Why is it that those who profess such great tolerance are often the least likely to display it? Why is it that “tolerance” from such people and groups who are highly driven by ideology is only extended to those who believe the same way they do? Is that not actually the definition of intolerance? Because a businessman expressed his opinion ( called “free speech”protected by the Constitution), the nation was this week subjected to a textbook display of intolerance by those who seem to claim it as their exclusive and private domain.
This past week, Dan Cathy, President of Chick-Fil-A, said in an interview on a syndicated radio talk show: “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” To any rational listener, that was an innocuous statement affirming a fundamental value based in historical, biological, and anthropological fact and just happens to be reaffirmed in the Bible since the building block of our society is the family unit that perpetuates the species. After all, how long would human civilization last if the basic family unit was anything different than that averred by Cathy?
But to some radicals so intent on redefining (irrespective of biological fact) our interpretation of our basic social building block, this was perceived as a vicious attack on their ideology and their agenda. And since they are such a tolerant group, they proceeded to show us just how “tolerant” they are by calling for boycotts, “kiss-ins,” and other types of protests against the family-friendly national chain of restaurants.
But that was just the beginning of the intolerant denunciations against Cathy. The Jim Henson group that created the Muppets showed how tolerant they are by announcing they were severing their commercial ties to the restaurant chain. “The Jim Henson Company has celebrated and embraced diversity and inclusiveness for over fifty years and we have notified Chick-fil-A that we do not wish to partner with them on any future endeavors,” they declared. Apparently, their standard for “tolerance” is not very “diverse” or “inclusive” as it obviously excludes people of faith who think differently. Makes you wonder what bizarre dictionary they use to define “diversity” and “inclusiveness” to exclude 70% of the population!
Others in the Hollywood community added their voices to the echo chamber of intolerance. Paragons of social and moral consciousness, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, and other Hollywood celebrities displayed their immense tolerance by employing social media to denounce, attack, and castigate Cathy and calling for a boycott of his firm.
Those who are against “hate” in the public square and our cultural fabric should take special note of Roseanne Barr’s comments. She sent out death wishes on Twitter, saying, “anyone who eats S–t Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ.” And in typical social Hollywood class, she tweeted that those at Cathy’s company are “chick filet- nazi chicken f—ing pricks.” If I’m not mistaken, that sounds a great deal like “hate speech.”
Actually, we can thank Ms. Barr. Not only did she aptly portray the ignorance and bigotry of those who think like she does, but also for illustrating in exemplary fashion that those Nazi-like totalitarian tactics of intimidation, coercion, and forced conformity are on the left of the political spectrum, rather than on the right. Forced conformity through political correctness based on progressive ideals is an attempt to limit freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. Such coercion is antithetical to not only the principles of freedom our nation was founded on but is an affront to tolerance itself.
The irony is rich when we realize that the progressive application of tolerance is limited to only their ideological conformity. To them, tolerance is demanded for their behavioral and ideological aberrance but is disallowed for people of traditional values, especially Christians. Their freedom of speech and expression are absolutes to be respected and tolerated, while those who believe differently are disallowed those same privileges.
Tolerance, in practice, is not a universal quality to be collectively aspired to. Rather, it has become a selectively applied form of intolerance (and hate speech) from people who talk so much about tolerating all views and religions and condemn the very kind of speech they themselves employ.
The ultimate hypocrisy is to claim a standard of behavior yet fail to hold oneself accountable to that standard. If tolerance is a noble virtue to which our society must aspire, it must be applied universally, not just demanded of those who believe differently.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Bikes and Books (Creative Commons)
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