What is a ‘bigot’ anyway?

The mainstream media and some in the pro-gay marriage camp regularly set up the “Christian bigot” as the typical opponent of gay marriage.  The story goes that those for traditional marriage vote that way only because they are close minded and blind to the realities of the world.  Am I right?  Isn’t this commonly the picture of gay-marriage opponents presented on TV, in movies, and in the news?

This is the definition of a bigot according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

Bigot: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

This definition implies blindly ascribing to a belief or prejudice, and allowing that to flow into hateful behavior.  I admit, there are those who call themselves “Christian” who are “obstinately or intolerantly” oppose homosexuals and who treat them with “hatred and intolerance.”  The ones that do get a lot of attention from the media.  However, the Christians I know agree that Jesus calls us to treat one another with respect regardless of our conflicting political, religious or personal views.  Most of us do that imperfectly, but we recognize that hating those with whom we disagree transgresses Christ’s commands.

An understanding of the word “tolerance” is going to be important to this discussion.  I went to public school in the 80s and early 90s when “diversity” and “tolerance” were the greatest virtue that one could ascribe to.  At that time, tolerance was defined as coexisting peacefully with those with whom you do not agree.  Tolerance is an important virtue in any society, but certainly in one as diverse as ours.  And diversity is marvelous too.  The Bible talks about how in Christ there is neither “Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)  This means that within the body of Christ, there should be no distinction based on race, social status, or gender.  If the church is not filled with a diversity of races, ages, socio-economic status, and both men and women- it’s not the church.

However, there seems to have been a shift in how the word “tolerance” is used in the last few years.  Now it seems to mean you have to agree with everyone that their opinion is right, instead of the fact that they have a ‘right’ to their opinion.  Now we are to be tolerant of everything save intolerance.  And this is now being used powerfully in the fight to attack all manner of standards.  “In twenty-first-century America, the technique of taking offense has been used very selectively to bind the hands and the tongues of all who are terrified at the thought of being found intolerant or politically incorrect.” (http://www.profam.org/pub/rs/rs_1804.htm)  There are people on my Facebook page who have declared that “if you don’t agree with my position on gay marriage, we can’t be friends.”  They’re not after tolerance, they’re after endorsement.

Although there is a caricature of the gay man draped in leather and chains at the gay pride parade, most gay people don’t fit that stereotype.  (But if that was the only image presented by the media, how well do you think the gay-marriage narrative would play out within culture?) Likewise, many who oppose gay marriage don’t fit the caricature of the isolated, holier-than-thou reactionary.  Many of us have college degrees, live in diverse communities, have gay family members, friends, or neighbors that we love, spend time with, and with whom we wrestle though these issues.  But I doubt you’ll ever see that portrait depicted on Glee.

After President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, I heard a piece on NPR where they interviewed a couple who said that they used to be against gay marriage but then they met their lesbian neighbors and now they’ve had “an awakening.”  The implication of course is that those against gay marriage just don’t have any exposure to gay people.  After the vote in North Carolina to make gay marriage illegal, supporters of the bill had only one comment (that the media shared with the audience) and that was that gay marriage was “sinful.”  I read an article about how prime time sitcoms have played a role in “bringing gays into the average US household.”  The article talked about how exposure to Will and Grace may not “change a bigot into a saint” but that it may help the bigots to recognize that gays are people too.

So the mainstream media has labeled me a bigot because– regardless of my reasons or experience or background or heart– I oppose gay marriage.  Maybe you agree– that simply being against gay marriage makes you a bigot.  And if that is your definition, then I guess I am.  So this is your chance to ask me, a real life “bigot,” all your questions.

But if you see through this Blog that I am neither obstinate nor intolerant and that I do not hate my gay neighbor, but you want to continue to call all traditional marriage supporters “bigots” anyway… does that make you one?

40 thoughts on “What is a ‘bigot’ anyway?

  1. So how exactly is that showing any form of tolerance? When you fight to outlaw another persons happiness and rights that are afforded to YOU. You are going beyond not agreeing and are infringing YOUR standards onto others. You are not obligated to go to a same sex marriage, your church doesn’t have to perform a same sex wedding. It doesn’t infringe on you in any way except that you have to accept that it happens. If you were being tolerant your position should be that you are voting for gay couples to marry, even though you may not think it’s the right thing for you, but it may be for someone else. Think about if this were all reversed and others felt your relationship was not to their liking. Do you feel that others should be allowed to judge where your love and connection to someone falls? Believe me, I would fight just as hard if this were that situation. Your life is not for me to be able to restrict any rights that I am afforded. The same should go for me. I should be able to love who i would like and you can say you disapprove. You shouldn’t make it illegal. Where does the line start getting drawn then? What other things that people do that you wish to dictate because you don’t like it? Really, you think that is what Jesus would do? Well, he was ok with people owning others in slavery. So, yeah maybe he would.

    • Dear Mike,

      Thank you for your comments. I have addressed many of your objections throughout my blog. I will do my best to summarize here.

      You state that I am fighting “to outlaw another persons happiness and rights”. First, homosexual relationships are not outlawed, nor am I advocating for them to be. Before same-sex marriage was legalized in my state, while not legally promoted, same-sex relationships were permitted. (Civil unions allowed them rights that were indecipherable from those of married couples.)

      What I am not in favor of is the redefinition of marriage to become a genderless institution. There are public purposes of marriage; the primary one is attaching mothers and fathers to one another and their children. This biological reality is so fundamental to the human experience that nearly every culture and every religion throughout history has something that resembles man/woman marriage. Redefining marriage is not just about whom you share “love and connection,” as you state. Redefining marriage also redefines the meaning of parenthood. It removes biology as the basis for parenthood and replacing it with man-made legal constructions. In Washington, we have just institutionalized a family structure that, for a child, can never be “in-tact.” The story of the child raised in the same-sex household will always begin with brokenness and the loss of at least one biological parent. I discuss this in my blog series “You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion.” https://askthebigot.com/2012/08/20/alternative-families/

      Where does the line get drawn, you ask? Well, clearly not by biology. And not by the near unanimity of human history. Or the naturalist rational that the conditions under which a child is conceived is also likely the ideal conditions under which that child should be raised.

      It’s not bigotry to advocate for children to be raised by a mom AND a dad. It’s biology.

      And if you would like to better understand your “slavery and Jesus” statement, this blog is helpful. http://eightysixacres.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/homosexuality-a-look-at-slavery/

      Thank you again for your comments. All the best to you, Mike.

      • Would it not be the wish of Jesus that children be raised in an environment of love, acceptance, and guidance; a world which cherishes and respects their family; a world which treats them with the same regard as any other child? The fact of the matter is that gay and lesbian couples are raising children, and disallowing their union to be recognized as spiritually as well as legally valid also denies their family the acceptance, respect, and guidance necessary to make children feel loved. You say that the biology is the most important part of a family, of marriage, and of children, but is it not the love that binds us together, more than biology? One of your children is adopted; do you not love him or her just as much as you love your biological children? The social and legal legitimacy of your marriage allows for your adopted child to feel normal, accepted, and loved, even though he or she is not your biological child. Your love does that mostly, of course, but if society or the law were to challenge that love and call it illegitimate, your child would be placed in a challenging position. Not an impossible position, but one that is unfair and unnecessarily difficult to overcome. I respect your right to believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that same-sex marriage is wrong, but I do not think that your belief or anybody else’s should be given the power to impact so many lovers and children who are aspiring only to share in the peace and joy of family that heterosexual couples and their children have been taking for granted forever. I believe love and family is what Jesus preached, not biology.

      • Unlike your lesbianfriend I am finding it hard to respect your right to believe homosexuality is a sin – have you posted on this topic – it would be helpful if you could point me to it if you have….thanks.

      • Hello “Bigot” (I don’t particularly think you are one), I’d like to commend you on your tone and disposition; you certainly present your views in a calm, collected, and non-oppositional manner. However, I have noticed a few problems with several of your arguments.

        It seems that your main argument against SSM is based on the proposition that marriage has anything to do, inherently, with procreation. It does not. Many subjective interpretations of the word exist, but the objective definition has been established and is listed here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marriage.

        But, for the sake of debate if nothing else, let’s say that marriage DOES inherently involve children (or the ability to have children in principle, as Alan Keyes might argue). I agree that, in a world where biology was quite literally the only factor in good child-rearing, biological parenting would be the best option for a child. However, this world does not exist, and the benefits of biological relation between parents and children are far outweighed by countless other factors such as economic status, parents’ personalities and dispositions (will the children be treated well or consistently beaten?), ideologies, etc. Biological relation very likely comes in close to last place as a factor of importance regarding parenting – even if biological parenting DID result in happier children, the survival and safety of the children should come first.

        If you do happen to read this, thank you very much for your time and I wish you the best.

        -Aaron

        • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Aaron. I do not cite biology as the primary component of child-rearing, neither would I say that it is irrelevant. The five-part post “You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion” is the most in-depth description of my reasons why I support man-woman marriage. (None of which have to do with religion, by the way.) The studies in part five of that post are especially relevant.
          https://askthebigot.com/2012/08/20/alternative-families/

          Also, as it relates to children and children’s rights, this post is helpful.
          https://askthebigot.com/2012/12/09/chapter-next/

          Primarily, my reasoning for supporting man/woman marriage is about how men and women innately parent differently and that children receive innumerous subtle and overt benefits from those complimentary approaches.
          https://askthebigot.com/2013/03/17/moms-and-dads-parent-differently/

          Those who advocate for redefining marriage by dropping the dual gender requirement often do so on the grounds that marriage is simply a “union” of two caring adults. An interesting discussion on that line of reasoning can be found between Wiskeyandphysics and I after this post.
          https://askthebigot.com/2013/04/02/if-gay-marriage-what-then/

          You are right to begin with the question “What is marriage” and then secondarily to ask “What is the state’s interest in marriage?” An exceptionally fair and unemotional comparison of the two current definitions of marriage can be found in this summary post.
          https://askthebigot.com/2012/09/03/what-is-marriage/

          Thank you again for stopping by. I will do my best to answer any questions you have, especially if they have not been covered elsewhere on the blog.

          All the best to you, friend.

      • ” the primary one is attaching mothers and fathers to one another and their children.”

        What do you base this one?

        “that nearly every culture and every religion throughout history has something that resembles man/woman marriage.”
        Do you really what to make wide historical and cultural references to marriage, because some of them have not so nice implications.

        “. It removes biology as the basis for parenthood and replacing it with man-made legal constructions. ”

        But that has already happened, seeing as people can adopt now.

        “It’s not bigotry to advocate for children to be raised by a mom AND a dad. It’s biology.”

        What do you base this one? Seeing as how (despite not being ideal) the only reaseach on the topic shows that kids raised by gays do about just as fine compared to one rasied by straights.

        Your arguments are just all appeals to tradition and nature. If anything that’s probably why you’re called a bigot, because you hold on to these flimsy arguments.

        • Hi Blake. Thanks for the comments. I have recently posted the bulk of my thoughts on marriage in a new page at the top titled “Gay Marriage.” In it, I talked about how society’s main interest in marriage is children and attempt to explain why. I would love your thoughts after you have a chance to read through it.

          The reference to the historical and cultural proofs of the definition of marriage points to the institution being one that exists free of government involvement. It is the most self-evident family unit and is, indeed, driven by biology which is why we find something that resembles marriage in nearly every culture across the centuries.

          As to the “studies” which support parenting outcomes for same sex couples, please note that none of those studies employed randomly-derived participants and very few used large samples or adequate controls. Find a study which meets the highest standards for social science testing which shows that children fare just as well under same-sex headed households, post a link, and then we can talk.

          Yes, I appeal to nature and tradition. Also, natural self-evident rights of children. On what basis do you make your appeal? The emotions of adults?

          Thanks again for your questions. All the best to you, friend.

      • The redefinition of marriage isn’t going to invalidate or get in the way of whatever you believe the purpose of marriage to be. This is all just a pointless semantics issue. It’s already happened in your state, so there isn’t any real problem.

        • You are right. It’s already been redefined in Washington. But someday, when a child of a gay couple who has been manipulated into existence or denied a relationship with a mother and father via adoption, one or many of those children are going to wonder why we were all so busy celebrating the family structure which deprived them of that irreplaceable parent. Some of them are going to ask why no one voiced any objections. On that note, this account of adult children of same sex couples and what you will not hear in those “studies” (which used recruited and volunteer participants) on gay parenting.

          http://englishmanif.blogspot.com/2014/04/la-joie-de-vivre-31-voices-of-children.html

  2. It’s interesting that I should find this today of all days. Earlier today, while in work, a gentleman asked why I wore a cross around my neck. I replied that it reflected my strong Christian faith, he got quite angry and then proceeded to tell me what *I* as a Christian believed. Turns out he was gay and automatically assumed that as a Christian I was intolerant and the word bigot was used at least three times during his tirade. After telling him that he knew nothing of my personal relationship with God I pointed out that as the duty manager I’d like him to leave for swearing in front of my sixteen year old colleague. After he left she turned to me and just said ‘wow, and he called you the bigot’.

    Interesting blog, I like it 🙂

    • You are welcome here!!! I hope you find the posts helpful for spurring you on to love and good deeds. Hold fast to the Word of Truth and the admonishment to love all, despite how they identify themselves. Great to have you on board!

  3. I have often considered simply calling myself a bigot as well, since we will be labeled such no matter how rational, educated, or compassionate our positions may be. I like this approach. “Here I am – one of those people you’ve heard about. Ask me anything you want.”

    • I’ll admit, I was in an angry place when the idea of this blog was birthed. You could count on two fingers the people who might challenge me for the spot of “#1 fan” of my mom and her partner. And yet, it seemed that in nearly every media venue the bigot label was being used more and more liberally. I told my MOPS group to pray that I would know what to do about the angst that was stewing within me and I facetiously said that I wanted to start a blog called “asktheBigot.” Over the next several days, I couldn’t shake that still small voice so… here we are. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

      • Try and understand from the gay persons view point – it doesn’t matter if you say I love you or use soft language – the fact that one considers them “distorted” or living in sin is hurtful. If bigot is the worst you get called, take it on the chin, we deserve more than that.

  4. Thanks for your comments, Lesbianfriend. I have addressed many of your thoughts in other blog posts. I do not cite biology as the primary component of child-rearing, neither would I say that it is irrelevant. The five-part post “You’re only against gay marriage because of your religion” is the most in-depth description of my reasons why I support man-woman marriage. (None of which have to do with religion, by the way.)
    https://askthebigot.com/2012/08/20/alternative-families/

    Also, as it relates to children and children’s rights, this post is helpful.
    https://askthebigot.com/2012/12/09/chapter-next/

    Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment!

  5. Hi, just wanted to say I really appreciate the idea of this blog, I’m looking forward to reading through it. I come from an evangelical background and also have a gay mum – it really makes you consider what you think about sexuality and why when those two important parts of your life come into apparent conflict like that! We may have come to different conclusions, but I really appreciate your thought processes as much as I’ve read so far, and I’m expecting to be challenged by them as I read more 🙂

    • Claire, thanks for writing and for sharing a bit about yourself! I loved your post “…that distinction would always belong to a woman.” I am looking forward to hearing more from you.

  6. I stumbled upon this blog via FB page defending traditional marriage and even when I have not yet read through all your blog posts, I already enjoyed and even agree with what I have read in this introduction so far. I hope to read more interesting posts… 🙂 And I hope you get to educate more people about what a real Christian stand on SSA is.

  7. Dear ‘Bigot’, I heard you on the radio yesterday. I’m now looking forward to reading your blog. My family actually knows yours, since our children go to the same school. This subject greatly interests me, but I note how quickly we all (on both sides of the debate) get mired down in the minutia to where it becomes emotionally and mentally exhausting. For the record, I call myself a social conservative and political libertarian. It has taken me a while to come to the point that I can no longer ask or expect the government to enforce my Christian perspective of marriage because it sets the precedent of using government as a tool to enforce any vision of ‘morality’. I believe we as followers of Jesus Christ have done great harm to ourselves and the public face of our faith by failing to ‘love one another as He loves us’ [second greatest commandment]. Having said that however, it does not mean that I won’t stop living my life as a silent witness and a vocal apostle for the values I believe are right, and the world view I share with you. I cannot articulate the current dichotomy of this issue any better than you have, above – that is we find ourselves in a position where we have to “agree with everyone that their opinion is right, instead of the fact that they have a ‘right’ to their opinion”. What I will push back against now in the current public and political debate, is where the militant gay movement [sorry – can’t think of a better descriptor] is trying to undermine the Judeo-Christian world view through their activism, picking fights where none exists, and sometimes in an openly hedonist manner, living-out their world view in an ‘in your face’ way that is offensive to me. Yes, that activism exists. Why should should a Christian florist be forced to sell flowers, or a Christian baker be forced to make a cake, for a gay wedding? If they chose not to provide their services to two neo-Nazis getting married, would they also be guilty of ‘hate’? But enough of that. I see I’m getting mired down on my own minutia…

    • Nason, thanks for stopping by! And thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are right on several fronts. First, that there is a “militant” wing of the movement that is responsible for the in-your-face aggression that we often come up against. I don’t think that they represent the majority of gay people who honestly are just living quiet lives like mine and yours (though my friends might laugh at me describing myself as “quiet”). Also, that pop culture has decided what is and is not offensive and you are punished if you do not agree. The answer? Exactly what you have said: “living my life as a silent witness and a vocal apostle for the values I believe are right”. Do introduce yourself if we pass each other at the school! I love to know my readers! Thanks again for your comments.

    • Nason, I liked and agreed with most of your post. May I point out, however, that part of our cultural and political problems are caused not by Christians’ involvement in culture and politics but by an insufficiency of it? The culture derives from the cult; the common etymology is no accident. ‘Cult’, prior to acquiring its modern negative baggage a la Jim Jones, the Raelians, and others, simply referred to the system of organized religious beliefs. These beliefs were people’s most deeply held, foundational convictions about all of the transcendent questions: why are we here, where did we come from, what is expected of us, where are we going? The culture is the pattern by which people, in aggregate, live out their lives, and therefore represents the extension of those beliefs. Politics is about what people want their government to do, or not do, in their nation, and therefore represents a further extension of those foundational beliefs. Our modern culture and politics have been shaped by completely different religious beliefs than those held by the founders.

      Yes, it is true that Christians are sometimes their own worst enemies. So? To condemn them for that subjects them to a standard by which their hypocrite critics would fare equally poorly. The assertions of Christianity are neither validated nor invalidated by the adherent, with ten exceptions: those disciples who claimed to have seen the risen Christ in the flesh with their own eyes and sealed their testimony with their blood. People will die for false beliefs they do not know to be false, but no one has yet been documented to have willingly died for something he knew to be a lie. Those ten disciples’ testimony was that they saw, heard, and touched the risen Christ. From the standpoint of human psychology, slam dunk. They saw Him.

  8. It’s very dubious to try and make intolerance of intolernace sound hypociritcal

    “Now we are to be tolerant of everything save intolerance.”

    Well yeah, this video explains why

    “that simply being against gay marriage makes you a bigot.”

    I don’t know about bigot, but prejiduce and or illogical fit pretty well too.

    • BLake, I must disagree both with you and the young lady in the video you posted. Human auditory memory being limited, and lacking the ability to review previous statements as she continued to make her case, we would need a transcript to parse the labyrinthine logic through which she attempted to lead us all.

      Principally, I believe the fundamental problem with this video is the young lady’s failure to define her term at the outset. ‘Tolerance’ means ‘to put up with the objectionable’. Therefore, to require tolerance in any context means that the object of tolerance has been defined as a negative or undesirable thing. You need no tolerance for a delicious meal because you relish it. You need no tolerance for your best friend because you like him. If you must tolerate it, whatever ‘it’ is, it is a negative in your mind. A negative can be subjective, e.g., “Ugh! Did you see the carpeting in their living room? What a ghastly color!” You say nothing about the other person’s taste in décor to be polite and because, ultimately, taste is subjective. Alternatively, a negative can be objective, like an incurable disease or diminishing capabilities associated with old age. In those examples, the negatives cannot be changed, so tolerating them is actually a virtue. Sometimes the objective negative can be changed or should be changed. Injustice is one of the better examples of such objective negatives and in such cases ‘tolerance’ often becomes, at the level of the individual will, acquiescence. Before you leap on that last example, bear in mind that we do not all see ‘justice’ the same way. We would need to discuss the particulars, which is a large part of what this blog is about.

      When homosexuals and their allies to demand ‘tolerance’ for homosexuality and gay marriage, they implicitly acknowledge that homosexuality and gay marriage are negatives. If they do not like that logic, they should not be demanding ‘tolerance’. Some of the commenters here accuse those who hold a conjugal view of marriage of being intolerant of those who hold a revisionist view. Not so. The discourse on this blog is most temperate, Askme in particular demonstrating the very highest degree of both consideration and respect and yes, even tolerance as I have properly defined it. She has just become my new benchmark for grace in the face of false accusation.

      In fact, all of the accusation on this site seems to run purely in one direction. From listening to the video and reading the comments on this and others of Askme’s posts, I would say that the operating definition of ‘intolerant’ used by marriage revisionists is that someone is disagreeing with them. The charges used against those holding the conjugal view of marriage invariably contain some assumed moral failure on the target’s part and an implicit assumption of victim status on their own part.

      Intolerance is not intrinsically ‘bad’. As the young lady in the video correctly pointed out, whether a thing should be tolerated or not depends on the thing.

      A metaphysical question or two that I would ask the revisionists is: in your material universe, what is wrong with the intolerance you decry? How do you define good/moral and evil/immoral in terms that are ultimately not based on what you approve and disapprove? What is your objective standard for good and evil, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’? Clearly, you do think that those who hold a conjugal view of marriage are bigots and therefore evil, so could you explain the basis for that in terms that do not rest on a foundation of your own subjective preferences?
      Regards…

  9. Peace to you,
    Thank you for a wonderful blog, for people with similar beliefs and thoughts (and opposing)without having to do all the extra research. I am Muslim, I have the same monotheistic beliefs about marriage as do Christians and Jews. Also, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists and Zoastorians have this belief. These religions have interpretations that have been established for centuries(most of them). Changing what your holy book says on this or any serious subject is hypocriscy. Please don’t be fooled.The proponents of redefining societal norms are united. We may disagree on fine points of belief, but not on this and many family issues. I pray all good religious people unite together to defend humanity, rather than bickering amost each other and having the enemy pick us off a group at a time.
    For those who disagree and want to call me a bigot…
    “I rather be called a bigot than to be actually ignorant.”

  10. I just happened across this site. Thank you so much for your insight! I’m so glad that you made a page dedicated to defining terms such as ‘bigot’ and ‘tolerance.’ Those words are far more fluid today than in years past. As for the former, I’ve always appreciated G.K. Chesterton’s take on it. “Bigotry is the incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” People are very quick to make wild accusations about me because of my views, while being utterly incapable of introspective focus themselves. Without empathy or considering any and all discussion will only ever be divisive. For the record, I happen to have gay uncles (each of whom I love dearly).

  11. Hi, I’m so glad someone has the courage to have a differing opinion to the mainstream. I think that this lessens human life when you grow up as a child with the idea that your life is cheap and if you cannot get the baby you desire from a woman/man that you can just go and collect it from a sperm or egg donor. It cheapens life and shows that you are incredible replaceable. Not a belief that I would want a child to grow up with the idea of. Rather I would like them to think that they are special and life is precious and that each sex (male and female) are dependent on each other.

  12. This blog is very cool. I agree that gay marriage is wrong. I would like to see the tape that went viral. I heard your opinion tonight on the christen radio station. my email does not work half the time and I thought maybe you could leave your reply on my comment here

  13. If men & women couples were inherently successful couples then you would think more people would have less problems but the issues of how children are raised don’t come from having 2 dads or 2 moms (and if you know many gay couples, there are typically a stronger male persona & a female persona) but the issues for children come from having parents that are human & therefore flawed. Fighting to proclaim with parents are better would be impossible unless you could prove that different-sex couples always managed to raise perfect kids.

  14. This thread was recently posted on Facebook.
    I read through the linked article. (No idea whether this thread will be available to anyone clicking through, so here’s a link.)
    My impression of it was that it winds up defining “bigotry” to mean “anyone who doesn’t think the way I do”.
    So my comment was:
    “Bigotry just means believing that certain groups of people do not deserve the same kind of consideration you want for yourself. Their suffering and distress doesn’t count, or they must have brought it on themselves in some obscure way. You don’t have to hate those people any more than you hate your dog when you keep him penned in your yard, or hate your children when you make them eat something they hate. (The analogy of parents and children, in fact, was often applied by pro-slavery writers to the master/slave relationship. Husbands, similarly, needed to make decisions for their wives, because women were pure but unworldly creatures. That’s what men loved about them.)”

    This is an interesting definition. It would seem to imply that, among other things, a person who believes convicted felons should be in prison is a bigot, since convicted felons qualify as “a certain group”.
    The example of children as the target of a form of bigotry also seems to imply that some forms of bigotry are good. Making children go to school when they don’t want to, or eat foods they don’t like is arguably good for them in the long run, and meets with the approval of the vast bulk of society. Nevertheless, this seems to qualify as bigotry since it’s specifically cited.
    So it seems to be we need to distinguish between rational and irrational bigotry. Labeling everything “bigotry” is the lazy option that solves nothing.
    =============
    Tim Griffin, who authored the original post, replied:
    Karl- You raise three points worth a response.
    1) You say this definition of bigotry is interesting, but I detect a tone there… do you have one you like better? If so, does it allow discrimination against gays without also allowing discrimination against blacks, Japanese Americans, etc?
    2) Your mention of convicted felons actually illustrates the author’s point: convicted felons are stripped of their rights individually and after due legal process, not as a group based on gut feelings and selective quoting of ancient religious texts. It is not bigotry if I accuse of theft a person who has robbed my house, nor is it bigotry if he is convicted and imprisoned on the evidence. In such cases, the felon has brought misfortune upon himself in a highly specific and defined way, which is quite the opposite of the definition you found interesting in the article.
    3) About children… Karl, now you’ve got me wondering if you read the article before responding. The author clearly describes the parent/child relationship as a model of how the “kindly” bigot sees their relationship to the slave, spouse, etc, NOT as an example of bigotry in itself. While the legal status of minors is an interesting question, it is entirely beyond the scope of this article.

    • So I wound up responding in three comments:
      Item 1)
      Yes, there is a tone. I object to a certain blurring of lines.
      Onelook.com defines “bigotry” as “the practice of having very strong and unreasonable opinions, especially about politics, race, or religion, and refusing to consider other people’s opinions”.
      What I’m seeing (thus the tone) is a sort of “definition creep”. Someone takes a position you disagree with, and that’s called “bigotry”. I’m reminded of a conversation I had in a Pagan forum where a Sweet Young Thing was appalled at the notion that “discrimination” could ever be called a virtue.
      You seem to want “bigotry” to mean what the author of the linked article would have to call “bad bigotry”. Or, if we stick closer to the dictionary definition, the unreasonableness component and the refusal to consider component must be considered.
      Then, we have the question, does “refusal to consider” apply when someone hears another’s opinion, apparently understands and weighs it, and doesn’t find it convincing? Or do we opt for a definition that says that if someone had truly considered the other’s point of view, he’d have been convinced, therefore he can be labeled as having refused to consider?
      ===============
      Item 2)
      While individual felons are stripped of their rights through due process, the notion that people who steal is a judgment made against a whole class of people. Whether this is based on a gut feeling about theft and those who commit it, or on adherence to religious strictures against theft, it’s still a judgment imposed by society. Some, in arguments summarized as “property is theft”, might well argue that legal definitions of theft constitute bigotry against the truly needy.
      Now in the case of interracial marriage, we had laws on the books forbidding it. (I suspect some countries still do.) By your statement, it’s not bigotry if people in subject to these laws are penalized for miscegenation based on the law and the evidence.
      The difference is that one law meets with your approval and one doesn’t.
      (There are other possible differences as well, but labeling one side “bigot” tends to short-circuit any further discussion. Bigots don’t deserve consideration of their points of view.)
      ===============
      Item 3)
      To be sure, I skipped over the examples of now-discredited bigotry: miscegenation laws, slavery, and forced segregation, and picked up at “Bigotry is not the same as hate”.
      Here, I take the definition: “Bigotry just means believing that certain groups of people do not deserve the same kind of consideration you want for yourself. ”
      So I took this definition seriously. I note that he cites the example of keeping a dog penned in the yard and forcing children to eat their vegetables without any drawing a distinction between these and “real bigotry”. The best reading I can bring to this paragraph is that some groups actually do not deserve the same kind of consideration you want for yourself. Children and dogs are examples of this kind of group, gays and people of other races are not.
      The problem here is, if we look to the dictionary definition, Doug Muder’s* definition contradicts it by omitting the “unreasoning” criterion.
      There are reasons why the disparate treatment of dogs and children is reasonable, but why the disparate treatment of gays and Caucasians is not.
      I think your issue here is not what I read or didn’t read in Muder’s article, but that you have continued to insert clauses into his definition of “bigotry” that he left out.
      ===============

      This seems to be an example of argument by tendentious redefinition. We’ll define some derogatory term in such a way that we can apply it to whomever we disagree with, and use that form of name-calling to shut down debate.

  15. Thanks for your very brave public stance on this issue. I am hetero × 3 children, still happily married after 1/4 century. I value the christian bible highly as a well-spring for the endeavor of humanistic and spiritual self-actualization; literal interpretation of obvious symbolism gives me rash. I know people who are homosexual and they are of course normal in every other respect. Who knows, there may be an evolutionary purpose for homosexuality but it is clearly not to have children, either biologically or otherwise. If they want marriage let it be derived by terms recognizable for what it is ; this is equality. Don’t let them impose inappropriate lifestyle choices on children; this is iniquity. Let marriage between man and woman be, as it was intended to remain. Everybody can be happy.

    • Yours is a perfectly reasoned position, Michael; prepare yourself for the predictable onslaught of strictly irrational emotion-driven personal (incl. your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, pets) assaults, threats and fabricated claims to shut you down.

      It isn’t about being happy for the radical left, it’s about making their perceived (trumped up) enemies unhappy, and acquisition of power.

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