The Meaning of Toleration

Here's an honest column from a religious fundamentalist, a former basketball player and now a sports-writer. I think he understands the meaning of toleration better than some p.c. liberals. Money quote:

I've played in several rec leagues with LZ Granderson, who is an openly gay writer at ESPN The Magazine. I consider LZ a friend. I've gone out to lunch with him, talked music, sports, politics and lots of other things with him. I greet him with a handshake and a hug, just like I greet lots of other guys.

By the way, LZ can ball. In a league in New York City that features several former college players, we both made the All-Star team. He was kind of like our Shawn Marion minus the dunks (though he claims he can still slam!) and I was like our Gilbert Arenas (high game of 39, thank you).

Anyway, when we play in our rec league games, I give him high fives and hugs. Same with one of his friends who is on the team and also gay. When we're on the court trying to get a win -- or in the office talking about a story, for that matter -- his sexuality is not an issue.

Granted, I don't shower with LZ after games like NBA teammates do, and I'll admit that if I had to, it might be a little uncomfortable at first. But if a gay player just goes about his business in the shower, showing that he has no sexual interest in his teammates and that he's not "checking them out," I think the awkwardness would wear off fairly quickly.

LZ and I know where each other stand and we respect each other's right to believe as he does. I know he's gay, and he knows I believe that's a sin. I know he thinks I get my moral standards from an outdated, mistranslated book, and he knows I believe he needs to change his lifestyle. Still, we can laugh together, and play ball together.

That's real diversity. Disagreeing but not being disagreeable.