“Look Over Here!” My problem with being completely intolerant about intolerance.

Posted in Uncategorized by mchambe2 on April 19, 2010

During a recent Religion and Faith department ‘brown-bag lunch’ at my internship, I brought up a personal issue I have with being intolerant of intolerance. Especially in the matter of Religion, people take on extremist opinions about the LGBT community. It dawned on me one day during a passionate argument I was having with my father that I have a problem being extremist in my intolerance of people’s intolerant opinions. But what good does that do? When I think people are being irrational, bigoted, and hateful…how does flipping out back at them solve anything or change anyone’s mind? Even if they are completely and utterly wrong ( in my opinion), are they entitled to their beliefs? Of course they are. I’d like to explore their feelings and their beliefs, but its so hard not to get heated. 

So my issue is… how do we bridge this gap? The world will not change without the changing of beliefs and opinions… but people are entitled to their own, so how do you strike the delicate balance of acknowledging their feelings, while showing them the light of the truth? Does anyone have any stories or personal experiences? 

I know it is important to not flip-a-shit when someone has a different belief than I do, especially in regards to LGBT issues… but can the movement survive with out that flip-a-shit- passion that ignites us all to fight for our beliefs… our rights? 

The problem is not my disgust with bigotry or hatred, or my desire to wipe all those who embody such out… but the reactionary path I take when dealing with these bigots and haters. So how do we handle it? Get appropriate like the HRC and fight it with legislation, get radical and go ape-shit on these crazies? How do we handle ourselves and our intolerance with intolerance?


4 Responses

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  1. wtravisumd said, on April 21, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I used to have the same problem (and still do when certain issues are brought up) but I’ve gotten better about controlling my responses to people. I like to use the ‘every 3rd thought’ filter method. When I get pissed I consciously only say every third thing that pops into my head. This policy has some great benefits: 1. It keeps me from being able to speak faster than I can think. 2. I’m forced to slow down my reactions. 3. I get a chance to think about what I’m going to say (or yell).
    The other part of this response is a realization I had a while back. I realized that if i freak out on someone for being an idiot, there is no way for me not to look like a jackass. And being (or looking like) a jackass is a surefire way to discourage ppl. from agreeing with you. Since we all want people to agree with us, then we need to control how we react.
    If all else fails resort to physical violence to get your point across. It works from time to time, but use this approach sparingly.

  2. sross10 said, on May 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I have the same problem also. I find that I simply can’t comprehend the logic people use to say the being and LGBT is wrong.

    I took LGBT Speakers Bureau and CRU (Christian Crusaders), a campus organization for and about Christian Worship. And because we went to the forum with an open mind on both sides, it was a good conversation. I’m not sure if we changed anybody’s mind about LGBT people but it created a dialogue and we were all willing to learn from each other. (The was even a gay member)

    I think some people want to have those conversation and other people will chose to remain stagnant in their thinking. Honestly if you can tell they’re not going to change their opinion or be open to other possibilities I would just make my opinion known and move one. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time. They may see it as an attack and give them even more reason to not agree

  3. cpeverley said, on May 6, 2010 at 1:11 am

    I have the same issue, and unfortunately I haven’t found a solution. My instinct is to use the I-will-debate-you-into-the-ground approach, but I make a conscious effort to avoid doing so because I know that my own feeling like I “won” doesn’t really remedy the problem.

    I’m a United Methodist, and the official stance of the United Methodist Church [http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1324] is that “it does not believe that homosexuality is compatible with Christian living/teaching,” and at the policy level adopts a “love the sinner not the sin” approach. [Out] LGBT people are not allowed to be ordained as pastors, and United Methodists pastors can not perform same-sex marriages. I completely disagree with this stance, but am not sure what to do with my frustration and anger towards these policies and thus toward the Church.

    I can’t exactly take down the global network of the United Methodist Church, either through ape-shit tactics or rhetorical intimidation, so I’m at a loss. As one of millions of members, I don’t know that my leaving the church would make much of a statement. And further, I don’t really want to leave. What I want is a change.

    I discovered the Reconciling Ministries Network [http://www.rmnetwork.org/], which is a group of what is now about 80,000 United Methodists working for an all-inclusive church (including the campus ministry here at UMD). In an HRC-like strategy, the RMN spreads awareness and lobbies for legislation at General Conferences. What I can’t quite explain, though, is that while I disagree with many of the assimilationist and legislation-based agendas of the HRC, I’m involved in a Methodist version of the same thing. Is there something unique about a religious approach to changing a religious policy versus a secular approach like HRC to change secular policy? Does anyone have any ideas about this?

  4. teddytaylor said, on May 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    From my personal experience, the best way is to view the other person as normal. I mean, I think a huge problem when it comes to these types of debates is we automatically write off the person as some kind of alien creature who is so ignorant that they have to be from another planet. (Or at least that’s what I sometimes feel.) But the bottom line is people are a productive of their environment and we have to remind ourselves of that. I went to school in Missouri for my first to years of college, and let me tell you, there was ignorance everywhere. At the same time, I couldn’t be mad. I remember one time a guy casually asking me, “why are people offended if I call them nigger? Does this offend you?” The natural reaction would have been to kill him, but I also knew that he came from a town of 500 and the first black person he ever saw was when he came to this large state school. I guess it differs from person to person, but you could just feel his sincerity in the question, and you can’t really be mad at a person like that. Fortunately for people who come from the DC area, we’re exposed to a very diverse community and it can something we really take for granted. I always like to take the person’s history into account and decide from there how I will react. Sincerely ignorant people are usually open to new ideas, it’s just they have not been exposed to them…at least from my experience. I ended up becoming good friends with the guy.

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