The Left’s New Zero Tolerance Policy

Barb Wire

The watchword of modern liberals is “tolerance.” Since when did this become our highest ideal and an expression of society’s core aim and belief? Without question, it certainly should not be — at least not under the current understanding of the word.

The fundamental problem with this otherwise decent notion becoming the gravamen of society is that, under current understanding, it is nothing more than a pretext for those claiming to be tolerant to impose outright hostility and explicit intolerance on those whom they have neither the inclination nor desire to tolerate. The examples of this are best understood in a specific context.

For those with sincerely held religious beliefs that homosexuality is a disordered, unnatural, and sinful behavior, i.e., a choice, these examples will be unsurprisingly and unfortunately familiar. Those who are diametrically opposed to a religious worldview — a worldview held by all major religions and representative of the Biblical truth accepted since time immemorial — simply cannot stand for anyone with any influence to embrace, express, or espouse a contrary view. Notably, these are the same individuals now preaching tolerance of all manner of deviant and disordered behavior. The frightening truth behind these examples is that they represent the most intolerant and indefensible worldview that has ever been presented in modern policy arguments, and it has been building for many years.

First, take the example of the tolerance-first crowd’s mandate for students who seek to become mental health professionals.  In today’s “tolerant” world, they must subscribe to the notion that same-sex behaviors, attractions, and identity are to be accepted, affirmed, and encouraged, regardless of an individual client’s desires and self-identity.

In Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley, a Christian student pursuing a mental health counseling education was dismissed from the postgraduate program for her refusal to submit to a remediation program designed for nothing more than to impose the liberal officials’ view of “tolerance.” The remediation program included, among other things, attending gay pride parades, reading ten articles articulating a “tolerant” viewpoint, and submitting a two-page summary outlining her increasing “tolerance” from her participation in these mandated activities with homosexual activists. If the last one reminds you of being invited to self-criticize before the homosexual politburo, then you are not alone.

Indeed, this young woman’s university also mandated that she attend and thereby lend her personal imprimatur to a number of activities, including a “gay pride” parade, that are fundamentally at odds with her religious beliefs. After that, she was to outline the number of ways she previously displayed “intolerance” and provide her self-critique describing how she had wronged those whom she would never encounter. Does that sound like tolerance of all belief systems to you? Sure it does, unless, of course, your religious beliefs reflect Biblical truth. After all, the “tolerant” crowd simply cannot tolerate the “intolerance” handed down by a just and holy God.

Second, consider the current influx of legislation designed to remove all licensed mental health professionals from their profession if they fail to worship at the altar of “tolerance.” In California and New Jersey, the tolerance police have gone to extensive lengths to ensure that all viewpoints are acceptable in mental health counseling, unless, of course, that viewpoint accepts the fundamental principle of mental health counseling that the client has the right to self-determination. Indeed, the good ol’ tolerant folks in these states — and in a number of others now — are willing to subscribe to that age-old principle of self-determination only as long as the client’s goals are shared by the homosexual activists imposing these mandates.

Even when the client has unwanted same-sex attractions, these laws mandate that licensed mental health professionals ignore and reject the client’s wishes. After all, how can anyone have such goals in their counseling? Is that tolerance? The answer is simple: certainly not.

There is little doubt about the disturbing basis for these laws. Unfortunately for the tolerance police, the Keeton case came too late, and some mental health professionals were able to obtain licenses without being forced to attend remediation (read “reeducation”) programs or self-criticize before the homosexual politburo. So, what can the tolerance police do with those who received a license before they could be denied entrance into the profession? Well, in California and New Jersey, the answer is to categorize these licensed mental health professionals as “unprofessional,” and subject anyone who dares to mention that change is possible for those who sincerely seek it to professional discipline, including stripping them of their professional license. In other words, the tolerance police have decided that anyone espousing a contrary view is unworthy of the profession.

It would be one thing if scientific evidence supported such a claim, but this is simply not true. As Dr. Nicholas Cummings, former president of the American Psychological Association, has explained, he personally counseled hundreds of clients that were successful in reducing or eliminating their unwanted same-sex attractions. Indeed, Dr. Cummings explained that the basis for these laws is a “distortion of reality” and that such laws ignore patient choice. One would think with such a grand ideal of tolerating all views, those preaching it the loudest would accept other points of view on this issue. Nevertheless, as you have probably discovered, this has never been about tolerance, but rather about silencing dissent in a totalitarian manner.

Notwithstanding the substantial number of “intolerant” people who would be removed from the marketplace of ideas under the previous two solutions, there are still too many avenues for the intolerant to espouse their “hatred” and “bigotry.” So, what shall the tolerance police do with the few remaining intolerant among us who have not yet been silenced? Well, of course, demonize them and ignore their fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. To handle this problem, the tolerance police have developed another solution: call these parents hateful, intolerant bigots unworthy of any parental rights — and take their children away.

This is not a hypothetical scenario to make a point, but is actually what the sponsor of the New Jersey legislation banning change counseling espoused openly about his motives. Assemblyman Tim Eustace, the sponsor of the bill, stated that any parents who would allow their child to obtain counseling to align their attractions and feelings with their religious beliefs are abusing their child, and the state should remove the child from the home. Of course, for those most tolerant among us, these children must be removed from these bigots’ homes lest Biblical truths continue to be taught.

The teaching of Biblical truths to the next generation is a serious problem for the tolerance police, and they intend to minimize it with another strategy:  giving homosexual activists priority in the adoption process.  Certainly any two loving people are capable of raising a child. Right? After all, as one of the “tolerant” among us, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry stated last year, “the children belong to us all.” Surely we cannot place those children in homes full of religious intolerance.

So, how do they effectuate providing children to those whose lifestyle choices have made natural procreation impossible? Well, quite simple: prohibit any religious entity from participating in the adoption system if they do not submit to the “tolerant” view that children should be placed in the homes of homosexuals.

Theoretical, this is not. The Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the oldest and most respected adoption agencies in the country, experienced this exact prohibition in recent years. When it refused to place children in the homes of homosexuals, a refusal deeply grounded in the religious teachings of the Catholic Church, the state refused to continue to grant that charitable organization a license to provide adoption services in Massachusetts. How better to provide those “tolerant” people with children to indoctrinate than to remove them from their abusive, religious parents and force them into the “tolerant” homes of those who will not “abuse” them with religious teaching. Never mind the fact that many of those “tolerant” homosexuals to whom these children will be provided will inflict tremendous abuse on the children.

In short, the false prophets of tolerance are now seeking to impose a new zero tolerance policy in the marketplace of ideas aimed at nothing more than silencing the views of anyone who will not bow to the altar of “tolerance.”

May God help us!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Daniel J. Schmid
Daniel J. Schmid is Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. Mr. Schmid is a constitutional litigator specializing primarily in First Amendment law.

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