These days folks don’t merely “agree to disagree”. They go out of their way to call into question the very motives of those on the other side of the ideological aisle. The Rebellion Thesis that dismisses all instances of atheism as sinful rebellion against the plain and clear witness of creation is yet one more example of this lamentable tendency to marginalize one’s opponents.
In his article “The Long Goodbye,” John Dickerson describes how Vice President Joe Biden, then a young politician in Washington, came to set aside this tendency to criticize people rather than the views they hold:
“[Joe] Biden often tells the story of his early days in the Senate when the Democratic Majority Leader Mike Mansfield chided him for making a comment about North Carolina Republican Sen. Jesse Helms’ heartlessness when it came to the disabled. When Mansfield told Biden that Helms and his wife had adopted a disabled boy, he also gave the young senator some advice that he repeated again and again: “Joe, never question another man’s motive. Question his judgment but never his motive.”