If you respond to someone who you believe insulted another with an insult, how does that make you better than the first person?
Think about that and tell me if it does anything more add fuel to the fire and help fuel a culture of hate. In a world so set on the idea of political correctness and “tolerance”, a word I’m not sure we even know the definition of anymore, one can’t help but wonder what happened to the idea of free speech.
I have this habit, and I hope you’ll bear with me, of looking up tearms when I want to discover what they mean and where they came from. So let’s take a second and look up tolerance. Hopefully, those of you reading this will accept the Oxford English Dictionary as an acceptable source on this matter.
When I looked it up, I’ll admit I was surprised to find that they are a ton of definitions for the world tolerance and the earliest usage I saw was in the 1400s which was earlier than I thought it was going to be. But this is the definition that most people use when they use the word wasn’t even used for another 300 years.
“The action or practice of tolerating; toleration; the disposition to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions or practices of others; freedom from bigotry or undue severity in judging the conduct of others; forbearance; catholicity of spirit.”
I would like to note the phrase, “to be patient with or indulgent to the opinions…”
It does not say, “to accept or welcome ideas with open arms because it is what culture says.”
Tolerance is a word that has become our culture’s way of accepting the harsh double standard that has only gotten worse in recent years. And while I can see your eyes rolling and see the wheels turning as you begin to write me a hateful tweet (my twitter handle is in the contact me section if you’re looking for it), let me say that Christians are expected to be more tolerant of other’s views than other’s are expected to be tolerant of ours.
And to be honest, as Christians, it is our own fault that we allowed our culture to get to this state where we cannot express our faith, views, and opinion without receiving hate.
Last week, I was sifting through another round of the Caitlin Jenner coverage and saw that someone my brother went to high school with tweeted their two cents worth. Because their father is an influential member of the community, they received a lot of hate include one user who told him that they hoped he would burn for eternity.
The kid is 19-years-old.
For those of you with kids, would you want your child told that? How about your sibling or your friend?
Instead of being praised for speaking out while being a member of a generation that seems happy to sit there and do nothing, he was given hate because he expressed an opinion that wasn’t popular.
Let me ask this again, if you respond to someone who you believe insulted another with an insult, how does that make you better than the first person?
What happened to the world that encouraged the exchange of ideas. The Romans had the forums where speeches were heard. Debates were held among men as they shared their ideas with the hopes of changing the world.
But far too often today, people say “be tolerant” or shout down other people’s views because they aren’t popular or are not their own.
That’s not why the Pilgrims came here, that isn’t why the Founding Fathers sat in a very hot, very stuff Independence Hall basically signing their death warrants when they wrote the Declaration of Independence.
In fact, they encouraged people to share their ideas and that’s why this amendment was the first one.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I went looking for someone to break it down and found this from the Anneburg Classroom.
“The First Amendment allows citizens to express and to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and views. It was intended to ensure a free exchange of ideas even if the ideas are unpopular.”
Now, I know you are saying what about slander and libel but some random person tweeting does not classify as both. It becomes that when someone is more well known but fair or not that is a cost of celebrity, you do have to watch what you say because Supreme Court rulings do make room for both. But the average Joe should feel that he/she is free to express their opinion because it is their constitutional right.
You know, I feel slightly better having got my thoughts down like this. But before I go, let me remind you of the golden rule, “do unto others as you have them do unto you.”
And let me ask one more time, if you respond to someone who you believe insulted another with an insult, how does that make you better than the first person?