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The Intolerance of the Tolerant

If you’re going to be intolerant, it’s not a good look to do it in the name of tolerance. 

Phyllis McGinley wrote a famous poem called “The Angry Man,” describing a man who saw it as his business to stamp out intolerance. Walking around with a banner marked “Tolerance,” he condemns everyone who disagrees with him:

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, "I am he
Who champions total liberty —
Intolerance being, ma'am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

The political world is filled with people like this—those who carry around the banner of “tolerance,” but wield it like a weapon.

The most recent victim of the intolerance of the tolerance lobby is a Christian school in Louisville, Kentucky, in which, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, an assignment was given to students asking them to respond charitably to a homosexual friend concerning the Christian strictures on sexual activity.

The story attracted a crowd of Angry Men on social media condemning the school as being “intolerant.” Several news stories have been written on the seeming crisis, and several opinion pieces have been run in the local paper (all of them against the school).

The school assignment was first publicized on social media by JP Davis, whose only connection with the school seems to be that he has a friend who sends his child there. Davis was outraged by the assignment. “I know it’s a Christian school, but that’s not my Christianity. That’s not my values.”


In other words, Davis’ problem with what the school is doing is that it isn’t teaching his own values. Davis apparently believes the school has some obligation to abandon its version of Christianity (the one that’s been around for over 2,000 years) in favor of Davis’ more recent version—but it’s not clear exactly why, other than that it bothers Davis.

Anyone can have his own personal view of Christianity. You can even take a pair of scissors to the Bible and create your own version of that, too. But when you want to force that edited version down other people’s throats, you shouldn’t be surprised when they prefer the original, unedited version.

This is the “tolerance” agenda at its worst: belligerent, unempathetic, and completely lacking in self-awareness regarding its inconsistency with its own message.

There is an easy way for people to deal with Christian schools teaching Christian beliefs to Christian children of Christian families: DON’T SEND YOUR CHILD THERE. Plenty of people exercise this option—in fact, this option doesn’t involve any effort at all.

Some people don’t mind being intolerant. In fact, if you think about it, all people—at least those who believe anything at all—are intolerant about something. But if you’re going to be intolerant, it’s not a good look to do it in the name of tolerance. 

Everyone has the right to beat other people over the head with their tolerance banner, but they shouldn’t expect the rest of us to be impressed by the fact that they say one thing and then do something entirely different.

Pixahive, CC0


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