When political correctness pushes freedom of speech into the closet and people are harshly judged for speaking up about ethical standards and bullied into silence; when commitment to conscience is coerced into conformity to culture’s compulsive cravings and harshly called “hate;” when society is intolerant of faith-based values, and people’s personal preferences take priority over moral principles; when the opinion of 5 judges can villainize anyone who disagrees with their judgments; where is liberty?
People may legally be required to obey court judgments and laws, but harassment and coercion can’t make people agree with those judgments. When a government tries to use laws and/or court rulings to override people’s conscience (their inner moral compass), this is a big step toward domination and dictatorship. It also forces people with strong moral convictions and/or people of deep spiritual faith to have to choose to either deny their convictions or disobey their government. This results in many of the most upstanding and obedient of a nation’s citizens being alienated from and disobedient to their government.
As a society we need to honor each other’s freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and right to disagree with us. We need to get back to the original meaning of tolerance.
So what is tolerance?
–Tolerance used to mean: respectfully accepting people’s right to hold different opinions than your own.
–However, nowadays tolerance has come to mean: outwardly approving of people’s opinions even if you disagree with them. And this new definition doesn’t tolerate freedom of conscience or respectful disagreement.
“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” –John Milton
“It is neither right nor safe to go against my conscience.” –Martin Luther
“In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.” –Mahatma Ghandi
“The guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition.” –Abraham Lincoln
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.