Bigotry is generally seen as an ugly word, depicting a regrettable aspect of human behavior. The dictionary definition of bigotry is the stubborn and complete intolerance of any belief, creed, or opinion different from one’s own. Perhaps a more operational definition of bigotry as generally understood is behavior motivated by a prejudice against a person or group because of some hereditary or cultural characteristic and designed to belittle or marginalize that person or group.
Since bigotry has this negative connotation, one has to consider evangelical Christianity’s insistence that their doctrine alone is the pathway to God’s approval and blessing. Naturally, these Christians will point to the Bible as their justification for being intolerant of the beliefs of others. However, can religious intolerance be excused by the same text that gave us the Golden Rule to live by? Can it be countenanced by the same God whose mercy endures forever?
When behavior which belittles and seeks to control others is pursued in the name of religion, be it Christianity or Islam or anything else, it is just another form of bigotry dressed up in a veneer of self righteousness. Such behavior cannot be justified by reference to the Bible any more than the Muslim can justify his violent Jihad using the Koran. Neither can such intolerance be turned into a virtue in opposition to the intolerance of other religions. The certainty of righteousness which any belief system attempts to foist on a society is a cancer, threatening as opposed to enhancing the spiritual well-being of that group.
The mean spirited pronouncements of some Christian leaders relative to other religions is simply that- mean spirited and not in keeping with the ethics of Jesus. It is merely a continuation of the mindless warrior mentality which allows the church to support in every age the most glaring of injustices, all in the name of God and His righteousness.