December 28, 2004

Respect vs Tolerance

Lionel Shriver nails it:

Freedom of speech that does not embrace the right to offend is a farce. The stipulation that you may say whatever you like so long as you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings canonizes the milquetoast homily, “If you can’t say anything nice. . . .” Since rare is the sentiment that does not incense someone, rest assured that in that instance you don’t say anything at all.

The concept of religious “tolerance” seems to be warping apace these days, and we appear to forget that commonly one tolerates through gritted teeth. It is rapidly becoming accepted social cant that to “tolerate” other people’s religions is to accord them respect. In fact, respect for one’s beliefs is gradually achieving the status of a hallowed “human right.”

I am under no obligation to respect your beliefs. Respect is earned; it is not an entitlement. I may regard creationists as plain wrong, which would make holding their beliefs in high regard nonsensical. In kind, if I proclaim on a street corner that a certain Japanese beetle in my back garden is the new Messiah, you are also within your rights to ridicule me as a fruitcake.

This is part of the cultural battle currently being waged: the Left would have us believe that tolerance equates to respect, when one has nothing to do with the other. We must tolerate the white supremacists among us—provided they do not resort to violence or other criminal activity—but that does not mean we have to respect what they stand for.

Christians are getting battered about in this country in many cultural arenas, and that’s okay from a freedom of speech standpoint. The problem is when the Christian’s freedom of speech is squelched by these very same leftists slamming the Christian, accusing him of being the “intolerant” one.

Posted by retrophisch at December 28, 2004 06:00 PM | TrackBack