Bigotry is the hatred of people of a certain social or economic class, religion, race, nation, ethnic group, political affiliation, gender. (There are only two genders. God created gender and sex, not us), or ideology by an individual, group of individuals, society, or nation that may eventuate on a political level in laws against them and even more violent persecution. Bigotry involves the pre-judgment (prejudice) of a person based, not on his personal qualities including character, but on a group he represents. Prejudices can be formed, not only from personal experience but also from the judgments of others that one accepts for whatever reason. Negative judgments of others based on some category are often derived from preconceived notions.
The word bigotry has been thrown around in America as political conflict increases. In these cases the definition of bigotry seems to be far too wide or the judgment is blatantly false. Such name calling has become a political tool. An important measure of whether the word is appropriate in a certain situation or situations is only fairly determined by a clear definition of the word’s meaning and, if the definition is inaccurate, a re-formulation of the definition. Gut-feeling reactions and responses are sometimes right, but often wrong.
Sexual preference requires a bit further discussion. While the orthodox Christian Church regards homosexuality as an ethical fault and sin, homosexual persons are not to be mistreated. Such mistreatment manifests sin fighting sin. All people are to be respected as human beings. The Church must teach both respect for all people and the limits of sexual union in marriage of one man and one woman. When dealing with ethical questions, we are to respect the person, yet defend the teaching.
Bigotry is not to have any credence within the Christian community. Throughout the New Testament all people are invited into the Church. In Galatians Saint Paul writes,”. . . in Jesus Christ you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3: 26-29a ESV)
It is particularly nasty when those calling themselves Christians are filled with hatred for others. It is a desecration when hate groups display the cross of Christ as a symbol of their own organization. Neither left nor right extremism fits a Christian concept of the truth.
In all situations, a Christian apologist and witness is to display the fruit of the Spirit. Saint Paul writes: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-contol; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 3: 22-24 ESV) Anyone who purposely contradicts these qualities in words and actions without repentance does not represent the catholic Church.
Michael G. Tavella
January 18, 2019
The Confession of Saint Peter