Bigot. It’s is a word that, in our highly emotional and 24 hour media driven culture, gets bandied about much more often than it should. Notice I left out the modifier “probably”, because there ain’t no probably about it – we throw the word bigot around like it’s a refreshing drink on a hot day. Webster’s dictionary defines bigot as:
“A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance”
The word hurts. It cuts to the quick, and it can make a normally long-suffering man’s cheeks flush with heat and his anger boil right up. As a Christian who happens to be a right-leaning Libertarian, I probably hear the word less often than Klansmen, neo-Nazis or members of Westboro Church hear it. But, I still hear it.
For most people, this word is like fire – even after it’s past, the heat can still cause pain and discomfort.
Here’s the thing: the adage that our parents teach us as children about “being careful with our words” is true. Once your words are said they can’t be forgotten, only forgiven.
Conservatives are used to hearing this word. We know it’s coming when we discuss issues like affirmative action, gay marriage, and abortion– all of which are controversial and can cause people on both sides to become rather passionate. But even though we know it’s coming, it still feels like getting punched in the stomach when it arrives. We can say, “Well, it’s not true” or, “I know that I’m not a bigot and those close to me know I’m not a bigot and that’s all that matters”. But, it still hurts.
I think it’s important to consider someone’s beliefs carefully before throwing out the Molotov cocktail that is the word bigot. For the vast majority of conservatives, almost a full 40% of the country at last count, our beliefs have nothing to do with other people. Our beliefs are outgrowths of our life experience, our religious values, and the way our parents raised us.
Millions of conservatives would agree with me when I quote President Lincoln: “With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
As a Christian I feel this even more fervently, and my heat breaks for those who think that my beliefs are predicated on hatred, malice, anger or spite.
Though I may feel sympathy for those whose feelings are hurt by my beliefs, my conscience will not allow me to stand silent against what I perceive to be wrong. All this to say – I am not a bigot, nor do I knowingly associate with bigots. I hold no malice, no hatred, no intolerance for another group – I simply believe that some things are wrong and some things are right… and I pray that God gives me ability to know which is which.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
– Proverbs 12:18
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com