Saturday, 16 January 2010

Tolerating the Intolerant!

This week the UK gay rights group, Stonewall, published its list of the top gay-friendly UK employers. I was somewhat surprised that The Christian Institute (TCI) ran with the story highlighting the prominence of the various UK police forces.  TCI is a conservative Evangelical UK institution known for opposing  gay rights.

Unfortunately the TCI quickly switched the content to the recent investigations of Christians. Therefore in my opinion, although they do not say it out right, by implication that more gay people in the police force is leading to persecution of Christians; that the gay community has a vendetta against Christians; the police and society in general is becoming intolerant of Christians.

This is very disappointing to link persecution of Christians with the improvement of diversity in the police force this way. The two are unrelated.  The police are finally taking homophobic hate crime seriously - and so they should.

TCI Silence on the "Kill-The-Gays" Bill

I do think it a little rich to go on about tolerance when the TCI has said nothing (from what I can make out) on the Ugandan "Kill-The-Gays" bill. Sorry, but the TCI's silence is so deafening that one cannot hear its own complaint about intolerance.

Additionally, some the "Christian" comments on the TCI's Facebook page show little of the tolerance the TCI wants the police and others to show Christians. Postings there use pejorative terms, e.g., "perversion", "correct path", "sin", "immorality", etc. These terms are not in line with tolerance and they maintain stereotypes & prejudices (see below).

Tolerating Intolerance

I agree that some people in the gay community show hate & animosity towards Christians (I've been at the receiving end of it myself), and this is sometimes hypocritical.

However, what the TCI and others appear to be asking for is, "You need to be tolerant of my intolerance of you."

This discredits Christians immediately as they are bound to Christ's command, "Do to others as you would like them to do to you."

Therefore Christians cannot legitimately use the philosopher Rawl's statement that society must tolerate the intolerant:
Rawls concludes that a just society must be tolerant; therefore, the intolerant must be tolerated, for otherwise, the society would then itself be intolerant, and thus unjust. However, Rawls qualifies this conclusion by insisting ... that society and its social institutions have a reasonable right of self-preservation that supersedes the principle of tolerance. Hence, the intolerant must be tolerated but only insofar as they do not endanger the tolerant society and its institutions. 
Wikipedia (16/1/2010 20:33) Tolerance
Homosexuals vs Christians

The gay community are really saying that on tolerance, Christians need to take the log out of their eye before taking the spec of dust out of someone else's.

The vast majority of intolerance & prejudice I see today is still directed by the straight community at the gay community:
  • I hear much about people being subjected to homophobic bulling at school (whether they are gay or not) as "gay" is an acceptable pejorative word. I hear much of straight people who assault, rape & murder gays for just being who they are. I also hear many cases of people loosing their jobs or thrown out of their houses for being gay (by homophobic landlords, by law in the Ugandan "kill-the-gays" bill, or because they cannot afford the taxes when their partner dies).
  • I hear little of people bullied at school for just being straight or gay people assaulting, raping & murdering straight people just because they are straight. I hear very few situations of people loosing their jobs or being thrown out of their houses because they are straight or committed adultery.
Maybe that is why the gay community:
  • Remain suspicious of Christians & report them to the police.
  • Think Christians have "blood on their hands" until they break their silence on homophobia and heterosexism and, they accepted that they are responsible for feeding homophobia because of their pejorative views that homosexuality is an inherently evil sexuality & all same-sex behavior is wrong.
Jesus Confronted Sin

Yes, the Bible is replete with Jesus for one confronting sin ... of all sin. Even if one does accept that all same-sex behaviour is wrong, one is applying two standards maintaining that heterosexual behaviour is a private matter and that homosexual behaviour is a public matter (as some Christians maintain). I still cannot understand why some Christians feel that homosexuality is a special kind of sin ... if it is a sin?

Jesus was also without sin!  That placed him in a much stronger moral position to confront sin.

Additionally, the Christian right need to realise that not all Christians regard homosexuality as a sin. Secular society most certainly do not: their professional bodies will guide their assessment of what is right and wrong, e.g., The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. All of these organisations consistently state that homosexuality is not a choice.

But What Of Christian's Rights

On TCI's Facebook page, one of its supporters posted:
A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'
He then continues:
You can apply the above to militant Islam [sic], the rampant homosexual lobby [sic] or any other totalitarian ideology... but... its OUR silence that allows our FREEDOMS to disappear!
The scary thing is that the poster sounded so much like I did 10-15 years ago. I have learned to be careful with these types of arguments. I agree that Christians need to stand up for their faith ... as Christ commanded them to.

However, the Muslim and homosexual communities could also use this argument for their rights against "militant", "rampant" and "totalitarian [Christian] ideology" ... and others.

We live in a multi-cultural secular society where our respective rights will compete. I do not wish to live in a Muslim theocracy any more than a Muslim wants to live in a Christian theocracy.

This is why tolerance is so important. Tolerance does not mean that we acquiescingly condone the other person's belief system or views; that we are compromising our own beliefs.

We agree to disagree and respect each other's rights. We ensure that everyone is treated equally under the secular laws of the country.

However, Rawls' limit on tolerance (above) needs to be applied as it should have been with the Nazi's!

Gays Crying Wolf

At the same time, I do believe that the gay community does need to be careful they do not abuse their new found respect. They must be careful not to report any which incident they are offended at; otherwise they may find that the police no longer will take their complaints seriously when truly needed.

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