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A back-handed compliment, a personal attack, an accusation of bigotry, a dis — these are so common that we have a million different names for them. Call it what you may, but it all equates to one thing — a lack of tolerance.

You have the right to your own opinions, beliefs and preferences. But just like you have the right, so does everyone else.

Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, once said something I think we all can learn from — what is referred to as the “Eleventh Article of Faith”: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may.”

Lately I’ve been called a bigot for a number of things I believe, and I find that a little bigoted.

Tolerance isn’t something that should only be practiced by those opposing your position. That’s not called tolerance; that’s called bigotry.

Tolerance is when you “tolerate” someone else’s position even though it differs from your own. I happen to be against gay marriage. I happen to be against feminism. I happen to be against illegal immigration. Don’t call me a bigot for my beliefs, and I won’t call you a bigot for yours.

I think there is a “movement” or an attitude sweeping the nation where we think it’s our way or the highway.

I think you should back off my gun rights or I’ll compare you to Hitler. You think I should mind my own homophobic business and stay out of your bedroom. I think you should leave the sacred institution of marriage alone. I think you should let babies live, while you think you should have a “choice” months after you’ve had sex because you own your uterus.

News flash: Our way isn’t the only way. There are a lot of people driving on the opposition highway. We don’t have to like it, but we ought to tolerate it.

We’ve proven we can pull together as a country when the going gets tough, whether we like to drive on the right or left side of the road. As long as we don’t crash into one another we can still get to where we're trying to go. This country was founded on freedom. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, freedom to worship “how, where, or what (you) may."

It's not that we shouldn’t have strong opinions or that we shouldn’t be able to share and discuss our opinions with others.

We may even try to convince someone to think the way that we do. Tolerance is about treating people like human beings even when they aren’t convinced by your argument and don’t necessarily hold your opinions in esteem.

They are called opinions for a reason. I own mine. You own yours. I may or may not be your friend, but I will still defend your right to have your own opinion.


Reach the columnist at or follow her at @haleykmills

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