Bigotry can have various objects, changeable and unchangeable, that draw its hatred. Class, race, nation, gender, and ethnic identification are things that we are born into. Our race, ethnic identification, and gender cannot be changed. Though some people think it possible, gender cannot be changed. Only in the mind is this possible, but every cell in one’s body proclaims his or her sexual identity. Religion, class, and nation that we are born into can be changed. This is also true of political preference and ideology.
Ideology is an interconnection of ideas that taken together represent one’s view of the world. Communism, for example, informs us about the meaning of human life, human relationships in society, God, class relations, ultimate goals, and so on. Ideology is an important element in our motivations and actions. Both individuals and whole societies are anchored in a certain interpretation of the world and the human relationship to it. Cultures have ideological preferences that can be beneficial or harmful. The problem with ideology that often can have a negative connotation is it has a tendency to twist the truth and bend reality to its own liking. Reality follows ideology in importance. Religion can do this also, but when it functions well in a society or person’s life, it interprets reality; it does not twist it so that one comes to live in an illusion. Christianity is not an illusion or projection (see Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion). It is an interpretation of reality that makes sense of the world. It is a doxological confession of the reality of the Triune God Obviously, some individuals would differ with this assertion.
We may dislike a certain ideology intensely. Some of them are harmful (e.g. Fascism, Communism) To dislike an ideology or political orientation or religious belief is acceptable but within limits. We are to know our reasons for disliking the views and practices of others. We are not to hate the person or persons who hold these views. We are not to attempt through social and political means to suppress these beliefs unless they are actually dangerous and harmful. Some ideologies evince bigotry. If we make an accusation that some movement is bigoted, we must do our best to show the evidence and not just assert and assert and assert something that under inspection may prove to be untrue.
Michael G. Tavella
January 21, 2019
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity