When fundies get confronted with a very uncomfortable truth, one trick that is sure to come out of the hat is the martyr game. I've been dismayed to discover that one of my favorite food chains, Chik-Fil-A, is virulently anti-gay, but even more dismayed to see how Christians are responding to its CEO's message of intolerance.
Look up "tolerate my intolerance" on Google and enjoy the putrid wash of outraged fundies who can't understand why liberals, if they are so very, very tolerant, won't let them be intolerant and bigoted without raising a fuss. I mean, just look at all these pro-equality people mad at them! Surely tolerance means they must tolerate everybody, even those with whom they disagree, right?
But they raise a good question. They don't understand why people just don't let them have their little corner of intolerance. I think it's a good question and so I am answering (for myself, anyway). Here is why:
* I will not support bigotry that attempts to institutionalize itself. If bigots were properly ashamed of their views and understood that they were a fringe element that deserved to wither and die in the sunshine of equality, that'd be one thing. But they are trying to enforce their bigotry via laws and social mores. When they say "tolerate me," what they really mean is "let me run roughshod over your civil rights."
* I will not allow the intolerant to impede human progress. When one's opinion doesn't impinge on liberty and rights, I don't really care. Nobody's going to try to force me to like pineapple cake. Nobody's trying to make pineapple cake mandatory for all people, even those allergic to pineapple. But when "toleration" means letting someone pass laws preventing another person from using their civil liberties and enjoying the same rights and privileges as another, that's not going to happen. I'm sick of dragging these bigots along.
* I will not allow the intolerant to think for one moment that they are good people who just hold a different opinion. They are evil people whose "opinions" demean and degrade others, and they are trying to control others' actions that are none of their business. They "don't believe" in gay marriage? What does that even mean? I think they think they're saying they don't believe that it should exist. But what they're really saying is that they don't believe that all citizens deserve the same civil rights. They're really saying they think they have the right to get involved in a consenting adult's relationship. That's not the mark of a good person.
* I will not allow the intolerant to redefine words. Bigotry is what they are doing and believing. I will not let them try to squirm out of that word by whining that they don't "hate" gays, they just think they're inferior in every way, want them kept well out of the public eye, and are happy to try to pass laws forcing them into second-citizen status.
* Last, I will not allow bigots to escape history. Every time humanity has been poised to take a leap forward, bigots have dragged at our coat sleeves. Every time a big societal change happens, bigots--especially Christians--have been right in the forefront of opposition to that change. I love the macros running around the net comparing anti-gay protesters with anti-mixed-race protesters, because that is absolutely what is going to happen. Anti-gay bigots are going to whine and scream and gnash their teeth about it till it's painfully obvious that we've all moved past it, and then some new bigotry will present itself for them to leap upon as the LAST DEFENSE AGAINST EVIL.
Here is what tolerance actually does mean: It means I will defend to the death their right to be bigots, up to the point where their bigotry harms others. I will let them have marches declaiming civil rights. I will let them write op-ed pieces decrying this massive injury they think gays are dealing the world. I will let them put bumper stickers on their cars proudly proclaiming their bigotry. I will look the other way when they have conventions based around their narrow-minded definition of "family." I will not muzzle their public speakers. What they do on their own time is their own business. But when they then try to pass laws setting their views in stone, or hurt others who don't share their bizarre beliefs, that is where I will rise up and refuse to "tolerate" these backwards hicks. Another trick Christians use is the redefinition game, after all, so part of my tolerance is also refusing to let them redefine the word "tolerance" to mean letting them hurt others.
If I were a Christian, I'd have a really tough time hearing Chik-Fil-A's CEO smugly saying he's "guilty as charged" when confronted with his anti-gay stance. Bigotry is nothing to be proud of. That's something to feel shame over, and something to work to overcome. That a well-known Christian is saying these vile things and NOT being smacked down--in fact being lauded by no less than a Republican ex-presidential candidate--is something that all Christians will have to explain to humanity one day, just as they've had to explain the Crusades, the witch hunts, child sexual abuse in both the Catholic and Protestant denominations, and the deliberate, flagrant deceptions seen from fundies in the Dover ID trial.
I do think that CEO said one thing that is true: "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage'". Pot, meet the kettle. I hear you have something in common. Maybe fundies need to wonder if their definition is actually Yahweh's. Those of us who've actually read the Bible know that the one man/one woman dynamic is actually pretty damned rare in his mythology book.
To the intolerant bigots of the world: I will not "tolerate" your hate and bigotry the way you want to redefine the word. I will not let you run rampant over others' rights just because it'd make you feel more comfortable. And I will not give my money to organizations that will use that money to fund bigoted, intolerant causes.