Disagreement is Disrespect

Consider these dueling bumper stickers:

Hate_is_not_a_family_value_2

Disagreement_is_not_hatred

Here religious conservatives do seem unfairly maligned: seeing a behavior as immoral is not at all the same as “hating.”  These folks also rightly seethe at how they are usually portrayed in popular film and TV, and at seeing their democratic ideals violated when even local voting majorities can’t prevent their kids from being taught evolution in public schools.  You can feel this resentment in the enthusiasm for Palin.  (Of course since I’m not religious about God, sexual preference, or democracy, this all bothers me lots less.)

But this does seem a handy opportunity to repeat that while disagreement isn’t hate, it is disrespect.  When you knowingly disagree with someone you are judging them to be less rational than you, at least on that topic.  (Judging them less informed or experienced by itself can’t create disagreement.)  It might be only a minor disrespect, if you think this disagreement suggests little about whether you’d disagree with them elsewhere.  But disagreement is disrespect, nonetheless.

Added: Wikipedia says hate speech is:

Speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, moral or political views, socioeconomic class, occupation or appearance (such as height, weight, and hair color), mental capacity and any other distinction-liability. [emphasis added]

How exactly do you disagree with someone’s moral views without degrading them?  Can you really say pedophelia is disgusting without degrading pedophiles?

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