Conservatives are routinely characterized as racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexists. Mostly because that’s what Democrat politicians and activists call them, and the media passes it on to the public.

Conservatives, with the worst marketing department in the history of marketing, do a horrible job of addressing this or defending themselves.

But if you understand conservatism, it makes perfect sense. Here’s an example:

Members of the lesbian and gay community often call out conservatives as being homophobic. It gets hostile. It’s said with vitriol, and it’s very accusing.

Every day conservatives go on about their day, as every day conservatives do, and suddenly get blindsided with these sorts of claims. If you’re a conservative, you simply don’t think in groups or segments. You know that everyone has a different story and perspective, and you deal with each person you encounter as their own individual. You don’t hate groups, and you don’t even think of people that way.

Finally, you get fed up and someone responds like this post I found on Facebook:

It’s certainly harsher than it needs to be. And when you’re presenting it to people who largely deal with things emotionally instead of logically, they immediately latch on to the attitude behind it.

If I were writing it, I’d approach it a bit differently. It’s not “stop forcing us to accept gay rights.” It’s that we already treat gays like everyone else, and everyone has the same rights. Therefore, homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. No more rights. No fewer rights.

More emotional, and already angry people, would read this as diminishing or trivializing gay rights. But in fact, the words mean exactly what they say. Gays are not special. They’re just like everyone else.

It’s a bit of semantics, but the biggest differences between gay and straight people are around laws, not rights. And the most outstanding, or oft-used, example I can think of, the ability to visit a loved one in a hospital, has been addressed with gay marriage.

And certainly, ending with if you think you’re special, “then you’re an idiot!” is unnecessary and a great way to lose your intended audience. It’s obvious the frustration of being called “hateful,” when you’re just not, is coming through here. Totally understandable. But also totally unnecessary.

If the lesbian and gay community really wants a fight, they should be focused on other countries and religions around the world. It’s not hard to search Google and find examples of gays being tortured or killed in horrific ways just for being gay. And those are state-sponsored examples.

What liberals don’t understand about the conservative (especially religious conservative) attitude toward homosexuality is that while they may not approve (and frankly, I don’t get the sense many care, one way or the other), they also don’t judge. The Bible says it’s up to God to judge. While conservatives don’t approve, they tolerate (actually tolerate, in the truest sense of the world).

If someone is gay and needs help, conservatives wouldn’t hesitate to help. They show this every day in America. So do liberals. We’re a compassionate nation, and when you see things like natural disaster rescues on television, you just don’t see many examples of people asking those in need if they meet all of their standards before they lend a hand.

We’ve got so much work to do, as a country, to get toward listening to each other. Getting past the anger and getting a little understanding has to happen first.

[And before the accusations fly, full disclosure: I lived in San Francisco for many years and had upwards of three gay roommates at any one time. It just never occurred to me to treat them any differently than anyone else. But that’s why I also never understood why they needed their own parade… (They know this… they’re cool with it.)]