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Dancing With Bristol Palin’s Perversion Of Tolerance

by Zinnia Jones on August 14, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,Discrimination,Marriage,News,Zinnia Jones

Post image for Dancing With Bristol Palin’s Perversion Of Tolerance

When people feel the need to state explicitly how “tolerant” they are, it’s usually a sign that something is amiss. Such is the case with Bristol Palin’s recent blog post, where she declares that she would have no problem with a gay dance partner, but laments that others are unwilling to extend the same tolerance to certain Christian beliefs:

In their simplistic minds, the fact that I’m a Christian, that I believe in God’s plan for marriage, means that I must hate gays and must hate to even be in their presence. Well, they were right about one thing: there was hate in that media room, but the hate was theirs, not mine. …

Look, my responsibility is pretty darn clear: to treat people as I would like to be treated, to be gracious, and – yes – to uphold and advance my Christian principles in all that I do. Would I want a gay dancer to refuse to dance with me because of my beliefs? Why would I refuse to dance with a gay man because of his?

To the Left, “tolerance” means agreeing with them on, well, everything. To me, tolerance means learning to live and work with each other when we don’t agree – and won’t ever agree.

At first glance, this seems like a pretty straightforward example of tolerance: I accept you, can’t you accept me? The problem is that, in this case, the ideal of tolerance is being used to call for inaction in the face of intolerance. Palin implicitly parallels two instances of tolerance – the first is simply tolerating the existence and presence of gay people; the second is tolerating the belief that the defining feature of gay people, as embodied in their relationships, is immoral and should be legally treated as unequal.

These are clearly quite different things. Under a meaningful understanding of what tolerance is, there are indeed some beliefs that are simply unacceptable – indeed, they are intolerable. Think about it: Is there any belief that you would consider so unreasonable and inhumane that passively tolerating it, and remaining silent in the face of it, would be more unacceptable to you than speaking out and letting it be known that you’re not okay with that? For instance, do you see no difference between women voting and those who would act to prevent them from voting, or gay people holding a parade and those who would seek to suppress them by violence, or women wearing the clothes of their choice and those who demand they be cloaked in veils, or gay people merely existing and others who want to execute them? At what point do you recognize that such things are not just two sides of one coin, not just an innocuous difference of opinion, and plainly not the same?

If you can acknowledge that it is possible for certain beliefs to be so troubling that you cannot accept them, then you can understand that this is only a matter of where we draw that line. And many of us draw the line at the belief that gay people’s love is immoral and should be legally unrecognized. If our commitment to tolerance has any teeth to it, then advocating tolerance of gay people necessarily precludes being okay with such anti-gay beliefs. After all, if someone claimed to tolerate your own beliefs, how much would that really mean to you if they never spoke out in protest when others called for such homophobic Christian speech to be criminalized? Such an obligation to object should at least be familiar on a conceptual level to Christians, who have often claimed that “loving” someone demands that we tell them the unvarnished “truth” about the supposed sinfulness of their sexuality.

Calling for tolerance, at the most basic level and regardless of the specifics of what we believe ought to be tolerated, means advocating one approach to beliefs and expressions over another. A kind of universal “tolerance” that says literally anything is okay negates that, and as a result, it’s barely even coherent or distinct as a position. At most, it has all the force of “I think this might be a good idea, but, you know… whatever.” If you think that tolerance of you or your beliefs is at all important, then realize that tolerance needs to be more compelling than that. Tolerance doesn’t mean agreeing with “the Left” – it means, at a minimum, agreeing that tolerance should actually stand for something. And if you expect to be admired for your tolerance, then espousing a position that amounts to “I’m so tolerant, I’ll never let anyone know I disapprove of prejudice against minorities!” isn’t the best way to make that happen.

Image, top: Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas, Dancing With The Stars, 2010

 

Zinnia Jones is an atheist activist, writer, and video blogger focusing on LGBTQ rights and religious belief. Originally from Chicago, she’s currently living in Florida with her partner Heather and their two children.

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{ 7 comments }

Scott_Rose August 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

The arrogance of that trashy Christofascist, to believe that she knows "God's plan for marriage," which happens to exclude marriage equality for gay people. I will not tolerate a dingbat's idiotic and plainly false claim that "God" has a "plan" for anything, still less for heterosupremacy in marriage law. If there were a God we could perceive that the supreme being played a dirty trick on Bristol by giving her that low IQ.

Mykelbarber August 14, 2012 at 9:01 am

Fuck that fucking idiot with her imaginary god's cock

eroissyfr August 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

thought she was a virgin

CastleRockBear August 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

You would think that after the demise and of her failed "Reality Show" (let's face it, it was another means for her mother to be on TV, to tout her craziness) that the younger Ms. Palin would just go away and not put us through more rhetoric and disbelief in the fact that she REALLY is a tragedy, and that she loves to parade that fact in front of America, again and again! I find anything that has to do with anyone from that family, a reason to turn the channel…I'm sure that I'm hardly alone with that sentiment!

maeflo August 14, 2012 at 10:06 am

I think you guys are overreacting to this. Palin isn't saying what we want to hear, but she's saying something productive rather than destructive. She's taking a stand against a particular kind of discrimination against gays in a particular context, which is what most conservative Christians feel is all that they CAN do faced with what they think is the betrayal of their spirituality. Remember that there are several people and organizations that would NOT do what Bristol is standing up for. It's not enough, of course but its a start. This type of spirit is a good thing for the Christian community because it is a stepping stone. I was there at one point in my path of self discovery and it guided me on towards a place where not only was I able to find that a Christian lifestyle can accept homosexuality morally and otherwise, but also that it is a Christians calling to defend their rights. If gay rights activists want to win more people over to the side of justice, take a lesson from the Christians, who've been evangelizing for thousands of years, applaud their small steps in the right direction and then say "here's the logical next step…"

BillDemerath August 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I completely agree. I don't believe it helps to assume only the worse from others or name call if you are hoping for change or understanding. I disagree with the article. I think Bristol is asking for tolerance and I think we need to get beyond tolerance to acceptance. If you condemn where she is at that may take longer than otherwise.

eroissyfr August 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I think the writer here is assuming that Bristol actually does know the difference and truly understands the drivel that drops from her mouth. She doesn't. She tries to come across as intellectual and educated, but she isn't. Just like her mother.

As for upholding her christian ideals, I think they don't like unwed teenage mothers. Or fornicating before marriage.

Can't the palins just go away? Please?

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