Tolerance is lukewarm at best, condescending at worst.
It's often said that in a tolerance-obsessed culture, everything is tolerated—except intolerance. Actually, this gets said a lot more often than perhaps it should, because being intolerant is not the same sort of thing as being black or female or gay or Muslim. Tolerating people is more fundamental than tolerating their ideas. Yet tolerating ideas matters, too.
In October, a newly formed Right to Life group sponsored a week-long conference, entitled "Abortion and Feminism," on the campus of Yale Divinity School. The pro-choice posters posted by the Students for Reproductive Justice made it clear that seminarians are not of one mind on the issue.
How we relate to the "other," ethnically, nationally, religiously, is the most important moral and theological issue of our time.
We should respect people with whom we disagree. Should we also respect their convictions, even when these comprise an overarching interpretation of life with which we fundamentally disagree?