Thursday 23rd September 2021

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Accept Or Tolerate?

September 13, 2021 Frontpage No Comments


Several years ago one of my students, opining on the rising LGBT movement, suggested a live and let live philosophy and argued that it was our responsibility to accept their lifestyles. My response was that acceptance implied approval, while what she was suggesting implied only toleration.
Tolerate differences, I suggested to her, but don’t let your tolerance be interpreted as approval of a lifestyle with which you disagree.
I don’t know how wise those words were, but they came to mind while trying to make sense out of the sharp polarization we find in America today. If you follow this column you know that I’ve been a student of history and politics since well before I could vote and, except for the Civil War, I know of no other similar polarization, especially during my lifetime, notwithstanding the upheavals during the fight for civil rights and over our involvement in Vietnam.
Oh there were political differences all right, there were serious conflicts over civil rights and Vietnam that sometimes appeared to pull the nation apart, but they did not last and our leaders, Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson, and even Richard Nixon were able to look into the future and move us forward without the severe polarization that we see now.
So what happened? I think I know. It happened when one side turned its attention to social issues and demanded conformity from those on the other side, denying to their political foes the right to dissent, and, most important, the right to follow their own conscience. In short, they demanded approval not just toleration.
Social activists and their lawyers have found success using the courts to impose policies on society that majorities reject. They have used social media to condemn those with whom they disagree, and ultimately are rewarded by seeing their opponents silenced by the cancel culture to which they hold allegiance. One only needs to look at Facebook and Twitter where Donald Trump is absent, but not the Taliban, ISIS, nor the mullahs from Iran.
You must conform, is the message, or be eliminated. And the reason is that they are right, they hold the moral high ground, and as a result can impose their will on others who must be, after all, deplorable.
And it goes well past that. Armed with their self-righteous moral superiority, the social justice warriors of the left have now not only taken over two of the three branches of government, much of the media, academia, and have found common ground with their fellow travelers in big business, especially the international variety.
So what are these leftists doing with their newfound authority as the moral arbiters of the nation?
First, they have decreed that no one has a right to a conscientious objection to their dictates; like it or not you must comply even if they run counter to your religious beliefs or the dictates of your conscience. Holy Mother Church is not in Rome, but in the halls of Congress, the offices of petty bureaucrats, municipal health officials, and others whose moral superiority surpasses yours.
Take, for example, conscience rights in medicine. We’ve noted just a few weeks ago the case of a pro-life nurse who was forced to assist with an abortion. After an investigation by the Trump administration, which found similar problems at the facility in question, a federal lawsuit was filed against the hospital.
Roger Severino, who was the director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Health and Human Services and who conducted the investigation, told my radio audience that it was an open-and-shut case which would have set a polestar for conscience rights. Instead, the new Biden administration simply dismissed the lawsuit out of hand. Of course the poor nurse, being a deplorable, has no standing to assert her conscience or religious rights.
Of course, that’s just small potatoes compared to the larger picture they envision. They have already passed the “Equality Act” in the House which elevates sexual orientation and gender identity to the same protected category as race, which will ultimately force employers, including religious employers and churches, to comply with forced same-sex wedding ceremonies, the hiring of teachers and others who do not support the church’s teachings or mission.
It will also force the opening of restrooms and locker rooms to be open to all, and allow men to force their way into shared housing intended for single gender accommodations. And if parents refuse to provide sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments for their minor children they can be charged with child abuse, and those children can be removed from their homes and public funding can be used to provide those services.
You see, there will be no conscience rights for people who think for themselves. You must accept or the state can discipline you if you hold to traditional Christian values.
And to take a particular example: HHS has promulgated a rule that reinterprets the Affordable Care Act’s definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity. Thus it requires doctors to perform gender transition procedures on any patient, or child, even if it violates the doctor’s medical judgment or religious beliefs.
Why? They know better. They are, after all, superior moral agents and they are allowed to force their beliefs on anyone who might disagree. Oh, and did I mention, you are not allowed to disagree. Polarization on steroids.
Of course none of this is new. You might remember a few years ago when Catholic Charities was forced to close several locations when it refused to place children in same-sex households.
And don’t forget “the jab,” the constant pressure to vaccinate all with an abortion-tainted vaccine. As you’ve read here before, natural immunity that one has after surviving COVID is of no note, neither is any religious exception. Now not only are cities and businesses demanding proof of the jab before entry, schools and workplaces also require vax proof, many with no exceptions, even medical ones. Of course, we must realize that the petty bureaucrats who administer such things are our moral superiors and if we object our social media account can be deleted, just as you were told that if un-vaxed you should not travel anywhere over the recent Labor Day weekend.
Your immediate obedience is requested, otherwise. . . .
And what is as troubling as anything else is that there is no escape from the jab for those who think the law provides them with a religious right to refuse. I was called the other day from a woman who works for a large local firm who was told she had to take the vaccine. When she applied for a religious exemption she was denied because the company’s HR department made the theological determination that since the Pope recommends the vaccine a Catholic is not allowed to object.
Even a CNN host has suggested that those who refuse the vaccine should be refused care by hospitals! All the while other employers are assessing non-vaxed insurance premiums against their workers.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kans., and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a recent statement that, while reaffirming his belief in the vaccination, states that people “could reasonably choose” to reject the jab to give “prophetic witness” against abortion and condemned those who would require vaccination as a predicate for holding or keeping their jobs.
“A society that fails to respect the rights of conscience lacks a key element of the common good,” the archbishop wrote. “The most charitable and just posture is to seek to accommodate the consciences of all persons,” he continued.
Of course that makes no difference to our morally superior power predators who think otherwise. We know better than you, so shut up and obey…or else. There is only one side that can stand on conscience, and it’s not us.
Yup, that’s polarization all right. And it appears that it is oh so deliberate.
(You can reach Mike at: and listen to him every Thursday at 10 a.m. Central Time, on Faith On Trial on

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