I’ve noticed a trend for those that want to discriminate to claim intolerance for their positions when they are refuted as unethical, immoral and/or bigoted. Their religious views are most often cited as giving them license for their opinions and the right to inflict whatever that opinion is on any group of people for whatever reason. It creates a circular argument that ends up being a heated match of my rights vs. your intolerance. The goal here is to get you to back down in confusion.
The old saying goes: Your rights end where my rights begin.
This is one of the main reasons to continuously deny the rights of a group of people. They have no desire to have equality under the law. If there is equality, their opinions have to be moderated. Since they are attempting to use their particular brand of religion to codify their beliefs into law, they cannot allow equality. It does not matter if the group has a different set of religious beliefs. It does not matter if their opinions never really change from group to group that they are denying rights to. It does not matter that they are not expected to participate in any of those rights, save where they overlap. The law applies equally to all.
Because their own self-worth is tied to their religion, they must fight every step of the way. It does not matter that those beliefs, expressed vigorously in every possible forum harm others. It strengthens their position, in their eyes. The harm, even death, of what they oppose is then turned to their use as examples of why they are right. If you point this out, you are being intolerant. If you point out the nature of oppression of the beliefs, you are being intolerant. Any opposition is countered so that they can play the martyr and gain, in their eyes, the high ground.
The real issue is change versus constancy. When your actions are dictated by your beliefs, you are not allowed to change those beliefs, even in the face of facts that show something different from those beliefs. I find it interesting that some beliefs managed to go contrary to their set beliefs. It is not legal to stone your child for disobeying. Slavery has been universally outlawed by every nation, despite it being accepted in the beliefs. Polygamy is also illegal in most countries despite acceptance within the beliefs. It shows it is possible to change. Cultures rose above the inherent wrongness of some beliefs. Many religious laws have no purpose now. They are ignored by the majority. Only that which strikes fear and distrust and loathing remains. That which is simple difference is where the fight is currently.
Most religious beliefs hold an element of forgiveness in some form. Many of them advocate for acceptance of your fellow man. I can see no good in any belief that causes self-hate. I cannot see good in where it is ok to harass anyone. I see no good when it is required to deny anyone simple happiness in their lives. I see no good where it is permissible to cause grief, despair, shame and wrongful guilt for another person. I see no good when beliefs drive people to take their own lives. I see no good when it is required for a person to live their lives alone and celibate without the ability to choose so for their own reasons separate from religion. I see no good when choices are denied emphatically because of beliefs. I see no good when a person must choose between being true to themselves and having their families cast them out.
What purpose do beliefs have if they do not raise a person up? What purpose if not to lift them from grief, despair, shame, guilt and hate? What purpose is there if does not heal the harmed? What purpose is there if it does not create joy? What purpose is there if not to give aid to those in need? What purpose if beliefs do not cause growth? What purpose if not to encourage and nurture love?
Nearly all religious beliefs claim to answer my questions I presented. The catch is that the rules disallow some things. That is where they turn it all inside-out. The rules may served a purpose at one time. That is the sticking point. Time is not stagnate. Time does not stand still. Knowledge and understanding have changed the world. The food laws have changed as we learned how to prevent sickness. The behavior laws changed once we understood the nature of why we do things. Change is possible and can be good for beliefs. If beliefs cannot evolve they are chains that bind.
To claim intolerance is a curious thing. To legitimately make the claim, there has to be emphatic denial of a position that causes the harm of another. To seek to change the mind of a believer is not real harm. To deny their position causes frustration and anger, not real harm. Denying the equal rights of another, than is intolerance because the denial of rights is real harm. You may have your opinion. You may live your life. You may not dictate another’s life or rights. That is the line of tolerance. To oppose hate is always correct. To oppose something that causes harm is moral. Using intolerance as a screen and shield is neither correct nor moral.