The other day, I got a question from a friend...
"Did you really say that you 'respect people too much to respect their beliefs', or something?"
So here's how that went (more or less):
"I did, yes. Kind of." I replied, grinning. "It's a quote from a guy called Johann Hari actually; 'I respect you as a person too much to respect your ridiculous beliefs' is what he said, I think."
"Isn't it a bit -"
We both paused. I broke the silence.
"I don't think so. There's a distinction, a line between disagreeing with someone and hating them... Put it this way; there's no reason to unconditionally 'respect' a belief that's, say, overtly homophobic or otherwise wrong."
'Wrong' raised an eyebrow.
"I mean, again, I respect each and every person's right to hold whatever beliefs they want, but that doesn't mean I have to respect the content of those beliefs."
"But... Don't a person's beliefs shape who they are?"