TOLERANCE VS ACCEPTANCE: A LESSON IN DEFINITIONS

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I’ve expressed my frustration and lack of understanding for the plight of the Grammar Nazi. (Aka: Grammar Snotsie) It’s no secret that I feel most of them lack manners, couth and compassion. Manners, couth and compassion in relation to their self-appointed job of correcting the spelling, word usage and punctuation of Facebook posts and Memes.

Seeing as how I am a reformed Grammar Snotsie, I feel I’m in the unique position of understanding what it’s like to be on both sides of that coin. I’ve learned to let a lot go, but I’ve noticed a sort of phenomenon on Facebook lately.  Not only Facebook, but the whole internet, TV Shows, news programs… Actually, it’s happening everywhere…

063-tolerate-toleranceIt’s the confusion between the words tolerance and acceptance. The word tolerance is thrown around in a plethora of circumstances as a way to make someone feel bad, or to make them feel guilty. If you express an opinion that someone disagrees with, you’re accused of intolerance, and -more often than not- the accusation is filled with anger, hate and, ironically enough, intolerance.

They’re using the word ‘intolerance’ incorrectly. What they actually mean is disapproving.

Tolerance is defined as an indulgence for beliefs differing from or conflicting with one’s own.

Acceptance is giving approval without protest or reaction.

Believe it or not, you can tolerate something without accepting it. That seems to be where the confusion comes in… If I don’t agree with you or your life choices, it doesn’t mean I’m intolerant of them. It means I don’t agree and do not accept your life choices as correct.

1347024529050_5345301I tolerate the fact that grown men enjoy watching a cartoon that is filled with pastel colored ponies, even though it is intended for eight year old little girls. But I will never accept that as normal or agree that it’s okay and not weird or wildly inappropriate.I tolerate that people believe in evolution. I can even tolerate that it’s taught in school when Intelligent design isn’t. I will never accept it as truth and never agree with the way schools teach it.

I tolerate the gay and lesbian lifestyle, but I will never accept it as okay or correct.

In my experience, the accusation of intolerance is most often used or seen in conversations pertaining to the homosexual lifestyle or gay marriage and bronies. Why is that? They want to be accepted, not tolerated. They’re already tolerated, but because they’re not accepted as the norm, they use anger and accusations of intolerance.

See, people seem to believe that you can’t tolerate something without accepting it. Poppycock!

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Not only can something be tolerated but not accepted, a person can be accepted and not tolerated. My husband and I are friends with two lesbian couples, one of the couples are older  with grandchildren and treat my kids like one of them. They are better to my children than some of their actual grandparents. We accept these ladies and love them, but we will never agree that their relationships are okay, ideal or right.

People say, “But how can you maintain a relationship with them without incident?”

Easy. We don’t talk about it. They don’t force their choices on us and we don’t force our choices on them.

intolerance“But you’re Christians! You should be witnessing to them!”We do. We lead by example and with love. If they don’t try to force us to agree with, or ask our opinion of, their lifestyle – there’s no reason to bring it up. They know where we stand and they tolerate it – and us them.

My most recent exchange with the “intolerance” accusers was on a thread about Disney airing an episode of “Good Luck Charlie” with an openly gay couple. We’re expected to accept the normalizing of gay and lesbian couples because the homosexual lifestyle and influence is out there. So we may as well get used to it… Right? Well, I don’t accept that and I won’t get used to it. I won’t tolerate the show either. We didn’t watch the show anyway, but if we did – we wouldn’t anymore.

httpwwwmotifakecomimagedemotivational-poste-10607020590_xlargeI can tolerate the homosexual agenda on adult TV shows, but not a kid’s. Shows normalizing homosexual marriage, aimed at children… Well, that’s no longer ‘neutral’. That’s pushing beliefs onto my children. You may disagree with that and think that it makes me a bad mother who shelters or misleads her kids. You may think I’m a bigot. That’s fine, but if you do, not only would you be wrong, you’d be a hypocrite. When it comes to shows geared toward children, would you allow your child to watch one that normalizes drug use? How about one that normalizes lying? Cheating? Of course you wouldn’t. Not if it didn’t show that there are consequences for those actions. (At least I hope you wouldn’t. If you would, that’s a WHOLE other post…)

I mean, how many of us would allow our children to watch Dexter? Better still, what about a child’s show that portrays a girl who forgoes a college education to become a porn star? If I’m an intolerant bigot for not allowing my child to watch “Good Luck Charlie”, then the same applies to anyone who’d not allow their children to watch Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad or one of the examples I gave.

However, I’m guessing many would disagree – as they did on this post on Joe the Plumber’s Facebook page. The question asked in the first reply to the comment was:

“What if one of [your children]were gay? Would you completely reject them?”

to which I asked: “What if one of yours happens to become a porn star…? You’re going to be accepting of that?”

In the next reply I was accused of  being intolerant and close minded. See how that works? No? Yeah, I don’t either.

My point was very valid. Asking someone how accepting they’d be if their children grew up to be gay is no different from asking how accepting they’d be if their children grew up to be porn stars… drug dealers… strippers… thieves… But, because I pointed that out to them – I’m the intolerant and closed-minded one.

So see, that’s where the problem comes in when using words like intolerance, bigot, close-minded… Disagreeing with or not accepting someone else’s life choices does not mean you are intolerant. Being un-willing to accept that someone disagrees with you or attempting to force them to agree with you, that makes you intolerant.

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Written by Shelley of Life In A Nut Shell

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