THE BLOG

2013: Year of the Persecuted Bigot

01/07/2014 12:31 EST | Updated 03/09/2014 05:59 EDT

Looking back on 2013, I notice a trend that somehow managed to cling to life from the beginning of the year right up to the final chords of "Auld Lang Syne": The plight of the persecuted bigot. Somehow along the lines, the clear-thinking rest of us missed out on the biggest irony of the year: People who can't stand bigots are apparently the real bigots.

That has been one of the most common talking points by homophobes over the past 12 months -- that it is bigotry to call out bigots for being bigots. It usually begins with a homophobe pointing out the dictionary definition of the term "Bigot":

"Someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust, hatred, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of a person's opinion, ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics."

Get it? Being against the opinions of a bigot actually makes you a bigot. Therefore any criticism of bigotry is hypocritical. Because Webster's says so, apparently.

Level-headed people, of course, know that this is just smoke and mirrors. It's an attempt to steer conversation away from those who actions should indeed be marginalized and frowned upon. It's nothing more than a childish attempt at changing the subject and directing focus anywhere but towards to whom it belongs.

We saw this in early 2013 when anti-gay activists everywhere pretended homophobia was a free speech issue. When Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy made his anti-gay sentiments known to the public, his supporters cried that it was not he who was guilty of blatant bigotry, but those who called him out on it. Then it happened again at the end of the year, when Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson made anti-gay remarks and his supporters were outraged at the thought that everyone didn't shrug it off. In both cases supporters tried to argue that somehow homophobia is "OK" and not really bigotry if someone practices it out of religious faith or being old or...something. Oh, and if you think that excuse is tired and phony? Yep, you're a bigot.

It wasn't enough to try the "you're a bigot for not accepting bigots" line, especially not within the ranks of America's homophobes. There was, in both of the aforementioned cases, an outpouring of sympathy towards these downtrodden, anti-gay millionaires. Somehow, their plight was so heavy, they needed not only the moral support of their ignorant followers, but their monetary support, as well. People lined up to buy fried chicken from their homophobic hero, and anti-gay camouflage enthusiasts everywhere wrote A&E in droves. Duck Dynasty merchandise is selling better than ever.

Somehow, in all of this, the persecuted bigots ironically decided it was they who are the real victims of persecution in society. In their deluded minds, it is they who are the victims of intolerance.

"Tolerance" -- there's another word currently being misused by the put-upon homophobes today.

"Why is it so many gay people preach about wanting tolerance, but are themselves intolerant towards anyone else's opinion?" Someone wrote to me the other day. I received dozens of other variations of this question, worded pretty much the same way, over the past couple of weeks. It's almost as if it's a chain letter being passed around between homophobes everywhere as an ill-conceived attempt at turning the tables on an argument no one made in the first place.

I've never seen a pro-gay person argue for "tolerance." Not once. I've never seen a gay person say "I sure do wish bigots would tolerate me." In fact, I never hear the word "tolerance" being used by anyone but homophobes who can't understand why their backwards, dying mentality isn't as socially acceptable as it once was.

I do, however, see gay people who want equality. But equality isn't the same thing as "tolerance." Wanting the same rights and freedoms as everyone else isn't the same thing as asking someone to simply "tolerate" them. Looking back on the Civil Rights Movement, I can't say that I've ever read that black people asked bigots to "tolerate" them at the lunch counter. They demanded equality and acceptance, period. Gay people today are demanding the same thing. Yet somehow it is the homophobe who feels the plight is his. He wants "tolerance" for his bigotry.

The irony is that, if you "tolerate" a homophobe long enough, he'll do everything he can to be the exact opposite towards gay people. He will whine endlessly about the "intolerance" he's feeling while continuing to disparage the LGBT community as much as possible. And, if given a chance to keep gay people as second-class citizens, he'll do everything he can to do just that. He will, all the while, beg for the very thing he'll never actually give in return.

So, in 2014, let's not "tolerate" the homophobes, no matter how much they may try to act the victim. Tolerating such bigotry is akin to accepting it. Activism, not apathy, is the key to overcoming the closed-minded nonsense that breeds homophobia. Imagine if black people had "tolerated" Jim Crow laws for another generation. We should treat homophobic bigots with the same eye rolling we now have for those who felt black people didn't deserve equal rights or that women shouldn't vote.

Otherwise, we'll just see another year of taking side-steps while homophobes everywhere whine about how people should be "tolerant" of how intolerant they are. The irony being, of course, that tolerance for such bigotry is the main reason it's still so popular in the first place. That, and apparently homophobes like chicken and ducks.

Ward Anderson is a comedian, author, and one half of the talk radio program "Ward and Al", heard weekdays on SiriusXM, satellite radio. His debut novel, I'll Be Here All Week, will be released in May 2014.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Anti-Gay Celebrity Statements