a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.
That's a dictionary definition of the word. Fair, Objective, Permissive attitude. What is missing from that definition is the word: acceptance.
favorable reception; approval; favor
When you look up those two words in the thesaurus, they are not synonomous. For those who need a small grammar lesson, synonyms are words that mean the same thing. Tolerance is not equal to acceptance.
Why the small lesson in the English Language? It's important to understand that over the course of time, our news media, our politicians and our activists have changed the meaning of the word tolerance. To them, tolerance means acceptance. Tolerance means we don't only have to allow people to live the way we choose, we have to tell them it's fine to live that way, and that their belief system is just as right as ours. We don't have to tolerate, we have to accept.
Here's the footnote: We have to tolerate. They don't.
Recently, an anti-bullying speaker, Dan Savage, spoke at the National High School Journalism Convention. While speaking of anti-bullying, he proceeded to have a high octane rant against Christianity. "We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people." At that point, several Christian students got up and left the room. After continuing his screed against the Bible, he proceeded to call those who left during his speech, pansy-assed. I didn't hear the whole speech. I'm sure he said some good anti-bullying stuff. Problem was, in the midst of that, he chose to bully high school students who believe the Bible. The media came out in force (at least the mainstream portion of it), to defend Dan Savage. Dan Savage doesn't have to accept what other people believe. Dan Savage doesn't even need to be tolerant of what other people believe. According to our 4th branch of government, Dan Savage can do what he did, and really, no one should complain.
On the other hand, if say, Rush Limbaugh stood in front of a group of students and told them "we can learn to ignore the bullshit the Gay community has to say about Christians", what do you think the reaction would have been? What if I stood up and said "We can learn to ignore the bullshit Jessie Jackson says about race.", what would people say about me? I can think of a few words that come to mind. Bigot. Racist. Intolerant.
I was waiting to hear where Dan Savage said "We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Koran about gay people". I'm still waiting.
The only thing in this country you don't have to be tolerant of, is Christianity. And I mean tolerance, not acceptance. Christianity is a faith. Some people have it, some people don't. No one needs to accept the tenets of a faith they don't have. But in the great United States, you don't even have to tolerate that people have those beliefs. You are permitted to bully them all you want. No tolerance necessary. We made Columbine into a message on the evils of Gun Ownership, passing over the fact that people died for simply admitting they believed in God. In Paducah, KY, at Heath High School, 3 students were killed and 5 injured, shot by a student while they were praying in front of the school. No cries of "hate crimes" or "bigotry" in that one. (In truth, the student turned out to have a mental disorder. But still, we seem to put people on trial for hate crimes all the time, even if they aren't really hate crimes). In Texas, a man walked into Wedgewood Baptist Church and opened fire during a church service. Before doing so, he shouted anti-religious statements. And yet, most news media headlined it with "the reason for the shooting is unclear".
If it's someone who could have possibly been a Christian or Conservative or White, the motive is clear before the bodies hit the floor. But if someone walks into a church, shouting anti-religious sentiments and killing people while they pray, the reason is unclear.
Tolerance is a catch phrase. It's used by our celebrities and our politicians, and it's the favorite word of almost anyone who leans a bit to the left. And yet, the people shouting tolerance the loudest, are so intolerant of Christianity, they can't even admit someone may shoot Christians simply because they are...Christians. They cry for tolerance while labeling tea party members "teabaggers". They cry for tolerance while calling Christians and Conservatives fascists and little Hitlers. They cry for tolerance while telling the precious few in their inner circle that people who don't believe like they do are bitter, angry, religious nut jobs who are ignorant and stupid. The people screaming the most about open-mindedness and tolerance, turn out to be the most close-minded intolerant people of all. Yet it's acceptable because they are only intolerant of those crazy Christians, right?