What is tolerance

My husband read this great article by Orson Scott Card the other day, and I have to share it with you all. Go read it at http://mormontimes.com/mormon_voices/orson_scott_card/?id=4740.

Card writes about how we should be able to disagree respectfully, and why the LDS Church opposes legalizing gay marriage. His point that really caught my eye, though, was this:

“I speak from experience: My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don’t agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share.

Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they called me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of “tolerance.”

Tolerance implies disagreement — it means that even though we don’t agree with or approve of each others beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren’t being tolerant, we’re being uniform.

It’s uniformity or submission these former friends wanted, not tolerance at all.”

You might object and say that this refers only to Orson Scott Card’s understanding of the word tolerance. But you’d be wrong. Here’s what the dictionary has to say under the entry “tolerance”:

1. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
2. a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

Tolerance, therefore, can only exist when we agree to disagree. Some gays are opposing Proposition 8 under the guise of desiring tolerance from heterosexuals. However, the ones doing the name-calling and vandalizing signs are more often opponents of Prop 8 than not. Legalizing gay marriage; requiring that we treat it the same as heterosexual marriage; teaching it as the same in school; suing photographers, doctors, newspapers, adoption agencies, and newspapers for expressing a different opinion and standing by their religions; threatening to even remove the people’s right to vote on the issue in San Diego… None of these things sound like tolerance to me. This is not peaceful co-existence. This is not agreeing, politely, to disagree. This is attempting to force the opinion and habits and standards of a vocal minority on the majority of the population under the guise of “rights” – even though the right to marry is not protected, and establishing gay marriage directly contradicts existing federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which states: DOMA defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws.

How can forcing the 96% of the population that isn’t gay to endorse homosexuality truly be considered tolerance? Gay activists aren’t fighting for tolerance of their behavior. Their rights are already protected as domestic partners under the California family code. They gain nothing by marriage, except the validation of the rest of the community, and the ability to force others to support their beliefs. Legalizing gay marriage does not gain them more rights; all it does is undermine our society and confuse gender issues until we are all one homogenized, featureless lump. They are fighting to PROMOTE A GAY LIFESTYLE. Not for tolerance. If they were so big on tolerance, perhaps they’d be a little more TOLERANT of their opposition. You know, those of us who are out there fighting for our children, our educational system, our right to parent our children and teach them our own morals, our religious freedom, our freedom of speech, and the rights of future generations of children to be born into a home with a mother and a father who love them and are socially responsible to them.

Please support real tolerance, and vote in favor of Proposition 8. Otherwise, dissent becomes illegal.

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For the record

I’m curious. I know many supporters of Prop 8 have experienced nasty backlash from opponents. So I’m going to post up some polls to see what the numbers are.

Notice that the first two questions are aimed at Prop 8 supporters; the last two are aimed at Prop 8 opponents. Just to be fair, I thought we’d survey both sides of the board.

Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 12:35 pm  Comments (4)  
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Why I worry about what Proposition 8 means for my kids

Supporters of Prop 8 keep getting told we don’t need to worry about homosexuality being taught in schools, because we will be forewarned and have the choice to keep our children out. What happened to this family obviously illustrates that that isn’t the case. When sex ed is taught, parents will, as always, have the choice to teach their children about it in the privacy of their own homes. But sex ed isn’t the only time homosexuality will be discussed, if Proposition 8 fails.

The family in the video had their child exposed to the idea of same-sex marriage in kindergarten – way before a child needs to learn about such issues anyway. I applaud the idea of diversity. But treating same-sex marriage as equal to heterosexual marriage isn’t about embracing diversity – it’s about calling two very different things by the same name. Apples and oranges, if you will. The relationships are fundamentally different. And by trying to teach our children to be accepting of those few individuals who choose a homosexual lifestyle, teachers end up pushing homosexuality. To get the message across, they have to talk about it more and praise it more than they do a normal, heterosexual relationship.

Children are impressionable, and easily confused. What their teachers tell them at school is very important. How many little kids’ first crush is on their elementary school teacher? They soak up every word they hear. For example, my three year old loves her uncle Trevor. I think he’s probably her favorite relative. Trevor is a very animated person. Whenever he comes over and plays video games with my husband, he has to be very careful what he says. He’s resorted to yelling “Flowers and puppies and happy things!” when something doesn’t go right in his game. All because my little girl adores him and repeats every word he says. (After the “fat cow” incident, we had a little talk about watching his language around her.) Kids adore certain adults, and what those adults do and say leaves a stronger impression on a child than they realize. So if my kid’s teacher tells her homosexuality is a great thing, it’s just as good as your mom and dad’s marriage, she’s going to have a hard time when mommy tells her that’s not what we believe. Children shouldn’t be learning two different sets of standards and morals.

And imagine the fun literature our kids will be reading as they get older. When I was in middle school and high school, we read a lot of literature about the oppression of blacks, about families who experienced horrible things like child abuse, and about turbulence in Latin America. We read about things our school district decided would probably be issues we would hear about in our lives, to help prepare us for the “real world.” Evidently, preparing us for the real world entailed reading about horrible things, difficulty, and diversity, rather than reading any literature from our own culture… So if gay marriage becomes a legalized practice, doesn’t it follow that our children are going to start reading gay literature too? If we represent every other group in our English classes that has experienced what some would term oppression, it seems logical to assume that we will someday at gay literature to that list.

It’s not just something kids are going to hear about in sex ed. They are going to hear about it anytime marriage is discussed. They will be exposed to it when gay parents take our kids on field trips. As the recently squashed Harvey Milk day idea suggests, in the future our kids may be taught to celebrate homosexuality. As I recently blogged about, kids were taken to a homosexual wedding, which was considered an appropriate activity for young children and an appropriate use of school funds.  Our kids will be bringing books home from school that will, in our hearts, horrify us if we don’t believe homosexuality is a moral practice.

And since when did it become the school’s job to teach our children morality? Especially when the school is going to be teaching our children that immoral behaviors are, in fact, moral? Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: Most Americans don’t practice homosexuality. The majority of religious citizens believe that homosexuality is immoral. In our efforts to be politically correct, we have taken the idea of tolerance to a whole new level. Not only do we accept what people choose to do in private, but now we are going to be teaching our children to accept abberant behavior in our public schools. Being tolerant of others’ beliefs doesn’t mean embracing them and teaching them to our children. Just because we are tolerant doesn’t mean we have to legalize what most Americans term immoral behavior.

Tolerance, and why I support Proposition 8

I would like to think that I am a fairly tolerant person. When some of my friends left the Church in middle school and high school and started drinking and smoking, we stayed friends. I made an effort to be kind to those kids everyone else picked on, having been that kid myself. I had several boys fall in love with me simply because I was the only girl who had ever been nice to them. (Sometimes, being nice and kind has its odd consequences 😉 ) I got picked on a lot in school; I wore glasses, had frizzy curly hair, sang in the choir, was bad at sports, and I was Mormon. Especially because I was Mormon. It still amazes me how many of the pastors in the area I grew up in spent most of their time preaching to their youth about the evil Mormons, instead of on things like abstinence, not taking the name of the Lord in vain, and reading the scriptures. I had friends joke about tarring and feathering Mormons for fun. I watched people march around outside my chapel with signs saying things like “enter here for the gateway to Hell.” Having grown up with people being intolerant of me, I sympathize with those who feel discriminated against.

I have gay friends. I admit it. I don’t think they are horrible people. I don’t preach to them about the evils of their lifestyle. While I don’t think what they do is a good, moral choice that pleases God, I respect their freedom to choose their lifestyle. It is not my place to be their judge. In the case of Proposition 8, though, I feel it is my place to draw the line.

To the best of my understanding, gays have the majority of their rights protected in California. They are simply denied the right to the name of marriage. If Proposition 8 fails, same-sex marriage will, by default, become legalized. (And that’s a point I don’t quite understand… shouldn’t we also have to vote on whether or not same-sex marriage is legal? It seems odd that it will pass into law simply by default if Prop 8 fails.) If same-sex marriage becomes legal in California, people from all over the US will be able to come to California to get married. The issue will carry over into other states, and those states will have to decide whether or not those marriages will be recognized as legal.

In addition, our own pastors, preachers, bishops, and reverends, will have their right to freedom of speech suppressed. Our right to hetereosexual marriage will be suppressed. Our right to freedom of religion will be challenged. How? You might ask. Well, if gay marriage becomes legal, it then becomes illegal to preach against homosexuality. It becomes a hate crime. Our spiritual leaders will be sued. Churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriage will not be allowed to perform heterosexual marriages, on the grounds that doing one and refusing to do the other is discriminatory. If you are not gay, but support gay marriage, think about how you might feel if your own chapel is suddenly hosting gay marriages. Does it change how you feel? If our pastors can’t preach what they believe, and we aren’t allowed to worship as we choose within our church buildings, doesn’t that sound like suppression of freedom of religion to you? It does to me.

I am all about equality. I am all about tolerance. But not when protecting the rights of a minority comes at a suppression of the rights of the majority. Please join me, and vote Yes on Prop 8. To learn more, or to donate, go to http://protectmarriage.com/.

Please, feel free to comment on my post, whether you agree or disagree, but keep it clean. This is a family-oriented blog. If you use profanity, I will have to delete your comment.

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 11:40 am  Comments (66)  
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