"It's just my opinion, you need to respect my right to my own opinion," he said. We were having a conversation about Billy Graham and his death. I had put something up on my Facebook page and have since been embroiled in the real world with discussions that began with upset at what I was saying. I had said, and this is really lazy, it's early, I'm still not fully awake, and I don't feel like flipping over to get the exact quote, something about wanting people to understand my reaction to Graham's death in the context of my life. Then, I quoted Graham: All homosexuals should be castrated.
Later someone pointed me to an article that stated that it is 'unproven' that he made that statement. Bad on me, I should have done a double check. However, I then read about his statement "AIDS is God's punishment on gay people." Well, swapping castration for death, as it was conceived at the time, isn't a step up. He did later apologize for that, not because of offending gay people but for representing God as acting in that kind of manner. There are others, many other comments made by Graham that shows his homophobic way of thinking, so, even though I posted an unproven quote, the sentiment behind it is true.
Back to the discussion of opinions and my need to respect your opinion and your need to respect mine. This is a fine idea but, in many cases, it's not possible. Because, of course, not all opinions are equal.
Coke Zero is the best diet cola, in my opinion.
No, I like Diet Pepsi.
These two opinions are equal no one is hurt by either one, it's a disagreement, even a FUN argument to have. I love those kinds of debates because it involves developing a clever argument and verbal sparing with another.
Gay marriages are just 'parody marriages' and not comparable to the beauty of a marriage between a man and a woman.
I am married to another man and I believe my relationship is equal to yours.
By the way I used 'parody marriages' because the GOP in the United States of America in some state or another, they have so many of them, is calling all LGBT marriage 'parodies'.
But this is an unequal opinion. Why, because holding one can cause hurt to the other. For example, my opinion does not hurt you, does not threaten you, does not declare you a lesser being. The other statement does. It's an opinion, yes, but it's also an attack.
You expect me to respect your opinion that I am less.
You expect me to honour your right to an opinion that is marching towards my undoing.
And you resent my anger and passion and tell me that it's "Just my opinion." Well, as I said to one of the many who I disputed with over the last day or so, "It was also my opinion that you were my friend and that you respected me. I guess I held an opinion proved wrong." Then it got really nasty. Endings often are.
I do respect the opinion of others.
But I demand that others allow me the right to change my opinion about them and our relationship and about what happens next.
I was asked "Where is that tolerance you always speak about?" I didn't react by saying that I never talk about tolerance, I don't want tolerance I want equality.
"In this case," I said, ending the conversation, "it died."