The public controversy over homosexuality has many facets and the terms we use to discuss it are important.
Consider the invitation of Kenneth Jackson (Tuesday, June 5: “Organizers Gear Up For Pride Weekend”), the chair of the Brandon Pride committee, “... we invite people of all ages to become involved to promote a tolerant and diverse community here in Brandon.”
Does this mean that if one holds and promotes a different viewpoint (that the practice of homosexual behaviour is not a community good that should be publicly applauded) one is intolerant? If so, how can that be?
To tolerate is to “put up with” a person or stance while still disagreeing.
We tolerate what we disagree with. One does not tolerate what one agrees with; one simply agrees. If a community disagrees that homosexual behaviour is a good practice that is to be promoted and yet recognizes and respects the dissenters’ right to hold a different opinion, then that community is already a tolerant and diverse community.
It is not public toleration that is wanted by the homosexual community, it is public approval. The definition of tolerance is changing. It seems that tolerance is now being equated with approval.
Therefore, if one disagrees with the practice of homosexuality one is automatically cast as intolerant. But by this definition, homosexuals themselves are intolerant of non-homosexuals!
What was once a helpful term has now become merely a rhetorical term used to trick the unsuspecting listener and shut down meaningful conversation.
Tolerance is a good word. Let’s not lose its meaning; rather, let’s return to the older understanding of tolerance and talk to each other with the clarity and charity needed to work through this important and complex issue of human sexuality and all that it entails.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 9, 2012