Tolerance; that's the buzzword for one of contemporary culture's most exalted virtues. Do not judge, do not try to impose your morality on anyone else, live and let live, or so we are told.
It is in the furtherance of so-called tolerance that we, as Christians, are supposed to accept a redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples and perhaps other couplings and groupings at some point down the line. We are called on to suspend our biblically based beliefs about right and wrong and tolerate government sanction of lifestyles that we recognize as harmful to individuals and society as a whole.
But as our culture begins to warm up to the idea of same-sex marriage, we are discovering that tolerance – as that term is generally understood – is not nearly enough to satisfy those pushing for this new social standard. In addition to permitting same-sex unions, we are to participate in them when called upon (such as Christian cake-bakers and photographers) and we are to speak well of them when asked.
In other words, in the name of "tolerance," differing views are not tolerated. And, apparently, anyone who fails to meet these expectations will be publically shunned and stripped of livelihood.
Just ask Phil Robertson, patriarch of the family profiled in the wildly successful Duck Dynasty series, who no longer has a place on the reality show for being a bit too real during an interview with GQ magazine.
Presumably, Robertson was sought out for the interview because of his straight-shooting, folksy style, which is almost as famous as his long, straggly beard. And Robertson did not disappoint, answering questions plainly and directly, in the whimsical manner he and his family are known for.
Expounding on his take on life, Robertson was quoted in the article as saying, "We're Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television. You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let's get on with it, and everything will turn around."
Robertson explained that he needs a savior just like anyone else. Telling his personal story of redemption, Robertson harkened back to his reckless, younger days and how he finally found meaning and fulfillment through a relationship with Jesus Christ
Had the journalist Drew Magary left it at that, Robertson would still have a spot on the show. While the idea of repentance can be unsettling to some, talk of sin is acceptable as long as it stays theoretical. But Magary probed and Robertson obliged.
Magary asked Robertson: "What, in your mind, is sinful?" To which, Robertson gave an honest understanding, paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6 from the Bible. That too could have been glossed over, except this verse happens to condemn homosexual behavior, in addition to adultery, prostitution, and drunkenness, among other things.
And that's when the comments became too personal for homosexual activists like GLAAD. We didn't hear from any groups about the remarks putting prostitution or drunkenness in a bad light, but GLAAD was quick to defame Robertson for mentioning homosexuality, attacking both his character and his faith. And for good measure they strongly suggested A&E, the station that carries Duck Dynasty, and the sponsors of the show, reexamine their ties to Robertson.
After a fairly quick reexamination, A&E suspended Robertson "indefinitely."
A & E knew Robertson's views when they hired him, but when GLAAD complained, they succumbed to the pressure. The decision represents yet another notch in GLAAD's belt, which also lists the Boy Scouts' reversal on homosexuality as a victory for their organization.
To be sure, a disturbing pattern is developing here. Those holding to traditional biblical values are bullied into keeping those values to themselves – all under the banner of tolerance.
Isn't that the most intolerant view of all, to refuse to anyone else the right to hold and share a different view?
GLAAD's stated mission is to "ampli[fy] the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories." It's a shame GLAAD feels the only way they can amplify their voice is to silence others.