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Popular culture is making a lot of demands lately, but the most intense pressure is that we accept things that we do not understand or like. Religion, philosophy, politics, sexual orientation, avocation, appearance—the list goes on—seem to dominate the dialogue. Political correctness people regularly scold us for judgmentalism, narrow-mindedness and bigotry when we balk at swallowing even the most extreme of cultural offerings. We are treated to lessons in situational ethics, sensitivity training and diversity education to bring us more in line with today’s world.

So, when my Mohawk-coiffured banker with a multicolored mane lumbers toward me with 29 piercings in his tattoo-covered body and flexes his chiseled six-pack at me, I guess I am supposed to smile affirmingly and calmly ask him about the rates on my passbook savings account? Or when my waitress—server, SERVER, sorry, SORRY!—peers at me through glittered eyelids and says like, like, like, like 300 times through black lipsticked lips and amazingly writes my order gripping her pen with fingers sporting two-inch long patterned nails, I am expected to ask for lemons in my water with a deadpan expression?

Yes. That’s exactly what I am supposed to do. Accept everything. Affirm everything. Tolerate everything. Ignore the weird, the extreme, the preposterous, the offensive, the bizarre and the nonsensical. Understand that I was brought up differently. Recognize that I have a limited view of life. I am the spec on the spectrum, the tail on the bell curve, color number 2,453,917 on Hewlet-Packard’s ink chart. Acceptance is the way to get along with everybody with the least amount of resistance.

Pardon me, but I wonder if the people I think are weird are mandated to get sensitivity training to understand me. Probably not. In fact, that very statement demonstrates the acute nature of my problem.

Well, since I’ve already tipped my hand, let me just go ahead and say what’s on my mind. Is it really a good idea to accept everything? Do standards of propriety and sanity exist anywhere in the universe? What if I am right in my viewpoint? Moreover, what if the things I reject in the passing cultural parade really are bizarre, offensive—and wrong? What if history judges me to be right and them to be wrong? Should I be obligated to accept everything even though I genuinely feel otherwise? Am I to trash my honest feelings, deny my authentic identity and take leave of my senses because I am afraid that to express myself would be offensive to someone? Do I have to invalidate the institutions, the value systems and the sum total of my past experiences and kow tow to this new wave of thinking?

Case in point. Several weeks ago it was reported that scientists have failed to locate a “gay” gene. Up to that point, one of the huge arguments used by the homosexual population was that they were born that way. Now, it has been demonstrated that they were wrong. In the meantime, however, those who rejected gay behavior were castigated for their stupid homophobia. Didn’t such people know, they mocked, that gays were genetically predisposed to homosexuality? Do I hear any apologies from the gay community? I’m listening. So far, nothing.

Same-sex marriage and adoption by homosexual couples have come under heavy fire by conservative-minded people. The abortion issue still rages, even after thirty-six years of Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. Spin-off of this conflict, like stem-cell research, late-term abortion, live-born abortion and other related issues incite debate as well. Social engineering, euthanasia, gene manipulation, organ harvesting, cloning and other matters keep ethicists, lawyers and judges busy, in and out of courtrooms. While the answers are not all clear, the fact that there are different sides to critical issues is abundantly clear. And yet, those of us who argue for the side opposed by liberal establishment receive ridicule for our convictions rather than respect for the right to have them. They “know” what is right. We should accept their beliefs. Period.

To force me to accept things that my point of reference rejects, however, is tantamount to a denial of my religious beliefs. Does this demand for acceptance trump freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom to associate with whomever I choose? Does this not constitute a tyrannical form of coercive government? Am I no longer a free man? If I must believe what someone else tells me to believe, or if I have to denounce what someone else tells me to denounce, then I am not free.

I am committed to the teaching of the Scriptures. This defines my philosophy, my world-view and my convictions. The Bible is my baseline of beliefs. To me, this is perfectly acceptable. The world is free to disagree with me and my Bible, but it is not free to deny my right to hold such views. (It is rather odd that the same crowd that has a problem with me has little to say about Muslims who believe in the Koran, Buddhists who follow the Sanskrit, Mormons who believe in the Mormon Bible or many other religious groups who revere certain writings that they consider sacred.)

But beyond the issue of rights, I have serious doubts about the validity of the things I am asked to accept. If I refuse to accept same-sex marriage, for example, it is not simply because my scriptures forbid it. While that may be reason enough, it does not represent the full-orbed argument. I also see huge societal problems as a result of its establishment. I see a domino effect on laws, customs, traditions and the whole fabric of culture. I see it precipitating psychological and emotional disorders. I see economic repercussions. I see a Pandora ’s Box of complications opening up to the whole world. Those who deny these allegations have no reputable track record on which they can stand. They cannot assure me that my fears aren’t true. In fact, they don’t seem too interested in winning the argument. They only want to impose their will.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross in her groundbreaking book, “On Death and Dying,” identifies five stages of emotional progression to death. According to her, they are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Of course, in order for this to occur, a patient has to truly be in a terminal state. A person who has no such prognosis is under no obligation to accept death based on someone else’s wishes. If those who demand fundamental changes in our Judeo-Christian culture cannot produce credible evidence that we are no longer viable, then their efforts are merely political, not substantive. I have the distinct impression that people who attack this culture and try to change it are motivated by hatred, rebellion and extreme selfishness. That’s my opinion and I am entitled to it.

If people want to live their own lives according to their own rules, so be it. If they must change me and my life as a part of their agenda, that’s another story. I feel no moral obligation to accept things with which I have profound disagreement. Acceptance must be volitional. If not, it is tyranny.

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Reader Comments (1)

I am not sure how, logically, a mohawk hairdo impedes the banker's ability to do his job, though if I were the owner of the bank, I would probably have a dress code that is more conservative, because, it is, well -- a bank. :) On the other hand, if I owned a tattoo parlor, I would probably find this fellow's appearance quite profitable. An employee obviously represents his employer, and the employer is providing a service and obviously wants to make his patrons feel comfortable and welcome.

However, if the employee chose to dress that way outside of the work environment, I'm puzzled as to how this would constitute a true problem for anyone else, except perhaps to invoke some envy of those chiseled abs. =]

But down to the real nitty gritty: I'm not sure what study you are referencing re: the "gay gene", but there have been several studies with no smoking guns either way, and I reckon there will be more as our knowledge of biology and genetics advances. Obviously we are not robots driven by genes, and we do have free agency, but genetics can and do substantially influence our perceptions, our attitudes, and yes, even our behaviors. Here is a Wiki article on the current state of research on this and you will see it is anything but conclusive:

Furthermore, we know that there are factors, especially hormones like estrogen in males (yes, males do have estrogen) and testosterone in females that can affect apparent masculinity and femininity, and apparently these also affect sexual attraction. The bottom line is that same-gender sexual attraction is not simply a deviant choice as conservatives might like to think, but scientifically, it does "deviate" from the normal population statistically, and apparently has several root causes, genetic, environmental, cultural, etc.

I would apologize for you on behalf of the "gay community" (whatever that is!) for castigating you for your "stupid homophobia", except that I grew up in the UPCI and so I have a cultural context and know that good-hearted people can carry over their distaste for homosexual attraction from tradition and culture, and in some cases, reasoned principle given their assumptions, and so I wouldn't have castigated you at all for "stupid homophobia." As Jesus said, "let him that is without sin cast the first stone," and, "anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell."

Besides, I have read plenty of your blogs, and I know you are neither stupid nor a fool, so it wouldn't be a credible charge, anyhow. =]

The whole tone of your blog seems to be summarized in this two lines, though:

"To force me to accept things that my point of reference rejects, however, is tantamount to a denial of my religious beliefs."

"If they must change me and my life as a part of their agenda, that’s another story."

I agree that forcing you to accept things that your point of reference rejects would be unbrotherly, but I am not sure how you are coming to the conclusion that allowing other people to be treated equally under the law in a gender-neutral manner, is forcing you to accept anything. You may associate freely with whom you desire, and you may reject anyone as a friend or member of your private organizations as you desire, and this is protected by the First Amendment, as well as just common decency, I should hope.

I'm not sure how this argument gets legs, but it seems to be a common one from conservatives: that groups that are pushing for fairness for themselves are somehow taking something *away* from the groups that just don't like them, for whatever reason, but it seems typically because they personally morally disapprove of them. Somehow, this gets turned around to the majority being oppressed by the minority, and I am really not seeing this. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of ugly hatred and murder, even, of oppressed peoples (including gays), and yes, it is in part because their very natures (they act "too sissy" for example) are abhorrent and apparently threatening to the attackers, who simply cannot bear the thought of "that."

I am certainly not putting you in that latter camp (people who attack gays), but it would be helpful if you could at least not lend them some credibility, because hate and oppression have a history of being propped up by moral arguments. Growing up in the UPCI, I had to hear my pastor frequently make, frankly, some silly, uninformed, even illogical and irrational statements about homosexuals, mocking them, etc., and it was very degrading and yet, I did not hate my pastor, as much as it hurt, but rather knew that he was a human being and I had witnessed his love for me, for my family, and for people in general, and I recognized that yes, it is possible for a loving, intelligent person to sometimes cross over into the darkness that is ignorance, and this is sometimes expressed as mocking people that they pre-judge.

Tolerance does go both ways, and it does bother me that people sometimes forget that.

October 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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