Is tolerance reserved for those with only one set of beliefs?
Increasingly, in President Barack Obama's America, that appears to be so.
• Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, invited to be the commencement speaker at Rutgers University, graciously withdrew after two months of protest there over her support of the Iraqi War during the administration of President George W. Bush.
• HGTV pulled the plug on its new reality series "Flip It Forward" earlier this week after it was exposed that twin brother hosts David and Jason Benham supported traditional marriage and life for the unborn.
• Brandeis University withdrew its commencement invitation to Somali writer Hirsi Ali, whose criticisms of radical Islam were said to have violated the school's "core values."
• The Newton Daily News, a small newspaper in Iowa, recently fired its editor, Bob Eschliman, for comments he posted on his personal blog on his views of same-sex relationships.
• An undergraduate columnist in the Harvard Crimson recently suggested the school "give up on academic freedom in favor of justice." Citing work by conservative Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield that she hoped could be suppressed, she said that "when an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue."
• Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich was driven out as chief executive officer of the free software community for donating money to support California's Prop. 8, which promoted traditional marriage.
Those are only recent examples. But you know the scenario. If you don't like the president's policies, you're a racist. If you're not for same-sex benefits for city employees, you're homophobic.
Conservatives, people with traditional values, those who prefer personal and fiscal responsibility, are labeled as odd, out of sync, individuals from another planet.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., for example, recently was called a "ventriloquist dummy" by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for being politically conservative.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on a radio show earlier this year that extreme conservatives -- such as those who are "right-to-life" -- have "no place in New York."
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., just this week said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing while he was ranting about gridlock that "for some, we don't want anything good to happen under this president because he's the wrong color."
Comments like these come from members of a Democrat Party that prides itself on being inclusive, tolerant and welcoming of the beliefs of other people.
"What's disturbing in [some of these] cases, though, is that we're seeing an increase in organizations firing Christians, specifically, because they express their beliefs in their personal lives and through personal, nonwork outlets," said American Family Association President Tim Wildmon. "At issue here is the growing presupposition that holding Christian views somehow makes one unfit for a job. The more we see individuals being fired for their Christian views, the less convinced we are that the rhetoric of tolerance we so often hear from the left is anything more than that -- rhetoric."
The majority of people in the country, Republicans and Democrats, resent this extreme partisanship, this political correctness-gone-wrong. They see their family members, their neighbors and their friends victimized by it. But they don't know what to do.
Some people want to put their hope in the fall elections, hoping a Republican Senate will help, or the 2016 presidential election, hoping that a conservative president can reverse what's been lost. But with higher education, the mainstream media and many judges all in cahoots with the intolerant, the task looks like a tall one.
But the country has overcome extremism in the past, and, as they have before, perhaps Americans will follow the example of those supposedly intolerant Benham brothers, who chose to answer the intolerance rained on them by suggesting people do what Jesus Christ said to do in the face of such hate -- turn the other cheek.
"The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is: 'Have we shined Christ's light today?'" they said in a news release. "Our faith is the fundamental calling in our lives, and the centerpieces of who we are. As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is ... misinformed. ... If our faith costs us a television show then so be it."