You know those times where you repeat a word over and over and over and it starts to sound like nonsense?
It loses all meaning and you wonder what you were talking about in the first place.
Today, that word resounding ad nauseum across FaceBook feeds, YouTube comment sections, and social issues articles is tolerant.
Americans should be more tolerant!
I can’t believe you’re such an intolerant bigot!
You need to be more tolerant of his/her/its lifestyle choices!
I sort of expect Inigo Montoya to pop up on my screen wagging his finger and saying, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Because the idea of tolerance in America only works one-way.
Instead of bringing people and ideas together in understanding or compromise, it silences the opposition.
Anyone who does not align with the secular religion of the Left is frightened into compliance with cries about tolerance.
But as Erick Erickson has said, the Left wants to have their cake and eat it, too. And they want you to bake it for them.
Just ask Edie and David Delorme.
A Taste of Tolerance
Edie and David Delorme are the latest examples of bakers being made to care. They got a taste of liberal tolerance in mid February.
The couple own Kern’s Bake shop and are well known for their contribution to the community of Longview, Texas: petit fours, sugar cookies, and custom-made wedding cakes.
The Delormes are Christians and as such have decided to run their bakery in a way that they believe best honors God.
“We feel like if we are going to be putting our name on something, we want it to encourage Godly values,” co-owner, Edie said.
The couple have a long-standing policy to decline any business that might conflict with their religious beliefs. They won’t make any tobacco-related cakes. No gambling or alcohol-related cakes either.
And no risqué cakes—of any kind.
So when Ben Valencia and Luis Marmolejo came into the shop and requested a custom cake for their same-sex wedding, the bakery owners acted consistently with their beliefs.
They politely declined the order and supplied the couple with a list of other bakeries that could serve a beautiful cake. Like so many other horror stories, the gentlemen said ‘Okay’ and left.
The men went elsewhere and got their cake. The Delormes didn’t violate their religious beliefs. A harmonious compromise, yes?
Unfortunately, response to the seemingly simple story brought anything but harmony.
First Liberty attorney, Michael Berry told media that “It was after the story made its way into the media… that anonymous threats of violence started streaming into the bakery. People have gone on to their Facebook site and their Yelp page and have posted just inappropriate, vile comments about their business,” the attorney said, adding that people have also made claims up saying that they found animal feces in their food.
“See you in Hell, lady, read one angry message.”
“This business is run by a homophobic piece of s***,” said another.
The couple, who lost their 19 year-old daughter in a car accident last year, have found the threats to their remaining children the most traumatic.
“[T]hey threatened to burn our house down and violate him with a broken beer bottle,” Edie told TheBlaze. “That was probably the worst.”
Phone calls have grown so vile that they sent their youngest daughter to a relative’s home.
What Tolerance Looks Like
Edie Delorme explains their situation in serving customers:
We want to make that cake the most perfect for them, exactly what they wanted … we really pour ourselves into it, and we take delight in seeing their joy in what we were able to create for them. That cake is used to celebrate a union. We just don’t feel like we’re supposed to take part in the celebration of that union, because it’s a violation of our faith.”
Note: the issue at hand is not that the Demormes were spewing hate speech about gays. They did not refuse service on the grounds of the men’s sexual orientation.
The only point of contention was that the Kern Bakery chose not to bake a cake for a ceremony specifically celebrating something that violated their religious beliefs, a long-standing policy of which the community was already well aware.
Valencia, one of the grooms declined the cake, has responded from his perspective, “It just kind of makes you feel dehumanized,” he said, “People shouldn’t have to worry about going into a business, especially a public business that serves the public, and have to worry about being turned away for something, for who you are.”
For who you are. Not what you do.
Proprietors can deny service for people for not wearing shirts or shoes or even just for someone being a jerk, but they cannot decline to provide a service that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs without being bullied, threatened, and having their lives made a living hell?
Welcome to Tolerance 101, America.
This is the madness that ensues when we create a special protected class of people based on what they say they feel on the inside–and then force others to toss their religious beliefs aside to celebrate those feelings. No laws can function in such irrational settings. We are entering a post-law America where might makes right and law takes a back seat to power.
What Americans should expect from other Americans with whom they disagree is exactly what the Delormes did. Principled disagreement with respect, politeness, and helpfulness.
But many on the Left read disagreement and cry discrimination.
Unless legal protections are put in place in all states, like Georgia and Missouri, the wildfire of tolerance is going to burn us all, leaving little but scorched remnants of what used to be the First Amendment.
Every American, even those who think it will never happen to them becasue they are tolerant, will be made to care.
You don’t have to be a Catholic to see the wisdom in Charles Chaput’s warning:
We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty — these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive.