The play we’re producing right now is largely a discussion of tolerance. At one point, one character says to another “If someone said that their religion tells them they don’t have to stop at red lights, would you just tolerate that?” and the answer, of course, is no. In fact, the answer there is so obvious that it isn’t even given, the question is a point in and of itself.

Now, earlier tonight, I was explaining to some friends that Hail Satan was born out of a frustration with the liberal mindset in 2004, that somehow the left had become so obsessed with being reasonable and respectable, so tolerant of every viewpoint, that we had quit standing for anything.

When I described the liberal mindset as too tolerant, I was jumped on. My friends are very conservative, twice voted for Bush and only three days ago said they would vote for him a third time if he could run. They claim that the left is too rigid in its thinking, and that from their point of view, it’s the liberals who are hopelessly dogmatic.

When pressed I was asked questions like, “What if I want to pray in school, the liberals won’t let me do that!” and “What if I want abstinence taught in school? The liberals would have a fit!”

Now, naturally, these are people who get all of their information from right wing sources, so I just sat there waiting for them to dig themselves a hole. Then, I pointed out, in a few short moments, the myriad ways that they were wrong. The response at that point was, put simply, “we disagree” and then silence.

My brother’s blog, about a right wing Texas educator who basically had the book publishing world by the short-n-curlies for decades got a series of pissed off comments from people who think that he’s being intolerant to people who want to worship Jesus.

So, let me clear something up.

Oh, and by “clear something up”, I mean, “write something that won’t make any difference to anyone because this is just another blog itching about stuff.”

I don’t give a shit if you worship Jesus. I don’t disrespect you, I don’t respect you, it has no bearing on my opinion of you whatsoever. If you think my wife and I should worship Jesus, then I respect your opinion on the matter, and I’d love to talk to you about the whole thing and exchange some ideas. Maybe you’ll convince me that I should worship Jesus as well.

But if you think that everyone should worship Jesus, all the time, to the point where you think we should have a time at school where everyone prays at the same time, then you’re trying to make me and *people you don’t know* do things when you don’t know if they want to or not. And that’s just not fucking fair, it’s just not.

So, no, I am not tolerant of you thinking that. I have to fight it, as should every person who believes in the American system. It’s just un-American to make people worship something they don’t already worship, that’s just bullshit.

Why do you have to worship Jesus IN THE CLASSROOM? WHY? Don’t you worship him at home, and at church and before every meal, and can’t you just fucking pray whenever the hell you want? Like, can’t you just lower your head and pray right before class starts, and then, y’know, do THE THING YOU’RE IN THE BUILDING TO DO, and then LEAVE and then go pray or do whatever the hell you want ON YOUR OWN TIME???


Seriously, I’m at a full boil, but will someone write to me and tell me just why the hell you can’t pray all the time in your leisure time, and then let TEACHING happen at SCHOOL? When you go to your job, like, when you deliver a package for fedex, do you show up with the package and then ask the person to bow their head and pray with you before they sign? HOW DOES THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE?

I think I know why. I think I know why you need prayer in school. This is my blog, so I feel like I can state my opinion about it. You want children praying in school, because you know adults won’t do it. If you were delivering a package and you asked me to pray before you gave me the box, I would… in short, I would demure. I would thank you for the invitation and say no.

But a little kid? You can control them. And the truth is that religion is a pretty hard pill to swallow unless you get taught it at a really young age. When you’re a little tiny kid, the idea of a grandfather figure watching from the sky makes some sense, you’ve got bigger, stronger adults around you watching you and protecting you all the time. But, if somehow you don’t get religion as a little one, you aren’t gonna get it once you’re a grown-up smartiepants.

What I am saying is not a denial of the existence of God, or the truth of any particular religion, and I genuinely believe that if someone can explain their faith to me in a way that makes sense to me, I will happily embrace their religion. I’d be more than happy to talk to someone about all this, hopefully over dinner and beers. Or, if you’re Mormon, dinner and Jell-o. I don’t even like drinking anymore, I’ll do it over dinner and anything.

In short, those fighting against prayer in school aren’t intolerant of prayer, and aren’t intolerant of prayer happening in school. We just don’t want MANDATORY, ONE RELIGION PRAYER FORCED ON OUR CHILDREN. I’d be willing to support an Arab prayer in school, just to get the Christians thinking about how awful their kids, and the Jewish kids, will feel.

The same thing about abstinence. NOBODY IS PROTESTING ABSTINENCE EDUCATION. I mean, I’m gonna be really honest with my kid, I’m gonna tell him that 15 year olds have a thousand times the levels of hormones as adults, that basically kids are absolutely crazy, technically crazy, and that he’s got to be SUPER, SUPER careful. So, I’m not gonna teach my own kid abstinence, but that’s between a father and his son.

What we protest, and you can tell in the name, is ABSTINENCE *ONLY* education. It would be like saying, “We’re gonna teach history, but we’ve decided to leave out the teens and twenties, the sixties and seventies, and both President Johnson’s presidencies… Why? I mean, there’s information there that we think children shouldn’t have…”

We’re not intolerant of telling children not to have sex. We’re not intolerant of teaching children the many benefits of abstaining from sex. But if you don’t teach children how to use a condom, how to responsibly take the pill, what sex IS, then you’re just being obtuse.

And we have to fight that.

It’s a horrible sort of pretzel logic that has left the liberals fighting for neo-Nazis to have the right to their opinions, it’s the liberals who’ve fought constantly for the freedoms enjoyed by trash-talking right wing pundits and swift-boat style trash talkers. We keep fighting for these freedoms, we keep fighting to open the doors for more and more and wider a set of ideas and facts to be learned and shared within our culture. This sort of “tolerance” has left us weakened, our constant ache to keep the world open for everyone has left us weakened because the people we fight for actually hate us.

We’re fighting for something so hard that we forget sometimes that we have to fight against people who have twisted the freedoms we strain for to insure that they remain free and that those with opposing viewpoints aren’t. But you can’t say that intolerance of intolerance is intolerance. That’s a twisted logic that doesn’t make sense after even a moment of thought.