Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Is A Bigot?

This question occurred to me when I read a recent Media Matters piece about the bigots of the left who will oppose Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy because he is a Mormon:

Summary: On Hannity & Colmes, Hugh Hewitt claimed that Mitt Romney is "not going to have a problem with pro-lifers" in seeking the presidency in 2008, but rather "[h]e's going to have problem with anti-Mormon bigots on the left, especially." However, recent polls indicate that more liberals than conservatives would be willing to vote for a Mormon.

I realized that my inner emotional word dictionary equates "bigot" with "someone with strongly racist beliefs" mostly, though I also interpret bigotry as an ingrained fanatic belief in the inferiority of some other group. So I looked up some actual dictionary definitions of the word:

n : a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions
differing from his own

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Bigot \Big"ot\, a.
Bigoted. [Obs.]

In a country more bigot than ours. --Dryden.

Bigot \Big"ot\, n. [F. bigot a bigot or hypocrite, a name once
given to the Normans in France. Of unknown origin; possibly
akin to Sp. bigote a whisker; hombre de bigote a man of
spirit and vigor; cf. It. s-bigottire to terrify, to appall.
Wedgwood and others maintain that bigot is from the same
source as Beguine, Beghard.]
1. A hypocrite; esp., a superstitious hypocrite. [Obs.]

2. A person who regards his own faith and views in matters of
religion as unquestionably right, and any belief or
opinion opposed to or differing from them as unreasonable
or wicked. In an extended sense, a person who is
intolerant of opinions which conflict with his own, as in
politics or morals; one obstinately and blindly devoted to
his own church, party, belief, or opinion.

To doubt, where bigots had been content to wonder
and believe. --Macaulay.

Or, in shorter terms:

One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

Very wide, these definitions are. Wouldn't they make Hugh Hewitt, the person described in the Media Matters quote a bigot himself, just because he accuses others of bigotry without evidence?