Respect for other beliefs, tolerance of other religions, acceptance of other cultures — these doctrines are usually sugar-sweet forms of violence. This seems to me the only adequate explanation as to why our age is simultaneously respectful and racist; liberal and segregated; proud of diversity and incapable of actually enjoying diverse company outside of mandatorily diverse institutions — a schizophrenic personality that imagines itself open to the Other in all her differences while fearing, more than most things, any actual contact with the Other.
When someone tells me that they respect my Catholicism and my “right to believe what I want,” or that, while not agreeing with me, they celebrate the diverse viewpoint my “cherished religious convictions” bring to the community — this usually indicates that they have stripped, reduced, and re-fashioned me into an image they can bear.
See, I came declaring myself a Believer in that obnoxious, loudmouth pride unique to the Catholic laity. Now, were this a healthy planet, the human with the misfortune of being in the way of my evangelical warpath might respond: “I’m not Catholic. In fact, you Catholics are moronic, drunk Pope-worshipers. Get the @#$ out of my pool.” This would be, officially speaking, an insult. But I would be highly tempted to wrap the other up in a big, fat Apostolic hug — his insult would meet me in my otherness. It would take me as Catholic. It would negatively affirm the difference I claim as my own.