Real Tolerance

You might not be tolerant if you…

…Express a view that is contrary to the “tolerant” ones.

I usually do not to write these types of posts.  Mainly because I am not perfect, and I try not to judge others for what they do.  But lately, I have been so discouraged and feel almost like the world is turning upside down. People who are celebrated for their “tolerance” seem to be in favor of silencing or demonizing, even hating anyone who doesn’t agree with them.  And people who ask tough questions and want to open up the dialogue, you know… like those “Question Authority” bumper stickers from the 60’s… are seen as hateful and intolerant.  Those talking about the individual’s power to succeed and the beauty of faith, the content of one’s character, are maligned and lied about. And it seems the freedom to dissent is only celebrated when that dissent is of a particular ideology.

I had a conversation on Twitter a few days ago that blew my mind.  A well-known social media personality, who is celebrated for being inspirational, bringing people together, linked to an article that she said made her feel better.  I clicked over, curious to see what it was, and read the most hateful words directed at a popular media figure.  Not disagreeing with his positions or sharing quotes and refuting them factually.  I welcome that from anyone.  But smearing them personally in a vile way.

I asked if she had actually listened to the speech/event that was being maligned, and she said, “No, we don’t watch much TV.”  OK, so have you ever watched his TV Show? No.  She had seen a few clips of video, and read extensively about how vile this person was. Didn’t need to know more. (By the way, if I believed the lies that were written about this person, and sound bytes taken out of context, I might hate him too.) Then she proceeded to tell me how she hated this person ( and by default those who agree with him) with a “white hot passion” (in private messages, of course).

And I was stunned.

I think about the person that I disagree with the most, even one that I believe is mean, vindictive, or undermining our society.  I don’t hate them.  But if I did hate them, it would have to come from an intimate knowledge of their words, actions, and soul.  I would have to really know who they were first, before I MIGHT be able to claim the right to hate them.  Even still, my faith tells me I don’t have the right to hate another human being, especially while preaching tolerance and inspiration.

I am routinely stunned by the contemptuous view that the “tolerant” ones hold toward those who don’t agree with them on issues.  And I am tired of being called intolerant, closed-minded, ignorant, idiotic, hateful (not directly, but in association with my beliefs) because I chose to question authority and champion the beauty of the individual and his/her relationship with God.

Despite my personal and religious beliefs, I celebrate my dreamstime_12261139relationships with those who are different.  I have friends who are Christians, atheists, Jews, black, white, Asian, male, female, straight, gay, conservative, liberal, home schoolers, public schoolers, poor, rich, and every other description you can think of.  I like it that way.  They don;t all have to live the way I think I should live. And I like it when people share the way they believe, even challenging my beliefs in a respectful way.   I celebrate it when others make me question my belief system, and some have had a profound affect on the way I see the world.

I believe my views are the truth, otherwise why would I believe them? But I also LOVE those who don’t ascribe to these views, and recognize their right to believe what they wish. I might try to convince them, yes, but I love them dearly all the while.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “”Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

You might not be tolerant if you…

  • Hate those who view the world differently than you.  It’s OK to disagree vehemently, but not to hate.
  • Object to something being said, just because of the color of the skin of the person saying it.
  • Think that a particular interest group should have special access to “justice.” (or other people’s money)
  • View someone who disagrees with you as beneath your intellect, stupid, dumb. (wrong, maybe, but not stupid)
  • Think society would be better off if someone in particular were not allowed to speak.  Less speech is not better for society.  Allow open debate and let the ideas be hashed out.  The ones that don’t work will be defeated.
  • Preach tolerance while demonizing those who disagree, even to the point of wishing sickness or violence on them.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matt 5:43-45