There is an argument that conservatives like to make about liberals who espouse tolerance and who take stands against acts of intolerance, are being intolerant themselves for not tolerating the intolerance.
As a gay man, I have tolerated all my life other people's religious beliefs that I had no right to be gay, even though really I have no other choice, as that is part of who I am. When you are surrounded by those who are not tolerant of whom you are, you must tolerate those who are in the majority and accept silently that even if they are not right, they are in the majority and they can make your life miserable if you disagree with them. Believe me, they will too.
I once lost a job because of that intolerance and once I was even beaten by three huge men because of that same intolerance, just because I happened to be stepping out of a gay bar one night. I have been called ugly names and judged as a pervert and even unworthy to live. I have been told that my kind - gay people that is - should all be gathered up and thrown into a huge hole and shot like diseased livestock.
All of this is only a small fragment of what many of my gay brothers and sisters have endured throughout history. Gay people were rounded up by the Nazis in Nazi Germany and they suffered the same fate that 6 million Jews suffered, during that awful period in our world's history. In some civil societies throughout history, just to be accused of being gay could get you beaten, arrested, ostracized and even put to death.
Society in general has not been tolerant of gay people for many centuries and now there are those who feel that liberals are being intolerant because they are not tolerant of those who say things or take action against gay people getting married. It is like those who throw stones of condemnation at others, then criticize those would criticize them for their stone throwing.
Though I cannot agree with the idea that criticizing, boycotting, protesting against, or whatever actions taken against bigotry or those who say and do things that show intolerance toward gay people or other minorities, is somehow wrongheaded, I do believe as a gay man that there is a thing called forgiveness. Still, forgiveness comes after a gesture showing a change of heart. I am not going to accept that gay people and their liberal supporters should allow acts of intolerance to be tolerated.
There was a time, and in some cases still exist, where one can be fired for being gay, and in Russia right now, you can be arrested for even supporting gay rights. Should liberals tolerate that kind of intolerance, or are they being intolerant because they will not tolerate that intolerance?
Reverse criticism is a handy tool for conservatives to utilize when they want bigotry to be an acceptable part of an ever-growing enlightened society, as though they want us to turn our gaze from attacks from the right against our basic freedoms, such as the freedom to marry whom you love. However, like all the ignorant bias that has been used to persecute minorities in the past, they must be thrown out like dirty dishwater and not allowed to stand, for to do so would be acceptance of such bigotry.
Recently, Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich was forced to resign because he donated $1,000 to California's Proposition 8 when it was put on the ballot in 2008. Much criticism from conservatives followed that resignation about liberals not being very tolerant over the intolerance of Mr. Eich. If the former CEO had spoken up and apologized for his support of the initiative to ban LGBT members from enjoying the same right as everyone else, then perhaps I would be in support of Mr. Eich keeping his job but I have heard of no apology.
It is not that Brendan Eich is against gay people getting married but it is because he donated money to keep them from getting married, which is a direct action against marriage equality. It is one thing to have an opinion and it is another to use that opinion to take steps against other people's right to enjoy the same right he has himself.
Also recently, CEO Dan Cathy of Chic-fil-A has had a change of heart about his company's open intolerance of same-sex marriage. Not that he personally has changed his opinion; just that he has decided that the company no longer should voice its opinion openly about his intolerance. In an interview with USA Today he said, “All of us become more wise as time goes by, we sincerely care about all people. … I’m going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues.”
That is a wise move by Mr. Cathy, but it is about business, as his company is on the verge of a growth spurt into a wider market and he does not want his personal objections to stand in the way of his company prospering over his religious objections. Still, if Mr. Cathy's business discriminates against LGBT members in hiring practices or in other ways, it will put his business in the same place it was before: being protested and boycotted by supporters of gay rights.
Though one has religious opinions about one thing or another, is not what brings the ire of liberals; it is when those opinions are used to take steps against gay people or any other minority's right to live freely and with equal protection under the law. I do not ask others to accept my sexual orientation, only that they allow me to live my life as free as they live their own, and without persecution or prohibition. Then tolerance will be mutual and with respect, the least that should be expected out of us all.
This is a republish from my website: Fidlerten Place