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When Tyranny Wears the Mask of Tolerance

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/John Hanna

There are forces at work, in many cases winning the day, which are systematically stripping away our individual liberties, especially religious liberty. Under the guises of tolerance and acceptance, what we are witnessing is the rise of tyranny wearing the mask of tolerance. 

This is puzzling, as our Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom already proves our country’s foundation in tolerance. The traditional church is the foundation of God’s forgiveness, grace, love freedom, life, and breath. But recently, another church has arisen, a church of tyranny. Under the banners of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer (LGBTQ+) we find not a church of freedom, but one rewriting our country’s history, reprogramming our Constitution, and reweaving the fabric of our country. 


What began as a Progressive ideology embracing DEI, CRT and LGTBQ has morphed into a neo-Marist religion. Its followers have escalated what were political doctrines into matters of faith. The doctrines of DEI, CRT, and LGBTQ have coalesced into a religion which demands a purity of thought. Those who dare disagree may as well be considered heretics, unworthy of human respect, undeserving of equal rights.     

So now we have two religious ideologies battling for the soul of our nation; one bearing the cross of freedom, a respecter of our Constitution and our individual civil liberties, and the other a religion embracing silencing, de-platforming, and indoctrination. Mainstream academia has inculcated the belief that those who disagree with its doctrines are guilty of systematic oppression. Those who present alternatives to what’s Woke are labeled Fascists, Transphobic, or White Supremacists.  It has come to dominate our traditional and social media. Our common language has been twisted to impose this tyranny of Woke. 

Examples abound. Mutilating children by sex change is now called gender-affirming health care. Segregating groups by skin color has been relabeled Anti-racism. Excluding what’s deemed impure thought is called Inclusion.  Expressing common sense truth is labeled violent hate speech. But here’s the simple truth: Someone disagreeing with you does not amount to oppression, violent or otherwise.

The good thing, if there is a good thing, is that the more this Progressive, Woke religion gets its way, the more it reveals its actual agenda. Progressives are now way beyond making teachers losing their jobs for not surrendering to student’s preferred pronouns. Now teachers are denying students credit for turning in reports using factually correct terms such as biological woman, on the grounds such terms might cause offense. 

In Illinois, it is now the law that libraries not surrendering to rules imposed by the American Library Association (ALA) will lose their funding. The ALA is a political lobby whose rules state book selections may not be subject to “partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” So, by law, the policies of a lobby now hold sway over decisions made by locally elected officials and the public which supports them. This is tyranny by definition.

 In California, asserting that biological sex determines gender has been declared an act of child abuse. A law is on its way which would cause a parent to lose parental rights should that parent decline to ignore the biological truth about their own child, and resist having their child surgically mutilated or altered with destructive hormones.  This is not simply the government taking sides on a social issue, this is the government coercing parents to kneel to a religious ideology, or else lose their child.   


These ever-constricting acts are not goals of tolerance, but of mandating a very narrow religious ideology based on nothing more than self-deception and arbitrary standards. These are examples, among many, of social, institutional, and governmental coercion and tyranny hiding behind the mask of tolerance.

It is not Diversity to exclude opinions based on intolerance. It is not Equity to deny taxpayer dollars to libraries whose elected boards listen to concerns from the public. It is not Inclusion to deny the expression of beliefs simply because some declare them to be offensive.  

Religious liberty is where our country’s freedom is founded, and where it rests. It is among the first of our explicitly guaranteed civil liberties. Our Founders understood that the opposite of individual liberty is the tyranny of the state. Where the individual rests, also rest the rights of parents to raise their children, the rights of property, the pursuit of happiness.  This is where God’s liberty rests, through the gospel of Jesus Christ; by the truth of salvation through the Gospel, Christ’s love, his grace, his forgiveness, his sovereignty. 

Fortunately, the First Amendment is still the Law of the Land. Under representative government, we, the people, inform government policy-making.  Religious beliefs inform the public debate, but cannot be used as an excuse to exclude or limit it.  Ironically, it is traditional religion which inspired the establishment of the very freedoms which now enable the religion of the Progressive Woke to impose its will. Some of the public has come to accept this religion of tyranny, but not all. We who value true liberty must fight this good fight to maintain our freedoms in the classroom, in the courtroom, in the church, and in the town square. 


Eric Hogue is the president of Colorado Christian University, the leading interdenominational Christian university in the Rocky Mountain region. Hogue is known for his roles as a former political candidate; practicing theologian and pastor; and long-tenured radio, television, and media professional. He is the author of “The Winning Side of the Ask: The Heart and Skills of the Donor-Centric Professional Fundraiser,” a book dedicated to helping nonprofits design a thriving philanthropic culture.

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