I am in a rather interesting argument on another message board. The original argument revolved around gay marriage and isn’t important, but one self-admitted Christian who has moral problems with gays and our new tolerance for deviancy (for lack of a better word) hijacked with an odd message about tolerance.
I responded that tolerance of bigotry and speaking strongly against it are two different things that don’t necessarily contradict each other. She’s making the common mistake of using the wrong definition of tolerance. She also has the wrong definition of hypocrite, but I chose not to make an issue of that.
Furthermore, even if one chooses not to tolerate bigotry, is that so wrong? She’s presenting it in absolutes, either one tolerates everything or tolerates nothing. That’s simply not the case. We make choices about what we will and will not tolerate all the time. We tolerate killing in self-defense, but not killing indiscriminately, and so on. She ignored both my arguments and moved on to this.
The implication being, that I am a bigot as well. My choice to speak out strongly against bigotry puts me in the same category as her. She has chosen to roll in mud and to feel better about it, is attempting to drag others in the mud as well. It also troubles me that she is actually trying to characterize fighting bigotry as a bad thing.
Then I got to thinking about it. I just ended two friendships for myself and my husband because those people showed themselves to be unashamed bigots. I guess that could be construed as “complete and stubborn intolerance” of a creed that is not my own. So are there acceptable forms of bigotry? Does the idea that there is “bigotry against bigotry” make any sense? Is this person correct technically but incorrect in any really meaningful sense of the word? How does one speak out against bigotry and not be a ‘hypocrite’ in a way?
ETA: Crap, my title is badly worded and misspelled at that. Could a mod change it if they happen to pop by? A better way is “Does speaking strongly against bigotry make one a bigot as well?” Or just correct the spelling, whatever you think is best.