This isn't something we have to deal with a lot around here, but it bugs me nevertheless. Recently, a friend brought up the issue of homosexuality (the context was a revolting photograph she found online which I will not share, but which involved a half-nude gay man at a pride parade embracing an open apostate apologizing for Christianity's treatment of gays) and criticized the Christian take on the issue, on the grounds that it's inconsistent with Christian love. I've previously attacked this is a misrepresentation of caritas and what it means; simply put, love in this sense means not only expecting but demanding the best of the object of that love, which is naturally inconsistent with scandalous and reprehensible sexual behavior. Would you be content with your wife or daughter becoming a prostitute or a drug addict just because it makes her "happy"? No; such would be beneath her. The internal logic of interpersonal love is such that it demands excellence of its object.
Anyway, the discussion was polite and brief and ended with her saying we'd have to agree to disagree but that she respected my opinion. The subject was dropped and we went on talking about less divisive things. But it wasn't the first time I'd heard that formulation as a means of ending a discussion: I respect your opinion.
I respect your opinion! As if the subject of the conversation were whether my "opinion" was worthy of your respect. As if it were about you and me and not the truth. As if I were seeking your approval. It is a trope typical of the mind that can apprehend no truths beyond a conflict of two sovereign wills, moving at random throughout space and carefully agreeing to orchestrate their respective speeds and trajectories so as to avoid collision. At least the muscular and aggressive atheist/liberal/modern is acknowledging the existence of transcendent truth (albeit for no reason, no sound motivation, no good end, and in rank contrast to his own irrational nihilistic prejudices) when he declares, "You're wrong, and a jerk to boot." I might not say the same thing, but I don't pretend that my enemies' opinions are entitled to respect, especially when they're wrong on matters of grave importance and when their "arguments" amount to recycled cliches born of ignorance. There is no right to falsehood and error, after all, which is perhaps the one thing we and our neurotic dumbass enemies can agree on.
(Obviously my friend didn't mean it this way; it's just one of those things people feel the need to say, I guess. It probably dates from that long-ago age when liberalism was actually concerned with niceness instead of mere round-the-clock sodomy-at-any-price. At any rate, I object to the formulation itself, not the motivations of the speaker).