Back in May, in one of my journals, I posted a QOTD (Quote of the Day): "I have never claimed to be a tolerant person. Tolerance is, IMO, well over-rated and too often used as an excuse for ignoring things that people know are wrong." ~ Matt Kiessling.
I have nothing against tolerance, but one should keep in mind that the origins of the word related to the capacity of enduring hardship or inconvenience without complaint -- and I happen to complain a lot about a great many things; that medically, tolerance has the following meanings -- a. Physiological resistance to a poison. b. The capacity to absorb a drug continuously or in large doses without adverse effect; diminution in the response to a drug after prolonged use. 5a. Acceptance of a tissue graft or transplant without immunological rejection. b. Unresponsiveness to an antigen that normally produces an immunological reaction. 6. The ability of an organism to resist or survive infection by a parasitic or pathogenic organism.
Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition. 1995. While I actually do tolerate any number of things, conditions, beliefs, etc., there are many I do not. I am fairly disapproving of out-right bashing of someone over their beliefs, no matter how wrong I may perceive them to be. I attempt to point out where I believe they may be in error, sometimes tactfully, sometimes with the proverbial clue bat (aka the Clueyville Slugger or the ClueX4), because that is the means that works in that situation. I can roll my eyes with the best of them over some fluffy-bunniness; I suppose I have to point out that being a fluffy bunny is not the same thing as being a newbie to something, whether it is the Craft or particle physics. I tend towards the definition of fluffy bunny as someone who chooses to remain willfully ignorant in spite of proven facts - the "9 million Wiccans burned" in the "Burning Times", for example. To quote Edith Sitwell (1887 - 1964), "I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it."
NOUN: 1. The capacity of enduring hardship or inconvenience without complaint: forbearance, long-suffering, patience, resignation. See ACCEPT. 2. Forbearing or lenient treatment: charitableness, charity, forbearance, indulgence, lenience, leniency, lenity, toleration. See ACCEPT.
Now, getting back to the original quote, </a></b></a>dragonhearth (at LJ) commented in a response something else that I believe is also a truism: "Religious Intolerance is the racism of the new millennium. This valley is not going to stand for anything less than total inclusion." (Mayor James Ledford, City of Palmdale, at AV Interfaith Council and AV Heritage Task Force's National Day of Prayer event May 1, 2008)
In a fit of synchronicity, an automotive dealer in the Antelope Valley recently ran a radio ad that told non-Christians they should "sit down and shut up."
Text of the radio advertisement
“Did you know that there are people in this country who want prayer out of schools, “Under God” out of the Pledge, and “In God We Trust” to be taken off our money?
“But did you know that 86 percent of Americans say they believe in God? Now, since we all know that 86 out of every 100 of us are Christians who believe in God, we at Kieffe and Sons Ford wonder why we don’t just tell the other 14 percent to sit down and shut up.
"I guess maybe I just offended 14 percent of the people who are listening to this message. Well, if that is the case, then I say that’s tough; this is America, folks — it’s called free speech. And none of us at Kieffe and Sons Ford are afraid to speak up. Kieffe and Sons Ford on Sierra Highway in Mojave and Rosamond: if we don’t see you today, by the grace of God, we’ll be here tomorrow.”
While the business owner has "apologised", it would appear that the mayor of nearby Palmdale has his work cut out for him.
Why the quotes around apologised, you may ask? Because I don't consider the following to be an actual apology.
“It’s just something that went by us,” said Kieffe, who does not attend church but considers himself “a Christian spirit.” “We’re obviously sorry that it offends a given segment who identifies themselves as atheist.”
Just as racism is nothing new, neither is religious intolerance: various sects of Christianity have been doing it to each other for centuries (the old "they aren't real Christians ... ") and differing religions have also done it to each other (Crusade? Jihad? Jewish Blood Libel?) and to other non-conforming groups for just about as long. (Gay rights? Women's Rights? Civil rights in general, for that matter - although a great many churches and other religious groups have been in support of those for decades.) That doesn't make it right, but it also doesn't mean it's going to automatically disappear over night.
It's been a frequent topic at </a></b></a>the_wildhunt. I'm thinking in particular of this, this, and this; but especially this one. (BTW, if you don't read the WildHunt Blog daily, I highly recommend it as well.)
One method of confronting such intolerance is interfaith dialogue. While I am all for dialogue, it must be a two-way communication in order to be a true dialogue, and it has been my experience many times that the majority of that communication is only going in one direction. Again, </a></b></a>the_wildhunt has pertinent linkage: We Are 'The Unreached People' Groups, wherein he talks about John Morehead's efforts in ensuring that two-way dialogue. Gus diZerega, Cat Chapin-Bishop, M. Macha NightMare and many others have represented Pagan points-of-view on these topics for several years; when I last belonged to the Covenant of the Goddess (COG) several years ago, interfaith work had become a large part of its public work. Karl Lembke has an excellent essay on the subject of tolerance over at WitchVox. which I recommend.
A related topic is that of "Respect". I've seen many screeds on many sites recently where people felt they were not being respected. To borrow a phrase from Inigo Montoya, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Courtesy of www.bartleby.com:
|The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000. |
|TRANSITIVE VERB: ||Inflected forms: re·spect·ed, re·spect·ing, re·spects |
1. To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem. 2. To avoid violation of or interference with: respect the speed limit. 3. To relate or refer to; concern.
|NOUN: ||1. A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem. See synonyms at regard. 2. The state of being regarded with honor or esteem. 3. Willingness to show consideration or appreciation. 4. respects Polite expressions of consideration or deference: pay one's respects. 5. A particular aspect, feature, or detail: In many respects this is an important decision. 6. Usage Problem Relation; reference. See Usage Note at regard. |
|ETYMOLOGY: ||From Middle English, regard, from Old French, from Latin respectus, from past participle of respicere, to look back at, regard : re-, re- + specere, to look at; |
I fail to see why someone should be regarded with honor or esteem if they have demonstrated nothing that shows honor or esteem. Respect is earned, never given. And nowadays, with the quest for instant gratification, to do everything yesterday, few have the will, patience, or perseverance needed to be truly respected. This is as true of so-called "leaders" as it is of anyone else. However, putting in the time in the trenches, doing the work (whatever form the work may take), and demonstrating that someone is capable, knowledgeable, and probably most importantly, trustworthy in every sense of the term goes a long way towards earning that respect. In most cases, I'm more inclined to afford that tentative respect towards that experienced person over someone who is relatively speaking inexperienced.