Intolerance: lack of tolerance, especially of others' opinions, beliefs, etc: bigotry.
What are the limits to tolerance? In a major way, this word is synonymous with homosexuality, and in a more minor way, religious rights as a whole (I'm thinking in regards to Muslims here, in the context of 9/11). Often times, those who promote tolerance are accused of hypocritical behavior for a lack of tolerance towards the "intolerant." (For example, those who profess the religious belief that homosexuality is a sin).
Here's the thing. Are we intolerant if we're against racism? Are we intolerant is we're against sexism? No. The point of tolerance is to fight against bigoted beliefs. So to pull out the 'you're a hypocrite' card wouldn't work in the case of racism and sexism. Does it work in terms of homosexuality?
But this also only works if anti-gay sentiments are lumped in with racist and sexist sentiments. For many, they are, because homosexuality, like race and gender, is a part of someone's identity. I know there are those who disagree, and I know that there are stories of people who have spent years as homosexuals, and then in their words, been "healed" of that and are now heterosexual. If those people have found a sense of peace previously lacking, then I am happy for them and wish them well.
However, for every story of someone who is healed, there are ten or twenty for people who have begged to become heterosexual, and received no answer. What do we do in that case? (In an ironic note, I often wonder if the reason used to explain those stories is that the person was never homosexual to begin with. I'm sure the counterpoint is that the homosexuals simply don't want to admit the truth, and the minority is willing to expose the lie of homosexuality being natural. That reasoning is dangerous to use, though, because what if it's reversed? Try applying that to someone who walks away from a faith, whether it be Christian, a Jew, or Muslim. Is the one who walks away actually telling the truth, and those still holding the faith deluded?).
Some might say they aren't willing to relinquish the sinful lifestyle. Others might say they don't have enough faith, or haven't prayed hard enough. But now we're getting into the matter of spiritual battles, and I feel it's the height of arrogance to judge another's spiritual battle, or any internal battle, period.
Picture back on the last major internal battle you've had. How long did it last? Days? Months? Maybe even years? Say it lasted ten years. If someone came to you within those ten years, and said that since you were still struggling, obviously you were still clinging to sin, how accurate would that person be? Would that person be interpreting you correctly, or even listening to you correctly? Or would the person be using an outside criteria to judge you?
From my understanding of science and just what I've heard from homosexuals, it's not something that comes with an on/off switch. Many have wished to be otherwise. Many have struggled to be otherwise, knowing the results if they come out.
Who am I to judge their lifestyle, or what they're going through? I'm heterosexual, so I'll have no difficulties fitting into society in this regard (Well, that would also depend on what portion of society. If it's the portion that has no problem with casual sex, then I still won't fit in). I don't know what it's like to fear this kind of ostracizing. I don't know what it's like to know so much of society hates you. I don't know what it's like to wonder, in my darker moments, if I might be the next Matthew Shepherd. I don't know what it's like to be in agony over something I had no control over in the first place.
So if someone criticizes a Bible verse that condemns homosexuality, or moderates comments in a blog when saying that s/he is pluralist, it has nothing to do with hypocrisy. It has to do with the people. Regardless of your stance on homosexuality, anyone who is/claims to be one is still a person. They're not a label, they're not a two-dimensional doll just sitting around waiting for you to glue the right set of clothes onto them. They're not lurking in the corner, gleefully counting down to their next same-sex encounter, or plotting to corrode the American family. They don't need another Bible verse rammed into their faces about a loving God who still hates a part of their identity. And if you truly, truly want the person to listen to you because you're afraid for their soul, then wouldn't the best solution be to listen to them, rather than using the Bible to tell them all about themself?
In all honesty, I don't care who someone sleeps with. We have bigger problems right now. The education in the US is sorely lacking. We have environmental problems. We're too dependent on oil. We've got horrible diseases that still need to be dealt with, and starvation to address. Slavery still occurs in the world. Women still lack rights in so many places. Could we maybe focus on those?
And I've got say, Christian-wise, based on the sheep/goats parable, sex won't be that high up on Jesus' list, either. He seemed more concerned with practical matters. Do you feed the hungry? Give drink to the thirsty? Give shelter to the strangers? Clothe the naked? Visit those in prison? Overall, do we see the people beneath the skin and respond?