Been thinking about the difference between “respect” and “tolerance”. I think this quote from wikipedia (the “real” Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe) sums it up pretty well:
Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn’t necessarily imply any positive feeling, and is compatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect.
For example, there have been several stories in the news about various high school graduation ceremonies that have been held in churches for years, mainly due to the large number of friends and family that want to attend the ceremony, but there are no facilities available large enough to accommodate everyone, EXCEPT large church sanctuaries. This was true of my own son’s graduation back in 2008. According to the ACLU, if ONE person objects and threatens to sue unless an alternate facility is found, then the rights of that ONE persons outweigh the rights of the majority of those who are more interested in participating in the rite of passage of their sons and daughters, sometimes to the point of moving the ceremony to a smaller facility which accommodates a very limited number of attendees other than the graduates themselves. The irony is that it may become necessary to for the offended party to be excluded from the very ceremony he or she objected to, due to lack of space.
Why do I care? I don’t have a child graduating from high school this year. It’s just an example. What I do care about is being respected vs. being tolerated. You may disagree with me, and I may disagree with you. If I tolerate your opinion on a particular issue, I listen, smile and say “That’s nice” and then walk away thinking to myself, “What a stupid way to think.” If I respect your opinion, my reaction should be, “I may not understand your opinion, but I respect your insight.”, with the hope that you, whoever you are, can respond in kind.
A few years back, we gave the youth at our church an assignment: “This I believe.” They wrote about their faith. They also wrote about the merits of chocolate vs. vanilla (or vice versa), Led Zeppelin vs. Pink Floyd, etc. You get the picture.
I’ve been quiet about a lot of issues recently because I know that what I believe on most of them are politically incorrect, and those of us who hold to any sort of politically incorrect opinion on anything are considered by the “enlightened” to be “knuckle-dragging morons.” That is not respect for a differing opinion, neither is it tolerance. It is the “politics of personal destruction.” It’s easier to say to someone with whom you disagree, “You are an idiot.” than it is to say “I disagree with you because…..” or “I respect your experience; here’s mine.”
Having said all that, here are some things that have been on my mind recently that I’ve kept quiet about, because I know what the response to what I have to say will not be popular. I’ve never been popular, so why start now, right? So…
This I Believe:
The death of Osama Bin Laden: The Americans who heard the news of OBL’s death and celebrated weren’t celebrating the death of an innocent man, or the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, as were the Muslims celebrating in the streets on 9/11. They were celebrating the death of a mass murderer. I’m OK with that.
Capital punishment vs. abortion: I believe that these two issues are not incompatible because, again, there is a difference between ultimate punishment for an ultimate crime and the taking of innocent life. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be pro-abortion, until I had a premature baby that could have been legally aborted. That would not have been a decision on what I could or could not do with my body; it would have been a decision on what I could or could not have done with HER body.
Faith: Everyone has faith in something, whether they want to admit it or not. Even an atheist has faith….faith that when he sits down in a chair, that chair will support his weight, unless prior experience has proven that the chair is unable to support his weight. Hopefully he learned something from the experience and won’t make the same mistake twice. Faith is a belief in something “unseen”, but it is also the ability to believe in something “unseen” because prior experience of what has been “seen” lends credence to what may yet be unseen, or not yet experienced. If you kick a dog enough, that dog develops faith that you will indeed kick him again. And that faith will lead to changed behavior: that dog isn’t going to keep coming to you when you call him because, chances are, he’s going to get kicked and he knows it.
Sarah Palin: Why do feminists HATE this woman, passionately? I grew up in the 70’s. Remember this commercial: “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…and never once let you forget you’re a man!” or whatever. We girls had it drummed into us that we could do whatever a man could do. Feminists fought for the right to have a career, a family, grab the brass ring. You may disagree with her politics, but as a woman, she has ably manifested a career and a family and is very unapologetic about it. She also chose to bring a special needs child into the world. She had the right to abort that child, but she didn’t. Is that why she is so hated, because she respected her child’s right to exist?
Israel: Does this country not have the right to exist? They are surrounded by people who don’t just want their land; they want the people of Israel DEAD. When other countries, including our own BTW, continually allow or even aid the PLO, Hamas, etc. to attempt to dismantle Israel piecemeal, isn’t this the equivalent of condoning the Holocaust all over again?
Chocolate vs. vanilla: not open for discussion. Chocolate.
Led Zeppelin vs. Pink Floyd: Rachmaninoff
Citizen Zane vs. Casablanca: yes.
Scariest movie ever: A Face in the Crowd, followed closely by Citizen Kane.
So…..end rant. Have a blessed day, and if the word “blessed” offends you, define what “blessed” means for you and embrace it. I know what it means for me.
P.S. Proof that I do have a sense of humor. Plus, my daddy loved this little ditty, and the Muppets.
P.P.S…those of us raised in the South were taught, “If you can’t say something nice, then say nothing at all.” I don’t necessarily agree with that, but if all you have to say is that I’m a knuckle-dragging moron, then thanks, I already know that.