Nor does “tolerance” mean that you get the right to spout your noxious, vile opinions, and everyone else has to shut up and listen.
So, Kirk Cameron appears on Piers Morgan for an interview. For those of you who do not know, Kirk Cameron has developed into a radical fundamentalist Christianist, who denies evolution, and is virulently anti-gay. Why did he get an interview slot on Piers Morgan? Who the fuck knows.
Anyway, Piers asks Kirk several questions about his radical anti-gay views. Kirk responds by saying that he believes that homosexuality is sinful, unnatural, and “ultimately destructive” to civilization. He is thereafter criticized, heavily, for that statement.
In response to the criticism, Kirk says this:
I should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square. I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect. I’ve been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally).
Similarly Samuel Wurzelbacher, otherwise known as Joe the Plumber, which is weird, because his name is not Joe, and he is not a plumber, appeared recently on CNN. Having just won a Republican primary in Ohio, there was at least a legitimate reason for him to appear on CNN, I suppose. Anyway, he is also asked about his publicly expressed, radical anti-gay views, including a prior statement that he wouldn’t let any gay people near his children. Samuel gets all testy about the line of questioning, referring to them as “gotcha” questions, and finally saying the following:
I’m allowed to have my opinions as an American, but it seems the left becomes very intolerant when you have an opinion other than what they state.
Kirk, Sam, I hate to break it to you, but “intolerance” does not mean what you think it means. Yes, you are allowed to have your opinions. CLEARLY, you are allowed to have and express your ignorant, hateful, vile, prejudiced, small-minded, mouth-breathing opinions. If you were not, you would not be invited on nationally broadcast television programs.
However, the right to have and express your opinions does not include the right to be immune from criticism. Nor does it include the right to prevent me from having and expressing my opinion, which is that your opinions are utter shit.