How does Tolerance fit with Equal Rights?

Tolerance. I have come to hate that word. Really!

If I asked you to tolerate your women co-workers, or put up with your African-American neighbors, or try to just understand your Latino and Jewish friends, I would be run out of town as the biggest Bigot on the block!

So exactly what part of my children do  you need to tolerate?  What does their behavior, their ethics, their values, their marriage, do to you that gets in your way enough that you would need to tolerate them?

Can you see how offensive this is?  Can you see that there is NO place for Tolerance in the world of Equal Rights?  None!

What I would like for ALL to see is that just as I ask you to accept me as a woman, with different talents and abilities as my male counterparts, I am no less nor better than, just different… thank God, I ask you to see my children s’ talents and abilities in the same regard.

Thank heaven for the diversity of this world, of our country.  I was born as a ‘European mut’ you might say, with grandparents from Sweden, England and Holland.  There is no “purebred” blood here.  I am guessing most of you are ‘muts’ as well.  I carry that heritage with pride.  Two of my children were born gay, (purebred gay I believe), and what  beautiful diversity they brought to our very large heterosexual family.

There is NO need for you to TOLERATE my children.  They are beautiful, talented, giving and kind…. when you get to know them, You will LOVE them!!My Gay and Straight kids

2 thoughts on “How does Tolerance fit with Equal Rights?

  1. Duwayne Anderson

    Okay, I have to admit this one really made me think.

    Part of the problem is that “tolerate” is one of those weird words in the English language that has both positive and negative connotations. The phrase “I tolerate you” might be read as “I put up with you,” and can be derogatory. On the other hand, I freely admit that I want people to be tolerant of my personal idiosyncrasies.

    When I think of Civil Rights I think of rights we’re all entitled to, and that nobody else is allowed to take away from us (even by voting). Speech, for example, is supposed to be a Civil Right; I can say what I want and nobody has the right to put a muzzle on me. I don’t have the right for others to *agree* with what I say, but I certainly have the right to say it.

    Religion is another Civil Right. People have the right to believe what they want about god, gods, angels, fairies, or whatever. I don’t have to agree with them. In fact, I don’t (I’m an atheist) but I agree that it’s *important* for people to have freedom of thought, and that there is a far, far greater danger in the “thought police,” than in religious freedom.

    In both cases I exercise tolerance of individual freedoms — acceptance of an individual’s rights even though their speech/religion might be (and often is) offensive/stupid.

    Things get a bit murkier when it comes to color. I have a good friend who is black. I don’t “tolerate” his skin color — in fact it’s not even an issue. I certainly hope he doesn’t “tolerate” me for being white. I don’t think anyone should say they “tolerate” his skin color either — it’s somehow wrong to say you tolerate someone on account of a physical condition they were born with, and have no control over.

    And that’s the difference.

    Some civil rights (religion and speech, for example) involve choices we make. Those choices need to be tolerated, but not necessarily respected as the “right” choice. Other civil rights have to do with conditions over which we have no choice (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) and those demand acceptance, not mere “tolerance.”

    It’s fairly clear (based on the science involved) that sexual orientation is one of those attributes that we’re born with. Unlike our religious affiliation, and the words we speak, our sexual orientation isn’t a “choice.” As such it seems pretty clear that sexual orientation, like race, is a civil right that demands more than simple “tolerance.”

    I find it interesting that many of the most voracious opponents to Gay Civil Rights are religious people that claim “homosexuality is a choice.” They seem to think that if it is a “choice” it can’t be a protected civil right, and they do this while defending their own civil rights in the choices they make to join a religion (Mormon, Roman Catholic, etc.) and to speak out on a subject. Clearly their reasoning is hypocritical; choices can be protected as part of our civil rights. They demand protection for their choices, and should be willing to extend protection for choices they *perceive* others making.

    But, as I said, one’s sexual orientation isn’t a choice.

    So, bringing this full circle, I agree that we shouldn’t “tolerate” a person for being black. We shouldn’t tolerate the fact that so-and-so is Italian, French, or Chineese. And we shouldn’t “tolerate” a person for being Gay anymore than we “tolerate” them for being 5’9″

    I tend to break it down this way:

    1) Choices we make — I tolerate them but may disagree, or even argue aggressively that the choice is silly, stupid, or dangerous.
    2) How we are born — non-judgmental acceptance/understanding and respect

    So I conclude that my dear Mormon friends are whacked out of their silly little heads — and have a Constitutional right to their delusions, while my friends of various colors, nationalities, and sexual orientations are just …. friends.

    As for *children,* these any parent must love and cherish no matter what they do. Any parent that would put their religion above their child (or grandchild, etc.) is exercising “unnatural affection.” They are an affront to nature. A parent that denigrates a child (or grandchild) for being gay is as strange a creature as a mother bear that tries to suckle a tree stump while her cub starves to death.

    Anyway, that’s my $0.02 and I’m sticking to it (it’s my constitutional right!!) until someone can prove (using a cogent argument) that I don’t know what I’m talking about.


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