Tolerance: Today's Favorite Absolute
By Ron Highley
Published November 1999
TOLERANCE: 1. A fair and objective attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own. (Webster’s New Universal Dictionary)
As usual, language is being distorted. Those who cry out for tolerance really mean acceptance of behavior without limits. Note that Webster’s definition is directed toward people. We tolerate people; we discriminate against behavior.
For everyone in ministry to those involved in homosexuality, it has been a challenge to stand firmly against the bondage of the homosexual condition and its endorsement, while not appearing to attack the persons with the problem. Some Christians, in their zeal, have not cared about this distinction and have attacked the persons with unkind words and actions, and this is wrong.
These serious errors have fueled the “gay agenda” that likes to point out that no one should suffer discrimination, hate, rejection, or bigotry. This has been quite successful with the public at large because so many don’t discern the difference between a strong moral stance and actual prejudice. As a result, the numbers of people who tend to accept the homosexual lifestyle has increased. For instance, those who favor hiring “gay” and lesbian teachers for grades K-8 has gone from 27% in 1977 to 55% in 1996! This, by any measure, is a successful promotion of a lie – the lie that homosexuality is normal and equal to heterosexuality.
As readers of this newsletter well know, our work is mainly to set people free of homosexuality as they come to us for help. After all, the best weapon against a lie is to tell the truth and show a changed life! This confounds the opposition by destroying their argument that it’s good and no one can change. However, just as St. Paul and countless others spoke out against a false gospel and other lies that would lead people to spiritual death, we occasionally have to speak out. Who knows how many lives have been lost by the promotion of homosexual feelings and activity as something good?
That is why I wrote my strong letter (August Words of LIFE) to the high school principal in Scarsdale who was accepting of pro-gay activities in the school. Human nature and Holy Scripture both verify that when restraints are removed, people destroy themselves by giving in to lies and carnal urges.
We must persevere in telling the truth in love, and how important that is in an age that doesn’t know the truth or love very well and has lost sight of both of those priceless treasures. It has been observed recently that we live in a “sensate culture”, that society is largely being seduced into finding meaning and purpose in feelings and emotions. The bitter fruit of this seduction is that “love” and “truth” both become falsely defined by our emotions and thus our death is hastened, both as a society and individually.
We teach in LIFE Ministry that people become trapped in homosexual identity and activity because their emotions have become the “truth” for them that nothing else is more vivid or valid in their experience than what they feel. Yet, wisdom would advise that all of us need a frame of reference larger than ourselves to evaluate our perceptions of self, life, the world, and God. Thank God that His TRUTH is available! It is the basis for any success and authority this ministry has!
Considering, then, that many people are temporarily trapped in these feelings for the same sex, and that many others are enslaved in their own variety of feelings, it is not surprising that so much of the public is taken in by the efforts of “gay” activism. After all, worldliness, sensuality, and sin cloud the mind and prevent clear thinking and discernment on spiritual matters. As it says in I Corinthians 2:14, “A natural [unsaved] man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
Scripture further tells us that we are not fighting flesh and blood (people) but principalities and powers in the heavens. That is hard to keep in mind when watching or facing an angry, hostile protest by “gay” activists, but it is true, and helps us know how to pray for the situation!
Consider the recent decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court that the Boy Scouts of America do no have a right to exclude a scoutmaster because he is a homosexual. The Court rejected the Scouts’ argument that it is a private organization that has First Amendment rights, and went further. Chief Justice Deborah Poritz wrote that the dismissal of the “gay” scout was based on prejudice and bigotry. Another justice wrote that the BSA claim that homosexuality is immoral is out of touch with current law, public policy, and social mores! Governor Whitman agreed with the court, adding that a person’s sexual orientation is a private matter and, “If a troop leader is a good leader, there’s no reason to worry.” What folly. Many people can do their jobs well while harboring a serious problem. Doesn’t the Governor know this?
As with the Colorado Supreme Court, the New Jersey justices grossly overstep their jurisdiction when they decide the motives of those involved in a lawsuit. This degree of ignorance and arrogance at such a high level is a strong call to prayer, and we hope many Christians will respond.
As Robert Knight of the Family Research Council points out, this ruling says that the rights of privacy, free speech, freedom of association and religion are to be subordinated to new, so called “rights” to sexual anarchy.
This bogus virtue of tolerance has brought strife to the United Methodist Church, with implications beyond that. One group of Methodist men backs the Scouts’ position while a larger Methodist group wants to disenfranchise the BSA unless they accept homosexuals. Since the Methodist Church sponsors 11,738 scout troops attended by over 420,000 boys, this “tolerance” will affect many lives adversely either way.
A word about the expelled scoutmaster, James Dale. He is not a victim of bigotry or prejudice. He may be a principled man who would never molest a boy, practicing his homosexuality only with other adults, but that is not the issue. He is subject to the reputation and statistics about the homosexual lifestyle, and a victim of his own choices, because freedom is also available to him. Certainly, if he is sexually active, he is immoral, as the Scouts’ claim, and they have the right to maintain standards, as the Supreme Courts of California, Oregon, Kansas, and Connecticut have ruled in similar cases. Society is full of standards and qualifications for all kinds of work, and all of us must acknowledge them. Again, to disregard such principles is another example of reckless, destructive humanism.
AH, TOLERANCE. What motivates “diversity training” in our workplaces? Some workers are told they should not discuss their heterosexual relationships (speaking of their wives or children!) at the office because it makes homosexual co-workers uncomfortable. This is insanity, but humanism says that there is no higher reference for concepts of right and wrong than human comfort and desires, human standards of love and truth.
The Christian author, Josh McDowell, has been speaking truth on America’s campuses for decades and Focus on the Family recently published a brief article by him about tolerance. Josh points out that tolerance has become the cardinal virtue, the sole absolute of our society, the central doctrine of an entire culture movement. Tolerance traditionally meant to respect other people, whether or not we agree with their beliefs and opinions. The New Tolerance considers everyone’s beliefs, values, lifestyle, and truth claims to be equally valid, as I have written in LIFE documents.
This new tolerance goes beyond respecting a person’s rights; it demands praise and endorsement of the beliefs, values, and lifestyle. Josh says that represents one of the greatest shifts in history, and here are some of its implications:
The repression of public discourse. As he spoke to millions of students about Jesus Christ and His resurrection, he used to be heckled with the remarks, “Prove it!” or, “I don’t believe you!” Now, the response is, “How dare you say that?” or, “Who do you think you are?” The issue is no longer the message, but the right to proclaim it. Humanism reigns and says; don’t tell me something that attacks my version of reality. In the New Tolerance, unpopular and absolute messages can be labeled “intolerant” and be repressed.
The privatization of convictions. Obviously, if the Christian’s beliefs claim that the beliefs of others may not be valid, he must keep them to himself, because speaking out is a judgment of others’ beliefs. Josh goes on to say that we will see a new wave of religious persecution. It’s going on now, as people complain of Christian witness in the workplace and schools squelch students’ religious expression.
What can we do? We can humbly speak the truth, we must diligently practice love, and we must pray for our country and its leaders!
Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do more, I will love you when your behavior offends me.”
Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.” Love responds, “I must do more; I will tell you the truth, because it will set you free.” (from August 99 Focus on the Family)
I recommend again to all our readers the excellent resources we have in America for a true Christian perspective on today’s issues:
CITIZEN magazine, focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO 80935-3550
WORLD magazine, Box 2330, Asheville, NC 28802
AFA Journal, Box 2440, Tupelo, MS 38803
WASHINGTON WATCH, FRC, 801 G St NW, Washington, DC 20001
email@example.com - e-mail service from WASHINGTON WATH, FRC, on “gay” activism and other pro-family issues.