That family with a lot of kids who are homeschooled and very fundamental Christian in their religious ideology has been in the news a bit lately. There was the snafu of the '1st kiss' pictures on their facebook page where folks from the LGBT community posted their own kiss pictures with their partners and then there was the robocall the matriarch of this clan put out that likened transgender human beings to pedophiles. As expected, facebook, twitter, etc BLEW UP with posts, comments, and memes either in support of the clan's statements and beliefs or opposing them. I, myself, crawled out from under the evolutionary rock from which I sprang to post a comment or two, share a meme, and give rise to my ire at the offensive implication that was made toward the LGBT community.
It was through these exchanges that I was banned from one facebook page with all my comments deleted. So many others also commented that the owner of the page felt the need to delete all such remarks, ban all who opposed the discriminatory ideology, and make this post:
..."I am finding that people are coming here attacking Christians and saying that we need to be "tolerant" of their beliefs, but not vice versa. I find it repugnant that my beliefs, faith and morals are NOT tolerated. I find it repugnant that freedom of religion continues to be trampled upon in this nation, something that was so very important to our founding fathers. I find it repugnant that the Constitution has become irrelevant and disrespected. It is beyond words that people have redefined freedom of speech to fit their own narrow definition. It applies to EVERYONE, no matter what. That is what my husband has fought for in 2 wars, and hundreds of thousands before him. I will not stand silent while his sacrifice is demeaned and my faith attacked. I will have to tolerate the beliefs of those I disagree with and demand that the same be done in return. That is civility. And so many here on FB have proven that they lack their quality."
Hey, it's her facebook page - she can do as she wants. I have, upon rare occasion, banned a few folks from the IH facebook page. The ones I ban are the ones that post such obscene and offensive hate speech or just religiously repugnant ideology, that I literally can't stomach having their comments on my facebook page. So, I support her right to delete commentary and ban people. It's her page. But it did get me to thinking about rights and tolerance...
I am not always a tolerant person. Nor do I believe I'm required to be. To tolerate something means to allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference. It means to accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance as well as be capable of continued subjection to (a drug, toxin, or environmental condition) without adverse reaction.
I will never tolerate the existence, occurrence, or practice of something, without interfering, that means to demean, discriminate, or damage another person especially when the justification for doing so is no more than a personal belief. There have been a lot of intolerant folks throughout history. They have opposed such things as slavery, genocide, and other crimes against humanity. Another crime against humanity is persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds. So, speaking out - being intolerant - of views that forward an agenda of persecuting a group of individuals on the basis of gender does not, in my opinion, make one intolerant. As a society we should be very careful concerning what we DO tolerate and that includes allowing one portion of our population (be they a majority or not) to dictate the rights of others based on nothing more than their religious ideology.
On the other side of this issue is 'respecting rights'. Yes, whether we like it or not we are to respect other people's rights. That does NOT mean we have to respect what they say, what they do, or what they believe, we merely must respect that they have a RIGHT to do it, say it, and believe it. That is IT. I am not required to respect the person, let alone the discriminatory, demeaning, bullshit that comes out of their mouths that they believe. Their right to have that opinion and express it is firmly entrenched in our rights but there is no free pass from receiving negative reactions to opening your mouth and spewing garbage - no matter what. Yes, that includes me hearing from folks who are angry with what I've said in this blog post. But let's be clear on a few points first:
You have a right to express yourself freely - you do not have a right to cry 'foul' when you get a backlash for what you expressed. Your free speech wasn't infringed upon - after all we aren't shutting you up, we are merely using our freedom of speech to point out why your view is asinine as we speak out against bigotry and discrimination.
You have a right to be afforded all the other rights that everyone is afforded. Period. That's all. If you are afforded a right that others are not then what you are receiving is a privilege and not a right and our country doesn't work like that, thank Darwin!
You do not have any rights requiring all others to tolerate you beyond your right to life and the pursuit of happiness. That means you aren't afforded any rights requiring the rest of the world to like you, agree with you, or tolerate your actions/speech beyond not harming you physically because of your actions or speech. And even then, there are loopholes. You try to harm me because of your beliefs and I will end you - and that's legal.
You do not have a right to a 'free pass' pertaining to the consequences of your speech and actions. Period. The KKK can hold a rally and give speeches all day long but once they cross the line - incite to riot, grab a man and try to hang him, burn a cross on private property, etc - they have crossed the line and they can and should be held accountable for their speech and actions. They also have no say in an anti-KKK group speaking out against them and their ideology.
In this country, we do not have to tolerate the 'what', merely the 'who'. So let's be clear. I am under no obligation - legally or morally - to *tolerate* the speech and actions of any person or group that seeks to condemn, destroy, or vilify another person or group for any reason other than evidentiary proof that that person or group committed a crime themselves. I will tolerate you having your faith as long as your faith doesn't negate another person's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Period.