July 26, 2012

Lesson 22: Chick-fil-A ... and Tolerance

My opinions on Chick-fil-A vary.

I don't like the food. If forced to go there on "Cow Day" to get a free chicken sandwich, I make Mark spend the extra money and order me a chicken ceasar wrap. Most people would disagree with me on this. In Chick-fil-A's defense, I typically dislike all fast-food equally.

I like their stores. The playgrounds offer something for most ages of kids, and the music in the background is soothing rather than loud.

I like that they are closed on Sunday in order to observe the Sabbath out of honor to the God they believe in. Mark didn't get hired at a certain coffee shop, because he asked to not work on Sunday. At this coffee shop, everyone works on Sunday. Apparently the shop's biggest delivery was Sunday morning ... for a nearby church.

I like their service. I think every Chick-fil-A customer has been affected by the delight Chick-fil-A employees exude when serving spicy chicken sandwiches.

Thus, I want it to be clear, that I'm not writing this blog post based on one food chain's food, or business practices, or service.

Rather, I'm writing, because the entire situation concerning Chick-fil-A, its views on marriage, and its subsequent penalties has clearly brought to light an issue that has been grating on me for months now.

This post does an exceptional job of highlighting the issue within the context of Chick-fil-A. I would like to deviate from this particular circumstance and speak to the issue in a more general way.

The issue is the definition of tolerance.

The United States has become a nation that preaches tolerance. This call for tolerance was birthed through our rights laid out in the constitution, rights for free speech, rights of the press, rights for freedom of religion. I completely agree that these are all good things. 

However, it is essential that we realize what the cultural definition of tolerance has become.

Tolerance seems to say, “everyone has an equal right to have their voice be heard.” 

What tolerance really says is, “everyone has the right to be heard, unless you make exclusive claims, in which case, you need to change, because you are wrong and intolerant.”

A person can speak as freely as they want to until they say, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

If you are unaware, that was Jesus speaking as recorded in John 14:6. 

Christians, who believe in Jesus, as the Savior and the Son of God, also believe that the only way to heaven is through him. It is not possible for a Christian to say, “yes, you can get to heaven through Christ, or through Islam, or meditation, or helping with charity, or being nice to people.” Saying thus would make a person not a Christian. Christianity makes exclusive claims.

Back to the apparent definition of tolerance, does everyone really have an equal right to be heard? 

Are Christians allowed to have their say? It seems that recent events have indicated that they are not.

Catholic institutions must provide health insurance that includes contraception, something that the Catholic church is definitively against. Religious campus organizations at Vanderbilt must consider all students for potential leadership regardless of whether or not the student believes the same thing as the organization. Restaurant owners must all have the same views on politics if they hope to open in certain cities.

Church. School. Business. It seems as if Christian freedom of thought and speech is being compromised in some of the most fundamental areas of life.

Consider this. As soon as Christians makes a definite statement (homosexuality is a sin, abortion is murder, abstinence before marriage is good, divorce is bad), they are land blasted for being intolerant.   

Yet, if these are truly their convictions, should they not be allowed to state them? In fact, does our constitution not require that we allow them to state them? Are not the people calling them intolerant really the intolerant ones?

A lot of they's and them's in that paragraph. Allow me to offer one brief illustration.

A friend recently told me that her son’s first grade teacher had mentioned to the class that she was living with her boyfriend. This friend desires to teach her son to wait until marriage to live with a girl. Whose right is more important here? The teacher’s to broadcast the way she lives, because she sees no problem with it or my friend’s to not have her children exposed at such a young age to a lifestyle she disagrees with? Someone has to lose.

The point of this entire train of thought is simply to ask you all to consider what you truly mean when you say the words tolerance and free speech.

Do we, in America, still have the right to peaceably disagree? Do we have the right to allow our convictions to translate into our lives? Or is everyone to simply submit to the loudest voices as they dictate the way society goes and force dissenters into silence?

Into a closet perhaps?

Interesting, isn't it?


  1. I don't think it's the act of stating your beliefs that people object to. You're allowed to believe and say that homosexuality is a sin, abortion is murder, abstinence is good, and all that. Even people who disagree with you will respect your freedom of speech in that regard, and your freedom to act according to the dictates of your conscience.

    What people object to is the attempts to legislate those beliefs and force people who don't share them to abide by their restrictions.

    I support Jews keeping kosher if they want to, but I would object to legislating attempting to ban cheeseburgers. I support the right of Catholics not to use contraception, but they can't remove certain aspects of health insurance for their employees, who may not be Catholic or may be Catholic but disagree with the church on that matter.

    That's the whole deal with the Chik-Fil-A boycott. It's not that the founder believes that same-sex marriage is wrong. That's his prerogative. It's that the organization spends money trying to pass legislation that would ban same-sex marriage. That goes beyond personal religious practice and into messing with the rights of others. That's where we object.

    1. Nathan, with respect, your post is rather naive (your whole first two sentences for instance) and inconsistent.

      You first say that people will respect the freedom of speech and freedom to act according to the dictates of conscience - and then three sentences later deny that the Catholic church has the right to do that very thing! In this, you illustrate Katherine's point in here blog. You not only deny their right to "act" according to their beliefs but you also want to determine "how" they should act. It is their beliefs - should they not know best how and have the right to determine how they act (of course, within the law)?

      To say that people object to the attempts to legislate beliefs and force them on those who don't share them is simply not understanding what happens all the time in this country through the legislation process. From seat belt laws, to tax hikes or cuts, to healthcare, to gun control, to what we can eat and drink - someone's beliefs are informing that legislation and then is forced upon the citzens. The latest issue with healthcare should serve as a good example of the government forcing its citizens to do something. Now not all have the same beliefs about this style of healthcare but everyone will be forced to fall in line. Someone's beliefs informed their view which in turn is now being imposed on everyone else.

      I am not trying to get into a discussion about healthcare. I'm just illustrating that people do legislate from their beliefs and then force them on others who do not agree. Of course, we can agree or disagree about the merits of such issues.

      Finally, why is it ok for Chik-Fil-A to come out against same-sex marriage but then not "act" in accordance with this belief to keep marriage defined the way they believe it should be? Do you not realize that unions, actors and actresses, companies, corporations, gov't workers and private sector workers do that very thing all the time? Why would it be ok for one company to spend money fighting for their view that same-sex marriage is ok, but if another does the same in opposition, it's wrong? Perhaps you do think it is wrong for any company to do it. But just google the companies that in support of same-sex marriage and see all those who have given money to that end. The double standard is that Chik-Fil-A gets put up in front because they go against the leaning of media. But you don't get to hear about the countless other companies on the other side. At least acknowledge the double-standard.

      Now you have the right to not agree with Chik-Fil-A and boycott their food. But they also have the right, as the plethera of other corpoartions do, to act in accordance with their beliefs.

    2. Thanks Nate and Anonymous for weighing in.

      Nate, I understand your concerns, and Anonymous, I agree with many of your points. In fact, you answered very close to how I would have answered myself. To continue dialogue, I will make a few points and pose a question.

      The main point of my post was that with this new understanding of "tolerance," people are only tolerant of a person until he makes an exclusive claim, especially one that differs from the exclusive claims offered by the loudest voices in our country (aka the media as Anonymous pointed out).

      Nate, you said that, "It's that the organization spends money trying to pass legislation that would ban same-sex marriage. That goes beyond personal religious practice and into messing with the rights of others. That's where we object."

      Apparently the guys at Apple believe that same sex marriage should be legal in California.


      When Apple (an organization) gives money towards opposing legislation concerning an issue they have personal beliefs about... are they also "going beyond personal religious practice and into messing with the rights of others"?

      Why is Apple permitted to give money towards legislation it supports or opposes, but Chick-fil-A is not warranted the same right?

      Is it because Chick-fil-A's opinions are different than yours? Therefore, it offends you, therefore, you object.

      (Nate ... generic you. Not just you, but you know, the general you out there).

      Again, remember. This is all based on the premise that in the US, all people are to be given their freedom of speech, religion, etc.

      There's enough food for thought here. I'll leave it at that and see if more discussion comes!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. To be clear, tolerance means accepting the rights of other people to believe what they want, say what they like, and live as they see fit. It doesn't cover allowing other people to try to inflict their personal religious restrictions on those who don't share them.

    1. Nathan,

      But does tolerance mean accepting another's lifestyle or worldview as valid? That is what the tolerance of today is looking for.

      Check out this short article: http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-new-tolerance-27459/

    2. Anonymous, this article is a lot better at articulating what I was trying to say. It fleshes it out.

      I especially like:
      "The “new tolerance” means: Not only do you put up with and endure and bear with those who have different views, habits, and/or lifestyles than your own, but you agree with their views as well.

      Furthermore, you hold that their lifestyle is equally true and equally valid as your own and, therefore, there is no possible way that you could be intolerant, because there is nothing to be intolerant of. You must even be willing to promote and endorse that other lifestyle, since it is every bit as good as yours."
      Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-new-tolerance-27459/#DS5AxfuRMqR7ETUJ.99

      If what Kennedy is saying here is NOT the supposed general consensus in America, why such a big deal about Chick-fil-A owners having opinions and acting on them?

      Allow me to reiterate the final statements from the original post.

      Do we, in America, still have the right to peaceably disagree? Do we have the right to allow our convictions to translate into our lives? Or is everyone to simply submit to the loudest voices as they dictate the way society goes and force dissenters into silence?

    3. That "new tolerance" thing is a straw man argument. Only the wishiest of the wishy-washy actually believe all points of view are equally true and equally valid, and of course the people who are opposed to Chik-Fil-A don't hold that opinion, otherwise they wouldn't be objecting. The tolerance I'm speaking of is exactly the kind Kennedy says is good:

      "Tolerance is being willing to put up with, endure, and bear with those whose views or lifestyles are different from others’ views, without agreeing with them. Every Christian should be tolerant in the correct and historical meaning of that word. It is what the Bible means in the love chapter of I Corinthians 13: “Love endureth all things."

      The big deal about Chik-Fil-A owners having opinions and acting on them is that people who don't share those opinions don't like that, so they're not going to eat at Chik-Fil-A anymore. That's peaceful disagreement, isn't it? That's why I'm boycotting Chik-Fil-A: not because I disgree with them having opinions, but because I disagree with the opinions they have. Too bad, too. I like their chicken sandwiches. But as I've said elsewhere, I'd rather have bad chicken at a gay family member's wedding than good chicken at Chik-Fil-A. :P

    4. Nate, good. So we can agree that all points of view are not equally true and equally valid. We would not want to be accused of being one the wishiest of the wishy-washy!:)

      What this means then is that some points of view are actually more true, and some points of view are in fact, false. If everyone cannot always be right, then that means, that sometimes, some people, have to be wrong.

      How, then, do we determine who is right and who is wrong? What would you say is the "basis" for this truth?

    5. Well, that's where it gets tricky, isn't it? I'd say we should figure out what's true based on the evidence of our senses and what we can determine from the world around us, but that only works for things that are in the material plane. Since things like religion aren't falsifiable (that is, you can't prove or disprove them based on physical evidence because they presuppose things that aren't tangible), then we have to err on the side of letting people practice their own beliefs freely *except where they infringe on the rights of others to do the same.*

    6. Nathan, I will be anonymous #5

      You say "we determine what is true based on the evidence of our senses." So you are saying that we base everything we know on our experience/sense, right?

      So let me get this straight. You have made a "truth" claim that we can only know what we know through experience. Please show some proof on that truth claim. What sense experience did you have that proved that you only know what you know through sense experience?

  3. Amazing you should bring up the definition of tolerance. Check out this sermon from the church I go to from just 2 weeks ago. Forward ahead to 25:56 to where he talks about how the actual definition of "tolerance" has changed.


    Tell Mark I said hey.

    1. Wow Ryan, this is spot on! I'm ok with being in company with D.A. Carson! If anyone else out there listens to this, I'd love to hear further comments!

      He said hey back :)

  4. Katherine thank you for putting my feelings into words for me what I've been thinking for months / years now! The amazing part about the outrage about whether or not to provide birth control to me is the need for birth control in a first place (for the most part) is a choice... Working for those people who don't believe in using or providing it is a choice... I however need glasses / contacts to SEE... Not a choice... My contacts and glasses are very expensive and either very little or none of it is covered by my insurance. Where is the outrage for those who can't see through no fault of their own? It is very sad to me that people are labelled victims of horrible circumstances because they work for someone willing to stand up for what they believe in... And yet doesn't really infringe on their rights because they aren't saying employees can't use birth control they're only saying they won't pay for it.... Just because they say what the employee is doing is against what they believe.

    1. Nicole (easier to say since there are multiple Anonymous),

      I think you've hit on an important distinction here, which the difference between a choice (or preference) and a right.

      A "right" is something that is a person's simply because that person is human. It is not something that can be given and taken away by a government.

      With a right comes an obligation. It is our obligation to protect this right for others. This is why we care about various forms of freedom for people overseas.

      As Americans, we believe that religious freedom is a right! Being able to believe and practice ones faith is a right.

      With this right comes an obligation, and so it would make sense that Americans, who love and believe in freedom, should also care to protect this right of religious freedom for others.

      Thus, though I may not agree with the creeds of various Islamic or Jewish groups, I can respect their right to believe and practice their various faiths and should care about protecting that right for them.

      As you said, using or not using birth control is a choice. Nowhere does anything say or indicate that a person has the "right" to be able to prevent (or destroy depending on the form) life.

      We do not have an obligation as a nation to cater to every single person's choice.

      I think this is what was so interesting and crazy about this situation. As a nation, we actually stated that a persons "choice" to have birth control takes priority over a persons "right" to faithfully practice their religion.

      Dangerous indeed!

      P.S. I am very sorry that your glasses and contacts are not covered. Mark thinks that teeth should be included as well!

  5. Anonymous, birth control might mess with God's plan for our fertility, but contacts/glasses mess with God's plan for some of us to have bad vision.

    If you work for me, and I am a member of a religion that doesn't believe in vision correction, does that mean I get to deny you insurance coverage for corrective lenses? Or should the insurance cover corrective lenses, leaving it up to you whether to use them or not?

    1. Nicole again. Nate absolutely! You wouldn't have to pay for my choice to see if it was against your religion. I assume this religion would, like the catholic church, make no attempts to hide this belief and it would still be my choice to work for you AND if inclined I could pay for vision correction myself. Why should my individual choices force others to fund something that goes against their core values?

  6. Sarah here,

    The thing I like about this issue is that the information is being made available to us. Yes, it is easier for me to decide not to support a fast food company that funds something I don't agree with merely because I don't care for fast food that much. I believe it would be much more difficult for me, for instance, to stop patronizing my favorite clothing store if I had absolute proof it was made from the slave labor of many young children--so I won't get high and mighty with that one. Nevertheless the "freedom of speech" we have allows me to know these things, make a more informed decision, and for the conversation in general to exist. Most importantly people are talking and hopefully taking the things being said into consideration. This and situations like these are great opportunities for us to actually and truly try to understand the person on the other end because after all, they are a human/one of god's children/ however else you like to consider a person. If the goal is to maintain the stance that you are and always will be unequivocally right about an issue, then why bother trying to define tolerance-it never existed anyway.

    We have convictions because we need to feel confident in decisions we make--decisions that must be made in order for a society to exist. But maybe tolerance isn't something you feel for one particular person or group of people, but in accepting the fact that while we exist on this earth as we know it things are never going to stop progressing. Tolerance that the physical world is going to endure some hard times however you may define them (bc regardless of what you believe something somewhere WILL be difficult for you to bear), and tolerance in your future self--because one day you may one day look back on something you felt strongly enough to act upon and realize that if you had to do it again, you'd do it differently.

    Not sure exactly where i'm going with this but i think we can take joy in these challenging and uncomfortable arguments. Maybe if we don't know what tolerance is, we can use them to figure it out. For example, engaging in a debate with the notion that when the other side is finished making a point I may not have a counterpoint. I am not able to do this often, if ever, but I like the idea and could be something to work towards.

    1. As to your first point, I think you are right. It is good to have true information and make decisions based on that. The Chick-fil-A situation was pretty bad, b/c the media didn't actually report what the president actually said. They claimed him guilty by implication. He said he was "for marriage." He never actually said anything relating to same-sex marriage. But, like you, I don't really care whether or not people eat at Chick-fil-A. I don't like it. I was trying to use the situation as an example to talk about something else.

      I also think you inadvertently hit on perhaps my main goal of the post ... which was to open eyes to the fact that tolerance doesn't actually exist, that in fact, intolerance is all over the place.

      Sort of like a, hey, can we just stop pretending and talk about the situation as it really exists.

      Perhaps, I particularly sensitive to the intolerance of Christians, because well, I am one. It's crazy, because on the grand scheme of things, this is exactly what the Bible says will happen to Christians. Christians are called to suffer persecution as Christ did.

      It gets more difficult on the everyday level, which is why I included the story of my friend and her son's first grade teacher. All the talk and culture shift on the grand level has effected the common level ... and has effected my friend's son's education.

      I also thank you for adding the comment about challenging and uncomfortable arguments. I think the above conversations have been good, because it hasn't slid into name calling and outrageous claims, as you see all the time on Facebook. At the end of the day, I think I mostly want people to recognize that having certain opinions or views doesn't automatically make a person a hateful, racist, bigot, freedom-killer or a kind-hearted, loving, caring, tolerant person. Most of the time, we're all just moms, or teachers, or students, or businessmen, who are trying to sort out life and take care of our families.

      Clearly, we are not all going to agree, and so you are right. Sometimes it is important to just sit back, listen, and learn. The original post was intended to raise more questions than it answered. Obviously, firmer things have been stated in the subsequent comments.

      Thanks for writing!!!

    2. I'm a little confused by the illustration of the teacher and the student. Was the teacher aware that your friend is raising her child to believe a man and woman shouldn't live together before marriage? If she did know that, but then went ahead and knowingly undermined your friend's parenting, then certainly, there is a problem. Also, if your friend's child goes to a Christian school that promised to uphold the teachings of the Church, then that would be a huge problem and I would expect the teacher would have been fired.

      However, I assume this is a public school. (And regardless of whether this is or not, I hope you friend spoke with the teacher and let her know that she felt the comments were inappropriate. I'd be uncomfortable with a First Grade teacher talking about adult living situations to her students even outside of the context of religion.) And if I am correct in assuming this is a public school, your friend must have understood that her child would be exposed to belief systems outside of their own.

      I have a close family friend who was raised vegetarian for religious reasons and in our grade school health class we were taught about the importance of the food pyramid. If you had a similar class, you may have also been taught about the importance of eating meat. Not to mention, everyday he was surrounded by kids in the lunch room eating ham sandwiches. His mother took this as an opportunity to say "We are different from other people. We do not believe eating meat is a good thing to do, so even when you hear about how eating meat is okay or see your friends eating it, know that it is not okay for us."

      What I'm getting at is: is it the teacher's job to parent her students? I don't know what your friend's teacher said or how inappropriate it might have been. Of course there are differences between my illustration and yours as no school board would approve a curriculum that includes the personal lives of the teachers. But that's not the point being raised; the point raised was that your friend's teacher said something that was unchristian to a Christian child. The point I'm making is, that there may be other parents in the same class who may have taken offense to other things that your friend may have thought were fine. They may have had to sit their kids down and tell them the some people believe different things and just because someone says something is okay doesn't mean it's true for them.

      It certainly is distressing when your child hears something you'd rather they did not, but that will happen universally regardless of your beliefs. I'm not sure that you can claim the story of your friend and her child is a uniquely Christian problem.

    3. Hi, still Sarah? or someone else?

      I completely agree with you on two points. 1. When sending a child to a public school, the parent knows that the child will hear things they would rather they not hear. 2. Parents have to follow up at home, which my friend did. The tricky part was explaining the views to her child without having him go back and preach to his teacher!

      The entire point of the blog post was pointing out that there is a double standard. Tolerance only goes so far. People are only tolerant of what they already believe.

      So, imagine if little Timmy with two dads goes to first grade and his teacher says in passing that the only way marriage should work is between a man and a woman. Timmy goes home and asks his dads. What would happen?

      There would be an outrage. It would be newsworthy. Teacher would be fired, etc.

      The problem with the idea of tolerance is that, as I said, someone has to lose. We can't all be right and we can't all have our own way.

      So, the teacher in my blog illustration unknowingly offers her views on relationships, nothing happens. It is reinforced that she can say what she wants, so she continues to talk.

      In this second example, when the teacher talks, there's a big deal made out of it, someone loses a job. So what happens? People stop saying what they think out of fear.

      Which is why it led to my final question ...

      Do we, in America, still have the right to peaceably disagree? Do we have the right to allow our convictions to translate into our lives? Or is everyone to simply submit to the loudest voices as they dictate the way society goes and force dissenters into silence?

      Hope that helps. Sorry if I made it even more confusing.

    4. Thank you for your response that does clear some things up, but that leads me to ask a question I buried in my first post. Did your friend's mother approach the teacher? And if she did what was the teacher's reaction? You said nothing happened to the teacher, but did your friend try to do anything and what was the response?

      Secondly, did your friend think this was grounds for the teacher being terminated? I want to make sure I understand what you're saying correctly. In the hypothetical situation you give, one teacher is fired for saying marriage should only exist in one way, and the other your friend's teacher gets away without even a hint of reprimand for saying that it's okay for men and women to live together without being married. Or are you saying the balance is off to have an extreme reaction on one end and nothing on the other?

      If you are saying the balance is off, it doesn't help your argument to use a hypothetical. Are you citing something that actually happened? Did a teacher get fired for saying marriage is only between a man and woman in a very publicized media spectacle? Did you friend meet opposition for saying she wanted her son's teacher to keep her personal beliefs to herself?

      It's easy to say, "Everyone always supports the Timmy's of the world and my friend can't even say anything without being ridiculed for raising her child as a Christian." But if there isn't an actual Timmy and your friend didn't actually raise her concerns, it's an unsupported statement.

      Finally, "In this second example, when the teacher talks, there's a big deal made out of it, someone loses a job. So what happens? People stop saying what they think out of fear" is a very sticky idea, because we're talking specifically about teachers. I wouldn't want a teacher to tell my kid "I think marijuana should be legal" or "I think prostitution is a victimless crime." Being a teacher is not a platform to champion personal beliefs. (And I know this is your point. One teacher says their beliefs and is fired, the other is not. But unless you have evidence to support the idea that teachers are being fired for saying pro-Christian things across the board, while teachers who say things that go against the Christian faith do not get any backlash, it's a moot point. It's not enough to just "know" something. You have to show it.)

      However, I am interested in your inference that Christians have had to go in the closet. Do you have friends who are afraid to voice their Christian opinions at work for fear of their coworker's negative reactions? Do you know any Christian people who are afraid they'll be fired if their boss finds out their religion? I honestly would like to know.

      The obvious example is Chick-fil-A, which I agree with you. That situation is unfair. And since we're also taking about tolerance, check out this article:


      You probably know this already, but the ACLU is fighting for Chick-fil-A's right to say what it wants - even though what Chick-fil-A is saying goes directly against a large part of what the ACLU stands for. Perhaps tolerance hasn't left the country completely just yet.

    5. Hi. Ok, let's see.

      1. I don't know if my friend ever said anything to her son's teacher or not.

      2. No, I do not think my friend saw this as grounds for firing, nor do I. I think a reprimand would have been in order as you suggested. So yes, I think that it is the extreme reaction that is frustrating.

      3. What I wrote was a hypothetical situation, but I did find this:
      A teacher at a public school in Florida was fired for making statements against same sex marriage on facebook.
      This was the only article I found on this story.

      Ironically, a Catholic teacher was fired from a Catholic school in Minnesota for supporting same-sex marriage, and there are many, many articles available on this.

      4. However, you are right, real life examples are better. How about one that is not related to the same sex issue. Our friends were called in to have a conference with other parents in their son's Kindergarten class, because they had decided not to teach their children about Santa Claus. Apparently, the other parents in the class wanted to make a pact or agreement or something, that everyone would tell their kids about Santa Claus. Spoiler Alert: Santa's not real. Though this is a silly example (and again, not firing grounds in my book) is hopefully displays people's desire to have their own way.

      Christians going into the closet ...

      1.I think the biggest indicator for me that it was moving in this direction was when North Carolina recently voted on the marriage amendment. It was absurd the angry, angry facebook posts from people who support same sex marriage. Honestly, I was shocked. What makes me think that those who opposed it didn't say much? People's status' said nothing about it. And the ones who did ... eventually got land blasted by someone. Interestingly, the vote went towards the traditional view of marriage, which is perhaps where I got the idea of the "loudest" dictating what we read rather than the majority. (This last point obviously has statistics on both sides, so let's please not go into it.)

      2. As far as careers, the majority of people I talk with on a regular basis are going into ministry, as we are currently in seminary. Here, a person would not lose their job for holding Christian beliefs (or at least we would hope not). There was a film I watched called "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" that talks about Christians in the scientific world. It was land blasted by all expected people ... scientists, media, etc. But, there could be some truth in it.

      3. Finally, I did not offer a statement, I offered a question ... a question asking, if things continue in this direction ... is this where Christians are headed?

      Side note:

      I do think it is probably unfair to say that the only reason Christians don't speak out is because of fear. I also think that there is often wisdom in not speaking, when all it will do is start an unreasonable fight. In situations where disagreement and debate can actually take place in a positive way, it is good to speak, but these situations are rare.

    6. Hi again.

      Sorry, I still don't think that I explained my example very well.

      The teacher and the parent have differing opinions. Tolerance is saying that both matter, because we have to be tolerant of everyone's opinions. In the teacher exercising her right to live her life as she wants, she comes into conflict with the way the parent feels her child should be raised.

      The Santa parents and the no-Santa parents have differing opinions. Tolerance says, that both should be able to teach their kid what they think is right. This is a problem because these two sets of parents have kids at the same school.

      Now, if there is a school where everyone's opinions and lifestyles matter equally, this becomes a problem for people who make exclusive claims. Exclusive claims are claims that say, actually, there is only one right way. It's not just Christianity that does this, but Islam as well, Mormonism, Judaism (some of it) and others.

      What's interesting, is that even popular culture makes exclusive claims! When popular culture says that "everyone's way is right for himself", it is ACTUALLY making an exclusive claim. It is saying, "the only right way to think ... is to think that everyone has the right to think what they want."

      Put another way. "If you don't think that everyone has the right to think what they want ... you are wrong."

      In saying this, they are still affirming that their value judgment is superior to everyone else's, not equal, as they claim.

      Thus, perhaps, I am simply trying to illustrate that everyone is not so tolerant as they would like to think.

      I am sorry that this conversation was so confusing. The teacher example was not to be taken to an extreme ending, but rather to illustrate a simple point, that differing views clash in important places and it's not really possible for "everyone" to win.

      The entire point of view negates itself.

    7. "The entire point of view negates itself" is meant to come after ... the "Put another way." paragraph. I don't know how that happened.

  7. Hi Katherine! I've really been enjoying the discussion although I haven't weighed in on it, and don't have time to do so right now. But I have to say, I agree with you so far in everything you've said. So thank you for speaking up for my opinion. :)

  8. Sarah again,

    Thanks, Kat. I like reading your blog because I know that you will bring a Christian perspective to a situation in a way that maintains everyone's respect. In other words, I think you embody Christian ideals of showing love for all people by keeping their dignity even while disagreeing. Even though I have come far from my prior Christian beliefs in the past few years I know you love me as you always have and do the same for all others especially in examples like this. This is the kind of ministry that I like...I know that everyone responds differently to all things, but I just like your style. :)

    I agree with you about tolerance not really existing but don't really expect this to change. Like I was saying we have to believe things to make decisions otherwise we'd be fumbling around and wouldn't get anything accomplished. Every SINGLE person we talk to, even if they are what you consider like-minded, serves as a direct challenge to our fundamental beliefs--simply for having different genetic traits, being raised in a different way, and having been exposed to different life experiences. So to show true acceptance for every other human being in the planet would be to effectively diminish your own beliefs, negating all the choices you have made and have to make and etc etc you can see how it just can't work out that way. So let's be tolerant that we aren't tolerant? haha I don't know!

    One thing, though, that I am curious about is when you mentioned the persecution of Christians. Do you believe that Christians are currently being persecuted? If so, can you please elaborate on this or give any examples if you have them? I am not very good at keeping up with news or politics so I never assume that i know all the facts. What it seems like to me right now is that Christians are currently being challenged in their ability to influence political decision. If that is all, I don't know if that is in sync with what I know as persecution. So any other info you can give me would be helpful.

    Thank you for opening this discussion :)

  9. Hi All,
    Sorry for posting a month late. I simply want to refer everyone to an excellent post found at


    In an article called "Searching for the Sin Gene," The author makes a very compelling case against one of the latest tools being pulled out by those promoting tolerance in the name of "having a genetic make up" which predisposes them to act in such fashion. Good reading for those working to stem the tide of the homosexual activist. One point I particularly liked. If homosexuals insist that they can't be judge based on their genetic make-up to commit a homosexual act. Then why should they be allowed to judge Christians when their genetic make up presupposes them to oppose that act. Are are genes less important than theirs? Read the post for more helpful insights.

  10. I have quoted a rather long quote, (Long for anyone who struggles with focusing on more than the quickie 2 second sound bite" type argument of the blogosphere from Brad S. Gregory's "The Unintended Reformation." This 397 page book is a massive and well researched work and well worth the read. The title sounds like an attack on Protestanism but Gregory traces Catholic culpability as well in his tracing of how intellectual thought since the reformation has been transferred from one where truth was the primary domain of Christianity to one where it is just about anybody's domain, if indeed the world can agree that objective truth can exists. Thus, pyrrhonism rules the day. When you have time Katherine, I can lend you my copy. If nothing else, it will challenge your vocabulary. My current list of words that I needed to look up is to 78 and I still have another 28 pages to go. It is extensively referenced, It will challenge serious seekers of truth, which does exist as anyone who considers the concept of "Non-contradiction" can readily understand. Some of the quote will remain under appreciated until one reads the entire book because the words within build upon the prior thoughts in prior chapters.

    "Yet the inculcation among students of the academy's secular ideology in its current configuration , as suggested in chapter 4, is carefully calibrated because it rests on nothing but the pragmatist relativism required to serve the sociocultural and political realities of modern liberal states. Its aim is not the pursuit of truth-or rather "truth"-with respect to any of the Life Questions, but rather indoctrination in the conviction that there are no definitive answers. Given the pressures exerted by fractious diversity in the hyperpluralistic wider society, higher education must on the whole instill enough skepticism to divest students of any substantive truth claims-especially religious ones-that could disrupt the demands of the most important social virtue, namely open-ended toleration. Students must minimally be brought to relativize their religious views, demoting them to the level of subjective beliefs, which is one of the things that a book such as Jefferey Stout's Democracy and Tradition is designed to do. Simply by dint of cultural osmosis, most Americans already have done their duty in this regard by the time they reach their late teens. But if not, exposure to the dominance of scientistic naturalism along with historical and cultural pluralism, plus reading Nietzsche and Rawls in approved ways, usually does the trick, especially when backed by the professional authority that makes college classrooms the site of vast disparities in power. And the undergraduate conversion imperative of subjectivizing one's own commitments is reinforced by the absence of any guidance, discipline, or courses for students about how even to begin to the think through all the countervailing ideas and claims to which they are exposed. With theology "altogether absent from the mainstream academic enterprise" and philosophy nearly always a highly technical, specialized discipline as ideologically secular as any other, students have essentially no choice of sorting through the claims and evidence they encounter, or of stumbling on some measure of coherence. Hence they can concentrate on having a good time and getting good enough grades to get a job and to pursue the goods life."

  11. Sorry, but when I read the very next paragraph of "The Unintended Reformation", I thought it also deserved quotation, especially in view of your other post 63, "Pro-Think."

    "But higher education must not encourage students to be too skeptical, to follow Nietzsche to the end, to transfer the implications of the reigning ideological scientism and metaphysical naturalism into the domain of morality and human life. Because then, quite plainly, they might see that there is in fact no more basis for (critically important) human rights or convictions about equality than there is evidence for (silly and superstitious) human souls or God, and indeed, no scientific evidence for any objective values, meaning or purpose whatsoever. And if enough people started to see this, the behavioral customs could make Peter Singer's advocacy for the legitimacy of infanticide- "We can see that the grounds for not killing persons do not apply to newborn infants"-look like child's play. So higher education must aim to instill a carefully calibrated -and on the terms of scientific naturalism, completely baseless-skepticism. That is why, even though he seems to recognize that there is no natural basis for human rights if naturalism is true, Ronald Dworkin, despite his intellectual sophistication, in the end responds to the question about the truth of the objective existence of rights like a flummoxed clergyman pressed by an impertinent layperson: "You'd better believe it."


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