I wrote a little about “tolerance” at Pith today. But I do just want to reiterate that, if you believe your personal beliefs or your religious beliefs compel you to hurt me or people I love, to lie about me and people I love, to dismiss my pain and the pain of people I love–in other words, if you believe you need to be able to harm me in order to satisfy your God or your conscience–I cannot tolerate you.
There is no “no harm, no foul” area in which we can agree to disagree. You believe you should be able to harm me and I believe you absolutely should not.
I think the mistake I keep seeing people on the other side of this issue making is that, rhetorically, they’re acting like this is just a difference of opinion and people like me are being assholes because we won’t “tolerate” a difference of opinion. But all along the way, Campfield is acting on his opinions. He drafts legislation based on his opinion that men should be in control of women and that women should not be able to do things with our bodies without male sanction. He drafts legislation based on his opinion that homosexuality is a lifestyle that must be kept hidden from children. And, based on his belief that no regular guy is going to get HIV from a regular girl (with all the bullshit packed into “regular” there), he gets up repeatedly in front of microphones and on his blog and tells his audience that they, “regular” people, don’t have to worry about HIV. It’s only for the deserving.
It takes seconds to put on a condom. You don’t have to play the odds or guess whether the person in front of you is “regular” or if she might have fucked an African or shot up in her wilder days or whatever.
It takes no effort to say “Hey, everyone can benefit from practicing safe sex.” Or, if you can’t say that because of your religious beliefs, you can say “I’d just like to remind everyone not to have sex until you’re married and to get tested and make sure that your fiancee is tested before you do.”
But notice that Stacey Campfield, who demands the right to hurt gay people because of his religion, isn’t fervently insisting that nobody have sex until they’re married.
Anyway, I’m getting off track. My point is that, even if Campfield’s religious beliefs are such that he thinks homosexuality is wrong and that straight people are very unlikely to get HIV, there are ways of making that point that don’t endanger straight men. That don’t dismiss the suffering of families who’ve lost “regular” people to AIDS. But, even within his own framework, he doesn’t not hurt people.
So, I think it’s clear why someone like me–a freak who loves freaks–would be grossed out by Campfield and would find the idea that I should tolerate someone who’s actively trying to hurt me and the people I love to be hilariously evil. But I wonder if it’s starting to dawn (or what it would take to get it to start to dawn) on people who are ostensibly on his side that he is fine with their suffering, too.
I wonder if it starts with lying to people about something that could get them very sick.