Words are fascinating. As a college student I went to the University of Indiana one summer and for the first time was in an entire environment with people from areas of the nation other than where I had been reared. They talked about things I was knowledgeable of, but they used a different vocabulary than I. They used words with which I was unfamiliar. I resolved to increase my vocabulary and started a word collection which now consists of over 200 uncommon words.

There are three words now to be noted along with a definition. After seeing the words, think through your understanding of them before reading the definition. They are: BIGOT, PREJUDICE and INTOLERANT.

All three words have been in the news lately. People who do not agree with a person are stereotyped as such.

Some presidential candidates who are pro-LGBTQ often refer to anyone who doesn’t share their belief as bigoted, prejudiced and intolerant. Now the dictionary definitions:

BIGOT, a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

PREJUDICE, an unreasonable dislike of a particular group of people or things over another.

INTOLERANT, not tolerating or respecting beliefs, opinions, manners, etc. different from one’s own.

There are people properly characterized by those definitions. Such persons are those who do not endorse the gay lifestyle. Those words are most often used by supporters in describing all who oppose their opinion.

I am one of the many who do not support the LGBTQ lifestyle, yet are not correctly defined by those words. I am not bigoted, prejudiced or intolerant of supporters. I have friends and associate with persons of that persuasion. I respect their rights. There are many who disagree with them without being disagreeable. Not all who disagree with them base their opinion on Scripture. Some rely on the influence of previous cultures. Then, there are some who just don’t like the movement.

Most of those who do not support the LGBTQ agenda do not think their own beliefs are unreasonable because many of them base their beliefs on the well-reasoned insight of Scripture. To define a person who disagrees with such a lifestyle by those words is to infer the source of their beliefs is as well defined by them. I cannot see the God of the Bible as bigoted, He is rather long-suffering, by no means intolerant. He is not prejudiced, He is rather loving, patient and kind. He loves all of us, but does not always approve of some of our conduct, including the readers of this column and the author of it also.

Presidential candidates have made this a Rubicon issue. Some proponents are so aggressive as to propose that all who disagree with them should be marginalized and punished. Presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren propose punishing institutions that do not support same-sex marriage by cutting off their tax exemption. These are they who are bigoted, prejudiced and intolerant. It is they who consider others to be bete noire.

Many who long have demanded tolerance are now the intolerant, the prejudiced and bigoted.

Christians, Jews and other people of faith have suffered through the ages, dark ages. Let’s pray we are not on the cusp of a new such era.

Martin Luther King, Jr. noted our options: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together like fools.”

King further said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

The Rev. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.

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