Our federal government is in a bind as it’s supposed to be providing solutions to some of the biggest national challenges, but is currently stuck in legislative gridlock due to intense partisanship. Some of the hot button issues on the table like gun violence and illegal immigration are characterized by their complexity, as advocates on different sides readily admit. But a number of the matters up for consideration aren’t really that complex, and are contentious issues only because some refuse to practice tolerance and respect for those different from themselves.
Take for example the debates over LGBT rights. On one side are people who understand the constitutional guarantee of equal protection for all and advocate for marriage equality, employment non-discrimination, and equal benefits on that basis. Leading the opposition are religious fundamentalists, who interpret their holy scriptures as condemning homosexuality. While there are certainly two different opinions, only one is a valid expression of political thought, while the other is merely a vocalization of deeply held bias.
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Roy Speckhardt is the executive director of the American Humanist Association.