Indiana: Another Case of New Tolerance

Religious freedom restoration act. Provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person’s exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides that a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a state or local government action may assert the burden as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding. Allows a person who asserts a burden as a claim or defense to obtain appropriate relief, including: (1) injunctive relief; (2) declaratory relief; (3) compensatory damages; and (4) recovery of court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

This is the law that was passed in Indiana last week. Take a minute and read it over.

Now look at the response to it in the media. Look at all the people going ape-shit crazy over this.

Religious freedom = the right to discriminate against gays!

Wow. Just wow. And none are sharing why this law came to be.

Last month I published an article titled A Case of New Tolerance and Ignorance. In it, I quote The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English on the definition of tolerance:

“showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with”

And then I shared the definition that most people today believe to mean tolerance:

“showing willingness to accept opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with”

A subtle difference, but a significant one. We have shifted the term from meaning that one allows the existence of differing opinions and behavior to meaning that one accepts differing opinions or behavior.

Along with this shift, the word “bigot,” which is directly tied in definition to the word “tolerance,” has also been changed. So instead of a bigot being a person not allowing alternative views and lifestyles— like the Muslims that are throwing gays off rooftops— a bigot is instead a person that doesn’t accept and embrace the gay lifestyle.

Defining the terms is always important in a debate.

This is a huge change. While Christians have always been considered to be tolerant, we are now being singled out as the most intolerant. Even though Muslims are throwing gays off rooftops. Muslims are throwing gays off rooftops and the media is practically ignoring them, but a bakery chooses not to provide their service for a gay wedding and they are swarmed with media attention calling them the worst things allowed in civilized society.

Now, you are a smart person. How do I know this? Because you’ve held your cool to this point in this article. “[L]et every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” We should really live by that verse more. Even if you are not a believer in Jesus, doesn’t it just make sense. The American media in the last couple decades have become quick to speak, quick to anger, and very seldom do they wish to hear opposing views. A wise person listens first. A wise person responds with calculated words.

Even if you do not agree with me. Even if you adamantly disagree with me. Don’t you really want us to be closer to that original definition of tolerance than the latter? Forcing a person to agree with you by lawsuit proves nothing. It’s like nuking another country. You haven’t proven who’s right, but who’s left. Accept that other opinions exist and that this is a good thing. If everyone agreed on everything, I don’t think life would be much fun. Imagine that the only restaurant around is Taco Bell. We can agree to disagree. I’m okay with this. Are you?

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