(originally published June 30, 2010)
I received an email recently in which a listener asked: "Dr. Laura...I don't get it. People call and tell you that they have a relative who is bigoted about something or someone, and your answers seem to differ between letting them be and taking them on. What's the story with that?"
Great question. The callers who tell me they know a relative or friend is hostile, bigoted, or opinionated about something always get the following question from me: "Tell me...do they act out on it? Do they proclaim it in public and insult or hurt people because of it?"
If the answer is "yes," then that person is to be shunned and, perhaps, hated. I don't have any positive things to say about Mexican drug dealers who murder innocent people on both sides of the border for power and money. I hate
them for the human pain and misery they directly cause. People who decide to take the drugs are just stupid, and they're on their own. I don't blame the drug dealers for someone else's poor judgment.
If the answer is "no," that person should be commended for having a strong opinion but never hurting anyone in any form because of it.
I don't hate people with stupid opinions or ideas. I just think they're....kinda stupid, that's all.
Most people have opinions about other groups of people, both positive and/or negative. So what?...as long as they don't act out on those sentiments in ways that bring sorrow, hurt and pain to others.
My point is that it is in the actions
of a person that we grade them, not their thoughts
. I do hate
those who kill their children on purpose and then blame it on their "enemy" in order to gain sympathy around the world.
In a nutshell: pity stupidity...hate evil. If you treat them both the same, you
border on evil as well.