From: Anthony Compton
Received: Sept. 3
I just read the letter to the editor on bigotry in our society related to homosexuals in the world. My intent in replying to this letter is not to attack the author or any other person/organization that harbors their precious beliefs. I strongly support the right of anyone to express their opinion on their beliefs. There are several opinions that I do not appreciate, but I tolerate expression and go on about my life.
One of the things I think we need is a better understanding of which we speak. I did some research on the meaning of bigotry. I found that it changed over time, as do many other things. I’ve included below an excerpt from an online dictionary and find it somewhat confusing. Using the word “bigot” creates a bit of confusion about what your definition of bigot really is. You’ll find multiple definitions, but they all present a similar belief system.
“Bigot — One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.
“Word History: Bigots may have more in common with God than one might think. Legend has it that Rollo, the first duke of Normandy, refused to kiss the foot of the French king Charles III, uttering the phrase bi got, his borrowing of the assumed Old English equivalent of our expression by God.
“Although this story is almost surely apocryphal, it is true that bigot was used by the French as a term of abuse for the Normans, but not in a religious sense. Later, however, the word, or very possibly a homonym, was used abusively in French for the Beguines, members of a Roman Catholic lay sisterhood. From the 15th century on Old French bigot meant ‘an excessively devoted or hypocritical person.’ Bigot is first recorded in English in 1598 with the sense ‘a superstitious hypocrite.’”
To continue, I stated earlier that I strongly support the rights of others to practice and believe as they’ve been taught or developed over a period of time. Where I do have a difference with some beliefs, people, teachings, etc., is in the lack of tolerance that is embedded in some systems. I find it very difficult to believe that a God, who loves all his children (assuming that means all), would tolerate the extreme dislike of some children toward others of his flock.
In my mind tolerance is the key factor that allows me to feel strongly in support of the right to speak your mind, as long as you tolerate that same right for others. To tolerate your religious belief, your family ways, the economic difference, the right to bear arms, etc. These things we hold dear not because we’re bigots, but because we can tolerate the diversity of a free nation.
The things I don’t like I either don’t read, walk away from a conversation, don’t watch on television, don’t visit those businesses, don’t associate with the people or other entities, but I do tolerate their existence. All I can ask is that you search your beliefs and tolerate the existence of other lifestyles which are inconsistent with your beliefs. Your beliefs are not being attacked; your lifestyle is not being attacked. Please tolerate the same of others.