Not All Opinions Are Created Equal

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Not every opinion holds the same weight or is equal to others. Some opinions may be based solely on personal belief, which can originate in misinformation, ignorance, or bias. Opinions may also be harmful towards others, encouraging social, psychological, or physical consequences. Just because someone has an opinion, doesn’t mean it’s a worthwhile one, especially compared to those that are more grounded and balanced. Opinions, like theories, may find more validity and reliability than others; those that have the most support are the ones that are more likely to be credible.

Case in point is the opinion about gays by many Conservative Christians in America. This anti-LGBT opinion is often based on personal interpretations of a religious text, interpretations that have divided Christianity for a millennia. There’s a reason there are an estimated 41,000 denominations (and countless individual churches) in that faith. If an opinion cannot gain even national consensus, let alone global, from a singular faith, then how could it be considered valid or reliable? Such an opinion has less credibility and worth and is therefore likely less equal than others. (And that’s without getting into the problem of whether an opinion based on a singular faith holds much worth at all, especially in a place like America.)

Therefore, if all opinions are not necessarily equal, then being opposed to intolerant opinions does not mean one is necessary intolerant themselves (short of semantics). It means you are opposed to a belief or actions that are unreasonable, unsupported, or outright harmful. This is what’s going on with attacks on extreme conservative opinions about same-sex marriage. Their opinions about Gays are no more valid than historical opinions about Jews, Blacks, Women, etc. In addition, these opinions can cause actual harm, socially, psychologically, and physically, due to hostile environments. When these opinions take hold, they can create from social norms that ignore violence committed against minorities. They also form the basis for manipulating politicians, who in turn create legislation that allows discrimination without recourse.

In the end, this is not about “Freedom of Religion” and these opinions are not valid. No one is oppressing “Christians” (and I use that term sarcastically) by forcing them to deal with an evolving, inclusive society. Did we cry about the rights of racists, who were “forced” to accept Black during the Civil Rights movement? Did we claim “reverse discrimination” against misogynists, who were “forced” to accept Women as during Women’s Suffrage? No, because their opinions were based on nothing valid and had no place in a society espousing equality. Certainly these individuals still exist (and we’re still struggling to provide Blacks and Women with equality), but a KKK march or GamerGate blog is given the same validity as the guy on a street corner with a tinfoil hat and an “End is Nigh” sign.

No, if your opinion is not only based on nothing but personal conviction but is also used to encourage discrimination, division, and/or violence, then your opinion is bullshit. I’m not being intolerant toward other opinions, I’m being real about what it takes to live in a truly equal, inclusive society. If you can’t tolerate that, then there’s no place for you here in mainstream society. The world has moved on… keep up or get off.

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