Before I proceed, let me get one thing straight. When it comes to moral and religious issues, I despise relativism (except apparently when it comes to parenting). I don't buy the "what's true for me may not be true for you." argument. It makes no sense to me because if something is true, it doesn't matter what we think of it. The lamp next to my bed is, indeed, a lamp, regardless of whether or not I want to believe it is. When it comes to religion, I have faith that Catholicism is Truth. Despite anyone's belief as to whether it is or not. There are two possibilities here: Either I'm right, or I'm wrong. There is no in between. Either Catholicism is the truest religion (I of course think that all Christian, and even non-Christian, religions have some elements of truth to them, but the Catholic Church is where one can find the complete fullness of truth), or it's not.
Of course, we are all human (except for my dog. She's not a human but I'm pretty sure she has some strong opinions about this subject). So naturally, there are going to be subjects about which we disagree. Some subjects cause more emotional reactions than others. If you disagree with me about, say, my view of whether or not the sky is REALLY blue, we could have a pleasant conversation and perhaps just agree to disagree in the end. But if you try and tell me that my opinion about my grandmother's strawberry rhubarb pie (it's the most delicious thing I have ever put in my mouth and it should be considered a miracle which means my grandmother should be considered for canonization to the sainthood) is wrong, then you might as well never talk to me again because I don't think we can be friends. (Jk, jk. We can still be friends. I just won't like you as much) ((SERIOUSLY, joking. Kind of))
My point is, even if we disagree on important things like moral or religious issues, that doesn't change the fact that there is, indeed, a correct answer. One of us is right. And of course, most people believe that they hold the correct view. They wouldn't hold their view if they didn't think it was right.
OKAY. I have that out of the way, so I shall proceed.
*Adjusts Glasses* (If I wore them)
Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a "tolerant" culture. What exactly does that word mean?
Being tolerant is the "cool" thing to do nowadays. When I hear the word, I think of this:
We need to have tolerance, simply because there are different opinions out there and people do not always agree. Tolerance is a good thing. But here's the problem I have with it: it seems as though many who preach tolerance are not, in fact, tolerant of those who disagree about certain issues. In fact, they go so far as to call them names: hateful, phobic, bigoted, anti-freedom, etc etc. The list could go on. Allow me to give an example:
Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla, recently stepped down from his position. People responded with outrage as they discovered his $1,000 contribution to California's Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. I'm not going to pretend to know a vast amount about what exactly happened here because all I have read is what the media has reported, and I've learned never to trust the media. What I do know is that Eich was encouraged (many people say forced) to step down from his position because the company did not agree with his contribution that supported opposition of same-sex marriage.
Mozilla's executive chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, issued the following statement regarding Eich's resignation:
Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.I'm not going to get into the issue of gay marriage here, by the way. That's for another post. What I don't understand is how they can possibly say they "believe in equality and freedom of speech"? Apparently that does not apply to Eich. "We welcome contributions from everyone"...except those who disagree with popular opinion.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.
I've found that many people do just this. They say that they are tolerant, that they support equality, that they believe in freedom for all. But really, they don't. Eich was branded as a hateful, homophobic bigot by many who discovered his monetary contribution. And so are others who hold his views.
What would those people say if Mozilla decided to "encourage someone to resign" because he publicly supported gay marriage? It would be all over the news. Those who once were "tolerant" would suddenly become just the opposite.
"I disagree" does NOT mean "I hate you". I fully understand that many of my views are not the views that a majority of our society holds. I don't think contraception is right, but that doesn't mean that if you use it, I think you're a horrible person. I do think you'd be better off not using it, and I still think you're wrong for using it, but I don't hate you. I'm not a "people-who-use-contraception-phobic." I don't "fear" you (as the term "phobic" implies) or wish you any harm. In fact, I wish the opposite, which is why I encourage others to consider my viewpoint. I can still be good friends with you. I just disagree. One of us is right, one of us isn't. End of story. And really, who does agree with every single life decision or viewpoint of another? It's nearly impossible.
So do we truly live in a culture that encourages tolerance? I don't think so. In my view, Americans define tolerance as agreeing with the loudest voice (which is not even necessarily the majority voice). If you don't, you are considered hateful. Or, as they ironically like to say, "intolerant."
I tell you this in the hopes that when you read any future posts of mine, you do not label me in that way. Just because I might have a different opinion than you does not mean I'm hateful. Just because I might preach that a life choice you happen to be making is morally wrong does not mean I hate you. I just disagree with you. And, like I mentioned earlier, I will stand my ground that what I believe (which is what the Catholic Church teaches) is true. And you'll probably stand your ground. And that's okay.
Let's not be H8ers. Let's have discussions with intelligence and kindness. Perhaps what I say may influence you to think about your decisions. Maybe what you say will encourage me to really think about my viewpoints. Or maybe in the end we'll just agree to disagree. I promise you that I won't call you a h8er.
Unless, of course, you criticize my grandmother's strawberry rhubarb pie.
Just don't go there.