Give the ‘Bigot’ Bomb a Break

Reducing human beings to their worst idea or comment diminishes us all.

People are complicated and multifaceted. Life is not a zero-sum game: A person can have redeeming value and disagree — even vigorously and vehemently — with you on issues dear to you. We need to get back to the idea of tolerating differences and debating ideas in the public square. Perhaps it’s time for both sides to give the “bigot” bomb a rest.

 

A lesbian couple purchased engagement rings from a Christian jeweler. They were so pleased with the service, they referred a friend to the shop to purchase a ring for his girlfriend. Said friend spied a sign that read: “The sanctity of marriage is under attack. Let’s keep marriage between a man and a woman.”

Offense was taken. Once upon a time, this would have led to, in ascending order: an eye roll, daggered glares or an inquiry about the sentiment with perhaps a few words exchanged ending in an agreement to disagree.

That is no longer the world in which we live. The sign was reported to the lesbian couple. Now they want their money back. There’s no problem with the rings. The problem is that the jeweler disagrees with the couple on the definition of marriage.

“They were great to work with,” one of the w​omen, Nicole White, told a reporter. “They seemed to have no issues. They knew the two of us were a same-sex couple.” She went on to explain, “I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. But I don’t think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business.” One wonders whether this same rule applies to displaying symbols supporting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.

She added, “I think every time I look at that ring, I’ll probably think of what we just went through.” How have we gotten to the point that getting great service from someone who disagrees with you based on a religious belief is a traumatic experience?

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