Last night my parents, my little sister and I went to a debate at Oregon State University between my pastor and this professor whose name I never actually pinned down. It was about Truth vs. Tolerance: Which is More Important.
My pastor came at the topic by saying that it's not necessarily a dichotomy, but it's possible that the two are interrelated. "Truth," he said, "presupposes tolerance, and tolerance needs truth." Something that really brought home his point for me was when he explained that the exaltation of tolerance erases dialogue. Because when there is a solid Truth we can dialogue with one another, but if we are so worried about tolerating others and begin to censor our language we lose track of dialogue and only sit around "tolerating" each other.
The other professor (who oddly enough taught at the same junior college my brother in law went to) basically said there was no truth and what we really needed was tolerance in this world. When he was asked if he would tolerate intolerance, he seemed to bristle and said that of course there were things that you couldn't tolerate such as pollution and bigotry. My pastor here said it was a good example of "deconstructing your own argument."
Probably one of my favorite parts of the debate was when my plain speaking pastor turned to this professor and asked, "Who in the world do you think you are?" (to decide morality and immorality arbitrarily)
Something that really stood out to me due to recent interactions with my extended family was when the two men were discussing the supposed intolerant statement (to a homosexual) of, "I love you, but I hate your sin." My pastor said that you can love someone and not affirm what they are doing. This is what my family and I have been trying to do with my brother and sister and the family my sister married into. I guess some people don't understand that faithful are the wounds of a friend, and many are the kisses of enemies. I guess they just want to hear affirmations even when they are strictly disobeying the scriptures i.e. rejecting church, hating parents, or just going out of their way to be hateful in general. I am not sorry that I can't give that to you. If you are wrong. I am going to tell you. I can still love you, and hate what you are doing.