Here in America, we have a knack for twisting around the meaning of a word and molding it into something we can get a bit more use out of. Americans are good at capitalizing on opportunities. In fact, we founded our country on that exact ideology. Thanks to such ingenuity, our vernacular is now full of words that at one time held a much deeper meaning. But with continued misuse some words and phrases now hold little more depth than that of a catch phrase or a commercial slogan. In fact many Americans don't even take the time to use a word in it's correct form at all, paying little or no attention to the fact that they are actually using the word incorrectly to make their argument. Not only does it make them look ignorant but downright silly. For example, one of the more recent mind-boggling, faux-pas circling around the sea of mass and social media is the word "intolerance."
In the wake of Chik-fil-A founder, S. Truett Cathy's death, any Google search will reveal that his name has made yet another step into the Internet limelight. A quick skim of any article will surely show the word 'intolerance" lingering somewhere within the vicinity of just about every mention of his name. As a former adult entertainer and a ministry school graduate, I can say with sincere honesty that I have a perspective quite different than most when it comes to moral politics. After several church leadership roles and many years of growing up around organized religion, I feel comfortable in professing myself as one who has an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of "the church." Soon after leaving adult entertainment, I went through a phase, like many do, where I felt "church" was the answer to all my questions. What I discovered was that church didn't do much for my relationship with God at all. After leaving the trappings of organized religion behind, I am a stronger Bible-believing Christian who believes in non-judgmental love, redemption and yep, even Jesus. I'm not ashamed to say it. I don't pick and choose what to believe out of the Bible. In fact, I take it pretty seriously.
Something else I take pretty seriously is not eating chickens. That has nothing to do with the aforementioned God stuff, I just don't eat them -- and because I don't eat them, I've never eaten at a Chik-fil-A restaurant. The reason I don't eat at Chik-fil-A isn't because I think they are axe-wielding murderers who are intolerant of my vegetarian beliefs. I don't have plans to stand in front of their door picketing with signs covered in blood that say, "INTOLERANCE!" I don't care to publicize all of the facts and figures of how many chickens have lost their lives due to blood thirsty Americans and their love for the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Those Americans and Chik-fil-A's indifference to my beliefs about vegetarianism does not make them intolerant, it makes them American.
I guess you could say, I don't mix my chicken and my religion.
Soon after Mr. Cathy's passing, I read of the horrible insults, name calling and overall vulgarities that have been thrown toward his family during their mourning and I feel it is absolutely shameful. When did it become acceptable to harass someone because they believed something different than you? Isn't that exactly the battle cry of every equality activist fighting for the rights of gay and lesbian Americans? Doesn't that seem a bit one-sided? The great thing about living in this country is that we have the right to be who we want to be and believe what we want to believe. Thanks to our Constitution, I have the right to be a vegetarian, ex-prostitute, who worships Jesus outside of church. I'm allowed to disagree with church politics just like S. Truett Cathy had the right to be a carnivorous, philanthropist who believed in traditional marriage.
Many gay marriage advocates will argue that because Mr. Cathy donated money to organizations in support of banning gay marriage, he was a hate monger. I argue back that he had the right to donate as much money to any charity he chose to because it was "his" money. He also donated mass amounts of his fortune to numerous other charitable organizations, as well. I would argue that by using the word "intolerance" in this way, it would stand to reason anyone in support of gay marriage would be bigoted and intolerant of anyone in a traditional marriage. The fact is, the word intolerance doesn't mean "hatred." Intolerance simply means, "I don't believe the same thing you do, I don't like what you believe and I don't plan on changing my mind." Let's start respecting each others rights as Americans to believe differently from one another. Bigotry, hatred and intolerance should not be thrown around every time someone doesn't believe the same thing you do. Let's not forget the famous quote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."