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Kennedy guns for that social ill known as tolerance

by Jeremy Hooper

Ministries 27459 2In a column posted on Christian Post, Coral Ridge Ministries' D. James Kennedy says the following things about the nature of tolerance in society:

Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society. When you have an immoral society that has blatantly, proudly, violated all of the commandments of God, there is one last virtue they insist upon: tolerance for their immorality. They will not have you condemning what they have done as being wrong, and they have created a belief system in which it is not, and in which they are no longer the criminal or the villain or the evil person, but you are!

Here’s how it works. If you discuss atheism with an atheist, you are finding fault with that man and criticizing his views. You can’t separate the two. If you find fault with a thief and criticize his stealing, you are finding fault with him, not merely what he does. The same thing is true of a homosexual. You cannot have a rational discussion of the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality.

We’re rapidly sliding downhill. Does it matter? Yes, it matters because when you are criticizing what that person believes or what he does, you are hurting his “feelings.” You are intolerant. You are demonstrating hatefulness to him, and that is a “hate crime.” That can cause you to end up in court or jail.

Okay, first off: Enough with the tired line of reasoning that says one's thoughts are a "hate crime" that could land someone in jail. A CRIME is a" hate crime." A crime motivated by bias is a bias-motivated crime, which is truly the name under which "hate crimes" should operate (as the other leads to the equally tired line, "well all violent crimes are acts of hate.") The religious right is hellbent on working the angle that thoughts are what are punished under hate crimes laws. It is flawed logic that muddies the true issue.

As for tolerance: To understand the issues at play, one only need to look at the statement Kennedy makes in the first passage above. "They will not have you condemning what they have done as being wrong, and they have created a belief system in which it is not, and in which they are no longer the criminal or the villain or the evil person, but you are!" And then he goes on to describe an atheist, a thief, and a gay as examples of the things he opposes. While we'll give him that thieves have committed a criminal act, but atheists and gays -- are they "villains" or "evil"? Well, we would hope that the vast majority of society would not consider them to be, just like we would hope the masses wouldn't consider religious people to be evil villains either. Mr. Kennedy is lashing out against those who are not tolerant of his beliefs, yet virtually all of his expressed views --"depraved society," "immoral society," "violated all of the commandments of God," "tolerance for their immorality," "criminal," "villain," "evil person," comparing gays and atheists to thieves -- demonstrate a VAST amount of TRUE intolerance, nay, detestation for those with whom Mr. Kennedy doesn't see eye to eye!

The aspect of this debate that evangelicals like Mr. Kennedy so often overlook, is that with their "side" of most issues, there is no room for debate! They claim something or someone to be immoral, and all conversation stops. There is typically little discussion or room for reason. Evidence is rarely allowed to be culled from sources other than Biblical interpretation. And folks who believe in the core of their being that they have been born a certain way (i.e. gays) are told that they are perverted, immoral, and hellbound. While we agree that in a perfect world, everyone would be nothing but respectful of the other's views, when our real world is comprised of one side that casts stones so frequently and fervently, it's sometimes hard for the demonized to keep their cool! And what Mr. Kennedy and ilk need to remember is that if it were not for their attempts to foist their religious beliefs into the public sector and to TRULY affect the lives of others, virtually nobody would have even the slightest problem with their religious beliefs.

Tolerance is defined, in simple terms, as a willingness to allow the existence of something, in particular the opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. The evangelical movement wants everyone converted to a Jesus-driven life, and gays changed into a social construct known as an "ex-gay." They are lots of things, the religious right. "Tolerant," however, is simply not a strong point. And no matter what Mr. Kennedy says, we, a non-theocratic nation that supposedly supports equal protection for everyone, is made worse by their constant refusal to accept anyone who challenges the notion that "God made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve."

The New Tolerance [Christian Post]

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Your thoughts

The article claims that Dr. Kennedy "guns" for that "social ill" known as tolerance, yet Dr. Kennedy clearly states tolerance is a VIRTUE.

Nice try. Our twisted society has hijacked tolerance and is using it to beat anyone over the head with it that has the guts to point to evil and call it evil.

This country will follow the ancient Roman Empire into oblivion. The writing is on the wall and it isn't written in English.

Posted by: dumbass liberal | Mar 9, 2008 8:27:53 PM

Wow. There are stretches and then there are what you said, "dumbass liberal."

Kennedy referred to tolerance as "the last virtue of a depraved society," and then tried to turn the form of tolerance that LGBT people are seeking into a negative. So it's only a virtue if he agrees with it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 9, 2008 8:47:18 PM

Aristotle said....
"tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society... your are tolerating what is destroying you..."

How's that for a a destroyed society????

Posted by: aristotle fan | Dec 9, 2008 9:48:04 PM

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