014

Intolerance Wins Once Again

In a country where people are supposed to be tolerant of the beliefs of others and embrace cultural differences, it seems pertinent to point out that tolerance seems to be turning into a one-way street. With every passing day "tolerance" seems to mean "you agree with me or you're out."

Just last week, David and Jason Benham were filming episodes of their new TV reality show "Flip It Forward" for HGTV. Set to air in October, the show would have followed the brothers as they helped people turn "fixer upper" homes into their dream homes. While HGTV didn't come right out and say it - it is believed the show was cancelled because some website reported that the twins were anti-gay activists who are also pro-life. Obviously you can't allow people like that to have a TV show!

“We were saddened to hear HGTV’s decision,” the brothers said in a statement. “With all of the grotesque things that can be seen and heard on television today you would think there would be room for two twin brothers who are faithful to our families, committed to Biblical principles, and dedicated professionals. If our faith costs us a television show then so be it.”

Can someone please explain to me why it's wrong for someone to disagree with homosexuality or abortion at will, based on their religious or moral values, but it's OK to discriminate against those people based on opposite beliefs? These two guys lost lucrative jobs because they are conservative Christians who disagree with some of society's accepted norms. Just as in the case of Brenden Eich, who was all but forced to resign from his job as CEO of Mozilla/Firefox because six years ago he donated $1000 in support of the now-overturned gay marriage ban in California, a man lost his job because activists on the left decided he didn't deserve to keep it because he didn't believe as they did.

People on the left are always screaming for tolerance. I wonder sometimes if they understand exactly what it means. Merriam-Webster defines tolerance as "willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own." So is that what's happening in this case? Isn't tolerance supposed to work both ways?

“As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying,” the brothers say. “We do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views.” 

But as in the case of Chik-fil-A's Dan Cathy - it's irrelevant what you do or how you treat others. What's relevant is only that you disagree with what the left believes.

Freedom of speech has to include everyone and all beliefs or it is not really freedom of speech. There are those in this country who would censor freedom of speech based on political and/or social ideology. And that cannot and should not be tolerated.

Jonathon Rauch, an openly gay author, journalist and activist, wrote a book several years ago called "Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought". He recently wrote an afterward to the book that says 20 years ago "gay Americans were forbidden to work for government, to obtain security clearances, serve in the military ... arrested for making love, even in their own homes ... beaten and killed on the streets, entrapped and arrested by police for sport."

These things changed in just 20 years because there was open debate, he says. Gay people "had no real political power, only the force of our arguments. But in a society where free exchange is the rule, that was enough."

Rauch believes, as do I, that free speech leads to debate which leads to knowledge and understanding. How can one reach an understanding or change an opinion or belief if they are forced to remain silent? For that matter, do people expect someone to be tolerant of others if they're own beliefs are ridiculed and attempts are made to force them into compliance?

I'm not asking anyone to change who they are. That's not my call. I'm simply asking that everyone who demands "tolerance" of their beliefs, lifestyle, or what have you, to be tolerant of those same things in other people - even if they disagree with yours.

As for the Benham brothers - they say they were involved in helping six families remodel their homes as part of the show and they intend to see all six projects to completion with or without HGTV. Does that sound like the attitude of hateful people?

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