Are sensitivity and tolerance one-way streets? – UPDATED

I read this story over at Deacon Greg’s earlier today and it annoyed me but I was too busy to write about it. My first thought was, “so, you friends at Catholic high school have supported you as you came out and by your own admission, always been respectful, and the school was fine about your bringing a boyfriend to prom, and you’re going to reward them by making commencement all about you? Why all the taking and no giving?”

I think you do nothing to build goodwill when you say, “your friendship, support and all the rest have meant nothing unless this advocacy group is now given a platform at our graduation.” It’s suggests an insensitivity to both one’s classmates and — dare I say it — the very Catholics who have supported you.

Is sensitivity and tolerance something that only goes one way? Is there to be no sensitivity for people of faith, only for “people of [name an issue]“, no tolerance for church views, only secular ones? Unless everything goes your way, and only your way, you feel “invalidated and unaccepted”?

I’m sorry, but that bugs me. Is this a generation that believes everything must be exactly as it wants it or it’s all “hate”? Is that what we’ve come to? Because if so, it’s pathetic. I am strongly of the opinion that a gay high-school student should be treated respectfully by his peers. I am also strongly of the opinion that the school be treated respectfully by the student.

Respect really has to go both ways, doesn’t it?

Too much to ask, apparently.

Like I said, I had no time to write on it, and I still really don’t, and now I don’t have to because Joanne McPortland has said almost everything I would and then some — all passionately articulated.

Long prelude and wandering tangents aside, the decision by Bishop Amos of Davenport not to allow a representative of the Eychaner Foundation to present Keaton Fuller with its Matthew Shepard Scholarship at the Prince of Peace graduation ceremonies is correct, within the bishop’s rights, and completely nondiscriminatory. The Eychaner Foundation advocates for gay rights, among which are engaging in homosexual relationships and gay marriage. This advocacy runs counter to Catholic teaching, so for a Catholic school to provide the Eychaner Foundation with a bully pulpit (and I use that phrase deliberately) at Prince of Peace’s graduation ceremonies would be inappropriate. Bishop Amos rightly congratulates Mr Fuller on his accomplishments and has no problem with the scholarship being announced by a school official–as, by the way, every scholarship I’ve ever seen or read about being awarded is handled, as I am certain all other scholarships being awarded to members of Mr Fuller’s graduating class will be handled. That is not discrimination or, as Salon puts it, “an anti-gay snub.”

Read the whole thing. It’s worth every word.

UPDATE: “Tolerance” and “Sensitivity” and vandalism

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Marcel LeJeune

    If I said it once, I have said it a thousand times – when your tolerance fails to tolerate my intolerance of your idea of tolerance – you are being intolerant.

  • Mandy P.

    “Is this a generation that believes everything must be exactly as it wants it or it’s all “hate”? Is that what we’ve come to?”

    Pretty much.

    I’m an introvert so I spend a lot of time watching and listening. And I’ve noticed that we seem to hae reached a point in our society where if you’re not nodding along with someone you’re automatically labelled a “hater.” Contrary opinions and ideas are not tolerated, especially those of the Christian variety. We are apparently expected to lie down and let everyone with an agenda barrel over us and not make so much as a peep. And if you do have the audacity to hold a contrary opinion and, heaven forbid, have the temerity to voice it you are considered a bigot. I’m not sure from whence came this idea that you must unconditionally accept and condone everything others think and/or do or else you must “hate,” but I do wish it would go away because it’s a pile of nonsense and is more intolerant than they accuse of being.

  • Mandy P.

    ‘Have’ not ‘hae.’ Autocorrect and I do not get along very well.

  • Practically Catholic

    I’ve found, in recent years, that those who oppose the Church in the name of ‘tolerance’ are some of the most intolerant people around. Marcel puts it beautifully!

    While it wasn’t funny at the time, the funniest experience I had with this was when I was asked to no longer run with a particular running group after a discussion on abortion and Christianity during one of our early morning runs. Not once did I criticize anyone for their beliefs, suggest that they were ‘wrong’ – I simply said ‘This is what I believe and this is why I believe it.’ I’ve had enough of these discussions to know how to frame it without judgement and have learned to keep the statements to ‘I’. During that run, I was told I was ‘crazy’, ‘selfish’, ‘wrong’ and a number of other names. Later that afternoon, I received an email from the the fellow who organized the group informing me that I was no longer welcome to run with them anymore. He told me ‘Clearly, you don’t like your views being challenged.’ I found this ironic since I have no issue with my views being challenged and maintained my cool and composure while being attacked – literally – from all sides, and yet he was telling *me* that I couldn’t run with them because I didn’t like my views being challenged. I wonder if he ever grew to learn or see the irony in his statement.

    Thankfully, I now no longer run with religious bigots :)

  • tz

    Catholics tend to evangelize best by example. While not going so far as to permit injustice, they must be respectful, sensitive, and tolerant even when they are not repaid in kind. If it is going to be tit for tat, what good is that. Does the sermon on the mount and the other words of our Lord pointing out Pagans even know how to do that. Do unto others as you would be done by – except if they don’t reciprocate feel free to do anything?

    In the above case, the authorities should civilly tell him tolerance can only go so far, and that some things are under our rules and there is a line that won’t be crossed, a request which will not be granted. That tolerance is not indulgence.

    Most fire is best fought with water.

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