Disagreement Does Not Equal Hate

A few weeks ago, I read an article with this quote by HGTV’s Chip Gaines concerning the controversy around his choice of religious affiliation. He said, “Disagreement does not equal hate…don’t believe that lie.” If my best friends can’t see eye-to-eye on everything (and we agree on most things), how can we expect everyone to agree with us? We need to find a way to interact with people with human dignity in mind, not politics.

We say we are a tolerant generation who are ready to accept everyone for who they choose to be and believe. We scream and shout for our first amendment rights, but the moment someone disagrees with us, we go on the defense. Hateful words and hasty judgments are thrown at the offending party. Instead of taking a moment to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and consider their perspective, we quickly label them as ignorant, racist, bigoted, sexist, etc.

We fail to consider sociological backgrounds and moral compasses. Every person has a moral compass. What is north for me may be west for you, and vice versa.  This means what I consider morally correct may be abhorrent to you.  This doesn’t mean you are wrong but it shouldn’t disregard my sense of right and wrong either. Where we grew up and who we grew up with also affects our identity.  For example, someone who grew up in a strict Catholic family probably has a different set of values than someone who grew up in a less traditional and more laid back family.  Is one environment better than the other?

Considering the world isn’t strictly black and white, it can become difficult to decipher what is right and what is wrong without bias. Our sociological backgrounds and grounded beliefs don’t really allow for it. Because of this, it’s very easy to mistake disagreeing with another person’s moral compass as hate.  It is absolutely possible to treat another human being with respect and dignity while disagreeing with them.  Just because their belief is different doesn’t mean it’s evil.

There are a lot of calls for peace and tolerance on social media platforms, but we can’t reach this until we stop “tolerating” each other and instead choose to build bridges between people who disagree. Arguing will get us nowhere but a further divided country.  Let’s challenge each other’s opinions and be open to different perspectives.  I think we would be surprised at how much we can expand our world views if we just opened our hearts and minds.

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