A friend brought to my attention the campaign being used by certain homosexual activists to attach the name of Rick Santorum to a rather repugnant substance. This article was conceived while reflecting on the utter hypocrisy of the action from people who claim to champion "tolerance."
Case #1: Homosexual activists try to stamp out the teenage use of "That's so gay!" (used as an equivalent of "that's bad") as an intolerant statement.
Case #2: Homosexual activists seek to promote the term "Santorum" as a neologism involving some pretty disgusting things as revenge for Rick Santorum speaking out against homosexual acts as a moral wrong. They are so successful that the #1 and #2 Google hits for "Santorum" [at the time of this writing] involve this repugnant action, and it is not until the #3 hit that we are directed to any entry about Rick Santorum himself (the Wikipedia entry).
It is an interesting contrast. In the first case, people are seeking to eliminate a pejorative meaning to a word commonly associated with homosexuality. In the second case, the same people are seeking to create a pejorative meaning for a name belonging for a man they despise.
Now, if I were to campaign to make a pejorative meaning to "homosexual" (such as, "Oh man, I stepped in some homosexual… it's all over my shoes!"), I have no doubt that this action would be widely denounced (assuming anyone actually reads the site) as hateful.
So why is it that such people who campaign against "That's so gay" as being intolerant also make use of intolerance when it suits them?
These people certainly do not practice what they preach. If they did, they would recognize that, if it is wrong to give the term "Gay" a negative term, then it reasonably follows that it is wrong to give other terms a negative connotation.
Given that the term 'Tolerate' means:
It seems that the person who claims tolerance is a virtue must accept the existence of views they disagree with. Otherwise, they are not tolerant. They are hypocrites, defined as:
The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform.
- [Tolerance] [Allows the existence of something one dislikes or disagrees with without Interference] (All [A] is [B])
- Some [Homosexual Activists] do not [Allow the existence of something one dislikes or disagrees with without Interference] (Some [C] is not [B])
- Therefore Some [Homosexual Activists] are not [Tolerant] (Therefore Some [C] is not [A])
I use the weaker [Some] and not the stronger [No] in recognition of the fact that some activists have human decency and do not act like these barbarians. The use of [Some] limits the argument to certain people and does not attempt to lump all people into one category.
This courtesy is unfortunately not returned, as it is common to see Catholic teaching compared with being no different than the Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful activities.
The Inescapable Reasoning
The accusation of hypocrisy on the part of these activists is just and cannot be denied.
Since Tolerance is the virtue preached by these activists, but they will not apply to others what they demand for themselves, we can reasonably conclude that these activists claim a moral standard to which their behavior does not conform. Since that is the definition of hypocrisy, those activists are hypocrites.
Absolute Values, Absolute Truth
There is only one way to attempt to escape the charge of hypocrisy, and that begins with recognizing that tolerance is not a universal value, but it is relative to an absolute truth. Since one can refuse to tolerate something on the grounds that it is, by nature, dangerous to others and therefore cannot be permitted to exist without causing harm, one can attempt to argue that the Christian opposition to homosexuality is harmful to others.
Universal truths would be true in all times, for all people in all circumstances. So if it is universally true that I cannot murder a person arbitrarily, it would be true a thousand years ago, now, and a thousand years from now. It would be true whether I lived in America, Afghanistan or Australia and whether I was rich or poor. Asian or Caucasian etc. Even if some cultures utterly rejected this truth, it would not change the fact that it is universally true.
This is why Tolerance cannot be a Universal Truth. If it was, one would have to give equal tolerance to the Jews and the Nazis who persecuted them. It would have to give equal tolerance to the view that child molestation is wrong and to the views of NAMBLA.
Sane people recognize that these views cannot co-exist. If it is wrong for the Nazis to persecute the Jews, one cannot tolerate the view of the Nazis. If child molestation is wrong, the views that it is acceptable cannot be tolerated. The person who tries to tolerate both views would have to be overlooking some serious issues.
This is also why Islam and Christianity cannot both be true. If Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the fulfillment of Revelation, then the claim of Islam that He was merely a Prophet but lesser than Muhammad must be false. Likewise, if the claim of Islam be true, then Jesus cannot have been the Son of God.
The point is, truth cannot contradict truth. So if one view is seen as truth, a view which contradicts it cannot also be truth.
"Tolerance" and Truth
What this comes down to is this. If Christians say that homosexual acts are wrong, and certain activists say homosexual acts are morally acceptable, both views cannot be seen as true. Both must demonstrate why their views are true. Christianity has done this, and one can look up the teachings on the matter. Those who reject the Catholic teaching as being false need to demonstrate why it is false and provide reasons for why their view is true.
Yet this is exactly what is not done. It is argued that the Catholic teaching is "intolerant," without showing why homosexual acts need to be tolerated as morally acceptable behavior. Instead, logical fallacies are used, notably the appeal to fear and pity, to lead one to think that if Gay "marriage" is not made law, the Westboro Baptist Church and people murdering homosexuals will become the norm; and that the denial of the "right to marry" means homosexual persons will be forced to live alone without love. We are told that we must either sanction "gay marriage" or else sanction the "persecution" of homosexuals.
The Position of Catholics Must Be Distinguished From Popular Distortions
It only makes sense to invoke the Westboro Baptist Church or those people who assault homosexuals against the position of the Catholic Church, if the Catholic Church accepts their actions as valid. If they do not, the comparison is invalid.
Of course since the Catholic Church condemns treating persons as less than persons, this sort of argument is a slander. Blessed John XXII wrote in 1963:
158. It is always perfectly justifiable to distinguish between error as such and the person who falls into error—even in the case of men who err regarding the truth or are led astray as a result of their inadequate knowledge, in matters either of religion or of the highest ethical standards. A man who has fallen into error does not cease to be a man. He never forfeits his personal dignity; and that is something that must always be taken into account.
So the right thinking Catholic recognizes that even though we must condemn homosexual behavior, we must still treat the person with homosexual tendencies as a person and not as a sub-human who may be mistreated. However, one can still believe homosexual behavior is wrong without contradicting the view that persons must be treated as persons:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
In other words, persons are to be treated with respect as persons even though we must oppose homosexuality as wrong. There is no justification to the accusations of "homophobia" or bigotry against us, and to say our beliefs are wrong requires one to prove what beliefs are right and why. Otherwise it is an ipse dixit claim.
This is the dilemma for the activist which rejects the Christian moral teaching and calls us "intolerant."
On one hand, if one wants to invoke Tolerance as an absolute value, they must either tolerate the views they disagree with (including us Christians) or else be labeled Hypocrite.
On the other hand, if they want to avoid the hypocrite label while condemning our view as wrong, they must stop hiding behind the label of "tolerance" and acknowledge that universal and absolute truths exist and are knowable, and they must demonstrate the truth of their claims and not claim that their views must be true on the account that they reject our views.
If they will not, if they will simply continue on in personal attacks, using labels like "homophobe," "bigot," or "intolerant," then we can see that such activists are motivated by emotion and hatred, not by reason and logic and that they are guilty of the behaviors they accuse us of possessing.