Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don't tell me you are tolerant!

Ok, this won't be very long. It is a subject that I have felt strongly about lately...maybe because I live in California but also for other reasons. I am speaking of those who say that they are tolerant of people who have a differing "belief system" or "orientation" or who are just plain different. You've heard the speeches about how our differences make us great and that life would be boring if everyone were the same and that we should be tolerant of others' differences. Bull! I don't agree! You want to know why? And before you let the steam blow out your ears...just keep reading.

You want to know why I don't believe that we should just be tolerant? BECAUSE THAT ISN'T ENOUGH! What does tolerate mean anyway? It means that the other person or group of people is tolerable...or tolerable enough that I don't have to hate them or discriminate them...openly. What?!

Just recently, here in California, we were able to vote on Proposition 8. This proposition would define that a marriage is made up of one man and one woman. As you can imagine, most people feel very strongly about this. They either adamantly agree or disagree. I never met a person that said, "You know, I just don't care." People that wanted Prop 8 not to pass were possibly seen as immoral or just too liberal. People that fought for Prop 8 were seen as haters and bigots and that they wanted to impose their beliefs on everyone. I'll tell you right now...I voted yes on Prop 8. Not because I have any problems with gay people. I have absolutely no problem. I'll elaborate in a moment. I just want to say that Prop 8 wasn't about being anti-gay.

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up learning the meaning of the word diversity. I went to school and work with people from many nationalities and cultures. I also knew many gay people...many. Some were very good friends of mine. As I think of my friend John, Clayton, Carlos, Shelly, Robbin, Mayra, Jared, and others....I think of nothing but great and happy times. Not all of them "came out" during the times that we were the closest, but have since and it doesn't surprise me at all to find out that they are. And it doesn't change my feelings for them. I don't tolerate them....I love them for the kind of people they are. They are amazing people. Some of the strongest, best people I know.

I recently watched a great movie on Lifetime called "Prayers for Bobby" and I highly recommend it. It is based on a true story of a boy growing up in Walnut Creek, CA. I was born in Walnut Creek and grew up in a neighboring city. This boy knew he was gay from an early age but wouldn't admit it to himself or anybody else until his Senior year in High School. The grief and hell that he went through, even by his own extremely religious mother, was disheartening...to say the least and absolutely maddening at worst. He ended up committing suicide because of the emotional distress that the intolerence of others caused. Sigourney Weaver played the mother and she did a great job. Watch it. It is the kind of movie that affects your life.

My final thought is this: I am a Christian. I belong to the LDS Church. I believe in Jesus Christ and that He is the supreme example. The scripture that quotes Him does not say, "As I have tolerated you, tolerate one another." So don't tell me that you are tolerant...because to be tolerant only is.....well, intolerable.

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