April 12, 2012 4:30PM (MST)
Merriam-Webster defines tolerance as;
1. Capacity to endure pain or hardship
2.a. Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.
2.b. The act of allowing something
SOURCE: Merriam-Webster iPad App
Tolerance in the United States has changed radically since I was born in the mid-seventies and continues to transform today. What I knew of tolerance, including accepting others differences along the lines of race, sex, sexual choices, and religious beliefs are now gone. Like so many traditionally “good” ideals that have been perverted over the years, tolerance no longer has the same meaning. Too many hateful groups fly the banner of tolerance but have an underlying agenda that is anything but tolerant of others. Recently a great example of this has been exposed in Minnesota;
Brian Johnson, of Hayward, Wis., started handing out Bibles at the Twin Cities [Gay] Pride Festival in 1995, and three years later, gave out the books in Minneapolis’ Loring Park from a booth approved by parade organizers. But in recent years, the people behind the event, which draws as many as 300,000 people, have tried to oust him, first nixing his bid for a booth and then having him arrested in 2009. (click for source)
I don’t see the problem here. Why have the man arrested? According to records in nearly ten years Johnson never caused any problems and the arrest was actually for distribution of literature against a new regulations and a charge of trespassing. The regulation was a cooperative effort behind the parades organizers and city officials. The plot thickens according to the Christian Civics League of Maine;
Johnson was arrested for trespassing at the event in 2009, the first year he was denied a booth. The charges were later dropped. In 2010, the board, which enforces regulations at the 42-acre public park, granted Johnson permission to hand out Bibles. The parade organizers went to federal court to seek an injunction, which was denied by District Judge John Tunheim.(click for source)
Let me briefly explain my preconceptions of these types of festivals and parades. I’m not a homosexual but I am worldly enough to realize what a “gay pride” festival/parade is all about. Individuals who are not normally free to do so, or do not feel free to do so [for whatever reason] can express their sexuality and congregate with others of like mind. I think it is safe to say that these festivals are a sign of solidarity amongst the homosexual community which strengthens their ongoing battle for equal rights. These types of events are also meant for the general public; to expose individuals to a culture and lifestyle they are not familiar with. Most of all it is my hope “pride” events are intended to build tolerance between all communities and niche segments of society.
Tolerance… A 2011 study by The Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law found that 3% to 5% of the adult U.S. population is bi/homosexual (click for source). According to an April 4, 2012 article on NPR’s website over 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christian (click for source). I would say the bisexual and homosexual population[s] are the minority in America yet only one man with a differing view [not even an opposing view] has been singled out and attacked by parade organizers since 1995. There is something very wrong when those who are in the minority, those who identify as “persecuted” or downtrodden [regardless of the truth], and those who fight for tolerance show no tolerance themselves once in a position of power. Again… Johnson never once started a fight, became unruly or obnoxious, or behaved in an offensive manner in nearly ten years.
It boils down to the parade organizers didn’t like what Johnson had to say and did anything in their power to stop it. Referring back to the Christian Civics League of Maine article about Johnson and the parade organizers;
Although Johnson and his family went to the 2010 event and handed out Bibles without incident, the city agency and parade organizers were focused on a suggestion Tunheim [district judge] had offered in a footnote of his denial of the injunction. For 2011, they set up the “free speech zones” that Tunheim thought would be a reasonable suggestion and a “drop box” where people could place literature.(click for source)
Free speech zones in a public park during a parade/festival made possible by freedom of speech which is guaranteed by the constitution… Do I understand the premise? The festival organizers would be adamant in protecting their liberties if any groups, public or government attempted to shut down their festival. Yet when someone comes along and peacefully says something they don’t like the festival organizers will have him arrested, coerce city officials to cause the man difficulty, and even take it to federal court wasting valuable resources. All to limit one man’s freedom of speech during their festival of freedom of speech and expression. It seems there are many out there screaming for tolerance but on the opposite side of the coin they are only tolerant to what they want to hear.
Writing this opinion piece I can feel my stomach twisting and tying into knots. The thing about the freedoms we are guaranteed by the constitution is they can also be abused. The parade organizers used these rights and stood on a platform of freedom of expression. They were also very quick to use the amazing legal system this country affords them to suppress on individuals freedom of expression. If these fanatics will bastardize the constitution so severely while attacking one individual’s liberty for nearly ten years… imagine the fury they would exhibit against a group of people with differing views. Basically they are telling the world, “We have the right to do whatever we want because the constitution grants of these freedoms but you do not have the right to disagree.” Are these people six year olds and the park/parade is their sandbox? I write this not because I take offense with the gay pride movement, I want ALL Americans to have pride in who they are, but instead of speaking out against the gay rights movement itself… I am pointing out something that is rampant in this society today.
Some of the loudest screams for tolerance are coming from some of the most intolerant people. Pay close attention to what is going on in the world. I think we have become so busy that we only have time to study the “surface” of events we learn about. The problem is the are groups out their using our constitutional rights to erode our constitutional rights under the guise of tolerance, progressivism, and liberalism. Of course this is not true of all with liberal ideals and these people are needed in order for a “checks and balances” system to function properly. This becomes a problem when the people demanding tolerance are using it as a weapon to spread their own intolerance. Do as I say… not as I do. Cliche yes… but true? Unfortunately… the answer is yes and that is not progressive. Actually behavior like this is against any progress we as a nation have made since our founding. Please defend what America is supposed to be.
(click for source)
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