Suggestion for Rand Paul: Retire words like 'tolerance'

Discussions of tolerance seem politically savvy, but they conceal an agenda that is anything but Libertarian. Photo: AP

SAN DIEGO, March 15, 2013 ― On a roll from his famous filibuster that protested drone strikes on U.S. citizens without a trial, Rand Paul seems to be taking advantage of a growing popularity by positioning himself for a future presidential bid that could distinguish himself from most Republicans.

“I believe a Republican Party that is more tolerant and dedicated to keeping the government out of people’s lives as much as possible would be more appealing to the rising generation,” Paul said a few days ago.

Certainly he was speaking in the kinds of generalities that could get him off the hook should the political wind change, but these days “tolerant” is code for the acceptance of a gay lifestyle.  His statement about “Keeping the government out of people’s lives” seems to be dropping a similar hint, namely, the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Although he is a Republican senator, it’s no secret that Rand Paul and his father Ron Paul are very sympathetic to the Libertarian point of view. On its face, keeping government out of marriage sounds very consistent with the general Libertarian philosophy of a limited relationship between state and citizen. Unfortunately for Libertarian causes, the militant gay agenda does not see legal marriage as its final battle, but rather one more step toward a whole litany of rights including the right to never be challenged or criticized.

The real objective is to make it illegal to even speak against homosexuality. While militant gays have gained more traction in recent years, their goals have been openly, shamelessly stated for quite some time.

“We are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a protection from wrong. We also have a right — as heterosexual Americans already have — to see government and society affirms our lives” (From homosexual spokesperson Jeff Levi in a speech for the National Press Club in Washington, 1987).

Rand Paul is to be commended for the way he stuck up for our Constitution before Congress last week.  But an important part of that document is the First Amendment. The day same-sex rights include “a right to affirmation” hopefully Paul will also stick up for those who want the freedom to express their reasons for not affirming a gay lifestyle.

In fairness, it should be pointed out that militant gay activists do not speak for all homosexuals. Many gay people just want to be left alone. Others, such as openly lesbian radio talk show host Tammy Bruce, bravely challenge the militant agenda by writing books like The New Thought Police.

Still, the militant wing of the gay movement makes the most noise and people are listening all over the world.

In Ireland, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989 forbids “incitement to hatred on account of race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation.”  This law includes public speaking, broadcasts and written materials.  One would think that a “hateful motive” would be in the eye of the beholder but not in Ireland. Violation of this law includes “insulting” and that actual word is used in the language of the law.  Similar laws exist in England, Norway, Canada and Sweden.

America is fast on its way to embracing similar legislation under terms such as “hate speech” and “hate crime.” Congress passed a Hate Crimes Protective Act in 2009.  Since violent crime is already punishable under the law, getting into the head of a person to interpret “hate” carves a thin line between hate crime legislation and hate speech legislation. Next time we may just see a law about “hate” even without the crime.

Ambitious California is already well along this road. It is now against the law to say anything disparaging against homosexuality in any California class room (SB 48). They have also made it against the law for psychologists to offer reparative therapy to homosexual teens under 18 years of age (SB1172). 

Just last year, a judge in New Jersey made a ruling against a Christian retreat house that had declined permission for a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its property. The Judge said the Constitution allows “some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals(Life Site New.Com 1-13-12).

Those who argue for same-sex marriage tend to offer patronizing lectures about separation between church and state and how the church should stay out of non-religious state marriages. For many Christians, that would be acceptable. They may disagree with two people of the same gender getting married, but they could live with it. Unfortunately, examples of judicial activism in America and laws about hate speech in other countries provide little evidence that the “separation” will work both ways should same-sex marriage become nationally recognized in the United States.

How ironic that in the name of tolerance, those who disagree with the gay lifestyle for religious reasons are not being tolerated. Although such an observation is already hypocritical in its own rite, when we also remember the First Amendment which Rand Paul and his Libertarian fans cherish so deeply, perhaps Paul’s challenge to Republicans for their lack of tolerance should be re-examined.

The truth is, nobody tolerates everything. Do you tolerate slavery? Do you tolerate racism? Do you tolerate rape? Do you tolerate murder? OK, then each topic should be discussed on its own moral merits. When homosexuality or any other emotionally charged issue comes up, the question should not be whether or not we tolerate the practice but why we do or do not tolerate the practice.

We should also rethink the careless way people toss around the word “hate.”  The word has become little more than a label for those who disagree with some popular liberal idea. With that logic, should we assume that those who dislike Christian morality hate all Christians? Liberals would shudder to be described in such a way, but they aren’t shy about accusing their opponents of hate.

Cutting through all the emotion and name calling, we are left with a rather simple, obvious fact: People do not always agree on moral values or the strong words used to express healthy dissent. This is exactly why our First Amendment exists. We must protect free speech, even from those who would replace it with “sensitive, tolerant speech.”

If even a Libertarian sympathizer like Rand Paul does not understand the current vulnerability of our First Amendment, America is on its way to becoming Europe, which means America is in trouble.


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Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Bob sometimes selects reader’s comments and responds to them on his radio show. Details of his program can be found at www.bobsiegel.net.

 


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Bob Siegel

A graduate of Denver Seminary and San Jose State University, Bob Siegel is a radio talk show host and popular guest speaker at churches and college campuses across the country, using a variety of media including, seminars, formal debates, outdoor open forums, and one man drama presentations.

In addition to his own weekly radio show (KCBQ 1170, San Diego) Bob has been a guest on many other programs, including The 700 Club, Washington Times Radio's Inside the Story, The Rick Amato Show, KUSI Television's Good Morning San Diego, and the world popular Jonathan Park radio drama series, for which Bob guest starred in two episodes and wrote one episode, The Clue From Ninevah.

Bob is a regular contributor for San Diego Newsroom and San Diego Rostra. Bob does a good deal of playwriting as well (14 plays & 5 collaborations), including the award winning, Eternal Reach.  Bob has also published two books;  A Call To Radical Discipleship, and I'd Like to Believe In Jesus, But...

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