Maybe Tolerance is Not the Answer

Many times I’ve been let down by our modern use of language.

1. Ironic does not equal coincidence.

2. Sometimes it’s ok to say “me.” For instance: “This is a picture of my best friend and me.” You would not say “This is a picture of I.”

3. The misuse of bring and take: “I’m going to take my lunch to work,” rather than “I’m going to bring my lunch to work.”

I could go on and on and the fact is, as a good friend argued with me in college (Jeff it was you), language is evolving and they way we speak is legitimate regardless of whether it is “correct” or not and regardless of whether it ANNOYS ME!

But here’s the BIG language gaffe that I cannot ignore anymore: TOLERANT.

Do we know what tolerant means, people?

This: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tolerance is what tolerant means. I would ask my gay friends, is this really what you want? Do you want to be “endured” or do you want to be loved?

This week in the US has been a volatile one, as the Supreme Court hears cases regarding gay marriage. Both sides are adamant. Both sides are heated. And if you will allow me for one minute to please be a voice of reason, I will so very much appreciate it. (with the sidebar: many people have expressed respect to one another this week, even in the face differing beliefs, many have not).

Some questions for the right or for Christians: (if you are an Atheist on the right, sorry I got nothing)

1. How did Jesus respond in the Bible to the outcasts in society?

2. Have you ever introduced someone to Jesus by yelling at them or arguing with them?

3. Is your light shining before men and women in such a way that your good works point them to God or are your actions pointing people away from God?

4. Are you daily actions based out of love or tolerance? Which is superior? Which honors God?

Some questions for the Left:

1. Have you ever convinced someone to believe as you do by calling them names (bigot, idiot, etc)?

2. Do your grandparents think Gay Marriage is ok? If not, do you think they are idiots?

3. Are you practicing tolerance toward Christians? If so, what does it look like? If not, isn’t this a little ironic? (note correct usage of the word)

4. Are you practicing love or tolerance to everyone in your life? Which is superior? Which honors and respects fellow humankind?

I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll say it again; I am a conservative. When it comes to gay marriage my views may differ from other conservatives but still I am a conservative: fiscally and socially. I have many many MANY liberal friends. My whole life I have been in the minority and my whole life I have been chastised for it. It’s ok. I believe what I believe and I’m ok with that. But one of the saddest things in my life has been meeting a friend with whom I have many things in common and then seeing that friend say hateful things about Christians or conservatives on a public forum like Facebook (things they would never say to my face). I’m sure there are some Christians who do the same, and I’m sure that is hurtful.

What I am trying to say is that TOLERANCE is not getting us anywhere. And we are lying to ourselves if we think we are a tolerant society. Lefties: do you really tolerate us righties? Seriously? Righties-how did you feel the night of the election? I, for one wasn’t feeling tolerant. Heated and angry debates on FACEBOOK are futile and hurtful. Name calling from both sides is inappropriate and immature. Anger does not lead to enlightenment, unfortunately it often leads to violence or bitterness. There is a place for “righteous” anger but it must be immediately channeled and turned to compassion (compassion leading to action).

Whether you believe the Bible as truth or not, there are some gems that are applicable for all. Let’s start with this: a gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1).

Can we be loving to one another United States? It is far superior to tolerance. Because whether you agree with someone’s political or religious views-everyone is someone’s child, someone’s friend, maybe someone’s sibling, and someone’s mom or dad.  Everyone has a beating heart and is loved by someone and I believe by God. This chasm between the left and the right is breaking my heart.

I read this blog post this morning and if you have time, it’s worth it!

http://mrscoaq.blogspot.com/2013/03/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-your.html

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4 thoughts on “Maybe Tolerance is Not the Answer

  1. Jeff Finn says:

    Best one yet Anna (and not just because of the shout out, although it didn’t hurt). Screw tolerance! I agree with it all, although I would caution against being so worried that you lean into apathy, which in my opinion might be worse than angry Facebook rants.

    • Anna B. says:

      Agree. I think being sympathetic leads to apathy. And America is so good at apathy. Lots of facebook ranting not much action. Compassion leads to action which is always a good goal.

      • Jeff Finn says:

        Hey, if you ever need a devil’s advocate, just let me know. I started saying “nuts” to your “bananas”, but that sounded dirty, so I then thought “hot fudge” which also sounded dirty, then I thought “hey, maybe stay away from food puns, so I thought “yang to your yen”, but I mean, come on, “yang” is the dirtiest philosophical concept there is, and then all that thinking about ice cream made me hungry so I’m headed to Cosco- which is probably the devil incarnate, nuts.

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